Bringing up the topic of guns can quickly stir up all sorts of conflict and controversy between people particularly when discussing guns used as weapons.
However guns are not always used as weapons but instead, firearms can be used respectfully in various gun sports which not only develop shooting skills but can actually promote a variety of health benefits.
According to studies, the health benefits of going to a shooting range include building physical and mental discipline, increase arm and eye strength, advanced focus and personal responsibility along with promoting a sense of freedom, courage and confidence.
Manteca Sportsmen Club which was established in 1937 and became a corporation a decade later, is a club geared toward developing such skills and benefits for the entire family through a variety of gun sports.
For the past 15 years, club president Len Sipes has had the joy of overseeing visitors of all ages come to the club and learn about firearm safety, develop their shooting skills and even compete in sportsmen-like shooting games.
“There is a personal satisfaction people receive from being able to excel within themselves, to do better and shoot better. There is a fulfillment of being able to hit a proper target consistently,” he said.
While the club offers seemingly manly events such as Cowboy Action Shooting, a fantasy game and amateur shooting sport offered twice a month and annually as a four-day match, Sipes said the club offers programs for everyone including “free classes for women, and a large Junior Program.”
All classes cover three of the most important requirements: gun safety, how to handle firearms and proper shooting techniques. Once these skills have been mastered then and only then, can participates be allowed to move up to intermediate or advance classes where again, firearm safety is reiterated.
“We are very pro safety. Every class we do, we start with safety first” says Sipes.
The women’s programs which are partially funded by the Friends of NRA include:
uWomen’s Pistol I, II and III Classes: Participants learn how different models operate, how to clean a gun and practice shooting at various ranges.
uRifle 1 Class: Rifle basics with different action types (bolt, pump, semi-automatic, etc).
uShotgun 1 Class: Shotgun fundamentals along with how to stand, sight, and shoot 12 gauge shotguns in a safe secure environment are covered before being promoted to the Advanced Shotgun Clinic.
In addition, the club also offers a class for women that teaches reality-based martial arts techniques that can be use in everyday life called, Women’s Empty Hand/Unarmed Defense 1 Class.
The club’s youth program offers a variety of activities including Friday Night Kid’s Shoot filled with free shooting activities for youth under the age18 who are accompanied by a parent or guardian. The youth are taught how to safely and properly shoot a .22 rifle at the indoor range. This event which is held on the first Friday of the month attracts an array of youth from different organizations within the community.
“We have Boy Scout Troops, 4-H groups and Sea-cadets that come out regularly,” Sipes said. “We also have young Marines as well as “poolee’s” people who have signed up for the Marines but have not left yet, that come out and we instruct them on firearm safety and marksmanship.”
Along with the successful women and youth programs the club also offers Archery and a 12 station covered pistol range for American trap Shooting, High Power Rifle and more.
Manteca Sportsmen Club is open for public use and also offers a membership option which allows for particular benefits. The cost of an initial membership fee is age based and is discounted upon renewal while public use fees are as follows:
Outdoor rifle and pistol ranges – $15 per adult and $8 per youth
Archery – $8
Trap – $4.50 per round
Safety equipment, firearms, and ammunition are provided for all levels but should visitors have their own proper firearm and equipment, they are welcome to bring them to the club.
While the topic of gun use may cause conflict and controversy for some, when it comes to Manteca Sportsmen Club, it’s all about good clean fun, developing skills and finding satisfaction in the sport.
The club is located south of Manteca along Airport Way just before the bridge across the San Joaquin River.
To learn more about Manteca Sportsmen Club visit www.mantecasportsmeninc.org.