When I joined the local shooting club around 25 years ago, I sometimes found myself on the mythical road less traveled. Sometimes this was a matter of making do when I didn’t have the optimum equipment for a particular match, but sometimes it was a matter of trying to come up with something that club members could participate in using the guns they already had. Some people probably thought I was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
For a long time I wanted to come up with some sort of a fun match using the small handguns that probably spent most of their time in the nightstand or sock drawer. From watching and shooting in North-South Skirmish Association matches while growing up, I remembered the spectator and shooter appeal of firing at breakable targets. So I thought it would be a neat idea to come up with some sort of match for shooting at breakable targets where shooters could bring out their snub-nosed Smith & Wesson revolver or the .32 Walther that Granddad brought back from World War II, and be able to compete on a level playing field. But most breakable targets presented a problem of leaving behind trash on the ground that would litter the range with unsightly and potentially dangerous debris.
So finding a suitable breakable target presented the first problem. It had to be something readily available, biodegradable and dark enough to mimic a bullseye from a paper target. And the answer was Oreo® cookies! They’re breakable, black, available at any grocery store, and since you can eat them, most certainly biodegradable. And as a result, the Pocket Pistol Oreo® Cookie Shoot was born.
The major problem to be solved was how to mount the Oreo® cookies as targets. Happily, one of the members of the club came up with squared “U” brackets made of rebar mounted on steel poles that could be set through the holes in stacked cinder blocks. Simple and portable. Width is not that critical, it can vary from 12 to 18 inches, but there should be sufficient height to give a reasonable vertical spread for four cookies. The cookies are mounted using two big rubber bands each that are strung between the uprights. Four cookies were determined to constitute a full target since a Smith & Wesson J-frame revolver holds 5 rounds. The rubber bands will friction grip the filling long enough to fire the string. The distance for firing was set at 7 yards.
There is one important consideration for the Oreo® Cookie Shoot. It is a good idea to keep the packages of cookies in the freezer before the shoot and during the match to keep them in an insulated cooler. I learned from experience that on a warm day the filling in the cookies can melt and then the rubber bands won’t hold them up and the cookies fall apart.
The rules are pretty simple. Any revolver with a barrel of 3 inches or less, or semi-automatic pistol with a barrel of 4 inches or less can be used. No time limits, shooting can be done with two hands, and the shooter can use one full load of the gun. As the Oreo® Cookie Shoot has been done as part of a larger match, I usually bring my Colt Detective Special and a box of shells for others to use if they don’t have a qualifying gun of their own. And the fun begins, watching the Oreo® cookies shatter from the impact of a 230 grain .45 bullet (a Colt Officer’s Model would qualify, the Colt Commander or Government Model would not) or a 158 grain .38 semiwadcutter bullet. Any visible hit on a cookie or knockdown counts as a hit, with the best score out of 4 being the winner. And occasionally somebody cleans the rack, showing the accuracy potential that some pocket pistols have. Usually two packages of Oreo® cookies are enough for a match, one for targets and one for hungry range officers. All that is left after the match are a pile of broken Oreo® cookies and maybe a couple broken rubber bands. And probably that night there will be some very happy skunks and opossums.