John Simmons’ season came to a bittersweet end this past weekend at the International Practical Shooting Confederation’s B.C. Provincial Championships in Lone Butte.
The Whitehorse gunslinger, who entered the event ranked second for master class shooters, placed 13th out of 32 shooters in the open division. There were 130 participants in the event. Simmons was the only Yukoner.
“I expected to be in the top five,” he said.
“Massive gun malfunctions” contributed to the disappointing result, he said.
His pistol had double feeds. The slide couldn’t close properly and go into battery because one round was in the chamber while the other was being partially stripped out of the magazine.
“It’s a time-consuming malfunction to have to clear. And when seconds count, it just doesn’t help – at all,” the shooter said.
Simmons began experiencing problems in his second stage of the 18-stage event, he said.
He didn’t think it was a serious problem until it persisted for several stages. A gunsmith at the event was able to provide him with a new recoil spring for the latter stages.
By then, he knew he would not place as high as hoped.
“It can’t get any worse,” he said, describing his thoughts about the impact of the equipment adjustment. “If this part makes it worse or better, it doesn’t matter. You really don’t want to be testing stuff during a match, but it was at that point, it really didn’t matter. So I put it in and hoped for the best.”
The change worked. There were no malfunctions for his final four stages.
Despite the disappointment at this event, Simmons has a lot to be proud of this season. He finished fourth overall in the B.C. open division. This secured him a spot as the alternate for the B.C. Gold Team heading to the nationals next year in Dalhousie, N.B.
The Whitehorse shooter has been seriously competing for three years now. At the end of last year, he was classified in the open B division. Consistent top-three finishes in IPSC B.C. qualifying events have seen him move up through the open B and A divisions this season and is now in the master class division.
Simmons finished 22nd at the Canadian National Championships in Brandon, Man., in August. In June, he made his third-consecutive appearance at the Alaska Steel Shooting Championships near Fairbanks. The six-time Yukon steel-shooting champion shot his way to second in the open category and third overall at the competition.
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