As a child, did you ever dream of being a cowboy or cowgirl? Did you watch old westerns and think you’d like to rock a pair of boots with fancy spurs? Cowboy action shooting gives these childhood dreams a chance to become reality.
Phil Klint, of Minneapolis, is an Old West enthusiast who got involved with cowboy action shooting in 2005. Once he got the bug for the sport, he was hooked and wanted to learn more about firearms from the period.
Klint is a member of The Single Action Shooting Society (SASS), an organization that sanctions cowboy action shooting around the world. People participate in the sport anywhere from Australia to Bulgaria to Hawaii.
Cowboy action shooting is a sport where participants go to a range and shoot guns from the Old West time period and dress in period-appropriate attire. Participants adopt shooting aliases appropriate to characters or professions from the late 1800s.
There is no money or prizes in cowboy action shooting. Cowboy shooting is all for bragging rights, Klint said. What makes the sport fun is the people. It’s a friendly competition, he said, adding if your gun breaks, your competitor will lend you theirs because they want it to be fair and square.
According to Klint, a line that cowboy shooters like to use is that it’s “the one sport where girls talked about guns and guys talk about clothing and it’s so true.” Cowboy shooters don’t use their real names so there are people that he has been shooting with for around 10 to 12 years and he doesn’t know their real name or where they live.
“The hard part is when you see them in street clothes you have to go ‘I know you, but from where,’” Klint said with a laugh.
Klint recently gave a free two-hour long seminar at the Chanhassen Stock & Barrel Gun Club location. His presentation was about guns of the Old West, how they have evolved and changed since their inception. He will be giving another presentation at its Eagan location, 2980 Commers Dr. Suite 800, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17.
After the presentation, attendees will be able to look at, and handle, around 40 firearms consisting of pistols rifles and shotguns.
Klint grew up watching Westerns on television and in the movie theaters. Participating in cowboy action shooting fulfills his young dreams of being a cowboy. Children nowadays don’t have the same kind of cowboy media and don’t have the same flavor for it, he said. He hopes to introduce more young people and families to the sport.
“We have families with young kids that are starting to shoot at age 8,” Klint said. “It’s very family oriented.”
People don’t always see the good side of guns or the sport of shooting, Klint said. He emphasized that cowboy action shooting is just like archery or bowling, it’s a sport.
Kevin Vick is president of the Stock & Barrel Gun Club, located in Chanhassen and Eagan. The gun club focuses on safety, education and training. Its goal is to meet people wherever they are on their path, he said, whether they’re brand new to firearms or have years of experience.
“98% of the shooting sports is recreational, so it’s mostly about having a good time with your friends,” Vick said. “It’s something you can do with family members, so it really is the social aspect of it.”
The historical aspect of the firearms is what intrigues Vick most about cowboy action shooting. He is interested in their evolution from then to today and equates the seminar to an antique car show. Through the seminar, people are able to see where the industry was at that time and where it is now, he said.
Klint has essentially been with Stock & Barrel since it opened its doors in Chanhassen around six years ago, Vick said. He is a member and supporter of the club and a gun historian. Klint’s interests span all types of firearms from different time periods, Vick said.
“But he has a special passion for cowboy action guns and for the cowboy action shooting sports,” Vick said. “He’s probably forgotten more about cowboy guns than most of us will ever know.”
The cowboy action shooting group next meets at the Stock & Barrel Gun Club, 18832 Lake Dr. E., Chanhassen, starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1. The group meets Wednesday evenings through March.
Email Klint at email@example.com with any questions.