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Nubbins Colt #7802

Update on SASS/CAS et al

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I am just curious, how many members does SASS have now, how many actual shooters/active members does SASS have, and what is the overall status of CAS today?

 

As an aside, I'd be interested in similar answers in re IPSC, IDPA, 3-Gun, etc.

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We are all curious and have asked for years. But the answer, I suspect, will never be forthcoming.

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Active members:

IDPA claims 25,000+

USPSA/IPSC claims 31,000+

SASS...I heard a claim of 60,000 active members but that was definitely unofficial. 

 

By “active members” I mean active shooters.

 

All these numbers seem low to me.

 

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16 minutes ago, Pat Riot, SASS #13748 said:

Active members:

IDPA claims 25,000+

USPSA/IPSC claims 31,000+

SASS...I heard a claim of 60,000 active members but that was definitely unofficial. 

 

By “active members” I mean active shooters.

 

All these numbers seem low to me.

 

 

Careful using the term "active shooters", Pat.:rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, Marshal Hangtree said:

 

Careful using the term "active shooters", Pat.:rolleyes:

Ha! Yeah, I did a search on “active shooters in IDPA”. I didn’t get what I expected. :blink:  :lol:

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CAS/SASS has been slowly "Imploding" for years.  I don't have any official numbers, however 5 different CAS clubs here in Pennsyltucey have dried up and blown away.  Were I to guess, If we have over 45 thousand shooting members, I'd be surprised.

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At the last Convention in December 2015, Misty told us ,"Unfortunately, as of 8/15/2015, SASS only has 19,867 annual members. This is the life-blood of the entity. There were 7,568 life members."

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I’m guessing that at the rate SASS was hemorrhaging members that the dues paying membership is down to around 15,000 members Unfortunately life members are a liability that money is long spent. I wonder where the tipping point is 

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What is missing now from what caused CAS to expand so greatly in the past?    I've been a SASS member since 1990, and I helped established one of the clubs in PA that recently ceased operation.  My health issues have caused me to cease participating in the competition, but I'm a Life Member and still like to think that CAS and SASS have something to offer.

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Well, years ago when SASS was in it’s prime there were countless articles being written about CAS and the guns, ammo and accessories for participating in the sport, game, fun, whatever. Gun companies were tripping all over themselves to get in on making money from CAS. The same can be said of others that provided leather, clothing & accessories. 

Then “someone” threw a switch and things went cool...then almost cold. 

I don’t think any one thing or event signaled the downturn but I do believe moving EOT may have tossed a bucket of cold water on the game. Also, some in the gun industry figured things were playing out so they moved on to the next big money makers...AR based guns and “Tacti-Cool” gear. 3 gun started getting all the attention. Now it seems long range shooting and precision rifle are the latest big things. I think, due to movies like John Wick and the stars involved, we may see a resurgence in tactical pistol shooting. Who knows? 

 

The one one thing I know for sure, if you don’t promote your business, and SASS is a business, your business fails eventually.

 

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Not all CAS shooters are SASS members so it's pretty difficult to get a accurate number. I know a few shooters who dropped out of SASS but still shoot now and then at CAS matches.

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Most shooting sports have a certain ebb and flow.

 

Anybody remember metallic silhouette shooting and all its rifle/pistol/rimfire variations?  It was all the rage for a good decade or so in the 70s and 80s. Manufacturers made special guns and accessories.  Clubs built silhouette ranges. 

 

I only know of one silhouette range still active. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the sport. It’s just the nature of hobbies and their life cycles. 

 

SASS has the added challenge in that the generation who grew up watching westerns on tv is growing older, with younger shooters simply not joining the sport. 

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1 hour ago, Charlie Harley, #14153 said:

SASS has the added challenge in that the generation who grew up watching westerns on tv is growing older, with younger shooters simply not joining the sport. 

Yeah, we all grew up wanting to be cowboys, and the newer generations all want to be the next great hacker!

 

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Here in CT and much of the rest of the Northeast, attendance has significantly diminished.    People are aging out of the sport or dying and many retirees have moved to other states with lower taxes, warmer weather and more gun friendly laws.

 

SASS is far, far more expensive to get into then when I started in 1997.  To start SASS now from scratch will cost somewhere between $3000-$5000 with the guns, leather and  the other things needed for the sport.

 

Westerns aren't as predominant on TV or at the movies as they used to be and most younger shooters are far more interested in the various "tactical" shooting sports.

