Gun Competition in Nicaragua

By Pat Werner

I send along a log about yesterday´s regional shooting competition in Jinotepe.  There is going to be another regional shoot in Granada in two weeks and i would like  to invite expats who  may be interested.  Most shoot 9mm pistol and .22 rifle with iron sights.  I am going to try   a .45 if they let me.  Jinotepe did not cost anything and they served lunch.  This is a very good way to form friendships with the local police brass and meet them on on a level playing field.  They really respect foreigners who stand up to the firing line shoulder and shoulder with them  and fire in competition.  I started doing this with them 30 years ago, won some matches, and those guys are still my closest friends.  Me having an American passport had nothng to do with it.  It was the doing rather than the talking.

Sunday  With the National Police And a General Or Two

At least some of us as retirees do things we used to do in our youth.  I remember clearly  60 years ago,  taking .22s with my brother Mike, going to the shore of the Saginaw River, throwing in some pop cans, and then sinking them as they bobbed along the river.  Old Agustin Huete, my lawyer and good friend, asked me to go with him to the 38th anniversary of the formation of the National Police and participate in their annual shooting match, this one in Jinotepe. I hadn´t shot in a registered match for two years, partly from lack of time and then from slightly poor health.

I took some measures for my health and now am on the mend and so decided to go with him to the  National Police match today. I had not smelled gunsmoke in the morning for too long and so I packed up my trusty pistolas and .22 rifle and headed to Jinotepe.  The rules were a bit confining.  I could not shoot my favorite  .45 Colt auto and had to shoot 9mm.  I am not a 9mm kind of guy, but I packed my CZ 9mm  anyway and my Brno .22 bolt action rifle.  When we got there I learned they only allowed open sights, so I had to use the .22 rifle of Agustin.  On getting there I found many old friends, like Sgt Payo, chief firearms instructor in Diriamba, war veteran, and artista with an AK 47.  He can throw bullets from an A K like a tailor stitches together a shirt.  I always like talking to old Payo.

Most of the local brass from the PN was there, and also the head of DAEM, who works on firearms licensing. As usual, a powerhouse in team shooting is the Team El General, in honor of the late, great General Roberto Calderon Meza, against whom I competed in many pistol and rifle competitions, and who was a close friend.   Fabio Sanchez shoots well, and he did today.  Also present was General Calderon Vindel (ret) of the Nicaraguan Army, another old friend and competitor.  We needed to form teams and so Agustin and I put together two teams made up of doctors and and lawyers, and all shot well.

In the pistol competition, my CZ treated me well. In the rifle competition I used Agustin´s Gevarm semi auto .22,  a French Brand that shoots from an open bolt. We sighted it in between shooting relays, and it also treated me well.  We won three trophies, and placed second in rifle and pistol.  I almost did not go because I still felt a bit weak and had not shot for way too long.  But it came back to me.

Interestingly, between 100 and 200 shooters were there, with an increasing number of women who shot very well and just keep getting better.  What there is not there was one expat –  I am not sure if  I count as one or not.  No English spoken, all Nica jokes and sense of humor, and a great time.  The Police as usual had things very well organized, and Old Payo made sure there was no funny stuff with firearms.

I would like to see some Gringos shoot in the regional and national matches in Nicaragua, but rarely see any.  The last Americans I saw shoot at the Army National matches  were U.S.MilGroup, and got beat pretty bad, by a Venezuelan General, of all people.  They admitted to me they were satraps, not trigger jockeys, and it showed.  To carry firearms and participate in shoots you really do have to be a legal resident, one that is squeeky clean, and who has gone through the process of legally purchasing a firearm. And you have to have the ganas, or desire to shoot.  Maybe there aren´t many like that here anymore. I sometimes wonder what expats do with their time here in Nicaragua.

Pat Werner