Five days of competition, over 500 rounds fired, five top-100 finishes.
Sounds like John Simmons is ready for a well-earned break.
The Whitehorse handgun shooter just returned from the longest and most challenging competition of his life.
He placed 162nd out of 367 shooters in the open division at the 17th triennial IPSC World Shoot at the Universal Shooting Academy in Polk Country, Florida, ending Oct. 19.
“It was an experience, a real eye-opener,” said Simmons. “I got to look at some high-level shooters … You watch them and you see all the things you can work on.
“I placed quite high for a first time, with nerves and everything, and I brought back a huge amount of things in my head to practise, work on, learn, and I’m sure it will pay off in the future.”
It was Simmons’ first time competing at the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) world championship in which speed and accuracy are measured as competitors move through an obstacle course. In IPSC, competitors have to duck under obstacles, shoot through ports, and hit moving targets, which at the worlds, “were the fastest I’ve ever seen,” said Simmons.
Simmons placed sixth out 25 of Canadians in the open division, the second largest division at the event that saw about 1,300 shooters from about 80 countries compete.
His best finish over the 30-stage competition was a 40th place. He also claimed a 55th, two 61st places, a 77th and finished with 108th in stage 30.
“I had some crash-and-burns on some and did really, really well on others,” said Simmons. “My potential is there, it’s just a matter of keeping it together.”
“The first two days I felt really nervous, kind of overwhelmed a little bit,” he said. “This year I’ve been pretty calm with stuff, but this was just crazy. The size and the amount of people was unbelievable. I can see why it takes three years to put one of these together.”
In addition to adapting to the hot, humid Florida weather, Simmons had another setback to overcome. Two weeks before the championship the slide in Simmons’ gun, an STI Trubor, cracked in half. He sent the gun to
Vancouver to be completely rebuilt and barely had time to get a feel for it before the start of the competition.
“I blew my gun up two weeks before I went to the World Shoot,” said Simmons. “It was totaled. Luckily I had a lot of friends in different places who helped me out get the gun rebuilt, but it’s a bit different of a gun now.
“I wasn’t quite used to it. I got to test it for about 30 minutes right before the match.”
Simmons was selected to represent Canada at the World Shoot following some fantastic results at major Canadian competitions last season, all of which he improved on this past season.
He took fourth, up from seventh last year, at IPSC B.C. Provincial Championships two months ago.
Simmons then placed fifth overall out of 66 shooters – up from 17th in 2013 – at the 2014 IPSC Canada Nationals in August.
“It’s been a good year,” added the six-time Yukon steel-shooting champion.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org