NCOWS: The National Congress of Old West

Look for photos of 2016 GITH soon.

A new Wisconsin NCOWS Club: Sweetwater Regulators in Bristol, WI. For more information please contact John saffran, aka. Johnny McCrae at 262-758-2000.


The Wisconsin Old West Shootists is one of the few clubs in the nation that has a dual affiliation with both the National Congress of Old West Shootists (or NCOWS), and the Singe Action Shooting Society (or SASS). NCOWS was founded in 1994, and one of the founders of our club, Ron Belden, was also one of the founders of NCOWS. When our club was formed in 1995, we started as an NCOWS Posse. As interest in shooting ‘old west’ increased in our area, so did SASS’s presence increase nationally. As a result, in 1997 our club became dually affiliated. Because of this unique dual affiliation, WOWS is able to bring a more varied shooting venue to our members and the shooting community at large.

Shooting Style of NCOWS

Both NCOWS and SASS offer shoots done Old West style, and that means they are quite similar in many respects. Both play the game somewhat differently however, just like two board games with different rules that are both fun to play. I would like to share a little about the similarities
and differences in how the two games are played so you understand the rules used to play each one.

NCOWS describes itself as a “living history and shooting organization. NCOWS does not allow modern modifications of firearms. They enjoy shooting competitively but want to stay closer to the authentic guns used during the period from 1865-1899. NCOWS allows more choices of firearms to shoot because both single and double action revolvers from that period are allowed.


NCOWS costuming stays in the 1865-1899 time frame. “A very diverse range of apparel and accouterments existed with the time period of 1865-1899. Much has been writtendetailing the items worn and used during this time. “A very diverse range ofapparel and accouterments existed with the time period of 1865-1899. Much has been writtendetailing the items worn and used during this time.
A quick review of appropriate clothing items for men:
Pants – Button fly, no belt loops, most had back waist adjusters.
Shirts – Usually pullover (very few exceptions), long sleeves, and almost always the sleeves were rolled down and the top collar button buttoned.
Vests – Almost always worn, especially in town, as a shirt was considered
to be underwear.
Footwear – Most shoes had square or rounded toes, boots did not have toe stitching, low shoes or Brogans were common, and there were lace up
boots similar to our modern packers (just no fringe on the laces)
Hats – We could spend all day on these. But, in general terms, most were open crowned without strong creases but plenty of exceptions can be found. The modern style with the brim sides turned up are not found.
That’s a quick review of men’s clothing.

In researching your outfit, you can go to extremes,
documenting everything and having papers with to prove it like some re-enactors do. If this isof interest to you, NCOWS offers a category called the “Originals” 
As for women’s clothing, there are plenty of options for ladies to shoot in. If you are familiar with the Carolina Belles in SASS, you know there are some women who shoot in full fancy Victorian dress, so it is possible. Women can wear pants, and there is documentation that they
did, but it was not common. Split skirts were worn late in the time frame so that is always an option. We have several shooters who wear skirts when they shoot. 

 To go to the NCOWS web site: Click here.