Here we have a recent article that I wrote for our local charity, Disability Cornwall and their "Discover" magazine...
Blind and visually impaired shooters using rifles? Not the most sensible combination you may think! However at CABS (Cornwall Association Blind Shooting) that is exactly what happens.
Based at Helston and District Rifle Club, they meet every Wednesday afternoon between 2 and 4pm and have gone from strength to strength since forming in 2001. Open to anybody with a visual impairment it provides an invaluable opportunity to take part in a sport usually the domain of sighted individuals.
British Blind Sport and the National Small-Bore Rifle association have helped to increase awareness and run National postal competitions that club members participate in throughout the year. This keeps the CABS members on their toes and provides a constant challenge for those wanting to see how they compare with others. Once a year members have the chance to travel to Wolverhampton for the British Open, where shooters get to compete shoulder to shoulder against the best in the country. Locally though, the club provides its own internal competitions and often invites other groups to attend for friendly events. Most recently the Police Equality and Diversity team put up a good set of scores and had a chance to see just how much of a hindrance sight could be when trying to use the specialist equipment.
To the casual observer the sight, which is designed for use on an air rifle at a range of 10m looks like a conventional telescope sight. However, that is where the similarity ends. The sight is designed to collect and measure the level of light reflected from the
target. The centre of the target is brilliant white and then moving outwards from the centre
it is increasingly darker. The closer to the centre of the target you are aiming the greater
the level of light reflected and hence the higher the frequency of sound which is heard by the shooter via a pair of headphones.
There are two disciplines, one is shooting supported where the weight of the rifle is taken by a sprung stand and is ideal for those with physical impairments or weaker participants. Unsupported is a much tougher discipline and requires the shooter to hold the rifle on target whilst standing upright bearing the weight through the body, much the same as sighted shooters.
CABS is keen to hear from new members, groups wishing to attend for a friendly shoot and also anyone wishing to join the highly valued group of volunteers at the club.