 

 

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We have new shooters almost every month at Paradise Pass. I'm lucky enough to be able to "mentor" several of them through the process. I've even taught more than a few to reload their own ammunition. That spectator that came to see what it's about? Ten minutes of your time with them and their your next newbie. Try it -it's actually pretty fun.

It sucks to hear of clubs drying up when ours is booming. Pun intended. :)

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Chantry said:

Here in CT and much of the rest of the Northeast, attendance has significantly diminished.    People are aging out of the sport or dying and many retirees have moved to other states with lower taxes, warmer weather and more gun friendly laws.

 

SASS is far, far more expensive to get into then when I started in 1997.  To start SASS now from scratch will cost somewhere between $3000-$5000 with the guns, leather and  the other things needed for the sport.

 

Westerns aren't as predominant on TV or at the movies as they used to be and most younger shooters are far more interested in the various "tactical" shooting sports.

 

 

Modern action sports are appealing to younger shooters.  One can start shooting with a single firearm.  There are no costuming requirements and you get to shoot while moving.  Most shoot 9 mm Luger ammo bought in bulk so inexpensively they don't need to reload.  For CAS most must reload ammo, buy four firearms and obtain a costume.  Then you must shoot from static positions.  For those not interested in the Old West CAS is not appealing.  I also shoot modern action shooting sports and find them a hoot.

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Allie is correct. Misty gave us those numbers. The member numbers over 100,000 mean nothing.

My opinion on why SASS is declining;

1.  Greying of the shooters. Old age and health issues are taking a serious toll.

2. The cost to get into the sport.

3. Youngsters don't get the glamor and history of the old west. They didn't grow up with movies and TV filled with westerns. They aren't interested.

4. Some people don't get the costuming.

5. Like many sports and hobbies people get burned out and move on to something else.

6. Our club gets new members that replace those that have left. But they are usually in the grey category.

Ike

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18 hours ago, Nubbins Colt #7802 said:

I am just curious, how many members does SASS have now, how many actual shooters/active members does SASS have, and what is the overall status of CAS today?

 

As an aside, I'd be interested in similar answers in re IPSC, IDPA, 3-Gun, etc.

Our club just had it's 25th annual match. For most of the past 25 yrs our Cowboy club was by far the largest group at the shooting facility upon which our range is built. That changed a few years ago, and now the IPSC club is the Big Dog. They have many new faces on their range (most of them don't have any wrinkles)  and are still expanding. We have been bringing in new shooters, not at the rate we use to, but they are still drifting in (most of them have wrinkles). I think that Ike's post was pretty accurate as to Why. The one thing that I noticed at our most current annual event was the absence of a good number of shooters from a particular area, and a marked increase of shooters new to us from a different area. As more and more clubs suffer the ravages of time, I see many of the folks that truly enjoy the game reaching out to areas that are somewhat new to them. I fully expect to see our club attendance grow, not so much from new members to the game, but from old members coming from other areas looking for that last Water Hole. We have a Superb club, with a range far above what most clubs can offer and we have a tremendous pool of talented folks that jump at the chance to improve our range.  I expect to see this increase in seasoned shooters turning up at our club to enjoy the game. 

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I'm think'n that today's spit'n close target placement-as opposed to the older days, may well be a factor.

OLG

 

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1 hour ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

I'm think'n that today's spit'n close target placement-as opposed to the older days, may well be a factor.

OLG

 

OMG, OLG!

 

This reminds me of a (side match?, stage, whatever, I don't remember) match I attended around 2000. On the last stage, we had to spit at the target. Really!

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55 minutes ago, Allie Mo, SASS No. 25217 said:

OMG, OLG!

 

This reminds me of a (side match?, stage, whatever, I don't remember) match I attended around 2000. On the last stage, we had to spit at the target. Really!

I would not want to have been a 'spotter' for that stage......:lol::P

OLG

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6 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

I would not want to have been a 'spotter' for that stage......:lol::P

OLG

I guess it depends on which way the wind is blowing.

 

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Posted (edited)

Here's a tangential thing that might relate to the question.

 

Two weeks ago, I signed up as a member of an old historical local range. Have belonged to other ranges, but finally decided to become a member of this one. Like many ranges, pistol range qualification was required to use handguns; experience having shown them that safety issues on the pistol range are mitigated by requiring qualification of all new members, regardless of experience.

