Crimson Trace

August 29, 2012

Between The Berms: Powered By Mom & Dad

Spotting Duncan McNaughton on the range is fairly easy. Just look for the trio of black shirts plastered with corporate sponsor logos like ESS, Sig Sauer and Voodoo Tactical.

And if the shirts aren't a dead give away, then look for the kid standing, oh, let's call it 5-foot-nothing.

Duncan McNaughton stands out on any range, and not just because he's 13 years old. Photo: P. Erhardt
At age 13, Duncan is not only the youngest shooter on the range, but often the smallest. Of course that won't last very long.

He's also wicked fast, if not entirely accurate...yet.

Duncan was one of the 150+ competitors shooting in the New England Regional IDPA Championship two weekends ago, finishing with a time of 472.32 and 195 points down competing as a Marksman in the Enhanced Service Pistol division.

This is Duncan's third season shooting competitively. Along with dad Patrick and mom Wendy, the Clan McNaughton has been hitting the competition range on a regular basis, which has given Duncan the opportunity to shoot several disciplines besides the increasingly popular IDPA.

Duncan started out his shooting career using a Walther P22, the reduced size .22LR that helped spawn a wave of popular .22LR 'replica' pistols. But as he grew - or more specifically as his hands grew - Duncan transitioned first to a Sig Sauer P228 and then a Sig 1911 in 9mm, the very gun he used during the New England Regional.

In both ESP and SSP (Stock Service Pistol), where he shoots the P228, Duncan is classified a Marksman but says quite confidently that he's "closing in on Sharpshooter."

And Duncan doesn't seem to lack for confidence. The New England Regional was his first major match and put him on the range with some of IDPA's strongest shooters - guys like Ed Stettmeier, Craig Buckland, Dave Solimini (who won Duncan's division) and Tom Yost.

Despite the pressure inherent in competing in a major match, especially for a shooter so young and inexperienced with big match dynamics, Duncan seemingly shrugs it off saying that he "pretty much puts it in the back of his mind."

Forget speed and lightening fast reflexes, the absolute lack of any fear of failure is the true gift young shooters have over everybody else. And for the rest of us, all the more reason to resent their youth.

Duncan's growing confidence comes from the hours of practice he's put into his shooting. He's serious about improving and this year alone has put over 10,000 rounds down range.

Lessons learned on the range are paying off for Duncan outside the shooting sports. Photo: P. Erhardt
That focus on improvement on the range has helped him off the range as well, where Duncan competes in other sports like skiing and golf. Yes, skiing. Here in New Hampshire, schools have actual ski teams and Duncan has managed to letter in skiing as a seventh grader. (Again, with the total lack of fear)

Of course, Duncan's achievements aren't entirely all of his own doing. There is a little thing called 'mom and dad' that should be factored into this story. And that's no more evident than the tale of how they got to Harvard Sportsmen's Club to shoot the New England Regional.

Living up in New Hampshire's famous Lake Winnipesaukee region, the family had to head out well before the crack of dawn to make it to the match in Massachusetts. But once again being 13 has its advantages and Duncan was able to sleep on the way the range while mom and dad clearly didn't. An amazingly not-so-uncommon story among families with junior shooters.

The support that Duncan gets from mom and dad doesn't go unnoticed or unappreciated. At the top of the sign attached to the wagon that the family uses to haul their gear around at matches - the sign with all those logos of companies that have been kind enough to help Duncan - sits these all-important words: Powered by Mom & Dad.

And it will stay that way until Duncan trades in a home with mom and dad for a home with, well, champions. You see, he's got his sights set on the warmer climes of Georgia, specifically Fort Benning, and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit that's better known as 'The Home of Champions.'

There he'd have to trade in what is possibly the coolest slogan, Powered by Mom & Dad, for one that is a very, very close second, Army Strong.

- Paul Erhardt, Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network

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