This British number one 10M Pistol shooter is just 19 years old – we chat to James to find out what drives him and how he practises for competition.
How did you get involved in shooting? Did you start off with a rifle or pistol?
I first started while I was part of my local scout group. My club mates and I would go to the weekly sessions – it was always a lot of fun. I had the opportunity to shoot both air rifle and pistol, but with almost everyone in my club wanting to use the rifles, I saw it as a challenge to shoot pistol.
Which of your shooting achievements are you most proud of?
I am very proud of becoming GB #1 in 2018, as well as competing for Great Britain at the World Championships in Korea and being part of Team GB at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires at the age of 18. Being asked to be British Shooting Junior Ambassador is also a privilege I am proud of.
What has been your pistol of choice?
I have had two pistols, both Steyr, the recent one being the new EVO 10, and neither have ever let me down. Accessories like my tailor-made shooting glasses and shooting shoes are important for consistency as well as my (RWS) R 10 Match Premium pellets.
Do you ever find time to shoot airguns just for fun?
I always shoot for fun. Whether training or a competition, it is always enjoyable, and a great sport to meet new people and get involved in a friendly, competitive environment. I find it relaxing and helps me with my physical and mental health.
How much time will you spend practising?
I thoroughly enjoy target shooting, both training and competitions. I aim to train every day, however I normally find myself picking up my pistol at least five days a week. It could be anything from a quick relaxing 30 minutes or an all day session.
What features do you look for in an airgun?
I find that the grip is very important for me when looking for an air pistol, as well as the shape and performance of the trigger and the size of the sights.
Are you preparing for any more competitions right now?
Yes, I have currently been in training for the 2019 University World Games in Naples, followed by the 2019 Junior World Cup in Suhl.
What advice can you give to youngsters getting into the hobby?
Just make sure to enjoy yourself, and always maintain a positive mental attitude. Don’t focus too much on the scores, or on beating others – you should focus on yourself and having fun, because if shooting was all about winning, then it would have gotten boring a long time ago.