 

So I did the qualification as soon as possible; just last weekend. Hour-long class, then qual at the range-- gun handling and put 10 on the paper. Anyway, at the range, the ROs asked the group-- there were 15 of us-- if anybody would be using a revolver. I was the only one of the 15 who was. I did my qual with my Uberti .44 Russian, to general interest, if not perplexity. A great and accurate gun; I love that thing.

 

So if 15 people randomly self-chosen, of all ages, go to a pistol range to qualify, and only one uses a revolver-- how many in turn are going to be aficionados of the yet smaller subset of single-action revolvers?

 

So we're drawing from a very small segment in the first place, nowadays....

Edited by Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619
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I agree with almost everything said above. I've actually brought in 2 new shooters over the last year, but both are over 40.

 

The investment to get started is pretty tremendous when compared to something like IDPA or USPSA or even modern 3-Gun. The pistol sports cost you about 500 for the gun, 150 bucks for the belt and holster and a couple extra mags, and you're off to the races. For 3 gun you can use the same 500 dollar pistol and rig, add a remington or mossberg for under 400 bucks, and an AR for ~600 with mags and you're off.

For us its 800 - 1250 in pistols, 800-1K in rifle, and then 300 bucks for a shotgun. Add in leather at another 150-250 plus a gun cart and you're in the, "woah I could buy all of the popular plastic fantastics for that!" range.

Now I honestly dont have a solution for this as the only thing I could think of is to add in an actual .22lr category that isnt eligible for overall but which you could shoot in if at least 1 of the guns was a .22. The starting costs would be way down, you wouldnt need to reload, and some of the older more arthritic folks might even take a stab at competing in the category since the recoil and weight could be a lot lighter.

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A few months ago I attended a shoot at a club that offered cowboy in the AM and. "steel shoot" in the afternoon. The morning crowd was 16 retired folks and the parking lot was mostly pick up trucks and large SUVs. That afternoon about 40 folks showed up for the black gun shoot. Estimated average age was 25 - 30 and the parking lot was filled with Mustangs, Camaros and low slung Honda's. 

 We got involved because of westerns on TV. These younger shooters are drawn in by video games.

 My four grandsons have no interest in revolvers and lever action firearms....but bring out a PCC or a Glock and they are all in.....

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Oh, one more thing.....most CAS shoots you need to get up at the crack of dawn to be there for the 9am safety meeting.......there ain’t no millennials that are even close to functioning before noon in a Saturday.........and Sunday, forget about it ! 

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On 5/15/2019 at 5:18 PM, Nubbins Colt #7802 said:

I am just curious, how many members does SASS have now, how many actual shooters/active members does SASS have, and what is the overall status of CAS today?

 

As an aside, I'd be interested in similar answers in re IPSC, IDPA, 3-Gun, etc.

Great question. Should be asked, and answered annually by SASS- HQ, as we're all their clients.

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On 5/16/2019 at 12:06 AM, punxsutawneypete said:

What is missing now from what caused CAS to expand so greatly in the past?    I've been a SASS member since 1990, and I helped established one of the clubs in PA that recently ceased operation.  My health issues have caused me to cease participating in the competition, but I'm a Life Member and still like to think that CAS and SASS have something to offer.

It used to be about having fun, slowly the gamers took over and made it mostly about the competition and an arms race. Pretty much the same thing happened with USPSA in the late 80's early 90's.

JHC

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Being that I am one of the younger shooters (which is sad at 38) who has both of this son's involved in the sport and my wife, I would like to add my .2 cents here.

 

First off, this game is no more expensive to get into than any of the others. When you compare apples to apples , you can start shooting 3 gun for roughly the same cost per gun as cowboy. It's an expensive sport. All shooting sports are. A lot of younger individuals don't have the means or discipline to save and purchase all the equipment needed.

 

My solution idea: Clubs that want to grow their membership with younger shooters need to have at least one "loaner" set of irons for new shooters to use. Maybe a shooter can afford a set of pistols but not the shotgun or rifle, no big deal, use the clubs and return them at the end of the match. 

 

Second, the appeal. I think you would be surprised that there are more young people that would love the "cowboy" lifestyle if they were exposed to it. I grew up in the middle of beef and corn country. We all wanted to be cowboys. Gravitating towards a shooting sport centered on that dream made sense for me, as it probably would others. 

