PHOENIX — If you’re interested in firearms but don’t know where to start, or just want to take a few shots with the latest firearms from some of the biggest manufacturers, then don’t miss the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s 2016 Outdoor Expo.
For two days – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 2, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 3 – the largest outdoor recreation expo in Arizona will take over the Ben Avery Shooting Facility and provide all kinds of fun, hands-on activities and demonstrations, including opportunities to watch, learn and sample everything “shooting.” Admission and parking are free.
The best way to get started would be to attend “An Introduction to Firearms” at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Outdoors Presentations Tent, located in Area 1 (Family Adventure) just west of the expo entrance. Cliff Saylor of Cabela’s will explain the basic types and concepts of firearms, offer tips for choosing a firearm, and suggest places where a novice can learn the basics of shooting.
Then head over to “Introduction to Shooting” (also located in Area 1), where after a brief safety presentation adults and children 9 and older can participate in target shooting using .22 rifles. Adults with children 8 and older are encouraged to give BB gun shooting a try in Area 2 (Main Area). If shooting with a bow and arrow sounds like fun, learn all about it at “Archery for the Whole Family” (in Area 1). This activity is geared for families with children 8 and older.
Other shooting opportunities will include steel target, black powder, air gun, practical pistol, mini gun, clay target, benchrest, rimfire steel challenge, cowboy action and an archery field course. While most are free, keep in mind some venues charge a nominal fee for ammunition.
A few of the organizations that will be sponsoring shooting opportunities include Hassayampa Rod and Gun Club, Arizona Cactus Cappers, Desert Christian Archers, Honeywell Sportsman Club, Shoot Right, Arizona Cowboy Shooters Association, Dillon Aero, Shooter’s World, Cactus Match League and Ben Avery Benchrest Shooters.
Some of the biggest names in the firearms industry, like Sturm, Ruger & Co., Glock, Walther Arms, Patriot Ordnance Factory (POF), Robar Companies, Heckler & Koch (HK), Sig Sauer and Nemo Arms, also will make available their latest products for expo-goers to take a few shots (for a nominal fee for ammunition).
If watching an accomplished shooter in action is more your speed, international trap competitor and Olympics hopeful Tayler McNeil will perform at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days in Area 3 (OHV, RV, Mounted Shooting Arena, Shotgun).
The expo is presented by Shikar Safari Club International. Gold sponsors include the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Cabela’s and Arizona State Credit Union. Silver sponsors are Bass Pro Shops, HPR and Sportsman’s Warehouse. Bronze sponsors are the Mule Deer Foundation and Bill Luke Dodge.
Game and Fish conducts the expo to promote wildlife-related and other outdoor recreation activities. The public’s participation in these activities supports the department’s mission and funding. The department receives no Arizona tax dollars, and no tax dollars are used in conducting the expo.
For more information about the expo, visit www.azgfd.com/expo.