UPDATE: Man accidentally shot and killed in pistol competition was an 'expert shooter' - InfoNews

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UPDATE: Man accidentally shot and killed in pistol competition was an 'expert shooter'

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
June 12, 2017 - 12:56 PM

KAMLOOPS – Over the weekend a man accidentally shot and killed himself during a well-known and challenging pistol skills competition at a local gun range.

Police were called to the Kamloops Target Sports Shooting Complex yesterday, June 11 around 1 p.m., after the man lost control of his gun and accidentally shot himself in the torso, according to a RCMP release. He was given first aid by witnesses and was taken to hospital by ambulance. He died soon after arriving at the hospital. Police have not released his identity.

The 50-year-old man from Vancouver was an expert shooter, and very experienced according to Kamloops Target Sport Association president Jim Sloper.

Sloper refused to comment on the exact circumstances surrounding the man's death and would only say it was an accident.

"All procedures were followed and everything was according to regulations. It was a very unfortunate accident. People do make mistakes and this was a serious one," he says.

Dan North was there watching his girlfriend compete and says it didn't seem like anyone knew exactly how the accident happened.

"Everyone was in shock. This doesn't happen in this sport," he says. "Some of the long-time competitors were trying to work out if it had ever even happened before in Canada, and to their knowledge it hadn't. In this sport the kind of injuries you're more likely to get are typical sports type injuries, twisted ankles and the like."

After the shot, there was a call for a medic and several people with medical training stepped forward.

North says ambulances arrived within 15 minutes of the shot and anyone who was able to helped take down the event equipment.

Speed and accuracy is the goal in the contest where competitors work through courses, shooting from different positions, sometimes while moving. Competitors use handguns drawn from holsters to shoot a mix of moving targets, move around props and obstacles, and avoid hitting penalty targets. The person to shoot the most accurately in the shortest amount of time wins.

About 120 people were entered in the competition sanctioned by the International Practical Shooting Confederation of B.C., Sloper says.

These shoots aren't open to just anyone. All competitors have to take a specialized black badge safety course.

"The course weeds out individuals who cannot meet the safety requirements," Sloper says. "You have to be well qualified before you even get a chance to compete. It's rigorous."

The black badge course tests people on how to safely draw a gun from a holster, reload, reload on the move, move with a firearm, shoot with both hands and shoot from various positions.

This is the only fatality in the history of the Kamloops Target Sport Association. Sloper has headed the club for 11 years and used to compete in pistol skills competitions like these, himself.

"When you try to work from the holster and do it too fast, that's where you can have a potential problem," Sloper says.

During the competition, there's a range officer behind the shooter at all times. The muzzle of the gun has to be pointed down the range. If any safety rules are broken, the range officer blows a whistle, the competitor must unload and is excused from the course.

Shooters go through different stages as part of the competition. Some targets are reactive, some are paper targets and some have partial obstructions covering them. It's a physically demanding and timed course.

"You have to be physically fit and you have to be able to move fast. Hand eye coordination is very important," Sloper says.

The gun range is reopened and he doesn't expect any change in day-to-day for the club.

"Shooting in general and especially IPSC contests are so well regulated," Sloper says. "There was an accident and unfortunately it was a very serious one."

The video below shows footage from the 2016 IPSC competition.

– This story was updated at 12:45 p.m. and 4:01 p.m. on Monday, June 12, 2017 to include information from Jim Sloper and Dan North. 


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