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Pros vs. Joes: How the Numbers Stack Up
If you’re a precision rifle competitor there’s no doubt you’re familiar with Precision Rifle Blog’s “What The Pro’s Use” article series. On the off chance that you aren’t familiar with Cal Zant’s yearly blog entries, I highly recommend checking them out!
Cal reaches out to the top 100 PRS competitors across the nation, polls them regarding what equipment they’re using during that particular season, and then presents that information in a very readable and easy to understand manner.
There is no doubt that while this series offers a phenomenal in-depth look into what kind of gear top shooters are running (with great success), I often wondered how much those numbers were guided by the sponsorship programs of each individual manufacturer. It was great to see which products performed well in the hands of top shooters, but as a marketing professional in the firearm industry I always wanted to see more data on what was actually in use at local match venues. What I sought was less a reflection of what those same sponsored pros were running year after year, but more of an analysis of what the actual market conditions reflected.
Partnering with WPRSC to Collect Precision Rifle Component Usage Data
In order to find my “Average Joes”, I reached out to Ken Wheeler of the PRS Challenge series. Ken’s Wisconsin Precision Rifle Steel Challenge is hosted by the Highlands Sportsmen’s Club of Cascade, WI. An enterprising match director, Ken has quickly built a following across the Upper Midwest, inspiring the creation of additional match series hosted in Michigan and Indiana.
Over the course of the 2019 season Ken has collected details regarding the use of equipment from each registered WPRSC competitor (626 individual registrants throughout the course of the season). This data was originally collected to provide a market research opportunity for manufacturers who sponsor the match series, aiding them in monitoring product usage and helping them measure their sponsorship program ROI.
The data collected may be of limited use as general market research material, as it is limited in geographic range and features duplicative data points from shooters who attended multiple matches with the same rifle (the data compiled is based on each unique match registrant). That said, many competitors utilized multiple rifles over the course of the season (the author included) creating further data diversity. That said, the data collected does provide an accurate assessment of what type of components are typically found on the firing line in a monthly match series throughout the course of the 2019 shooting season.
What Precision Rifle Components Were Tracked?
After explaining my idea for an article series, Ken gladly agreed to forward me the data collected (removing competitor names in the interest of client anonymity). After a quick scan of the Excel spreadsheet, I called up Steve Bothe and we dug through the data a bit. It was immediately clear that the results from the “What The Pro’s Use” series varied quite a bit from our findings, although a number of the popular brands represented in Cal’s article series were also heavily represented in ours.
The 2019 WPRSC data encompassed each of the following fields:
Favorite Piece of Equipment:
PRS Membership Status:
Stock or Chassis:
Over the next few months I will parse out the results of this spreadsheet, detailing product usage in each one of these product categories. As I complete each blog article, a highlighted link will be added to each of the above bullet points.
Care to share your equipment selection? Let’s hear your build specs in the below comments section!