It’s rare when Soldiers and Marines agree on anything. But in this case, both Army shooters and Marine marksmen endorsed the electronic target system at Talladega. Members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) and the U.S. Marine Corps Service Rifle Team traveled to Alabama to test the Kongsberg electronic target system at the CMP’s new Talladega Marksmanship Park. Despite wet weather, the system worked well, allowing shooters to see their shot locations (and scores) instantly. At each shooting station a monitor displays the shooter’s target. Shots are plotted as contrasting white dots with shot values automatically calculated. Watch the video below to hear what the Soldiers and Marines thought of this high-tech system.
Video Shows Electronic Target System in Action
SGT Joseph Hall of the USAMU said the target system was “Super-smooth, super-quick. So far everything has been fantastic. We are saving a tremendous amount of time. There are no pit changes because everything is electronic. We are able to concentrate more on the shooting aspect… and less on … taking care of the targets and pit changes and relay changes. The relay changes here are just as simple as moving your equipment and the next guy getting on the line. The amount of time you’re saving is just incredible.”
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CMP Board Members and a few CMP staff members enjoyed a visit to the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park yesterday. They fired a few shots downrange from the 200-yard line. Here’s an image from the Kongsberg electronic target system. Shot impacts are precisely triangulated with sonic target sensors, then shot locations (and scores) are displayed on monitors placed next to each shooter. For more information on the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park, visit http://thecmp.org/competitions/talladega-marksmanship-park/.
The 13,000-square-foot CMP Park Club House overlooks the 600-yard range. Panoramic windows look out towards the firing line and the Alabama woodlands beyond.
Register Now for Inaugural D-Day Match at Talladega
The first official matches at the new CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park will be fired on the weekend of June 6-7, 2015. The celebration is a two-day event which includes tours of the facility. A special John C. Garand “D-Day Anniversary” Rifle Match On Saturday, June 6th will officially open the facility. On Sunday there will be an EIC Service Rifle Match, EIC Service Pistol Match, and a CMP .22 Rimfire EIC Pistol Match. The inagural event is limited to the first 350 Competitors, so register soon via the CMP’s Competition Tracker website.
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Here’s the best use of a convention center we’ve seen yet, thanks to the CMP. A section of the Phoenix Convention Center was transformed into an indoor shooting range for the 2015 JROTC Service Championship. This week (February 19-21), approximately 231 JROTC cadets will compete in Phoenix utilizing the CMP “Mobile Range”. This is a complete 60-station air rifle range that can be trucked from venue to venue and set up in a few hours. That’s pretty slick. Concurrently with the Phoenix event, USMC and NAVY JROTC cadets will be competing in Anniston, Alabama. Results from Phoenix and Anniston will be posted at on the CMP Competition Tracker webpage.
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 assembled by 3-4 workers. A large trailer can haul all 60 targets plus all the related monitors, computers, tables, chairs, and hardware in one load-out.
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What lives in the Alabama backwoods and has 54 sets of ears? The answer is the new, $20 million-dollar CMP Marksmanship Park in Talladega. This new facility, set to open in May, boasts electronic Kongsberg Target Systems (KTS) at 200, 300, and 600 yards. All totaled, there are 54 Kongsberg target units, each with its own acoustic sensors — the “ears” as it were. Each KTS target has a set of acoustic sensors (very precise microphones) that plot the shot location using sound triangulation. Shot locations are accurate within a fraction of a millimeter. What’s more, because electronic targets do not expand or shrink with humidity levels, as paper does, scoring should be more consistent match to match.
Monitors Display Score and Shot Location Instantly
Each target connects to a monitor that displays the hit locations to the shooter. Easy push-button controls allow the shooter to cycle through hits and options without having to change positions. The monitors employ non-glare glass protected by an aluminum frame that acts as a shade. This ensures good visibility for the shooter.
