If his mugshot on international shooting federation’s webpage, in which he is sporting a French beard and long locks, does not set him apart, Nick Mowrer’s ability to shoot in World Cups with both pistol and rifle surely does.
Describing this quirky American as one quintessential one-of-a-kind could be a modest attempt to do justice to his uniqueness, which is making a mockery of the sport’s conventions, tournament after tournament.
Unusual as it may sound but Mowrer, a World Cup bronze medallist in rifle 3 positions, also shoots 50m free pistol and 10m air pistol, not only in same national level tournaments but also in the international arena.
While the world’s best spend years honing their skills in one specific event, Mowrer feels “doing both” come easily to him. “I don’t know if there are any differences, they are all basically the same, I play the same shot, same strategy, everything… two rifles and pistol,” Mowrer told PTI.
In the capital to compete in the ISSF World Cup, the 30-year-old is also an Olympian, having finished 15th in the men’s 50m pistol event of the 2012 London Games. “As it turned out, this is the first World Cup where I was able to shoot in-competition in rifle and also in pistol,” the pistol-cum-rifle shooter said.
“But I have shot MQS (Minimum Qualification Score) in free pistol and (rifle) prone at the same World Cup on the same day multiple times. In Munich last year, I was in MQS in 3 P and in competition in air pistol. I got the bronze medal in prone and I also shot free pistol.
“That day they had elimination in prone, I shot MQS free pistol that morning, shot elimination prone in afternoon and the morning, and I have shot my qualification match for prone, then the final and got a bronze.”
So how did it all begin?
Mowrer, who calls himself rebellious and averse to instructions, makes it sound very easy.
“I train a lot, I moved to Colorado Springs in 2009, so I have been an athlete for 10 years, doing it for 10 years,” he said. “I have been shooting since I was very little, it’s family tradition, so from a young age I have shot.
“In the United States we have other shooting disciplines other than Olympics, and I have competed in those NRA highpower rifle and NRA bulls eye pistol.”
Even the seasons in Montana, where he grew up, played a part in moulding him into one unique athlete. “When I grew up in Montana the seasons there forced me to shoot highpower rifle in summers and then bulls eye pistol indoor in winters. So I got a lot of experience doing both, switching between seasons,” said Mowrer, whose family likes to hunt.
“My family hunted and shot recreationally for fun but not in competition. I am a machinist, a welder by trade.”
Asked about his goals, Mowrer said he is focusing on qualifying and then winning medals at the 2020 Olympic Games.
“I like certain aspects of both (rifle and pistol). For instance, I travel home tomorrow. I will get 4 or 5 o’clock on Thursday, Friday I will be at the range,” he said.
“I am very rebellious and I don’t listen to anyone, including my coaches. I have no time for it.”
In the USA, Mowrer was a four-time aggregate Collegiate Pistol Champion in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He participated in competitive baseball, and was on the Montana All-Star baseball team in 2000. And, last but not the least, he also tried his hand in smallbore shooting.