This weekend, I was looking up information on NRA Action Pistol, specifically I was trying to find information on the different competitive classes – Open, Metallic and Production. I was intensely frustrated by this, as the information on the website at www.nrahq.org is obtuse at best, and irritating at worst. As an example, to find the rulebook for the game, I first click on “Competitive Shooting” and then on NRA Action Pistol, which seemed like a pretty logical path. Unfortunately, the page I landed on, while descriptive of NRA Action Pistol to a small extent, did not contain a link to the competition rules.
Next, I tried clicking on “Getting Started”, and then on the Action Pistol Shooting link on that page. While the resulting page was more descriptive than the previous Action Pistol Shooting page that I had landed on, it still didn’t fully explain the difference in competitive classes in such a way that a new shooter could know what gear and guns to bring to their local club match and be allowed to shoot.
Finally, I clicked on Rule Books and Scoring Materials, which I will confess is a logical place for the action pistol shooting rulebook to be kept, and I was right, because there it was: a link to the .pdf file of the rule book, which I gleefully clicked. Much to my dismay, this opened an index .pdf with references to other .pdf files which when you click on the index returns the error of “file not found”. Finally, to find the information I wanted, I had to deduce from the “file not found” error what the URL of the .pdf file I was looking for was, and manually type it into my browser. Needless to say, this was a tremendously frustrating experience for me, and I can only imagine how frustrating it would be for someone who isn’t extremely interested in Action Pistol.
It would have been extremely simple to alleviate my frustration by placing a link to the full .pdf rulebook on either of the pages labeled “NRA Action Pistol Shooting”, and not having to hunt and peck through three different categories to find the info I need. Now, I’m not trying to rip you guys here – obviously I was extremely frustrated when I was searching for the info, but I really do feel strongly about web sites being user friendly. As a comparison, it took me all of five seconds to find the rulebook for USPSA, and about the same to find the rulebook for IDPA.
Now, I have a big ol’ soft spot for NRA Action Pistol and the Bianchi Cup, which is why I’m disappointed to see how difficult it is for new shooters to get information on the sport. I do love pistol shooting, and it’s important to me and the future of our sport to see that more people pick up pistols and get out and shoot some courses of fire. That’s why I really feel strongly that this information should practically be sitting in the laps of the casual shooter who sees an episode of Shooting USA and thinks that “that Bianchi stuff” looks fun.
This entry has been crossposted at Gun Nuts: TNG under Bianchi Cup and Shooting Sports – check out the Gun Nuts Blog for the latest info on the action pistol games, from IPSC to Airguns.