Glock emissary urges more women to get into sport shooting
Glock Sport Shooting Foundation's range master and match organiser Peter Laing (third right) poses with (from left) Super Six membersYeoniue Campbell, Kayla Keane, Renee Rickhi, Shayon Francis and Sasha Gay Mullings at the JRA Christmas Hamper on Saturday. (Photos:Joseph wellington)

AN official of firearm manufacturer Glock says the quality of the male-dominated sport shooting landscape in Jamaica is very rich but says he would want to see more women taking aim at the ranges.

Peter Laing, range master and match organiser for Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF), made the call as he attended the recent Jamaica Rifle Association (JRA) Christmas Hamper.

“We want to encourage participation in the sport because it is something that builds a lot of self-discipline and character…it helps people in many ways to put out their best in life, and we want to change the views held by the public about firearms.

“Look at the Super Six who did a great job earlier this year, and we are here to support them,” said the Jamaican-born Laing.

“We have some very highly skilled shooters, although it is male-dominated, and it's time more women are brought into the sport and given a chance to learn and shoot, and I think they will do well. As you can see, the Super Six ladies came out and represented very well,” he added.

The Super Six, a group of women shooters, has been creating waves in the Jamaican practical pistol shooting discipline of late, and has broken the monotony of total male domination.

“My impression is that it is a vibrant [sport shooting] community, and this is about it growing in a better direction with the inclusiveness of women,” said the Georgia-based Laing.

The Glenmuir High alumni says shooting legally, responsibly, and competitively cuts across many barriers, including age and sex.

“Sport shooting is probably one of few sports you can have a 12-year-old shooting with a grandparent, and they can run the same equipment and [are] able to enjoy it equally…it's not like football where someone at 60 years can't run the same way or participate at the same skill level as someone who is far younger.

“Also in sport shooting, sex does not matter as women actually have an advantage as their hand-eye coordination would be better than that of men,” Laing explained.

Laing, born in Kingston and who served in the US armed forces before joining Glock's Smyrna, Georgia operations, said the GSSF conducted a well-received sideshow to Saturday's main event, the Christmas Hamper.

“This weekend I am running a mock GSSF event where we have two stages where folks are coming in and trying to see if they like it…we like to say it's the gateway for competitive shooting because you get to know all the safety things you need to do as a shooter and you begin to shoot under time conditions,” Laing told the Jamaica O bserver.

Having lived the Jamaican experience where gun crimes run rampant, Laing says it's important that firearm ownership for private citizens be a right. Equally, he stressed it is important for owners of legal firearms to raise their skill level with the responsible handling of and competency training in firearms.

“I think it is extremely important for the citizens to protect themselves, and I think they should understand the responsibility of owning a firearm and then practising to keep competency up. It's one thing to buy it, get a licence, and the only time you touch it, it is when you go to do your qualifying. You need to put more competency training into it,” Laing urged.

He revealed that there could be deeper collaboration between the GSSF and the local Jamaica sport shooting community, but the shape and size of that possibility remains to be worked out.

“It is possible [that there could be collaborations] as I have been down here [in Jamaica] training the JCF [Jamaica Constabulary Force] and the JDF [Jamaica Defence Force] in the past, and whatever is needed we are here to help,” Laing stated.

The GSSF was founded 30 years ago by Austrian, Gaston Glock to “teach good, safe skills in firearm handling, to encourage sport shooting and to give a positive experience and impression on the community for shooters”.

Glock, a brand of polymer-framed, short recoil-operated, locked-breech semi-automatic pistols is seen as a “utility weapon”.

“It's designed for self-defence purposes, law enforcement and military, and is extremely popular in the USA and around the world. It is designed to be very functional, reliable, and accurate from the design of the grip…a lot of folks don't understand the purpose of it, but it's mainly a defensive tool,” Laing explained.

Meanwhile Andrew “Wasp” Yap, with his custom-made Strayer Voight 40-calibre; and Renee Rickhi, packing a Glock 17 9mm, were crowned male and female champions, respectively, at Saturday's Christmas Hamper.

— Sean Williams

Second-place Kayla Keane in action during Saturday's JRAChristmas Hamper.
Women's champion Renee Rickhi takes a shot with her Glock 17pistol.

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