Shooting through doors, around corners and ducking under windows, members of the Hardcore Handgunners Club make their way through an obstacle course during a pistol shooting match.
Hardcore Handgunners, a club within the Roseburg Rod and Gun Club, teaches people to handle pistols safely and gives them an opportunity to participate in the sport of shooting.
“Guns have kind of gotten a bad rap over the years, and this is showing guns in a different light,” said club member Keith Cortes of Roseburg. “It shows guns can be used as a sport.”
Those who aren’t well versed in pistol shooting can use the opportunity to gain practice and learn from a safety officer. The club also teaches pistol shooters to be able to handle a gun well under pressure, in case a situation ever came up that they would need a gun for self defense.
Cortes said he encourages people to come try it out.
“Show up one time and you’ll be hooked,” Cortes said. “That’s what happened to me and I’ve been going ever since.”
He added that the club gives people with physical limitations a chance to compete in sporting events.
A Roseburg range safety officer, Cortes has been through three safety classes and is certified to instruct people on gun safety. The club started about a year ago with Omar Newbury and Steve Lang of Douglas County. Cortes joined shortly afterward to travel with the club to matches around the state.
Cortes, who grew up in Sutherlin, said he’s always been around guns since he was a kid, so he was glad to join the club.
Since then, the club has grown to about 35 people, including Alek Skarlatos of Roseburg, an Oregon Army National guardsman known internationally for stopping a gunman on a train bound for Paris in 2015. The club is open to people of all ages and genders.
The club members participate in United States Practical Shooting Association matches, competing against each other for accuracy and time. The competitions involve obstacle courses with barrels, doors and windows, and competitors need to hit targets with different corresponding point values. There are several different classes, and the shooters who earn the most points in the least amount of time win the match.
“It’s like you get to be a SWAT guy for a day,” Cortes said. He shoots in the open major competitions, which means he can have unlimited modifications to his gun and compete in the largest class.
The club’s shoots take place on the second Sunday and third Saturday of each month.
“This is a way for a lot of us to be competitive and still have fun,” Cortes said.
The goal, he said, is to grow the sport with safety as a priority.
Participants come to the match with unloaded guns and can only touch their guns when at the shooting line. They can take the gun out of a range bag at a designated safety table, where they are not allowed any ammunition.
Though guns can be expensive, ranging between $1,200 and $3,000 for a high quality pistol, Cortes said participants can use cheaper guns as well.
“The action pistol events we do teach people how to be proficient with firearms, safe gun handling and fundamentals like accuracy and movement, all the while being safe,” Newbury, of Sutherlin, said.
He said the Roseburg Rod and Gun Club is a good place for people to increase their skills with a handgun.
“It’s a lot of fun, people should come out and try it, anyone who likes to shoot firearms,” he said. “It tests a person’s speed and accuracy.”
For more information about the club, contact Newbury at 541-505-1339.