Engineered in Norway, Kongsberg target systems do more than just display shot locations to competitors. The system automatically calculate scores, and every target is networked to a central, “command” computer. This can provide updated competitor rankings, and can even display the results to event spectators on large view screens. See how it works in this animated demo video from Kongsberg:
Video Demonstrates Kongsberg Target System
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Do you shoot an air rifle or air pistol? Want to test your skills against other shooters across the country? Then sign up for a fun new “Aces” postal match in January. The CMP’s inaugural “Aces” postal match offers airgun marksman a nation-wide competition with Air Rifle, Air Pistol, and Para-Air Rifle/Air Pistol events. Match Registration opens on January 1, 2015 for the initial January-March (Q1) match period.
COURSE OF FIRE
All 3×20 courses of fire are 20 shots prone, 20 shots standing, and 20 shots kneeling in integer format while all other rifle courses of fire are 60 shots in decimal format. All PPP courses of fire are 40 shots with the rest of the pistol events in 60 shots, both in integer format.
Special “Aces” Event Poker Chips — One Per Quarter
Every competitor in the CMP “Aces” Postal Match will receive a specially- designed participation poker chip. There will be a different color each quarter, so collect all four!
Quarterly matches can be shot on Orion paper targets or electronic targets. Orion targets must be requested from the CMP and will be mailed to participants. All Orion targets must be returned for scoring at CMP. Current National Standard Three-Position Air Rifle Rules and USA Shooting Air Rifle and Pistol rules apply. CLICK HERE for more information and schedules.
Modern competition air rifles are decidedly high-tech. Check out this Feinwerkbau:
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Readers often ask us: “Is there an inexpensive way I can get started in position shooting?” The answer is “yes” — across the country CMP-affiliated clubs host Rimfire Sporter matches. You can use a wide variety of .22LR rimfire rifles — manual actions (such as a Winchester model 52) or semi-automatics (such as a Ruger 10/22). There are prone, sitting/kneeling, and standing stages. CMP rules provide separate classifications for scoped rifles, open-sighted rifles, and aperature-sighted rifles. The matches are fun, the ammo is inexpensive, and everyone has a good time while improving their marksmanship.
Our friend Dennis Santiago recently helped run a CMP Rimfire Sporter Match in Southern California. Dennis reports: “You want something challenging? Well that X-Ring 50 yards away is the diameter of a 50 cent piece, and there are people out there that can womp that thing with iron sights.”
The rapid-fire sitting or kneeling stage of a CMP-sanctioned .22 Sporter Match consists of two, 5-shot strings. A manually-operated or semi-automatic rifle may be used for this match. Below is a video Dennis made that shows a sitting/kneeling rapid fire stage.
Dennis notes: “There are six (6) stages of fire on a tough little target. Notice the rifles that can be used run the gamut from pump and bolt actions to variations on the semi-auto theme. All still require a good eye and a steady hold to earn one’s bragging rights for the day. A match takes about an hour and a half per relay. The slowest part of the match is initial sighting in. It’ll take longer than the allocated 5 minutes for the typical first timer coming to a club match.”
At Dennis’s Burbank Rifle & Revolver Club (BRRC), procedures are modified a little bit: “What we typically do at BRRC is run two relays. Experienced competitors shoot per the full rulebook. New shooters are afforded a bit more relaxed environment to make the experience more fun and inviting. We do the same thing in our M-1 Garand Clinic/Match series.”
Rimfire Sporter Match Basics
The CMP Rimfire Sporter Rifle Match is an inexpensive, fun-oriented competition using .22 caliber sporter rifles (plinking and small game rifles) commonly owned by most gun enthusiasts. To compete, all you need is a basic rifle, safety gear, and ammunition. No fancy, high-dollar rifles are required.
The event is shot with standard sporter-type, rimfire rifles weighing no more than 7 ½ lbs, with sights and sling. Rifles may be manually-operated or semi-automatic. Shooters with manually-operated actions are given extra time in the rapid-fire stage to compensate for the difference. (See Video).
