Air rifle and pellets laying on top of a target

A fantastic adaptive air rifle programme is being run out of Denver in the United States which helps rehabilitate military veterans suffering with PTSD and other disabilities. 

Run by the National Sports Center for the Disabled, a competitive air rifle competition helps to use target shooting as a form of therapy.

Josh Thurmond of the NSCD has spoken of the programme, and says it is perfect for those who want to focus their minds, saying:

“Shooting is something that is very calm. We teach the same breathing techniques here as they do in yoga. So people are very relaxed, to a Zen state, then they fire their weapon."

The air rifles used in the programme have been adapted to accommodate just about any disability, including a sip and puff system for people who do not have use of their arms. Instead of pulling the trigger in a traditional sense, a special ‘straw’ allows the shooter to fire just using their mouth.

The programme is run using officers from the Denver Police Department as instructors, who themselves have been taught by the U.S. Paralympic shooting team. Initially created to help veterans, it is now being offered to anyone with a disability, free of charge!

Keith Gleason is one participant, who is ex-Army and suffers from PTSD. Speaking to his local news station about the therapy, he said the following:

“With PTSD, it sets me back, a lot. At times it makes me have anxiety attacks, makes me want to stay indoors. It keeps me from wanting to do anything.

"…when I leave [the shooting range], I'm just so stoked I did better - doing better each and every time I fire. With this, it makes me want to come out and do things again."