A note from a reader at American Gunsmith

On your Editorial note “Not Doing As They Say”

I have noticed in the last few years a change in the word definition in many so-called in-the-know people. When I say I went ” target shooting” it doesn’t mean the same thing it did 40 years ago. Today I must say “I went informal plinking”. So because of some strange method of change in the words. Most of us do not go to an organized “target shooting” event. We just go shooting and use targets.

I’m not sure when the word change happened. I must have been out target shooting or splitting wood or took a nap.

So if you know people who do surveys please let them know that most of us out here have not made the jump to “their ” new definition of “target shooting”. I think it would help them in the survey business.

>> When I say I went “target shooting” it doesn’t mean the same thing it did 40 years ago. Today I must say “I went informal plinking”.

There has been no change to the meaning, just that you don’t appreciate the differences or the variety of organized marksmanship events available. Gun owners are increasingly failing to understand the full gamut that “target shooting” entails having done nothing more than random, unorganized plinking. It would be like a basketball owner that shoots hoops in the driveway or plays the occasional game of “Horse” not realizing NCAA College Basketball and the National Basketball Association exists.

I have no aversion to plinking and occasionally indulge myself, but there is a HUGE world of organized shooting that is largely ignored by most gun owners. If pro-gun people don’t care, why should we be surprised if the general public doesn’t either?

This was addressed further here:

I have a copy of American Rifleman from 1961, more than 40 years ago. In it, the NRA presents the 1960 annual report, with a breakdown of Classification numbers by rank (Marksman through High Master) and discipline (High Power, Bullseye and Smallbore, the only three recognized at that time.)

Back then, 1/3 of the NRA membership held a current Classification in at least one recognized discipline. Today, despite having more options, less than two percent does. The only thing worse than this step back in participation is the lack of concern and effort to address the problem.

Organizations like the NBA made their mark by hosting and promoting organized activity, not with occasional, random, informal games of “Horse.” Marksmanship is no different. Go plinking as you like. However, if you can’t find a reason to be more interested in marksmanship than that, don’t blame the media for sharing your lack of interest.