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Relive Old West Gunplay and Period Dress, with Your Own Cowboy Alias

SASS Shooting: Why You Should Participate in CAS Competitions

While the recreational sport of SASS shooting is only a few decades old, it has become one of the fastest growing shooting sports in the world. More often referred to as cowboy action shooting (CAS), this fun and exciting sport is governed and promoted by the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) which is headquartered in New Mexico, USA. Due to its popularity, various CAS clubs have been established in over 18 countries outside the continental United States.


Each weekend, local and regional competitions are held in the USA and in other parts of the globe. The matches culminate each year at the world championships event known as End of Trail which takes place in New Mexico.


If you’re not into competing yet, here are a number of reasons why you should consider it.


Learn western SASS shooting style and gun safety


SASS shooting uses the type of firearms that were extant during the 19th century cowboy era. Most of the guns of the Old West are still being manufactured by Colt and other gun manufacturers specifically for the cowboy action shooting aficionados.


Engaging in speed shooting matches will encourage one to hone their gun handling skills to near perfection. Is this a safe sport? The Single Action Shooting Society constantly advocates knowledge in firearms handling and gun safety to ensure that no one is injured in or outside the matches.


You get to dress up in those fine western outfits


In cowboy action shooting, you get to wear your cowboy or cowgirl face on, and dress up in Old West costume. If you’re not too familiar with the period get-up, you’ll get some ideas by poring over vintage photos and watching western films and documentaries.


Members love this aspect of the sport and put together their own costumes from old clothes and whatever is available. You don’t have to be too bashful of your appearance since all participants are wearing their own period attires, too.


Put your shooting speed and accuracy to the test


CAS matches are test to measure your agility and precision in shooting a variety of western-inspired guns. In a competition, you will need two single-action revolvers, a pistol-caliber lever-action rifle and a pump-action shotgun. The challenge of the match is to successfully hit steel targets using these firearms in a fast sequence.


You get to fire real (or replica) western firearms


Cowboy action shooting requires each member to have 2 single-action revolvers, a rifle, and a shotgun. This isn’t a stringently enforced rule so don’t let the firearms requirement discourage you from joining. You don’t have to buy all four firearms at one time. In fact, you can attend the event with only a revolver, a rifle or a shotgun. You will find there are a lot of well-meaning members willing to help you out in the gun department.


One strict rule about match firearms, however, is that no gun modifications should be made. This means race guns are not allowed to keep the competition fair.


Develop your mental sharpness, not only your shooting skills


In a SASS shooting match, you will need to represent a certain incident as part of a scenario. You’ll be required to remember stage movements and speak some lines as a cue to start the digital timer. You will then move along the stage, shoot at various steel targets set in pre-determined order. There are also doorways and windows on the stage that you should shoot through as part of the sequence.



To get high in points, you must keep in mind what targets to shoot at and when. You must also remember where to get and leave each firearm and which portal to shoot through. Look simple enough? Under time pressure, it can be easy to forget instructions once you are moving on the stage at fast speed.


Make your alias known


An alias is a cowboy nom de guerre you make up just for yourself. This CAS requirement puts additional fun and originality to the sport. The name can be based on real or fictitious western characters and other memorable milestones of the cowboy era.


The rules on alias is originality (no copying of other members’ alias) and not obscene or offensive-sounding. CAS members address one another with their aliases. You should therefore come up with a great-sounding alias you and others will be at ease with.


You’re never too young nor too old for this sport


SASS shooting can be enjoyed by the youngest to the oldest member of the family. It is designed so that anyone of shooting age can engage in the competitions. Read our article about  a lady gunslinger and the  senior shooter who became a world champion in cowboy action shooting at age 70.


Build good sportsmanship


sass shooting winnersThe Spirit of the Game is one of the leading standards of SASS shooting. This aims to develop fine sportsmanship. The sport does not encourage cheating in order to gain unfair advantage over the competition. The rules of every match are designed to create a cordial, friendly, and encouraging atmosphere. The great part about it is it really works.


The sport runs by a set of rules that include interacting courteously with fellow CAS members and playing fair with other competitors. In other words, let’s make this a fun sport to be into.





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