There are three classes of competition — the standard “O Class” for open-sighted rifles, “T-Class” for telescope-sighted and rear aperture-sighted rifles and “Tactical Rimfire” class, which is a .22 caliber A4 or AR15 style rifle. Firing for all classes is done at 50 and 25 yards on a target with a 1.78″ ten-ring and an 18″ outer one-ring. Even new shooters can get hits on this target, but it’s still tough enough that no one yet has fired a perfect 600×600 score.
50 years ago today, October 15, 1964, Gary Anderson (now CMP Director Emeritus) celebrated his Gold Medal victory at the Tokyo Olympics. Gary earned Olympic Gold for winning the 300m rifle event. A few days later, Gary’s team-mate, Lones Wigger, won a gold medal for the USA in 50m rifle competition.
Want to learn the basics of position shooting? Then you should check out an article by Gary Anderson, DCM Emeritus, in the current issue of On the Mark digital magazine. This article covers all the key elements: body position (prone, sitting, standing), sling use/adjustment, sight picture, aiming process, and trigger control. While this 8-page article was specifically written for Rimfire Sporter shooters, the techniques described by Anderson apply to all types of position shooting, whether you shoot air rifles, smallbore rifles, or centerfire rifles.
Here’s what Anderson says about aiming — how to keep your sights steady and get them centered on the middle of the target:
Trigger Contact and Center
As soon as aiming at the target begins, the index finger must move from the trigger-guard to contact the trigger. It is important to get initial pressure on the trigger as soon as aiming begins. Then the shooter must focus on the sight picture and centering the sight picture movements over the aiming point. No one, not even champion shooters, can hold the aligned sights perfectly still. The sights are going to move a little bit or a lot, depending on the shooter’s skill level. The secret is to center those sight picture movements over the aiming point on the target (see trace illustration) before pulling the trigger.
When the sight picture movements on the target are centered, the last step in firing the shot is to add… smooth pressure on the trigger until the shot breaks.
Anderson also discusses the 5 Basics of Shot Technique:
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As part of the Ohio Day at the Range program, CMP volunteers provided training in Air Rifle shooting and Archery for persons with disabilities. For the participants, some wheel-chair-bound, this was a special event. Though they may not be able to run or jump, they CAN shoot a rifle from a rest. This type of event gives disabled youngsters and adults a chance to enjoy a sport just as able-bodied persons do. We commend the CMP and all those who helped make the Day at the Range a memorable event.
As reported in the BCSN Blade Blog, this program gave participants a chance to learn outdoor skills: “The whole purpose of this is to show that anybody has the ability to hunt, fish, camp — do anything they want to do in the outdoors,” said Tory Thompson, Outreach Director for The Ability Center of Greater Toledo, Ohio. “We want these individuals and their family members to see that the opportunity is there. It will be very gratifying to see that moment when they get to experience something they thought they would never be able to do because of their disability — We hope this opens their eyes and lets everyone see past the stereotypes.”
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Got plans for October? If you live in the western USA, consider a trip to Phoenix for the CMP Western Games. The 11th Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Matches will be held at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona, on 10-19 October 2014. The Western CMP Games Matches run 10-14 October 2014. The Creedmoor Cup Matches take place on 15-19 October 2014. All interested shooters are invited to participate in these unique, national-level competitions. NOTE: Registration for the Creedmoor Cup matches must be done online via www.creedmoorsports.com.
Small Arms Firing School
CMP Rifle Small Arms Firing School offered at during the Western CMP Games in Phoenix, AZ, Friday, October 10th. This course is recommended for all new shooters and anyone that would like to learn gun safety and sound target shooting skills, regardless of previous experience. In this course you will learn about safety, positions, how to load and clear the rifle, how to loop a sling and prepare for practice firing. Rifle SAFS students are required to use the Rock River AR15 commercial rifles issued by the school. Personal rifles are not permitted. Ammunition will be issued for use during practice fire and the M16 EIC Match and coaches will be available to assist students. Junior competitors must be at least 12 years old.
