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January 31, 2007

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The Gunsite Way

Temporarily blinded from looking at a case full of gold Rolexes at the Safari Club International Convention, I stumbled into a darkened room where Eric Olds, Rangemaster at Gunsite Academy, was giving a seminar titled "Are You Shooting Me?" I've been to Gunsite, and had instruction from Eric, and it was good to be reminded of just how unique the Gunsite approach to shooting is.

Despite its odd title, the seminar was about practice—all phases of it, including safety, which is paramount in the Gunsite scheme of things. Eric has evolved his curriculum from his time as a Marine, as a high-power rifle competitor, as a hunter, and as an instructor who has spent 15 years watching screwed-up hunters shoot and figuring out how to unscrew them.

When I went to Gunsite several years ago, I went with a young woman on our staff who had never fired a rifle before. In a day and a half, Eric turned her into a competent shot. I’m still not sure how he did it, but he did it without doubt.

Not only is the instruction unique, but Gunsite is able to duplicate actual hunting situations—you're not shooting off a benchrest at 100 yards at a bull's-eye. It’s at real hunting distances over real chunks of Arizona at animal targets. As Eric says, "We can't replicate the Arctic, or a rain forest, but we can match just about anything in between."

Included in his talk was a maxim so profound that I’m passing it along to you. I suggest you all have it tattooed on whichever body part you find most convenient:

"When it comes time to shoot for real, you will default to your level of practice. If you haven't practiced, you better hope you’re having a good day."

Say amen.

Go to gunsite.com for a life-changing experience.


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Joseph Hodge

Isnt that the truth! I learned that lesson the hardway on a 8point when i was but 15. My remedy was small game hunting! I purchased a ruger 77/22 (since converted to .17HMR) as it very closely matched my big game rifle in stock profile, comb height and after a trigger job, shootability. The real world hunting experience has helped me beyond belief when it comes to pulling the trigger on larger game animals. Now im not saying that persuing the elusive Michigan tree rat is the same as going after a pronghorn or a stagg, but it certinly did help my shooting when it comes to shooting prone, and and from the knees etc. when im out in the woods, cold, and tired from walking around all day lost looking for your truck.

Ralph the Rifleman


Matt in MN

I believe it was someone on this blog that mentioned the online commmentary of Jeff Cooper, which I've been reading. Apparently he was the original owner / operator of Gunsite and had some interesting things to say about the subsequent owners. Is this the same operation? If so can you clarify what all the fighting was about?

Dave Petzal

To Matt in MN: It is the same Gunsite, but I think the ownership has changed hands at least a couple of times. When I was there five years ago, Jeff Cooper was living on the Gunsite grounds and everything seemed to be perfectly amicable.



Dave check this link out!!


FYI Nauga Hunters!!!



Why does Gunsite have to cost so much. Is it a four star hotel and French food you eat? I mean you bring your own weapon and ammo? $500 for a course? WTF Over?




RE: cost. While I've not yet been to Gunsite or taken courses their, remember C_S you're paying for a lot of good knowledge. You can read books, you can go to shooting ranges, but unless you take a course at a place like this, you will not be able to gain from someone else's valuable experience. Think of the time you will save in learning the proper way (not to mention the money spent on ammo!)just my opinion.


Eric at Gunsite

Hello, Concerned Soldier:

From an international hunter's perspective, a session at Gunsite doesn't "cost so much" compared to the cost of failure in the field.

And, as always, every dollar you spend with us is refundable, if you don't learn from the experience. That's a standing offer on which we've yet to have to deliver.

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