Western Action Shooting

Western style shooting also known as Cowboy action shooting.


HPC Club members Andy Haines and Graham Baré Circa 1980

Harlow Practical Club has revived its Western Style shooting discipline after several members were reminiscing and newer members wanted to give this interesting shooting discipline a new look.

“Cowboy Action Shooting"  is a multifaceted amateur shooting sport in which contestants compete with firearms typical of those used in the taming of the Old West: single action revolvers; lever action rifles; and side by side double barrel shotguns, pre-1899 pump, or lever action shotguns.

The purpose of this discipline is to provide an avenue for HPC members to experience the Old West from the period of around 1860 - 1900  while instilling the concepts of gun safety and personal responsibility.

The HPC Western Style shooting discipline combines the opportunity to study and chat about the Old West with the fastest growing shooting sports discipline in the world – western action shooting

Andy Haines and Graham Baré
at an original HPC run Western Shooting Competition.


Andy & Graham, a little older and wiser setting the example at a recent HPC western shoot

As a Practical Club we are extremely well versed with Shotguns and the safety required. The western style we have adopted is with the use of 'Coach Guns' which fulfil a typical firearm, historically used in the old wild west, shot on IPSC short courses of fire which as a practical club we are also well versed on.

A typical Coach Gun

Shotguns should be any side-by-side shotgun typical of the era, such as a Coach Gun, HPC Course of fire allow Shotguns with or without extractors, automatic ejectors, external hammers, and single or double triggers may be used. Any lever action shotgun may also be used a typical Coach gun would have barrels of 12 to 16 inch and an overall length not less than 24 inch.

Competition involves a number of shooting scenarios know as “stages”. Targets are steel plates located 5-20 yards from the shooter. Typically a stage requires thought on the best way of shooting a given course of fire.

Using our standard practical steel plates and some unique targets such as the duelling tree and the Texas Star we aim to make Western shooting fast action and family orientated with BBQ and cheering which makes Cowboy Action Shooting one of the most interesting of all shooting sports for both spectator and contestant.

Shooters compete one at a time, against the clock. Matches are generally scored as “total time” adding miss penalties with lowest time winning. Shooters are timed using electronic timers which record the time for each stage.

 Participation in the HPC Western Style shooting discipline Include:

Graham Baré
Circa 1980

  • Preserving and gaining an appreciation for the heritage of the Old West in the time period of 1860-1900
  • Instilling an investigative interest in history leading to personal research and increased knowledge of the Old West and the Firearms used
  • Enhancing learning by participation in history through the use of historically accurate, firearms and accessories
  • Learning and applying the fundamentals of the safe handling of older firearms
  • Skill development in competition
  • Providing an enjoyable and action oriented shooting sports activity that attracts and retains HPC members and their families

HPC Western shooting.....


Fast Draw

Part of  the Western Style shooting discipline is 'Fast Draw' using a section 1 revolver drawn from a western holster.

Fast draw is the ability to quickly draw a handgun and accurately fire it at a target in the process. This skill was made popular by romanticized depictions of gunslingers in the Western genre, which in turn were inspired by famous historical gunfights in the American Old West.

In modern times, fast draw can be seen both in sports and in military practices. Fast draw is shot with special blanks or wax bullets. While some competitions are strictly against the clock, with the fastest time winning, many are set up as head-to-head single- or double-elimination matches.

As this part of western shooting is not using live fire ammunition it makes for a very watchable and enjoyable family participation in cheering their favourite wild west hero on.


Competitors are required to wear an Old West or Victorian era style outfit and apparel. One exception to this is that safety glasses and hearing protection must be worn when shooting.

Clothing may be historically accurate for the late 19th century or may just be suggestive of the Old West.
Costumes similar to that worn by characters in a Western B-movie, such as Hopalong Cassidy or a television series like Gunsmoke.

Governing Body

Great Britain Practical Shooting Association

The governing body for our style of western action shooting is the GBPSA Great Britain Practical Shooting Association



Participants should select an alias out of the Old West or have an "old west flair". 
Many find it necessary to be creative in selecting an alias as virtually all historical names such as Wyatt Earp and Butch Cassidy have long since been claimed.

Ms Rita Liate  
Hat - yes
Shirt - yes
Chaps - yes
Neckerchief - yes

Ms Rita Liate says:

Though the line between fact and imagination is blurred and often difficult to separate, one thing is clear: women of the Wild West were pioneers in their own way, challenging the traditional roles of women in the 19th century.

Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Belle Starr, Pearl Hart: Toting guns, these women of the Wild West shot down the view that life as a female pioneer was about cooking, sewing, cleaning and caring for children.

Born during a time when women stood in the shadows of their rugged men, these trailblazers proved that they were as good - if not better - than their male counterparts. Some of them became legends as outlaws, shocking society with their ruthless and unladylike behaviour.




Karl, Pat Garrett

1850 - 1908 Old West Lawman,
Bartender and Customs Agent.
Sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico.


Hat Derby in town or Cattleman cowboy hat
Torso wear checked shirt and Waistcoat
Leg wear -    Jeans dark Blue or black
Boots US Cavalry boots black
Accessories Bandana red, Leather Cowboy drop leg revolver holster with colt .45 loops
Period of interest
1860 Civil war to the 1900s turn of the century. In keeping the Old West alive and maintaining the spirit off the game “Cowboy action Shooting” is all about fellowship having fun with like-minded folk, whilst still maintaining strict safety rules, my personal interest is the transformation from Black powder cap and ball to the brass centre fire cartridge, using the typical firearms of that time, the single action revolver, under leaver rifle and the old time shotgun, our unique competition stages created by my club, truly characterize the OLD WEST.

So long partners.
Karl, Pat Garret





“The Lone Ade”

My Attire includes-
       * hat *jeans *Cowboy boots *Western long overcoat

I became interested in Western Shooting having grown up in the 1970’s on Wild West shows and films e.g. The Lone Ranger, Magnificent 7and the likes of John Wayne, Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood westerns. The 1860s and 1890s gave birth to this period being known as the “Wild West” and laid a foundation to its ensuing mythology. It was the era of cowboys, Indians, pioneers, outlaws and gunslingers brought together by the growing frontiers, greed and the rough terrain of the west. It made legends of many well known figures like “Billy the kid”, “Buffalo Bill”, “Davy Crockett” , Wild Bill Hickok”, Jesse James and of course Wyatt Earp. For me the suspense of the “High Noon” quick draw, good vs bad, the revolver shooting and lever action rifles was a huge draw.

The interest stemmed from there and is now carried through in the western cowboy action shooting with the range of different firearms to use and set up scenarios on offer, many based on famous incidents or movie scenes from “Bar room” type set ups with bad guys and bystanders to shooting from “horseback” and of course the quick draw. This multi faceted shooting sport where we compete with firearms typical of those used in the taming of the Old West promotes and preserves cowboy action shooting nationally and internationally and members share a common interest in preserving the history of the Old West and competitive shooting. It is, of course also great fun amongst other things.
By The Lone Ade


Happy days living a life in the wild west.


After a hard days shooting, herding, prevent stampedes, keeping law & order, axe & knife throwing and deterring theft there is always time had relaxing with the family.












This Page Is Copyright Of  MAKE IT PERSONAL WEB DESIGN TEL UK 07044 059609
If you are seeing a single page click here to go to the full web site