Cheaper Than Dirt! has been a tremendous supporter of the shooting sports; obviously, I am grateful for that fact! A couple of people have asked me though why the shooting sports are so important that major companies should spend time and money supporting and promoting them. I used to think it was a complicated question, but I realized that in reality, the answer is quite simple.
Shooting sports, especially action shooting sports such as IDPA or USPSA, are sexy. They’re cool. In the industry, we agree that it is important to engage young shooters in our sport and passion to guarantee that we will still be able to do what we love in 50 years. However, kids these days are not as interested in hunting; they are not as interested in going to the range and standing in a static booth shooting one shot per second. I am the older part of a generation that has always had video games as part of our culture. Back when I was playing Wolfenstein 3D, games were not mainstream. They are now. “Gaming” is still a culture, but when the most recent Halo game made more money than Avatar, it is a sign that games themselves are part of the mainstream. Therefore, with that generation of kids that has grown up playing Halo and Modern Warfare, there is not quite the same appeal of that “stand in one place and shoot.” Enter the shooting sports. Go to YouTube and do a search for “USPSA Video” or “IDPA Video”; or just go to the Down Zero TV Channel. Regardless of whether or not you shoot the games yourself, USPSA is the closest that the Airsoft generation can actually come to living in their own first-person shooter game outside of joining the military and actually getting shot at. People running around like human NASCAR cars, but instead of a circular track we all have guns—that’s exciting; it is fun to watch, and hopefully, it is interesting to the younger generation.
I preach this all the time, but I do believe that engaging the video game generation, the Halo fans and the COD: Modern Warfare fans are the key to preserving our shooting culture. Moreover, what better way to do that than letting them be the hero of their own first-person shooter? Bring a new shooter to your next USPSA match, and you will be helping preserve our sport and shooting heritage for years to come.