Vandergrift-area youth rifle team seeking members
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Christopher Hamm likes to play with cards.
Not blackjack, Texas hold 'em or rummy, though. He likes to cut them, edge-wise, with a bullet.
It's a skill those on the youth rifle team at Fort Hand Rifle Club near Vandergrift work to master en route to becoming better marksmen.
“It took me about eight tries to do it, but when I did, it was amazing,” said Hamm, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Allegheny-Hyde Park Elementary. “I was stunned. It took a lot of concentration. You just have to look for white on a black background.”
Teammates also have accomplished the feat, shooting .22 rifles from a bench using peep sights, firing at a distance of 50 feet indoors.
“The cards are eleven thousandths of an inch thick, so it takes trigger control, practice, discipline, all of those things,” said Chris Hamm, Christopher's father and the team's coach.
Youth shooting teams are not uncommon. Other area clubs — Frazier-Simplex Rifle Club in Washington, Murrysville Rifle Club, Irwin Sportsmen's Association — have teams.
The team at Fort Hand is the newest. It's open to kids ages 8 to 17. Shooters fire from three positions — prone, kneeling and offhand — like in Olympic competition.
Participation has varied, with as few as three kids on the team to start and as many as 24 at one time. Always, the emphasis is on safety, then fun, said Don Summerhill of Apollo, another coach.
“We're not just out there potting around and burning up ammo,” he said. “They're learning a good bit about shooting and having a good time. It's a really good hobby.
“But safety is the biggest thing. We really stress that.”
The club is looking to recruit new members, secure grants for additional equipment and start shooting competitively, Hamm said.
But just having fun is a lot of what the team is about, too, Hamm said. They spend time shooting offhand at balloons, for example, just because kids like to pop them, he said.
“We start big, then each time the kids progress we go smaller, until we get down to silver dollar-sized targets. We want them to have a good time,” he said.
Christopher Hamm believes he and his teammates do.
“It's good practice,” he said, “but you also make a lot of good friends.”
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-838-5148.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- The when, where and how of Pennsylvania’s elusive ‘trout slam’
- Outdoors notices: April 13, 2015
- Reynoldsdale hatchery getting $6.5 million makeover
- Outdoors notebook: Another championship for Cal U archer Bradley
- Outdoor notices: April 12, 2015
- Frye: Trout opening day has its charm
- Outdoors notices: March 22, 2015
- Game Commissioners reduce allotment of doe tags