Many New Zealanders are traditionally keen on outdoor pursuits such as hunting and fishing and with gun ownership rising so is the interest in gun related sports. New Zealanders have a proud level of achievement in sports such as shooting and elocal has discovered one such local hero in the form of David Butler.
Dave, as he likes to be called, can be found during working hours down at the Rusty Dog, eager to share his knowledge about all things outdoor. But in every spare waking moment he is following his true passion, the sport of IPSC shooting, specifically the handgun category. The winner of many medals at national level, he has also been part of a team that has claimed a podium spot for New Zealand at the Australasia Championships in 2019.
IPSC or the International Practical Shooting confederation is the world's largest shooting sport association and the largest and oldest within practical shooting. Founded in 1976, the IPSC nowadays affiliates over 100 regions from Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Competitions are held with pistol, revolver, rifle, and shotgun, and the competitors are divided into different divisions based on firearm and equipment features. While everyone in a division competes in the Overall category, there are also own separate awards such as Junior, Super Senior or Ladies etc.
Dave has been involved in IPSC handgun shooting for over 6 years. He got involved primarily because he loves a challenge and the competitions involved in the discipline of practical handgun shooting are amongst the most challenging, exciting and varied that are available.
“It’s just like being a little kid again, running round and pretending to shoot all those things you did back then. Albeit, with an abundance of safety rules and regulations.” Smiles Dave.
IPSC shooters need to blend accuracy, power, and speed into a winning combination. Multiple targets, moving targets, targets that react when hit, penalty targets, or even partially covered targets, obstacles, movement, competitive strategies, and other techniques are all a part of an IPSC match to keep shooters challenged and spectators engaged.
“There are multiple levels in the sport, starting at level one where you compete within your club, level 2 which is a step above and level 3 where you compete within regions and for New Zealand honours. When you move to level 4 and 5 you are able to compete internationally, as well as at some pretty intense regional competitions. Russia, for example has some legendary stages at this level.”
IPSC shooting is dynamic, challenging, and one of the fastest growing shooting sports in the world today. Courses of fire utilize many aspects not found in the more traditional shooting disciplines such as movement by the shooter, moving targets, multiple targets, and the freedom for the shooter to solve the shooting challenges presented in the courses of fire.
The appeal of the sport lies in the diversity of the courses of fire available to the shooter. By offering different courses of fire rather than set types, IPSC shooting continues to challenge the competitor and to improve his or her skills. There are continually new demands to challenge the IPSC shooting enthusiast.
Dave has a swag of medals from winning competitions from around New Zealand since he started competing and is well known name in the sport. His proudest moment is standing on the podium in 2019 representing New Zealand and winning bronze at the Australasian Championship in Lipa City in the Philippines.
“It was an amazing result for our team and the other teams representing New Zealand. The competition was very intense, and we were up again teams from all over the world who were highly skilled and resourced. We finished the championship with 3 teams on the podium, the very best result that New Zealand has ever achieved.”
All IPSC matches are based on the principles of accuracy, power and speed. But there is also a rigorous adherence to a strict safety code making it one of the safest ways to get involved with firearms. The matches are varied and based on the safe use of the handgun. Participation in these matches will develop a high degree of safety and proficiency, as well as providing an exciting means of recreation.
Dave loves the sport and the team spirt is encourages. He says it has given him skills he can apply to situations in his everyday life. He would love to participate in this years World Championships but is waiting on the official body to decide if things go ahead due to Covid.
“I would encourage anyone who has an interest in firearms to give it a go, it provides a safe, secure environment to practice a sport that is varied, challenging and exciting. The adrenaline rush you get whilst competing is amazing and it is easy to get involved.”
To find out more about the sport, visit: https://waiukupistolclub.org.nz/ipsc.php or https://instagram.com/david_ipsc_nz