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Let's have a discussion about AAFTA Divisions/Classes!

August 7 2017 at 1:47 AM
JimC  (Login 22Jim)

It's been kind of quiet here lately so lets get a party started.

Scott Hull started a thread on the Freestyle Class and made a compelling case that we ought to have an AAFTA sanctioned "trial" class based on the participation of shooters in that class at matches where it was offered. I agree with him assuming that no changes to other class rules are made. Scott and I are good friends and have have many conversations over the last couple of years on this class and AAFTA classes in general. One of the topics we disagree on is should we create more classes for shooters to accommodate varying shooting styles and equipment or should we open up the existing classes to allow for more options in shooting style and equipment. Scott in more of a proponent of the former, me the latter.

Here are some numbers from AAFTA GP matches over the last 3 years and from the recent Crosman All American match this past month.

Participation by Division   
AAFTA Grand Prix Matches   
Hunter 10010451
Hunter 253614
Crosman All American 2017   
DivisionPCPPiston% of field
Hunter 32853

What is extremely obvious is that hunter class is now the largest class at AAFTA matches and it continues to grow at a faster rate than other classes. The top Hunter class shooters now compete with the top Open and WFTF shooters at most matches. This should be good for the sport, however it creates a dilemma for the AAFTA BOG. Hunter Class was created as an intro class to the sport of Field Target. It was the class where the poor, down trodden and hungry could come and taste the elixir of field target and with time and effort maybe someday scale the heights and participate in the Open or WFTF classes. Well what happened was the people shooting hunter class liked it just fine and had no desire to move "UP" to Open and WFTF class. Eventually they began to ask for some of the same tools that Open and WFTF shooters have access to. Here in lies the dilemma, how can you have a beginners class where the participants challenge the best shooters in the Open and WFTF classes using the same level of equipment that the Premier classes do?

So we come to where we are today, should we create a Freestyle class which would effectively be the true Open Class of FT, in which the only rule would be a 20fpe power limit. Or should we make a tweak to the current Open Class rules and allow a bucket and sticks to shoot against harnesses, straps, jackets and gloves. Do we want to dilute the competition and create more classes with fewer shooters or do we want to create a super class where the most skilled shooters compete against each other, head to head?

Here are my thoughts and I ask for yours, in a civil discussion about how to best grow the sport of field target that we know and love.

There should be 3 divisions in AAFTA Field Target
...Open -(which would allow the inclusion of the existing hunter class rules with high power scopes)
...WFTF - World Field Target class, following the rules of the international sanctioning body
...Hunter/Intro class - same rules as Hunter Class today.

I think under this structure you would see 30-50 percent of the current Hunter Class shooters migrate to the Open class. This would make Open the dominate class (as it should be) and create some exciting matches. The majority of us love to compete on a big stage and creating a true open class would be exciting. The other benefit would be that the Hunter class would again become the home for new shooters and those that just enjoy participating.

In my honest opinion we do not have enough people competing at the national level to keep adding new classes. When we get several hundred shooters competing at the Nationals with a minimum of 20-30 shooters in a class, then we can think about more classes. My greatest concern is we will end up like Cowboy Action Pistol Shooters where you will have a match with 300 participants and as many as 15 classes with 5 or less shooters, not very exciting for me.

I think the next step we need to consider is creating Piston only matches. As Scott has proven with his CA State Piston Championship, create a unique venue and they will come. But this is a topic for another thread.

So what do you think?

Jim in Sacramento

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On line trajectory calc by Brad Troyer MILDOTS


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