Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Grow the game: Reduce barriers to entry


Recommended Posts

I've been reading @Creeker, SASS #43022's thread on adding a Pro category to the game with the idea to find a way to attract new shooters. Rather than hijack his thread, I'm starting this one. 

 

The primary barrier to entry I see at my local clubs is the initial cost to get going for a new shooter. Very few--including myself when I started last year--are comfortable with the long-term sharing of firearms belonging to others, and that's assuming an established shooter even offers for more than a match or two. Through Facebook and our websites, my local clubs seem to be doing a decent job of attracting prospective shooters attention, and we often get a new shooter or two to every match even during the pandemic. But then we just as often don't see them again and my belief is that a large reason for that is the cost. I know that's been the case with a few of my non-Cowboy buddies I've brought out; they've clearly enjoyed it but don't want to sink easily $1,500 plus just to get started. And this doesn't even begin to touch the difficulties with the current shortages.

 

In my opinion, if we really want to grow the game, we need to find a way to bring out new shooters in their 20s. The problem here is, many would-be shooters at that age don't have the disposable income to buy in to the game. My personal experience says this.

 

I don't know what the solution would be. Shooting sports in general are not a low cost hobby and I doubt there's much appetite among established shooters to make changes which would significantly lower the cost of entry (such as stages involving only one pistol rather than two). But I'm interested in opinions.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 191
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

What are the odds of a brand new shooter actually winning overall? I'd say very slim even with only one revolver.   Match directors have the ability to allow a whole bunch of stuff at monthl

I want to race stock cars, but I don't have much money, so can I race my stock 2002 Chevy pick-up? I don't plan on winning so nobody would mind, right? Maybe if I really like it I will get a normal st

I started with a borrowed 44 special rifle, a used Ruger Vaquero in 44 sp, an old C&B pistol that I had owned for years, and a POS SXS shotgun I bought used because I didn't know any better. My se

Posted Images

Go back to one rifle, one shotgun and one pistol.

  • Thanks 3
  • Confused 2
  • Sad 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I shoot some modern action shooting sports.  There are plenty of shooters in their twenties attracted to these sports.  They buy a black plastic handgun, a holster, mag pouch, a few mags and bulk 9mm ammo (or used to before it dried up).  They don't reload.  I just don't see them coming to CAS in big numbers.  We have a few amazing young shooters in CAS but most are not coming our way.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, OK Dirty Dan said:

I don't know what the solution would be. Shooting sports in general are not a low cost hobby and I doubt there's much appetite among established shooters to make changes which would significantly lower the cost of entry (such as stages involving only one pistol rather than two). But I'm interested in opinions.

How about we time everyone just to see how fast they can shout "bang" 24 times and go back to rank scoring.  Sorry I couldn't help myself:D

 

I'm all for drumming up interest and new shooters, but I'd also hate to see this "reduced barriers to entry" further reduce the sport.  With high prices, and extreme shortages this year will be hard on existing shooters much less new shooters. 

 

I'm fine with adult 22 categories at monthlies and if a shooter wants to only run one pistol and take the five misses that's fine too.

 

We also need to not jump on anybody that wants to bring a Henry or Rossi or otherwise stock gun that is far from ideal for this sport.  A lot of stock guns are just fine to get people started in this sport.

 

I'm not okay with reducing the costume or alias requirements.  To me that is a big part of SASS, I understand it turns away some people that "don't want to play dress up" or "don't want to go by a silly name" but that's okay with me.

 

It would be helpful to new shooters if there was a SASS approved specific list of ammo that is safe/legal for matches, that way new shooters already overwhelmed by acquiring the guns do not also have to think about learning how to reload. 

 

 

Edited by July Smith
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971 said:

I shoot some modern action shooting sports.  There are plenty of shooters in their twenties attracted to these sports.  They buy a black plastic handgun, a holster, mag pouch, a few mags and bulk 9mm ammo (or used to before it dried up).  They don't reload.  I just don't see them coming to CAS in big numbers.  We have a few amazing young shooters in CAS but most are not coming our way.

