Round 1, Season 1 of The UBC Soda Can Competition, also known as CANAS (CAN Action Shooting) was held in October 2018, I think. I say ‘I think’ because that's the first scorecard I can find, and I'm pretty sure I was in on the competition from the start. My best time was 8.17 seconds, but then I was using a Nagant revolver! 

At that time, the competition was run by one of the stalwarts of the UBC, Paul Coates, who sadly passed away in 2022. It was based on a previous CANAS competition run as a one-off by Paddy, a competition that Paul was very proud to have won. 


The principle behind the competition is a simple one – shoot five cans as quickly as possible, timing the string yourself. Five soda cans are placed on five poles or canes, 18 feet from the shooting position. The cans are set in a line, at various heights, ranging from one to four feet, perpendicular to the shooter and with a distance of one yard from the first to the fifth. These heights vary each month. Fortunately, 330ml beer cans are the same size as soda cans, so there’s no need to get any soft drinks unnecessarily! 

The shooter stands behind a table, hands behind their back, and a suitable timing device placed adjacent to their pistol or revolver. When you are ready, you start the clock, pick up your pistol, shoot each can in turn, return the pistol to the table, and stop the clock. Three strings of shots are completed, the fastest going forward for that month. There are six rounds to a season, equating to two seasons per year. 

You can have as many practice runs as you like, but once committed to the competition proper, then there’s no turning back! Like all our competitions in the UBC, it works on trust … if you cheat, then you’re only cheating yourself. It all sounds very simple, and it is, but it can be a devil of a job to get things just right, especially as the timing (if you’ll excuse the pun!) of the competition is all up to you; i.e. How much practice do you put in before you think you’re at your peak and ready to go? 
Can 2    Can 1
Shooter table is ready whilst Adrian blasts those cans 


Unlike most other kinds of competitions, those held online by the UBC may be shot as and when you choose, given the timeframe of approximately one calendar month. More often than not, I only practice a few shots before shooting the competition proper. However, as noted by another member of the forum, in this case it might be better to shoot a few more warm-up strings in order to establish a certain amount of muscle-memory when bringing each can on target. 

As to timing each string, I tend to use the stopwatch setting on my mobile phone. This is probably better than using a traditional stopwatch, simply because the touch screen is so easy and quick to activate. Any suitable multi-shot pistol or revolver may be used.  

A pellet-firing revolver can have an advantage over a gas blow-back pistol, accuracy wise, but then the semi-auto might be quicker. It’s up to you to experiment to find out which you find most suitable. After all these years, I’m still not sure.  


More often than not, I use a non-blow-back Umarex Glock 19X, but sometimes I use a Sig P210 blow-back. My best time earlier this season was whilst using a Webley MkVI with a four-inch barrel – 6.62 seconds. If I manage to get below 8 seconds then I’m happy; less than 7 seconds and I’m really happy!  

I try not to go all out on the first string, shooting in order to hit each can in turn, thereby ensuring at least one reasonably good time. Assuming that goes according to plan, then I like to speed things up, aiming instinctively rather than deliberately. However, with a competition such as this, the best laid of plans can go wrong from the start. I can’t remember how many times I’ve managed to miss the first can! This really messes things up because you’ve already started to move on to the next can – and they all have to be shot in order, left to right. 
Can 3


Spending most of the year in Thailand, you can usually guarantee what the weather is going to be like throughout the day, and plan accordingly. In the United Kingdom, this rarely tends to be the case – rain very often stops play! This, and the fact that you need a reasonably large back garden in which to shoot, along with understanding neighbours, means that at present there are often fewer competitors than we would like – in fact, sometimes only two! 

It’s for this reason that it would be great if suitable shooting ranges, such as the superb Greyhound Shooting Club near Coventry, could find it possible to cater for this challenging, yet fun, fast-firing competition. After all, it’s enjoyable shooting alone, but it’s much more fun with friends. 

Full details may be found on the UBC website at 

Can 5
Remember those safety glasses                                                                            


Paddy says: 

Thank you, Adrian, for writing about our Soda Can Competition and your continued support within the competition itself. I had a look at my ‘detailed files’ and we actually started this competition in November 2017, with you using a P38 BB air pistol. I used my Umarex M&P40 and had a rather bad first string, but pulled it back on the second string, 

I got these details from our forum’s Soda Can section and it was great reminiscing with those old posts. Initially, it was for BB pistols only, and then it evolved to BB or pellet within the one category from 2019, so more people could enter with their pistols – whilst wearing safety glasses, of course! I encourage readers to join in with this competition because it’s so easy to set up – and real fun to shoot. 
Can 4
Can 6 Can 7 Can 7