Recreational Shooting Seeing Record Growth in Australia 


Mention guns in polite conversation and everyone seems to have an opinion. For decades the subject has been dragged out and beaten to death at dinner parties, in parliament and on the nightly news. Shooting is just one of those topics that has the power to polarize as well as captivate us and either way we can’t seem to stop talking about it!

But despite the politics, competitive shooting is currently reported to be one of the fastest growing sports here in Australia, as more and more of us opt to spend our weekends at the range. So just what is it about shooting that has Aussies flocking to the sport in record numbers? I sat down with a few of our awesome shooters here at Grycol to find out.

One thing that comes up repeatedly when I ask shooters what they love most about their sport is the friendship and comradery found on the range. The world of shooting is a tight knit community, and for many the shooting range is becoming their home away from home.


Stuart, a former Aussie pistol shooting champion, says his shooting mates have become like his second family. “I just shoot for fun now,” Stu says, “I’m not as quick and agile as I used to be, but I find myself showing up more for the mateship. We stay in caravans on the range after a match and have barbeques and beers and a lot of laughs – that’s what I go for the most now and I really look forward to that during the week.”

But nowadays it’s not just the blokes getting out and punching holes at the range. As the world of shooting evolves, what was traditionally seen as a male dominated pastime is now being enjoyed by the whole family. A number of clubs including the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) are actively working to recruit juniors, and more women are getting involved as well!

Gary, our Managing Director and Big Kahuna here at Grycol reckons the growth of recreational shooting may also in part be attributed to the love of the sport being passed down through generations. “The SSAA believe that young people are the future of the sport and they’re absolutely right,” he says. “There’s more and more juniors now and it’s something that’s making its way from father to son and the whole family is getting involved”.

Stu agrees, saying the activities at the range have become far more family focussed, and that many clubs including his own are now offering family and junior discounts, giving everyone the chance to have a go.



In fact – one of the best things about competitive shooting is that everyone can have a go. Young and old can participate, and it’s one of the only sports where men and women compete on an even playing field. In a sport where results are achieved by discipline, practice and hard work, rather than size or physical strength, we’re seeing more women getting involved, even competing at Olympic level alongside their male counterparts. As Gary puts it, “Firearms have always held a certain fascination, especially among men, but there are lots of female participants in the sport now too – heaps of them!”

As a result, sport shooting has evolved over time and now includes a number of different styles to cater to its increasingly diverse competitors. Today you can head out to the range and try out everything from speed shooting, moving target shooting, Western style, you name it!

Lifelong shooter and Grycol spare parts extraordinaire, Jason says that with information more readily available in the digital age, more and more people are discovering how much variety the sport actually holds. “When I first rocked up to a pistol club, I had no idea IPSC was even a thing!” he says. “But that was back in 1991 before the internet.” “Now people want to come and try shooting because they’ve seen a video on YouTube and discovered how much you can actually do at the range”.



And with more and more people trying it out, Stu reckons the stigma is slowly dissolving. “Shooters now are less apprehensive about talking about what they do,” he says. “Once upon a time I would never have told anyone what I did for a living – but now I find people are more accepting, they ask a lot of questions and seem really interested to hear about it!”

There’s no doubt we’ve come a bloody long way, but I think Jason sums it up best when he says shooting is just a hell of a lot of fun. “I know that’s a very basic answer, but I think it’s the most correct one there is,” he says. “Shooting is fun – when I introduce people to the sport who are avidly anti-gun, four times out of five they’ll say to me afterwards ‘WOW…that was so much fun!”