We are always happy to help deserving charities, so when we heard that B.U.G.S (Blind Using Guided Sights) were looking for some filing cabinets, we were happy to donate them to such a worthy cause. Dave Whiley, Club Organiser, commenting on the donation said ‘We are most indebted to you for your interest in BUGS, and for the very generous donation of two filing cabinets to the Club, which will prove so useful.’ The cabinets are to be used for storing valuable acoustic air rifle sights together with items donated to the club to be raffled off for raising funds. So, what is B.U.G.S. all about?
B.U.G.S is a registered charity, supported by Cornwall Blind Association, based in St Austell, Cornwall, which was established as a specialised section of the St Austell Rifle & Pistol Club almost 15 years ago to offer precision air rifle shooting facilities to blind and visually impaired members. ‘Did I read that right?!’ I hear you say. Let me explain further how this fascinating sport works.
Instead of aiming through a conventional telescopic sight, a blind or visually impaired shooter listens through headphones to an audio signal that rises in pitch as the point of aim moves nearer to the centre of the target. For this reason the technique is known as Acoustic Shooting. Apart from this, for the proficient shooters, everything else functions in the same way as for anyone else in the sport. For safety, a guide or helper (who is an unpaid volunteer of the club) is always on hand to assist the blind/visually impaired shooter with preliminary aiming for each shot. Once the audio signal has been detected, the helper will load the pellet into the rifle and then withdraw, leaving the shooter to finalise the aim and fire the shot
Steve Turner who is a member of the B.U.G.S team of shooters in St Austell amazed everyone by winning a Gold Medal in his class at the British Shooting Championships 2013. What is even more incredible is that Steve had only been shooting for nine months prior to this achievement. Margaret Oldham, also a club member, missed out on a Bronze Medal by just one point! There is currently a membership of thirteen shooters at B.U.G.S. (group photo below) who meet every Wednesday from 2pm-4pm and new members are welcome to apply for membership. Anyone wishing to know more about the club is encouraged to call Dave Whiley, Club Organiser, on 01726812223.
There are currently more than 35 clubs in Britain that offer blind and visually impaired shooting and more clubs are being encouraged to take it up as interest in the sport grows. If you belong to a club and would like to offer blind/visually impaired shooting please contact the National Small-bore Rifle Association – details can be found on their website www.nsra.co.uk – for details on how to set it up. The specialist equipment is only available through the association and advice can be given on seeking grant funding towards the cost involved.