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Fort Bliss Gun Club

Fort Bliss Rod and Gun Club is the model club all other gun clubs should try and emulate. If they did, memberships at clubs would be growing and there would be larger turnouts at shoots. All to often in various publications Iíve read about people being snubbed, not talked to, ignored, never invited to shoot with other groups, and the like. Itís a real problem at too many gun clubs, and a reason why some clubs just arenít growing, and why the shotgun sports are suffering as well. Iíve experienced it myself at a few clubs Iíve visited in my travels. It just doesnít happen here. They have one of their regular employees, Carlos, whoís many duties include noticing if there is a new face at the shooting facility. If there is, he introduces himself to the stranger, gets to know him, and then introduces him to other members of the club. You donít feel like a stranger for long at Fort Bliss. In a few minutes, I felt like I was an old member of the club and proceeded to shoot some skeet with friends Iíd just made. What a wonderful policy! Why other clubs havenít established such a policy is beyond me. Most clubs tend to be very cliquish, no matter what part of the country your in. What a pleasant surprise this was. It was the first time I had encountered something like this. But there is more to the club.

Since the club is on a military base, they also have military people stationed there from other countries as well, who are members. They seem to add to the vitality of the club because of their different culture and their relationship to the shooting sports in their own countries which they bring to the Fort Bliss club. They also add a uniqueness to the many different types of shoots they have at the club. One thing about this club that also stands out is that the members are there to have fun shooting. This was apparent from the many members that I met and from the types of shoots they like to have and participate in. I found it refreshing change.

On my first visit to the club I shot skeet, continental trap and 5-stand. I found the continental trap challenging, since I shoot it with a low gun and since I normally donít shoot much trap. It had one of the most difficult presentations in 5-stand operations set at a level three I had ever shot, and which I enjoyed. The 5-stand had a couple of hard shots which took me a few misses before I figured them out. Itís fun to find presentations you havenít dealt with before that make you work. It was while I was there during my first visit that I heard about a shoot coming up in three weeks. I realized Iíd be coming back from Arizona that week-end and would be able to attend the shoot, which I decided to do.

The shoot was their annual German American Day Shoot which entailed shooting 25 targets on 5-stand, skeet and continental trap for a total of 75 points. You also had to shoot 5 rounds of 22 rifle at 50 meters at three different targets for a total of 150 points. The three targets were imported from Germany and were of a Gemsbok, a Boar and a Red Fox. At 50 meters you could not see the faint lines of where the bulls eye and other rings were on the targets, you had to estimate where they were. It was a challenging fun shoot all around.

After the shooting was over everyone enjoyed some good German food brought in for the shoot and great German cakes and pastries baked by the wives of the German soldiers. After the awards were given out, we engaged in preserving some traditional German hunting drinking customs along with some fine tunes from the hunting horn. It was quite an experience and a lot of fun. They also have many other different events like their Top Gun which requires shooting pistol, rifle and shotgun. Just about every month they have some great shooting events no matter what your discipline.

The club is located on a military facility, but is open to the general public six days a week, they are closed on Mondays. They have four skeet fields, four trap fields, one of which is a continental trap and one 5-stand operation in addition to various pistol and rifle ranges out to 1000meters. Some are dedicated to 22 cal. only and others to center fire only. They regularly have competitions in cowboy action, IPSC, and other pistol and rifle shooting sports. They also have frequent innovative shotgun and rifle/pistol competitions in addition to the registered skeet and trap shoots. They have an enormous and beautiful natural stone club house that contains a pro shop, cocktail lounge, restaurant (they normally serve three meals a day), and party area. Range officers are always on duty to ensure safety procedures are always followed. Range fees are moderately priced.

The area around I-10 and the Airway exit in El Paso has many nice hotels to stay at and a great variety of restaurants to chose from. It also gives you a quick and easy access to the shooting facility from the south via Airway and Airport Blvd. When you go in this way, go straight to the main gate and get the directions from the guards the shooting complex.

If your ever in the El Paso area, be sure and have your shotgun with you so you can enjoy the fine facility and the camaraderie. Youíll never feel left out or unnoticed at their club.

Fort Bliss Rod & Gun Club
Railroad & Deer Roads
PO Box 6118
Fort Bliss, TX 79916
915-568-2983

Author:
Jerry Sinkovec
photojournalistjerry@juno.com