Sport Shooter Focus: Tristan Hopper

2015 Round 3 Junior Champion,
2016 Round 1 & 3 Production Champion,
2016 KZN Production Champion,
2016 Ranked as Number 1 Production shooter

 Q: How did you get involved in sport shooting?

A: It all began with my father. I always used to go down to the range with my dad, and help with patching targets, as well as picking up spent shell cases / brass, and this ignited a spark in me. I wanted to shoot alongside him and, once I started, I never looked back.

Q: What kind of sport shooting do you participate in, and why did you opt for this discipline?

A: I chose to compete in IPSC simply because my father had been competing in the sport for some time. I find it the only shooting sport with a perfect combination between speed and accuracy. Most importantly, I enjoy the fact that every competition is different from the last.

Q: What division do you compete in, and why did you select this specific class?

A: I compete in the Production division due to it having the lowest starting costs. There are many challenges in this division. I do not feel that the firearms are as ‘attention-seeking’ or require as much maintenance as with the firearms in neighbouring divisions.

Q: What firearm do you currently compete with, and why?

A: I compete with a CZ 75 SP01 SHADOW. I feel it is the best platform suited for my division. With a few modifications, I can compete in the Standard division as well. The SP01 has always been reliable, and allows me to perform to the best of my ability always. The Shadow is the most popular choice for the Production division, not only in South Africa, but globally. It is easy to see why after you have shot with it.

Q: What firearm modifications are allowed in IPSC for the class that you participate in?

A: I would suggest mainly spring changes to lighten up the slide and trigger pull to the point where a shooter would feel it is best. You are also allowed to change the grips and hammer, and to apply grip tape to the gripping area of the firearm to ensure the pistol does not slip in your hands when faced with wet conditions. Factory parts may be added, but it will be best to look at division-legal parts before spending money on items that might keep you from competing in your chosen division

Q: What firearm modifications do you recommend?

A: This depends on what firearm you are using. The CZ 75 SP01 SHADOW needs very little changes, as it is already a competitive pistol out of the box. However, some shooters change the grips on their pistols, as the standard grips are uncomfortable. It comes down to shooter preference.

Q: Are you currently sponsored and, if so, by whom?

A: I am very lucky in that I am, indeed, sponsored by CZ, CR SPEED as well as KZN Ammunition. My main sponsor is CZ, which has been supporting me from the very start of my shooting career, through my highs and lows. I could not ask for anything better from the world’s largest small-arms company in the world. They are simply the best in the business. CR SPEED is a global leader in holster and shooting equipment, and has always put customers first for the last 25 years. KZN Ammunition is, in my opinion, the best ammunition manufacturer in the business. I have only ever had good service from their staff, and its products have always worked flawlessly. They are always looking to improve, even when they have reached perfection in a particular product.

Q: What training regime do you follow?

A: I work-out five days a week, normally on parts of my body that would benefit me in my shooting. I try to fit in two range sessions per week out of season, but try to get down to the range at least three times a week before a competition (shooting 300 rounds each session, running different shooting drills, focusing on different aspects). I dry-fire three times a week out of the shooting season, and every day for two to four weeks I compete.

Q: What are your thoughts with regard to dry firing as part of your training regime?

A: Dry-fire can teach you a lot that live-fire cannot. It is a very important part in developing one’s skill level in any shooting sport. Dry-firing allows you to become familiar with every angle and feature of your firearm, and helps you when trying to find new ways to efficiently move the firearm to your benefit. The only downfall to dry-firing is that the wear-and-tear on your firearm is almost the same as live-fire. Components such as triggers and hammers and sears get the same exposure as with live-fire.

Q: What advice do you have for someone wanting to start with IPSC?

A: To work on their accuracy before trying to shoot faster. You will naturally be faster when you become more familiar with the firearm.

Q: What advice do you have for your fellow IPSA shooters who want to better themselves in their elected divisions?

A: The easiest way to become a better shooter is to constantly work on your weaknesses until you have none. Do as much work with and around your firearm as possible (live-fire and dry-fire). If you cannot afford to shoot as much as the other competitors, or as much as you would like, then dry-fire as much as possible, and visualise the targets and perfect those aspects critical to your shooting sport. When faced with adversity, try your best to turn it into a learning curve. Instead of letting it ‘get you down’, use it as a motivator and a reason to work harder.

Q: What match in your sporting career stands out for you, and why?

A: The last round of the SA Champs in 2015. It was the first time I won the President’s Medal, the accolade we all chase and fight for at every Level 3 match and higher. Thankfully, even though I did not shoot my best match, or to the best of my ability, I managed to achieve my goal. It was very emotional because it was the first time where all my hard work and family sacrifice had paid off. Our family has put a lot of work into the sport, and has made it part of our lifestyle, so when everything works out, it is the best feeling in the world.

Q: What is on the horizon for you in 2017?

A: The future is always difficult to predict. However, sport shooting is my passion, and something I would love to do on a permanent basis, perhaps getting even more involved with my sponsors and assisting them with product development and testing.


Tristan Hopper
Years shooting competitively
4 years
Shooting clubs affiliations currently
Impala Shooting Club
Shooting sports participated in
2015 Round 3 Junior Champion,
2016 Round 1 & 3 Production Champion,
2016 KZN Production Champion,
2016 Ranked as Number 1 Production shooter



Last modified on Friday, 10 March 2017 10:46
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