AFTER a relatively long hiatus, the shooting community’s southern connection, Front Sight Gun club, is back in the circuit and, hopefully, for good.

With the support of the Minglanilla municipal government and other sponsors, the club hosted a two-day practical shooting match—featuring five very original and immensely challenging course designs —over the weekend.

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And as if to give the club’s comeback a rousing welcome, over 100 shooters braved the river-crossing which always highlights every trip to Front Sight and took part in the action.

Dubbed the 1st Edsel Cup after Minglanilla Mayor Eduardo Selma, the shooting event was given level one sanctioning by the Philippine Practical Shooting Association (PPSA).

It offered trophies for the top scorers in several divisions and special categories, including a hair-raising steel challenge designed to cap the event before all hot guns all get bagged to make way for cold froth.

The match results were not yet available as of press time, though.

HIATUS. It’s the first sanctioned match held at the club in two years, if I’m not mistaken, though the club did hold some members-only fun shoots prior to the five-month gun ban that ended last June.

Ranking PPSA and National Range Officers Institute honchos gave their support to the event as well, among them a sweaty Rino Layao, current PPSA area director for Central Visayas, who ran with shooters as Chief Range Officer (CRO) of stage one.

Lowell Belarmino, a fixture in almost all matches held in Cebu and in the neighboring areas, was also present.

Blame it on the band that played old-school slow rock whenever there was a lull in the shooting or the ever-smiling ladies who served coffee or hot chocolate on demand, but everybody I spoke to wants another match in Minglanilla at the same time next month.

They are willing to settle for less; just the lunch-time lechon, liempo and kanding that is the trademark of every Front Sight match and the plain and simple good time shooters have whenever they find themselves in a warm and friendly range.

LEG ROOM. In preparing for the match, newly-elected club president Ernesto Reyes said they had to expand their river-side shooting facility in Barangay Tubod and opened up a fifth bay.

Call it symbolism; a new bay at Front Sight, long seen as Cebu’s smallest shooting range, is a good omen.

I have known Sir Erning (everybody in Front Sight is either Sir or Ma’am, by the way) for close to a decade now. He was the Chief Range Officer of the very first stage of the very first match I ever competed in.

And I am glad that he is now the main gun slinger at Front Sight. The shooters there couldn’t have picked a better man as El Presidente. He succeeded Col. Efren Nemeño who, in turn, held the club together during some rather rough times.

With Sir Erning at the helm, and the solid support of all members old and new, I foresee only good things for this club of wonderful people.

NEXT WEEK. Shooters can look forward to an intense shift in shooting action on the 21st.

Here, the newly opened Ultima Sharp Shooters Club Indoor Firing Range, located at the basement of the Club Ultima Towers, hosts its first big event of the year—the 1st King’s Cup Marksmanship Challenge.

If you think the title is a dead giveaway and that shooters shoot purely for accuracy, you are only half right.

I managed to get a sneak peek at the match design and it left my trigger finger itching.

Here is what I can share: competitors need to fire a given number of rounds via a certain set of shooting positions at a silhouette target set at specific distances with a limited amount of time.

I shot a string with Rey Abad, the gun nut behind this competition. I am not ashamed to admit that I struggled, though I thought it not to be much of a challenge at first.

The prize that awaits the highest overall scorer—a three-day vacation for two in Boracay—doesn’t help to calm the nerves, I tell you.

(knrama@gmail.com)