The first Great British Shooting awards are still fresh in the memory with these well-deserved winners. Not just the airgun – there were plenty of industry names to be honoured at the event!
Air Arms was among the big industry names honoured at the inaugural Great British Shooting Awards, winning the Airgun of the Year category. In a ceremony held in the main arena at the British Shooting Show, awards host Peter Carr revealed the winners of 12 awards categories, including Shotgun of the Year, Ammunition of the Year, Retailer of the Year and many more.
The awards were launched several months earlier with a period of trade nominations, before the judging panel – composed of industry leaders including the CPSA’s Iain Parker, BASC’s Ian Bell and the Countryside Alliance’s Tim Bonner – narrowed all the nominations down to shortlists of five.
These shortlists then went out to a vote, allowing the shooting public to have their say. The nominee that got the most votes in each category was crowned the winner – it was as simple as that. The only exception was the Lifetime Achievement award, which was solely at the discretion of the judges.
What are the Awards about?
The Great British Shooting Awards are designed to give recognition to the very best of the UK shooting industry, at a time when it’s needed the most. It’s a chance to applaud the products that have really been a success and captured the imagination of the shooting public.
But on top of that, it’s about the people behind those products. “Looking at all the nominations – not just the winners or shortlists, but the ones who didn’t make it, too – really hit home how much quality there is in the UK shooting industry today,” said Peter Carr in his opening speech. “I’m talking about the products, but also the people who keep the industry going with their unfailing hard work. And it made me think what we’re doing here is not just an exercise in vanity, it’s important.
“We live in a time when field sports usually seem to be fighting off some kind of attack. It’d be easy to give up, or sit around doing nothing, waiting to see where the next attack is coming from. But we don’t. No one in this industry ever gives up. Instead, we do all we can to turn the situation on its head. To seize the initiative and put positive stories out there, whether it’s evidence-based conservation, supporting employment in remote areas, or providing a big boost to the economy as a whole.”
The big reveal
The first winner of the night was Swazi’s Rifleman Gen coat in the Apparel of the Year category, presented by the CPSA’s Iain Parker. Swarovski’s DS scope won Optics of the Year, and the Pulsar Trail XP50 took the NV/Thermal of the Year prize, which was presented by BASC chairman Peter Glenser.
Gamebore was triumphant in the Ammunition of the Year category with its Black Gold Game Cartridges, while Sako took Rifle of the Year. Then the Airgun of the Year category came up, presented by someone who will be very familiar to Airgun Shooter readers: this magazine’s very own Mat Manning.
It was a closely contested category, but there could be only one winner, and the plaudits went to the Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter XS. In the Shotgun of the Year category, the Browning B525 Ultra XS Pro was crowned winner. Then, in the people-focused categories, Skye keeper Scott Mackenzie won Gamekeeper of the Year and South Ayrshire’s Chris Dalton won Professional Stalker of the Year.
BASC scooped the Outstanding Contribution to Conservation prize, while Retailer of the Year went to Sportsman Gun Centre. Finally, Lifetime Achievement was handed out to none other than 26-time Sporting world champion George Digweed.
Apparel of the year – Swazi Rifleman Gen II (collected by Chris Dalton)
Optics of the year – Swarovski DS
NV/Thermal of the year – Pulsar Trail XP50
Rifle of the year – Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter XS
Shotgun of the year – Browning B525 XS Pro
Gamekeeper of the year – Scott Mackenzie (collected by Rob Crampton)
Professional Stalker of the year – Chris Dalton
Outstanding Contribution to Conservation – BASC
Retailer of the year – Sportsman Gun Centre
Lifetime Achievement – George Digweed