Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS), which also goes by the names of Single Action Shooting and Western Action Shooting, is one of the fastest growing divisions of the shooting sports as it continues to attract new members after it’s been around for over 30 years. It started in the 1970’s when a group of California shooters, inspired by the classic western film The Wild Bunch, started to engage in regular cowboy-style shooting competitions.
The idea of an Old West competitive shooting sport spread and led to the creation of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) in 1981. The SASS is the largest Cowboy Shooting organization today with more than 75,000 members worldwide.
Why Being a Single Action Shooting Member is Cool
If you’re interested in this type of shooting sport, be sure to attend one of the events that may be held near your locality. Start by saying “Howdy” to the folks there so you can find out more about the sport. You can also visit one of the SASS-affiliated organizations in your area to really get a feel of the cowboy action shooting sport.
You don’t need to be a member of SASS when you start out in Single Shooting, but membership offers a lot of benefits. Your entry fee will get you a year’s membership, a membership ID card, a badge, the SASS Shooter’s Handbook, a decal, and one-year’s subscription to the Cowboy Chronicle. You’ll be glad you signed up.
Dress for the Part
Unlike other shooting sports, Cowboy Action Shooting is the only one with a dress code. It requires you to dress up for the part which, in fact, makes this sport fun and unique. The efforts put into the costumes by members are truly exceptional. You don’t have to break the bank on clothing to get started. You can if you can afford to, though.
You can visit a lot of tailoring shops that specialize in period attire. You can also create your own costume if you prefer. Remove the belt loops from an old button-fly jeans. Then, sew on some buttons if you want to use old-time suspenders. Now you have yourself a pair of cowboy pants. You can buy the rest of your apparel such as work shirts or bandannas from a used clothing store or Sears. Get a cowboy hat, gun belt, holsters and a fine pair of cowboy boots and you’re ready to gallop into the sunset.
Over time, you’ll be able to create or buy other costumes. Be careful, however, as you may spend more than you needed and buy stuff you never imagined you would. And totally enjoy it. You can base your character and costumes on:
A real Old West figure from the 1800’s
A fictional 1800’s figure from your favorite cowboy novel, film, or TV show
A completely made-up character out of the 1800’s, complete with an alias like Shaky “Lefty” McGurn or Dead-Eye Mary (for women)
Name Your Character
See those funny-sounding names up there? Their aliases, and you’re required to have one for your own in this shooting sport. Your alias can be based generally on the character you choose, and making up a unique name is one of the really fun parts of this sport.
What is your character’s profession? A doctor, bounty hunter, a sheriff, a dance hall girl?
What is their most outstanding physical feature? Shorty, Shifty, Lefty, One-Eyed, Three-fingers – you get the idea.
Aliases can also be based on your character’s general disposition. You can start with something like Gentleman Roy, Mad Dog Sam, or Trigger Happy Trish.
The more original and unique your name is, the better. Don’t use an obscene or offensive-sounding name. Choose a Single Action Shooting alias that’s generally printable for different audiences and make sure that no one else is currently owning it.