That's kind of my point though. They may be attracted to the modern action shooting sports because those are the guns they're into--we're never going to pull those shooters over. But they could just as easily be drawn by the fact that the setup as you described it might cost them $700, perhaps less if they buy all used gear. 

 

The current design of our stages are such that a significant investment is required to compete regularly. I think one of the primary changes we could make to lower the cost of entry while not changing the basic design of the game is allowing any shooter who desires to use 22LR revolvers and rifles, along with any period appropriate shotgun. Competing in their own category, 22 shooters wouldn't be at any advantage nor disadvantage, and those firearms cost significantly less then their centerfire counterparts. 

 

Of course with the current shortages all of this is a bit moot, but worth discussion.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, July Smith said:

I'm fine with adult 22 categories at monthlies and if a shooter wants to only run one pistol and take the five misses that's fine too.

I hear a lot of shooters who share this opinion of 22's at monthly matches only, or perhaps only for a limited amount of time until shortages subside. But I ask why the limitations? If it's the camaraderie of others that's a main draw for this game--and I agree that's a large portion of the long-term appeal--what's the fundamental difference between someone shooting 22LR or any other centerfire category? The goal should be to get people to matches, and if allowing 22LR would do so, why not allow it at every match at every level? 

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, OK Dirty Dan said:

I hear a lot of shooters who share this opinion of 22's at monthly matches only, or perhaps only for a limited amount of time until shortages subside. But I ask why the limitations? If it's the camaraderie of others that's a main draw for this game--and I agree that's a large portion of the long-term appeal--what's the fundamental difference between someone shooting 22LR or any other centerfire category? The goal should be to get people to matches, and if allowing 22LR would do so, why not allow it at every match at every level? 

Recoil, lighter guns. 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Captain Bill Burt said:

Recoil, lighter guns. 

Sure, those are the differences in shooting characteristics. But if shooters using those firearms shot in their own categories, I fail to see how that would be a fundamental difference in the sportsmanship and camaraderie between those shooters and others.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, OK Dirty Dan said:

Sure, those are the differences in shooting characteristics. But if shooters using those firearms shot in their own categories, I fail to see how that would be a fundamental difference in the sportsmanship and camaraderie between those shooters and others.

There is such a thing as an overall winner.  Many believe that shooting .22s instead of centerfire gives the shooter an advantage and therefore .22 shooters shouldn't be eligible for the overall. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

There is such a thing as an overall winner.  Many believe that shooting .22s instead of centerfire gives the shooter an advantage and therefore .22 shooters shouldn't be eligible for the overall. 

You're right, there is. And to a certain extent we seem to just take different views of this--which is fine. 

 

We're talking about what would be a change in the rules here, and if a change is being made to allow any shooter to compete with 22LR and there's a concern about those shooters dominating the competitive aspect, then a rule could be made limiting their ability to win to their category only. 

 

But I'm coming at this from the perspective of getting more regular participants at matches. If that was accomplished, I personally don't see a problem with the overall winner of a match coming from any category--be they new shooters with 22LR, top current competitors who switch to 22LR due to a speed difference, or any shooter of any style with any caliber. But if that was a concern, there could be awards to top overall men's and women's centerfire competitors, and top overall men's and women's rimfire competitors.

 

I know adding more categories is something which doesn't seem to be popular. But if the goal is to grow our participant pool, not just maintain what's there, it seems obvious to me that change of some nature is required. However, I know that not everyone feels growth needs to happen, and while that may not be an opinion I share, it is nonetheless a valid one.

Edited by OK Dirty Dan
Grammar
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

My impression of other shooting sports is that they are much more dynamic, with a lot of movement, and somehow more challenging. Almost everybody could go through a CAS stage, slow, perhaps with misses, but it's doable, for every level and any age. Don't wanna be offending to anybody, but if you design stages like this it ain't surprising if only few young shooters feel attracted.

