Just another bloke on the Gun bus
Shooting Times & Country|September 29, 2021
George Browne crunches the numbers as he tries to build up a realistic pen portrait of the ‘ordinary shooting person’
George Browne

There’s a phrase that I’ve come across on social media that has always given me pause for thought — the ‘ordinary shooting person’.

It is usually used in the context of bemoaning either the cost of shooting or some perceived failure of the shooting organizations — shooting is becoming too expensive for the ordinary shooting person, or the organizations have forgotten about the ordinary shooting person.

I suspect that when people use the phrase, they have a very clear picture in their head of what this person is like, the kind of places they shoot, how much money they have, how often they shoot and how much they spend on it.

What is meant by the phrase and does this ordinary shooting person exist? Shooting is a far more diverse community than its detractors would have you believe, or than the stereotypes would suggest, so is it possible to paint a picture of the ordinary shooting person (OSP) and would you or I qualify for the title?

Would that even be desirable? When I was about eight years old, my form mistress had a motto at the top of her blackboard: “Don’t be ordinary, be extraordinary.” It is a phrase that has stuck with me as a great piece of advice.

This year’s Game Shooting Census, carried out by Guns on Pegs and Lycetts, with the support of BASC, the GWCT and the Countryside Alliance, is as good a place as any to try to get a handle on the topic. The census, taken annually since 2013, is completed by thousands of people and offers a yearly snapshot of the shooting community’s habits and opinions.

So I’ve been examining this year’s results to see if we can draw out a picture of this elusive OSP. Given the context in which I see the phrase used, basing our pen portrait of the OSP on expenditure is justifiable.

The first thing to say is that I’m disqualified from the ranks of ordinary shooting people because I don’t pay for my shooting. I’m in the rare and fortunate position of doing most of my shooting on our little private family shoot, supplemented by the occasional kind invitation.

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