Christopher McCaghren is bringing former soldiers together for the first Vulture Feast 2019, a veterans-only shooting competition at Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
Scheduled for 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday, May 19, the event is about more than just about a contest of accuracy, speed and reaction to contact. Registration continues through the morning of the event. Walk-ins may be accepted, though reservations are preferred.
“It’s about creating new friendships and helping them reconnect with a part of themselves they don’t get to normally,” said McCaghren, who was in the Marines from 2012 to 2017, stationed at Camp Lejeune.
“Civilian life is very different (from military life). It’s nice to find other veterans to talk with. We hope to bring that instant connection with the event and have a fun event. We want something that is very relatable and brings those veterans back to their roots; roots they don’t get to express very often.”
A Mesa Red Mountain High School graduate, McCaghren planned the event based on practical military gun usage. He describes Vulture Feast as different from other shooting events because of the “competitive nature among my brothers and sisters in arms, and the gear.”
“The military has a very specific way of doing things,” he said. “It’s not necessarily the best way, nor the most efficient way. They’re faced with a difficult task of trying to find tools to fit everybody’s needs.
“They do a decent job at that for the most part, but the small details get lost very quickly.”
Pro-level competitive shooters typically have sponsored equipment, such as ultra-lightweight weapons and the lightest gear, as well as accessories that can cost thousands of dollars.
These weapons were hand built for each shooter and are the equivalent of top-fuel dragsters, McCaghren explained.
“Your average deployed servicemember is handed a one-size-fits-all weapon that is best described as ‘clunky’ and is the equivalent of a city bus. Plus, heavy, bulky gear weighs you down. The largest contrast between the two is the outcomes of each event.”
At a pro-level match, a last-place shooter may lose a sponsor or money due to their or their equipment’s performance. Meanwhile, Marine infantrymen may lose their lives if they cannot be successful on the battlefield. Even worse, they may lose the life of a friend, he said.
“At the end of it, the shooter has to go and provide care to a casualty,” he said. “There’s a surprise at the end for the shooters. I’m not allowed to talk about it.
McCaghren is looking for volunteers as well. For more information, call 602-663-5827 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
McCaghren owns Hawker Tactical, which helps shooters regardless of experience. Students begin with a defensive pistol course (CCW optional) before moving on to the defensive shotgun course where students obtain the “knowledge to be the dominant fighting force in their home.” Once these courses have been completed students move on to the rifle fighter courses “where all of their skills are put to the test.”
McCaghren’s Vulture Feast, though, is his priority.
“I would really like veterans to make new friends,” he said. “While you’re in the military, you’re separated from everybody else in your life. You switch lives, essentially. Once you’re done, you’re back to your old life you’ve been disconnected with for years. Your friends, they stayed on their own path. Your friends aren’t what they used to be. A lot of dynamics changed. Veterans can make new friendships on old foundations.”