Ever wonder what it’s like to be a target shooter in another country?
My new series of articles explores this question – starting close to home, with Action shooter Tiffany Piper from New Zealand, who is heading over to compete in the prestigious Bianchi Cup this month.
Name: Tiffany Piper
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand
Disciplines you compete in: Mostly Action Pistol but I have done the odd 3 Gun shoot and local IPSC match (I practice IPSC a bit for fun).
What age can you start shooting in New Zealand? 10 years old
You’ve mentioned in that you shoot a bit of 3 Gun, which is a discipline not available to target shooters in Australia. Is it a popular discipline in New Zealand?
I recall trying it for the first time at the NZ nationals and coming away with 2nd or 3rd woman. It is fairly popular in NZ, I would have to say IPSC is definitely one of the bigger shooting disciplines here. In the south island Cowboy Action Shooting is very popular. Mostly when you hear of guns in NZ is usually hunters, there is a large volume of recreational hunters in NZ.
You’ve also tried your hand at Cowboy Mounted Shooting in the United States. What was that like?
It’s pretty cool, I’ve ridden horses all my life and I have four at home. I’ve always wanted to give it a go and [world champion CMSA shooter] Kenda Lenseigne kindly let me go stay with her for two weeks and learn the ropes. It’s hard to remember your shooting while riding or riding while shooting! Hard to do both well and at the same time.
I have started my own horse business in NZ called Cadillac Stables, I have a huge backing from Kenda and Safariland to try get it off the ground here. I want it to be a sport anyone can try.
Sounds fantastic – I’m sure a lot of people will be interested – I certainly am!
Have you shot in Australia on many occasions? What differences have you noticed between the shooting communities in Australia and New Zealand?
I have only shot there once but tried to get as much in as possible. I would love to go back more often but sadly I take enough time off work with shooting as it is! I have already used up all my leave with my one trip to the states. The shooting community is definitely a lot bigger in Australia than NZ, but that is sort-of to be expected considering the population compared to NZ. It’s hard to gauge a lot of difference because I grew up with all these shooters (from all over the world) so just feels like one big goofy family if you ask me!
Do you get much exposure and support in your local community, as an elite competition shooter?
Not very much, as you can imagine, shooting is not a very main stream sport and it tends to get a lot of bad publicity and not a lot of good. I try to get out as much awareness as possible (TV, newspaper, magazines, radio, Facebook, etc), which is why I appreciate this interview so much, it is great to try and get good publicity for this sport and gun community, but to also entice others to give it a go and that anyone can try it.
It’s my pleasure – and that’s what Gun Girl Down Under is all about – encouraging greater participation in our sport. What’s the general public’s attitude towards firearm ownership for the purpose of target shooting in New Zealand?
To be honest with you, most people are totally oblivious that it even exists in NZ. I can’t speak for everyone but I find it’s a bit 50/50. With a lot of the population into hunting they naturally don’t see the issue with guns in general, whereas the other half who don’t like it seem to be people who have never had any experience with a firearm. I think it’s the fear of the unknown but also the bad publicity that gets projected from America. Truth is, there’s a lot more good than bad, trust me!
You have a swag of sponsors supporting you in competition – that’s great to see! What advice would you give to a young female shooter wanting to become a sponsored, international-level competitor?
I guess the best advice I would give is stick to what you believe in, you are never too good to go right back to the basics. A solid foundation, lays a solid house. And most of all have fun!! There are much more women in the sport now than when I started, so just know you are not alone!
You’re heading off to the Bianchi Cup later this month. What’s the best bit about competing about Bianchi, for you?
The adrenaline rush and being about to see all the great shooters I grew up with. I have been competing over in America since I was 13, so it was great life experience. I cherish meeting people from all of the world and having the responsibility to make this path from a young age.
Are there a lot of women who compete in target shooting in New Zealand? What’s the approximate ratio between men/women at the matches you compete in?
There sure are, more women in IPSC for sure, a few in ISSF, and not very in Action Pistol though. Hahaha that’s the funny question, more like 25 men to 3 women give or take.
What are your plans for the coming year?
I am hosting a couple of shooting clinics in Colorado and Illinois this year. Bianchi Cup and Bates City Shoot in America, Nationals in NZ and a few of the smaller regionals. And the World Championships in NZ this year. Whenever I go to a competition I go there in the hope of bettering myself, a better score than the year before or better than the score in practice last week.
All the best at Bianchi this year!
Tiffany is proudly supported by the following sponsors:
Atlanta Arms and Ammo
What ya say