March 10th, 2014

One-Handed Wounded Warrior Becomes Distinguished Rifleman

At the 2013 Western CMP Games, SGT Robert Evans attained what many shooters seek their entire shooting careers — a Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge. Evans earned his DR badge with just one hand, after losing his right hand while serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army.

SGT Robert Evans distinguished rifleman wounded warrior

CLICK HERE to Read Full Story on CMP Website
Report based on story by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer/Editor

SGT Robert Evans distinguished rifleman wounded warriorSGT Robert Evans: Defying the Odds, Single-Handedly
AFter joining the Army in 2003, SGT Robert Evans served two tours in Iraq, suffering a spinal injury on the first tour. On his second tour, his life changed forever. On May 31, 2007, Evans was commanding a Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Iraq. As the Bradley drove under an old Fedayeen guard shack, an IED on top of the guard shack detonated while Evans was reaching out of the turret. The blast amputated Robert’s right hand at the wrist.

Even as a young boy, Evans had always enjoyed shooting. He vowed to stay involved with the sport despite his injury: “I couldn’t give up shooting after I lost my hand. It’s always been too important to me,” he said. “No matter what is going on in my life, when the sights are aligned and the hammer is about to fall, nothing in the world matters at that second. It’s my nirvana.”

Evans worked his way back into the sport by starting in F-Class. The position allowed him to hold hard and pull the trigger, while also being able to use his optics. Then he got involved with J.J. O’Shea’s M1 for VETS Project. The project helps transition wounded combat veterans back into the world of shooting, with equipment arrangements, position training and mental preparations.

SGT Robert Evans distinguished rifleman wounded warrior

Working with the M1 for Vets group, Evans started shooting again. But there were challenges: “The first time I shot after my amputation, it was very frustrating,” he said. “I couldn’t hold still, and shooting left-handed was so foreign.” Being extremely right-eye dominant his entire life, the loss of his right hand caused him to relearn many things, including how to shoot. Learning how to reload and adjust for wind while slung up became a pain for Evans….

SGT Robert Evans distinguished rifleman wounded warrior

In 2008, after several months and rigorous hours of dry firing, Evans found himself crossing the threshold of Camp Perry — a dream he had waited to fulfill his entire life. He scored around 50 points standing, out of 100, on his first trip. Though not bad for someone with an amputation, that wasn’t enough for Evans. He wanted to become a Distinguished Rifleman.

SGT Evans during Team Match at 2013 CMP Western Games.
SGT Robert Evans distinguished rifleman wounded warrior

He began to realize his dream as he earned his first 10 points (towards Distinguished) at Camp Perry in 2012. It took him 15 months to LEG out. His next 6 points came at the 2013 Eastern Games in Camp Butner, NC, followed by 10 more points at the 2013 National Matches. There, hoping to “bronze out,” he managed to one-up himself to actually earn a silver medal.

Then came the 2013 Western Games at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ. Never giving up hope and remembering his long journey from the hospital bed to the firing line, he received his final 8 points. SGT Robert Evans had become a Distinguished Rifleman.

SGT Robert Evans distinguished rifleman wounded warrior

“There was a lot of pressure, speculation and competition as to who would be the first Combat Wounded Veteran to ‘go Distinguished’ within M1 for VETS,” he said. “I’m very proud to have earned my badge, but more importantly, I hope that more wounded veterans will realize that it is within their grasp. It’s not an impossibility anymore. I hope it motivates everybody to train a little harder and hold a bit tighter – not just wounded veterans. If I can do it, anybody can.”

Posted Courtesy of the Civilian Marksmanship Program, www.TheCMP.org
Author: Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer/Editor

Commentary by German Salazar
Robert Evans’ inspirational effort is a fresh reminder of the value of marksmanship in creating a focused challenge and reward that can help our wounded warriors regain the confidence and motivation to succeed in all aspects of life.

Robert’s effort is very reminiscent of that of Karoly Takacs, a Hungarian pistol competitor who lost his right hand in a grenade accident in World War II. Determined to overcome the injury, Takacs taught himself to shoot left-handed after the war and earned gold medals in the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games. Robert brings that Old World grit and determination into the modern day and into the context of our nation’s most historic and cherished award for marksmanship. Robert’s Distinguished badge will shine brightly as a beacon to those who face challenges in their lives and can find a path to renewal in the brotherhood of marksmen. We salute him for his efforts and for the inspiration he brings to us all.

Editor’s Note: Our contributor German Salazar is a Distinguished Rifleman, Distinguished Pistol Shot, Distinguished Smallbore Rifleman (NRA) and a dedicated student of shooting history. You can find many technical and shooting history articles at his RiflemansJournal.com website.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
March 10th, 2014

Leica Introduces 1.8X Extender for APO-Televid Spotting Scopes

Leica Spotting Scope Power Booster Extender 1.8xLeica just released an inline power-booster (1.8X Extender) for its APO-Televid spotting scopes. Brilliant! That’s a great accessory we would like to other spotting scope makers offer as well. Hopefully we’ll see the other major brands — Kowa, Nightforce, Nikon, Pentax, Swarovski, Vortex, Zeiss — follow Leica’s lead.

With Leica’s new 1.8X Extender combined with the 25-50X eyepiece, the effective magnification range is 45-90X. That’s right — you can boost the high-end magnification from 50X all the way to 90X. In good viewing conditions (with a solid tripod), we have found you really can use 80+ power or higher on a spotting scope to resolve very small bullet holes at long range. With its 1.8X Extender in place, Leica now offers the greatest magnification of any premium spotting scope. According to the German company: “Leica is the world’s only manufacturer in the premium spotting scope segment to offer such an additional eyepiece for an existing angled spotting scope and such extreme magnification.”
Leica Spotting Scope Power Booster Extender 1.8x

The optical system of the 1.8X Extender consists of a two-lens achromat that mounts securely with an integrated bayonet mount locking mechanism. With the simple push of a button and a quick turn of the wrist, the Extender 1.8x can be quickly and securely mounted between the APO-Televid angled spotting scope and the eyepiece. (NOTE: the 1.8X Extender only works on Leica’s angled spotting scopes — there is no straight version). Leica designed the new 1.8X Extender to be optically, mechanically, and ergonomically matched with the APO-Televid spotting scopes to work flawlessly as a modular kit. MSRP for the 1.8X Extender is $449.00.

Permalink New Product, Optics No Comments »