 

Solution idea: Start recruiting new members from other shooting disciplines. Get involved with 4H clubs and trap clubs and extend an open invite to the kids and theirs folks to come out and play cowboy. I bet that you will get some juniors and buckaroos excited, which would get their parents involved also. 

 

Lastly, and I mean no offense to anyone here, there is too much COBS in most of these clubs. What is COBS you ask? Crotchety Old Bastard Syndrome is what it is. Grumpy old men who can't stomach that the sport has changed in the last 30 years, that want to go back to the "old" way of doing things, that are more interested in pissing and moaning about how the kids don't want to shoot anymore or that it's too expensive or that millennials are a sack of worthless s!@# ARE what puts the bad taste in prospective new shooters mouths. 

 

You want to know why my family and I are involved in SASS? Because we can go out and have fun as a family doing it. Yeah, our club has their share of COBS, but I also have pretty thick skin and also don't have an issue telling it like it is. If SASS wants to stay viable in the future, a different mindset is going to have to be adopted by not only SASS, but the individual clubs and also the shooters themselves. If not, then have fun fighting over the El Patron and Grand Dame trophies while the Buckaroo, Junior, Cowboy/Cowgirl and Wrangler/Lady Wrangler plaques gather dust on the awards table. 

 

Once again, this is my humble opinion based upon my experiences over the last three years shooting. Take them at that and if you feel I am wrong, I would love to hear your thoughts on how to attract more shooters. A wise man told me that complaining was a lot like riding a rocking horse, it gives you something to do, but at the end of the day, you're still in the same spot. 

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55 minutes ago, Flatwater Monte said:

My solution idea: Clubs that want to grow their membership with younger shooters need to have at least one "loaner" set of irons for new shooters to use. Maybe a shooter can afford a set of pistols but not the shotgun or rifle, no big deal, use the clubs and return them at the end of the match. 

 

 

 

A whole lot of us bring extra guns and enough ammo for 3 people to shoot the match. I don't feel that the clubs themselves have to provide irons for new(ish) shooters. If new(ish) guys would just ask we'll bring them some guns. If the new(ish) shooter feels guilty offer to pay for the ammo. In this aspect the help is there, it just needs to be accepted.

 

Just as an aside, if I loan someone a gun and it breaks halfway through a stage they should not feel responsible in any way. If I worried about stuff like that I wouldn't bring backup guns and actually I'll apologize to the loanee for that happening to them.

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The modern action shooting matches starting times are in the morning just like SASS. 1 local club starts setup at 7am, shoot at 9. During the summer months setup at 6am. Young and old are there helping.

 

SASS shooters know how difficult it is to be as fast as our best shooters are. But, non SASS shooters aren't interested in shooting the cowboy guns at ranges of 5 to 10 or 12 yards on big steel.

 

As far as numbers of shooters, all the action shootin sports have their total, up to date paid members and also additional participants who aren't currently or never have been members.

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Having a 'club' provide loaner guns is a liability pit that they should not have to deal with.

Also-Many clubs just don't have the $$$.

OLG

 

 

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6 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Having a 'club' provide loaner guns is a liability pit that they should not have to deal with.

Also-Many clubs just don't have the $$$.

OLG

 

 

 

I fail to see how a club has anymore liability providing a set of loaner irons than an individual doing the same. Actually, I would say the club has less liability, if they are legitimate, as they have limit of liability waivers and insurance in place to protect themselves in a situation such as that. 

52 minutes ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

A whole lot of us bring extra guns and enough ammo for 3 people to shoot the match. I don't feel that the clubs themselves have to provide irons for new(ish) shooters. If new(ish) guys would just ask we'll bring them some guns. If the new(ish) shooter feels guilty offer to pay for the ammo. In this aspect the help is there, it just needs to be accepted.

 

Just as an aside, if I loan someone a gun and it breaks halfway through a stage they should not feel responsible in any way. If I worried about stuff like that I wouldn't bring backup guns and actually I'll apologize to the loanee for that happening to them.

 

I see this with our club as well, but most new shooters are ignorant that individuals will loan them irons and therefore are intimidated to come out to shoot. 

 

 

 

As a sport, we need to really work on solutions to getting new and younger shooters to the loading table instead of pissing and moaning about why we can't get them there. This conversation has taken place over and over again and it never seems to produce any positive results. 

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10-10-4  10-10-4  10-10-4  10-10-4   sigh    10-10-4  10-10-4  10-10-4  10-10-4  10-10-4.........

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