The Calgary Rifle and Pistol Club have been serving the needs of target shooters in Calgary since the early 1900s.
Calgary’s sport records report shooting matches between the Calgary Rifle Club and clubs from Lethbridge and Medicine Hat as early as the summer of 1902 and 1903. At that time the early club name was Calgary Rifle Club.
CLUB SHOOTING: 1900
The outdoor shooting range used by the Calgary Rifle Club was near the old Calgary General Hospital on 12th Ave and the Elbow River. The base of Scotchman’s Hill was used as the backstop for targets placed on the western edge of the ElbowRiver. How times have changed in Calgary.
CLUB SHOOTING: 1930s
The Calgary Rifle Club officially came together as a group of target shooting enthusiasts in 1934. The first indoor range was in the basement of the old Noble Hotel, 1216 – 1st S.W. A long serving past president, Bill MacNab (deceased), used to delight in telling stories of target shooters in the basement being disturbed by patrons of the bar upstairs coming downstairs looking for the washroom. Thus causing impromptu halts in relay shooting. The bathrooms were located on the far side of the shooting range. Of note is that the bar of the Noble Hotel is now on display in the GlenbowMuseum. If you visit the Museum, we are related to that bar.
The indoor range moved latter in 30s to basement of the York Hotel and then to the basement of Penny Lane building on the corner of 8th Avenue and 4th Street S.W. At that time, Penny Lane was a market.
At that time, outdoor shooting of the club shooting took place outdoor at the Englewood shooting range. The Englewood Range was located at the junction of 17th Ave. S.E. and the Elbow River. The remnants of the firing positions of this range can still be seen along the banks of the Bow River as 17th Ave. crosses the Bow River on the edge of Deerfoot Trail. If you happen to be walking along the riverside path at the old range location and look to the groundwork facing east, you will see the remains of the original firing positions.
CLUB SHOOTING: 1940s
The coming of World War II saw many changes in Canada including a more controlled formal approach to target shooting. The name of the club officially was registered as The Calgary Rifle club. The club was formally registered under the Societies Act as the Calgary Rifle Association, March 2, 1940.
The club moved to the basement of the Weber Building at the corner of 10st N.W. and Kensington Road. The primary focus of the club at that time was rifle shooting.
Club records indicate a membership of over 500 members in 1945.
CLUB SHOOTING: 1950s
The target rifle focus of the club remained in place until the mid 1950s when increasing demand for places to shoot target pistols brought in growing numbers of pistol shooters.
To recognize this change in the nature of the club, the name was changed to the Calgary Rifle and Pistol Club in 1958. The club remained at WeberBuilding location until the building owners sold the building in 1979, at which time the club was evicted. The building has since been destroyed by fire and rebuilt to house trend setting shops and restaurants. Having turned over the Inglewood Range to the Alberta Provincial Rifle Association earlier in the 50’s, the club was now without a range for the first time since the mid 1930s.
THE MODERN RANGE: 1980 and 90
While we had funds in reserve, we did not have enough to build our own facility. In 1980 the City of Calgary approached the club to determine our willingness to work with the city to provide both a facility and expertise to conduct the pistol shooting events of the 1983 Western Canada Games. The major pistol event that was shot indoors was the Olympic style Rapid Fire event, using .22 short pistols.
The club agreed to participate by providing base funds and expert personnel to run the event as well as accept some debt to build the facility. In return, the city provided some funding and a long-term lease on the current property. We consider the city to be our primary business partner.
The facility was built to house the rapid-fire event of the games and has become a performance target-shooting legacy for Calgary. While the range was originally templated for the rapid-fire event, .22 shorts only, the disadvantage was that higher velocity and larger calibre cartridges could not be used on the range at the first shooting events. Since the opening of the range, we have upgraded the range for all small-bore calibres and most pistol calibres. We are unable to use centre fire rifles in the facility.
Competition shooting was a key achievement in our new club facility. Through the 70s and up to the current year our club was well represented on Canada’s National teams. We have had our members compete at Olympic games: Arne Sorenson, Wayne Sorensen and Ed Jans.
The list of club members who have attended World Championships and World Cups is long and honoured. Our list of excellence includes men and women as well as juniors.
Our junior shooting program owes its roots to the early junior programs of the 1950s and 60s. Club records show junior programs of up to 50 individuals. In 2014-15 our junior program numbers were 38 individuals.
As well as individuals, our club has cooperated with outside organizations for safety and target shooting instruction. The Calgary YMCA, Canada Scouts and Guides are examples of not for profit groups that we have worked with.
SHOOTING FOR THE FUTURE
In keeping with our history and legacy, the club continues to seek ways to develop high performance target shooting athletes. Our diverse junior target-shooting program provides talented young athletes to compete in Canada wide shooting games such as the Canada Winter Games and Canadian National Shooting Championships.
We provide a training ground for Canada’s National Team with athletes who have won medals at many World Cups, Commonwealth Games and International Championships.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
We are in the planning phase of facility expansion.
Our goal is to provide a facility, which will entice elite target shooting athletes to move to Calgary and train/compete at our facility.
Compiled from discussion with past presidents and written records.