DATELINE: CHICAGO – Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea. Newsflash! The glory days of Al “Scarface” Capone, Elliot Ness and the Chicago Mob live again, and I’m NOT talking about what’s going on in D.C.! Taking a page from Cowboy Action Shooting and with a wink and a nod towards the era of the Chicago Typewriters, a new group is sweeping the nation, marrying the thrill of action shooting with the costumes and capers of gunsels, mols, coppers and robbers. ZootShooting.com is the address to go to to get all the straight skinny on the American Zoot Shooters Association. To take a page from their own playbook:

American Zoot Shooters Association is bringing back the Roaring Twenties! AZSA is a multi-gun sport in which participants dress in 1920s-1930s costumes and compete against the clock engaging targets for the best possible score. Zoot Shooters must use firearms that are correct for the time surrounding Prohibition. Costumes may be of any character type reflecting the era (i.e. gangster, law enforcement, flapper, bootlegger, politician, etc.).

The predominant pistol used with the Zoot Shooters is the venerable 1911, John Moses Browning’s baby. But the sport wouldn’t be a sport without the gun that made St. Valentine’s Day not just a holiday, but a massacre: the iconic Thompson Submachine Gun. Conveniently shooting the .45 ACP rounds shared by the 1911.

As you might expect, shooting a full-auto Tommy gun would limit the sport to those who’ve qualified for a Federal license to own a fully-auto machine gun. Not to worry. The fine folks at Kahr/Auto-Ordinance have released a semi-auto version of the classic, which is every bit as legal to own as a 1911.

The website, by the way, is an unexpected treat. It’s well-designed, informative and demonstrates an obvious a love for the era in question. The whole thing seems well-thought-out. Chapters are known as “mobs” or “precincts.” vVdeos are “talkies.” Meets are “capers.”

I also like the fact that you can create a character that’s not limited to a mob guy. You can be a sheriff, G-man, floozy or whatever. It’s nice to see that they don’t glorify the bad guys the way video games like Grand Theft Auto. And it’s hard to argue with their obvious emphasis on safety first.

While I respect the Cowboy Action Shooting thing (and what Texan wouldn’t?), I’m frankly a lot more interested in the ZootShooters concept. Now if they could just shut down the White House chapter and maybe replace the mobsters with some Elliot Ness-types . . .

[And a personal note to all TTAGers that offered condolences on the passing of my dad, thank you. I appreciate your concern.]

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