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The GLOCK Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) is a 24-year-old action shooting program that is administered by match specialists employed by GLOCK Professional. The intent of the GSSF is to allow GLOCK handgun owners a place where they can compete with other GLOCK owners. Here, pistol advantage, or disadvantage, is negated by one constant: Everyone shoots a GLOCK. To date, the GSSF has conducted over 676 outdoor matches with over 175,000 match entries, and every one of those matches has occurred in North America—until now.

No great event ever started without a great conversation to introduce it and an activity to cement it. During the summer of 2014, GSSF Field Operations Supervisor Scott Gilbertson and Alan Ramsey, the director of GLOCK Professional, met with officials from GLOCK America SA, including its vice president, Luiz Horta, or “Tatai” as he is known, in Atlanta for a training meeting. Also attending the match was Julio Lestido from Silvercat, an important GLOCK distributor. On the agenda for the international trainers was the “Sweet Home Alabama GLOCK Challenge II” GSSF match. The trainers had a great deal of fun participating in one of over 40 outdoor matches sponsored by the GSSF, but most importantly, the trainers began to see an opportunity to take this type of match and introduce it to their own regions.

The contingent from South America had already been running an annual IDPA-styled match in Uruguay for the last eight years called the “Jornada.” The idea was that this well-organized match could substitute GSSF stages into the established match stages. Thus, the IX Jornada GSSF match was held on Oct. 18, 2014, in Montevideo, Uruguay. This was the first official GSSF competition held outside of North America.

Safe & Memorable

As first matches go, the typical strategy is to keep it small and manageable in order to keep it safe for the range and safety officers as well as the competitors. Limited to 120 entrants who had to register before the match date (no walk-ins were allowed), the match was shortened to a one-day format. Typically, in the United States, a GSSF match will follow a two-day, weekend-long format. Since hindsight is 20/20, the match probably could have supported 250 entrants, making future matches easier to plan for. Also present, and the backbone for making the event happen, were Julio Lestido and the staff of Silvercat and the experienced range officers from past Jornada events. These men and women who volunteered their time made an extraordinary effort to create a memorable and safe match for the attendees.

It goes without saying that it was just a matter of time before GSSF matches would go global, and Uruguay was just the first step. Also strengthening the “going global” concept was the fact that the top “Junior Male,” Dimitri Poleschuck, is the son of a foreign diplomat assigned to Uruguay. As the GSSF expands its footprint, the good fortune of camaraderie and fun will be evident to those who venture to the range and compete in the match. With a GLOCK pistol in hand and a friendly venue to hold a match, it will be interesting to see just how many more people may one day compete in this now global sport, grounded in safety.

For more information, please visit US.Glock.com.

This article was published in the GLOCK AUTOPISTOLS 2015 magazine. To see the rest of the issue, please visit Personaldefenseworld.com/publications/glock-autopistols/glock-autopistols-2015.

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