 

Regarding the issue of initial costs: Maybe there should be club owned guns new shooters can use. If the irons don't belong to a pard the containment to use them for a while might be lower. 

 

Equanimous Phil 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

What are the odds of a brand new shooter actually winning overall? I'd say very slim even with only one revolver.

 

Match directors have the ability to allow a whole bunch of stuff at monthlies; including less guns and .22's. I don't see the issue.  Don't see that we need ANY rule changes; handle it at a local level like it always has been. When you get a visitor; make sure they understand that they can shoot with .22's or less than 4 guns; just take penalty's and no eligibility for overall winner.

 

Personally I don't think we need to do anything other than S.A.S.S. itself needs to help with marketing.

 

 

  • Like 12
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971 said:

I shoot some modern action shooting sports.  There are plenty of shooters in their twenties attracted to these sports.  They buy a black plastic handgun, a holster, mag pouch, a few mags and bulk 9mm ammo (or used to before it dried up).  They don't reload.  I just don't see them coming to CAS in big numbers.  We have a few amazing young shooters in CAS but most are not coming our way.

And a lot of those younger shooters already own a semi auto pistol and an AR, so pretty much all they need is an ammo belt or pocket for mags. The number of the younger shooters having cowboy guns in their closet is much lower because most of them grew up with Rambo, not John Wayne

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Tyrel Cody said:

What are the odds of a brand new shooter actually winning overall? I'd say very slim even with only one revolver.

 

Match directors have the ability to allow a whole bunch of stuff at monthlies; including less guns and .22's. I don't see the issue.  Don't see that we need ANY rule changes; handle it at a local level like it always has been. When you get a visitor; make sure they understand that they can shoot with .22's or less than 4 guns; just take penalty's and no eligibility for overall winner.

 

Personally I don't think we need to do anything other than S.A.S.S. itself needs to help with marketing.

 

 

The concern I have with the "only at local level" is that prospective shooters will go the main SASS website to determine what they need to get started. Or they'll ask here, where they're often then directed to the Shooter's Handbook. And of course in the handbook 22LR for anyone above Buckaroo/Buckarette doesn't exist. Plus, many of us travel around. If a 22LR shooter wanted to travel, the "local only" rules become much more difficult for them to navigate.

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Equanimous Phil said:

Regarding the issue of initial costs: Maybe there should be club owned guns new shooters can use. If the irons don't belong to a pard the containment to use them for a while might be lower. 

We've had discussions around this idea, but it seems to come down to the logistics. Who provides the funds to purchase the firearms and equipment up front? Who maintains them? How do we ensure they are always available at every match--no one attends every match, and club rules don't allow leaving firearms at the range even in a locked building/safe. Personally I think this is a great idea in general, I've just yet to hear a way that makes it work in practice.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Equanimous Phil said:

And if they stay with CAS the sooner or later they want to have center fire guns and have to buy again... 

That's my thinking too. 22LR is the way to get them in the door, and chances are (like most of us), in the end they'll buy more firearms for different categories. And if they don't? Fine, they keep shooting 22LR but they keep coming out.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, OK Dirty Dan said:

I hear a lot of shooters who share this opinion of 22's at monthly matches only, or perhaps only for a limited amount of time until shortages subside. But I ask why the limitations? If it's the camaraderie of others that's a main draw for this game--and I agree that's a large portion of the long-term appeal--what's the fundamental difference between someone shooting 22LR or any other centerfire category? The goal should be to get people to matches, and if allowing 22LR would do so, why not allow it at every match at every level? 

Just my opinion, but I find it really hard to spot 22lr shots.  For the occasional buckaroo/ette I am fine with the inconvenience, and at monthlies I don't have an issue with adults shooting them just for fun.  At a state or higher level match I'd hate to see SASS competitions devolve to just a small bore match, but that's just my opinion. 

Edited by July Smith
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not opposed to growing the sport, far from it, but I do take a different view from many and perhaps from you.  I tend to look at things from a cost benefit standpoint, perhaps that has to do with my background in economics.  

