Story based on report by Ashley Brugnone for CMP’s First Shot Online Magazine
High-Tech Hits the Road
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has a portable air gun range that travels around the country in trailer rigs. The CMP’s new $425,000 mobile range features 60 electronic targets, automated target lifts, target monitors (for 60 stations), and jumbo viewing screens for spectators. Positioned on tables along the firing line (photo below), the 60 MEGALink color screens show scores in real time. The high-tech electronic targets provide quick and accurate results, and spectators can watch a “live feed” on eight big-screen LED television monitors. The entire system is controlled by a trio of computers which do the scoring and operate the targets, lifts, and TVs.
The CMP’s state-of-the art, mobile air gun range boasts 60 electronic MEGAlink targets produced in Norway. MEGAlink is the same target system used at CMP North and South stationary air ranges. The MEGAlink target “boxes” are each connected to a lift system than can raise and lower the targets for 3-position shooting. All of the components are designed so that the range can be quickly constructed using as few as three people. A large trailer can haul all 60 targets plus all the related monitors, computers, tables, chairs, and hardware in one load-out.
“With travel being difficult for competitors to make it to Ohio or Alabama, the idea of the mobile range arose to transport electronic targets to the shooters instead of them coming to us,” said James Hall, CMP Program Outreach Supervisor. Because of its versatile design, the range can be used as either a 60-point range or broken down into three sets of 20 targets or two sets of 30 targets. “The range can be set up in almost any combination of targets, which allows small gyms and conference centers to host a match with maximum target use,” said Hall.
The first “trial” match of the Mobile Range was at the Montgomery Bell Classic in Nashville, TN in October 2012. “The match was a success, not only for the Montgomery Bell Academy, but also for the CMP,” Hall said. “The targets ran well, and we received a positive response from spectators.” Other CMP events where the range has been put to the test include the 5th Brigade Championship in Kerrville, TX in December 2012 and the Bass Pro 600 in Leeds, AL in January 2013.
All packed up and ready to go, the CMP’s Mobile Range will roll on to future events, including the JROTC Service Championship in Salt Lake City, UT, 4H Nationals in Grand Island, NE, the American Legion Championship in Colorado Springs, CO and various CMP summer camps and clinics. “The Mobile Range has generated a great response,” Hall admitted. “We hope it continues to give shooters out west and other areas of the United States a chance to compete.”