ALPINE, Calif. -- When you see Duane Snipes of Alpine, he usually has his guns a-blazing.
A competitive revolver shooter, Snipes squeezes off rounds at a remarkably crisp pace.
With a last name of Snipes, a word which means to shoot at something from long range, it almost seemed destined that the 43 year-old from Alpine would become a competitive revolver shooter.
“I’ve been doing shooting sports basically all my life,” Snipes said in between shots at the Lemon Grove Gun Club in Alpine. “I grew up in a family that has done these types of activities, so it was very normal in our family.
“There is a little bit of excitement especially in a field course. If you go through a long field course you can feel a bit of adrenaline rush, and some fatigue, just from the running and the excitement of the activity,” he said.
The field includes several targets of varying sizes, distances and movements.
One target looks like a propeller with five blades. Each blade has a steel plate at the end. Snipes must shoot each plate off, as the propeller spins, then change out his cartridge while moving to the next target: another set of steel plates of various heights and distances.
The object, hit all the targets as quickly as possible.
Snipes fires dozens of bullets each round, and even reloading his eight-shooter has become a fine science.
“I eject, lose the grip (on the pistol) and then be grabbing the shells as I'm ejecting the shells,” he explained as he moved in slow motion. “Then I drop the next load in and come back into play.”
Snipes competed at the 20th Annual Smith and Wesson International Revolver Championship in San Luis Obispo on June 2, where he finished fifth in his class.
He said this sport is 90 percent mental but admits his strategy during competition is not to think at all.
“I actually go into a precognitive stage when the timer goes off so I quit thinking,” Snipes said. “First I try to make a plan but after the timer goes off you really don't think. You just try to rely on your training you've done.”
Snipes originally picked up revolver shooting about 10 years ago as a sport to do with his dad.
He said he fires 12-18,000 rounds per year through his .357 pistol.
“We come out to the range a lot and shoot a lot of ammo,” Snipes said. “You need to think about practice makes permanent and only perfect practice makes perfect. So we try to think about what we're shooting, how we're going about our movements and it’s a lot about the economy of motion.”