 

There may well be a benefit in the form of new shooters if we reduce barriers to entry via a .22 category, or allowing only one pistol.  There may also be a cost in terms of the resulting changes in the sport leading to current shooters leaving the game.  I'm not saying that would happen, who knows, but the same is true of the changes being proposed, who knows if they will bring in new shooters.

 

As Tyrel mentioned, this is best handled at the local level, no need for rules changes. 

 

I'm not convinced that the cost of entry is a significant barrier to most shooters who might be interested in SASS anyway.   

 

I just looked on Gunbroker and in the midst of the current frenzy of gun buying there are still inexpensive guns available that are suitable for SASS.  I saw several Rossis and Marlins selling from anywhere between $600 and $800.   Stoeger shotguns going for $419, I saw a Pietta 1873 Great Western in .357 with a buy it now of $599 and a Bounty Hunter in .357 for $439.  A motivated shooter could buy all four required guns for less than $2,000. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DeaconKC said:

Go back to one rifle, one shotgun and one pistol.

 

1 hour ago, Mister Badly said:

That could be a category but would not be eligible for overall by round count.

Okay, reloads on the clock, either rifle or revolver.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Captain Bill Burt you're correct, there is a cost associated with every change and those cannot always be predicted. And it would be a shame for any change to drive established shooters away from the sport.

 

I agree that there are cheaper ways into the sport as it stands than a pair of Vaqueros and an 1873 rifle (I'm leaving out the shotgun here because guns such as Stoeger are affordable and a good option regardless what level of competition we're discussing). But a basic Henry 22 rifle and two Ruger Wranglers can come in under $850 brand new. Even today if one is patient. And those firearms don't require a knowledge of reloading or the purchase of the equipment to do so.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, OK Dirty Dan said:

@Captain Bill Burt you're correct, there is a cost associated with every change and those cannot always be predicted. And it would be a shame for any change to drive established shooters away from the sport.

 

I agree that there are cheaper ways into the sport as it stands than a pair of Vaqueros and an 1873 rifle (I'm leaving out the shotgun here because guns such as Stoeger are affordable and a good option regardless what level of competition we're discussing). But a basic Henry 22 rifle and two Ruger Wranglers can come in under $850 brand new. Even today if one is patient. And those firearms don't require a knowledge of reloading or the purchase of the equipment to do so.

I'm not opposed to letting shooters use .22s during the current primer situation, and I'm willing to consider it for newer shooters in the future.   I don't think changes like that will have much, if any, impact on the game as it currently is.  

 

I have mixed feelings about a permanent change to allow adults to use .22s indefinitely.

 

I'm opposed to letting an adult compete for the overall with .22s.  I think that has the potential to change the game in ways that don't appeal to me.

 

I'm also opposed to letting anyone compete for the overall with less than 4 guns.  That will definitely change the game in ways I won't like. 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Try it at ITSASS for a year and let us know how many new shooters you attracted who only shoot .22s.     

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, McCandless said:

Try it at ITSASS for a year and let us know how many new shooters you attracted who only shoot .22s.     

 

We're certainly trying it now and will be doing so for an amount of time. We will absolutely see how it goes. But I'm also not proposing that this change alone would cause a flood of new individuals; it would simply be one change made amongst a number of others (increased marketing, other rule changes, etc.) intended to increase participation.


But you and I both know that drawing any conclusions on any change or experiment right now is going to be impossible. There are just too many variables at play with one of them being unprecedented within the timeframe that SASS has existed.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Scoring 22 hits is a PITA because most steel is 'dead' to those hits. BTDT

.22's  are fun in this game.

Back to 1 HG, NOPE!

The only way to have SASS grow is marketing. 

Unit the component and ammo shortages stop,

It's a moot point.

