- Written by Charles L. Cotton
While it is true that most kids enjoy shooting all types of firearms, the hands down favorite seems to be pistol shooting. This statement can be further refined by noting that action pistol type shooting such as IDPA, IPSC, or Steel Challenge matches, is a favorite activity among youth who gravitate to pistol shooting.
To promote firearms safety and to help kids develop good gun-handling skills, TexasShooting.com has created the Youth Action Pistol League (YAPL). Unlike current action pistol disciplines, the YAPL is much more than merely competitive matches. It includes training programs and coaching sessions much like little league baseball and football leagues, in addition to local, regional and state matches. The goal is to have shooting clubs and ranges throughout the state create YAPL chapters to conduct training and coaching programs and offer matches to YAPL members. As the league grows, regional matches will be organized with shooters competing both as a team and as individuals. A state championship will also be hosted for individuals and teams to win or are highly placed at regional matches.
YAPL rules are modeled largely after IDPA rules, with significant differences. Scoring will be identical to IDPA scoring so that chapters can use the excellent scoring software developed by Jane Fleming called ForScore. Many kids who will be drawn to the YAPL events will be too young and/or too inexperienced to shoot centerfire pistols. Therefore, younger shooters will first use airsoft guns and when their proficiency level warrants, they will move up two .22 rimfire pistols. Special divisions will be created for scoring shooters using airsoft guns or 22 rimfire pistols.
Airsoft guns will also be used extensively in training. No YAPL member will be able to draw and shoot from a holster until he or she demonstrates to their coach that they can do so safely. YAPL rules require that every member demonstrate proficiency in drawing and engaging from a holster with the use of airsoft guns before they will be allowed to do so with .22 rimfire or centerfire pistols. Every training and coaching session, as well as matches, will use the same safety officer procedure used in IDPA and IPSC matches. The safety officer will always be within arm’s length of any shooter using 22 rimfire or centerfire pistols. (This procedure will also be followed during matches with competitors using airsoft guns.)
YAPL chapters are encouraged to schedule in promote local matches to provide greater shooting and competitive opportunities for their members. Regional matches and state championships will require coordination through TexasShooting.com, but any Chapter can schedule and host regional matches.