Surprise discovery: Shooting better than garage full of toys
THE look on Brian Hansen's face and excitement in his voice highlights how much he loves competitive shooting.
It's a wonderful story how he got into the sport "purely by accident'' and achieved almost immediate success.
Before becoming a target rifle shooter, the Brookwater businessman used to enjoy a range of other pastimes including jet skiing, boating, motocross and motorbike riding.
Growing up in Toowoomba before basing himself at Logan, he built up a "great garage'' full of what he calls "his toys''.
But when he moved into the Ipswich area, he suddenly had to make a decision.
With a smaller yard at Springfield Lakes, the outdoors enthusiast had nowhere to store his fun machines.
"I pretty much had to get rid of everything,'' Hansen said.
As he pondered that tough decision, Hansen realised he needed to find something new.
Having since moved again to Brookwater, Hansen took a mate's advice to try shooting.
He hasn't looked back since joining the Ipswich and District Rifle Club at Ripley.
"I'm now 50 and I thought it's not going to be too hard on the body where jet skiing and things like that were,'' Hansen said.
"I thought I'll go and have a try. And I must admit the first time I tried it (shooting), I just absolutely fell in love with the sport.''
In just 12 months, Hansen has already won a Queens Shoot (state title) in his fullbore F-Standard category, after a second in the three-day Duncan series. He also won the grand aggregate for the five-day event.
Hansen thanked his new rifle club colleagues for making him so welcome being "a person that's never shot a rifle in their life to go out and actually enjoy it.''
"The people out at that club are just absolutely phenomenal,'' Hansen said.
"The amount of help that they have given me and support, you just can't stop praising these guys enough.''
Hansen loves the sport so much he shoots three to four times a week at Ripley.
He also enjoys competing and practising on the longer ranges at Belmont when he can.
Shooting with Ipswich's tradition rich rifle club is a massive sea change from jet skiing around the Broadwater.
"It's one of those sports where you can put a little bit into it or put a lot into it. You'll get back whatever you put into it,'' he said.
A bonus with shooting in competitions provides some travel adventures with his wife Letisha, who is getting keen on the sport too after initially being sceptical.
"She got to see how safe an environment it is and how safety conscious all the members are,'' Brian said.
The Brookwater shooter has also found some symmetry as part-owner of a military and army disposal business that supplies shooting accessories.
With no major competitions until next year, Hansen will continue his club shoots for enjoyment.
But chatting to the easygoing shooter, it's clear he'll target more competitive opportunities in the future.
"It's being able to learn,'' Hansen said, when asked why he enjoys the sport so much.
"When people talk shooting, it's not just about laying down on the ground and putting a bullet in and squeezing the trigger.
"There's a lot more to it, especially when you get out to that 1000 yard range.''
Allowing for the wind and lowering your heart rate are just two of the many skills top shooters have to develop to succeed.
Keen to keep learning, shooting newcomer Hansen is lapping up his challenge faster than he can ride a jet ski.