OLG 

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is critical to keep the cost as low as possible both in firearms and ammunition used. I think a category such as working cowboy or whatever you want to call it, with one revolver and one rifle would help people get started. They could compete and would use less ammo while competing.  This might help more people get started and they could pick up other guns, if they so desired, at a later date to compete in other categories.

 

I also like the thought of .22 being a permanent category. By using the 2 gun category a person could get started very reasonably with a Ruger wrangler and a Henry Lever action. There are a lot of other .22’s out there and I would guess there are a lot of shooters that can compete in a .22 class right now with what they currently own. After all, a .22 was available in the civil war and is one of the earliest cartridges.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

I'm not convinced that the cost of entry is a significant barrier to most shooters who might be interested in SASS anyway.  

 

Me either. If folks are patient and willing to borrow for a while they can get in at a reasonable price. This is cheap compared to bike racing, tournament fishing, golf, etc...

  • Like 5
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

Me either. If folks are patient and willing to borrow for a while they can get in at a reasonable price. This is cheap compared to bike racing, tournament fishing, golf, etc...

When I joined we were a single income (teacher) family with three kids. I bought two Rugers, a slicked Uberti and a Stoeger.  Not all at once, but I made it work.  Bought a used Dillon SDB, a bunch of .38 from Georgia Arms (to shoot, then use the brass) and I was ready to go.

 

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

Me either. If folks are patient and willing to borrow for a while they can get in at a reasonable price. This is cheap compared to bike racing, tournament fishing, golf, etc...

Everyone has their own experiences. Just in the year I've been doing this I've been told by a handful of prospective shooters that the cost for all the equipment was more than they had or wanted to spend. Of course, wanted to is a key term.

 

But again, if the cost of entry were lower that may well convince some to give it a real try more than just a match or two. Is it going to convince everyone? No. Will it cause all those who buy those guns to continue indefinitely? No. But maybe it does bring out those who are more price sensitive and turns them into regular shooters. To me, the possible negative costs to the game are negligible compared to the benefits of expanding the participant base. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Captain Bill Burt said:

When I joined we were a single income (teacher) family with three kids. I bought two Rugers, a slicked Uberti and a Stoeger.  Not all at once, but I made it work.  Bought a used Dillon SDB, a bunch of .38 from Georgia Arms (to shoot, then use the brass) and I was ready to go.

 

 

And for you, that worked. That's awesome; more people could do with that type of discipline and patience. I knew for years I wanted to get into this, but from knowing my personality regarding the level of equipment which would maximize my enjoyment, and doing my research, I knew how expensive it was going to be. So I saved up and waited until I could buy all that equipment at once and jump in with both feet. But many won't do what you or I did, or their best plans get put aside when something comes up to either cause that saved money to disappear or another hobby becomes of interest that doesn't take that type of investment. And that level of investment is an artificial barrier created solely by the rulebook. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am an example where it was an issue. I wanted to get into in 2002. I bought my first Colt Cowboy and then looked to join. I saw it took two pistols, a rifle, and a shotgun. That's not happening with a blue-collar worker raising kids working in a factory. It took 16 years and selling a book to get the money to buy all the guns. Yuppies trying to look like John Wick don't want to play cowboy. (ARs and wonder nines are far cheaper than what we use.) Us construction workers and factory workers that watch westerns when they get a chance do want to play cowboy. This is the first thing that comes up when I try to get someone to play. The cost of guns.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep seeing that that having a reduced firearm category will never work for keeping score, and yet NCOWS does it.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

Young people don't want to dress up and play"cowboy". They want to play black ops. Every video game out there and 98.72% of new movies involve black guns and semi-auto pistols. And there's no "costuming" required.

Generally speaking I agree with you. But I'll use myself as an example (and risk ridicule on this forum): I'm 38 and grew up with G.I. Joe and Rambo. I've seen two western movies/shows in my life, both after joining SASS (Tombstone and Lonesome Dove). The costuming part to me was not of interest, even when I joined (although it is now). I simply enjoyed the type of guns used in SASS far more than any other discipline. 

Edited by OK Dirty Dan
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.