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In the archives of On The Mark magazine, DCM Emeritus Gary Anderson, an Olympic Gold medal-winning shooter in his younger years, offers sage advice for competitive shooters.
In his article Ten Lessons I Wished I Had Learned as a Young Shooter, Anderson provides ten important guidelines for everyone involved in competitive shooting. Here are the Ten Lessons, but you should read the full article. Anderson provides detailed explanations of each topic with examples from his shooting career.
LESSON 1 – NATURAL ABILITY WILL NOT MAKE YOU A SHOOTING CHAMPION.
(You also need hard work, training effort and perseverance.)
LESSON 2 – ANGER IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD SHOOTING.
(The key to recovering from a bad shot is to stay cool, no matter what happens.)
LESSON 3 – BAD SHOTS CAN TEACH YOU MORE THAN GOOD SHOTS.
(Today, error analysis is one of the most powerful tools for improving scores.)
LESSON 4 – NEVER GO WITHOUT A SHOT PLAN.
(A shot plan is a detailed breakdown of each of the steps involved in firing a shot.)
LESSON 5 – PRACTICE IN BAD CONDITIONS AS WELL AS GOOD CONDITIONS.
(Most competitions are fired in windy conditions or where there are plenty of distractions.)
LESSON 6 – CHAMPIONS ARE POSITIVE, OPTIMISTIC PEOPLE.
(Negative shooters expect bad results; positive shooters expect to train hard to change bad results.)
LESSON 7 – IT’S NOT ABOUT WHETHER YOU WIN OR LOSE.
(It’s about how hard you try to win.)
LESSON 8 – YOUR DOG WON’T BITE YOU AFTER SHOOTING A BAD SCORE.
(Hopefully your coach, parents and friends won’t bite you either.)
LESSON 9 – YOUR PRESS CLIPPINGS CAN HURT YOU OR HELP YOU.
(Winning can go to our heads. We start thinking we are so good we don’t have to work hard any more.)
LESSON 10 — YOU NEVER SHOT YOUR BEST SCORE.
(Great champions are always looking for ways to improve.)
About Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson served as the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) from 1999-2009, and is now DCM Emeritus. As a Nebraska farmboy, Gary grew up hunting and shooting. Dreams of winning an Olympic Gold Medal in shooting led Gary to the U.S. Army. In 1959, he joined the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. Just two years later, he won his first national championship.
At the 1962 World Shooting Championships in Egypt, Anderson stunned the shooting world by winning four individual titles and setting three new world records. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Gary won the 300m free-rifle Gold Medal, setting a new world record in the process. At the 1966 World Shooting Championships in Germany, Anderson won three additional world titles. At the 1968 Olympics, Gary won a second gold medal in the 300m free-rifle event.
Gary retired from active international competition after the 1969 World Championships in Spain, where he set a 50m, three-position world record. After his “retirement” from international competition, Gary competed in the National High Power Championships, winning the President’s National Trophy in 1973, 1975 and 1976. Over his competitive career, Anderson won two Olympic Gold Medals, seven World Championships, and sixteen National Championships. No American has ever won more major shooting titles.
Gary’s influence on shooting sports extends beyond the United States. Gary has attended eleven Summer Olympic Games, three as a competitor and eight as technical delegate or a jury member. Gary is the first American ever elected as Vice President of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), and still serves in that capacity. In 2012, Gary received the International Olympic Committee’s highest honor, the Olympic Order.
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Neither rain, nor geese, nor gloom of morn stays these competitors from the [sometimes swift] completion of their appointed rounds.
This year’s Camp Perry competitors at the John C. Garand Match had to battle rain, gloomy skies, plus an interruption by a bold flock of Canadian Geese. Nonetheless good fun was had by all. The challenge was to keep the guns and gear (and spectators) dry. All across the firing line one saw tarps and panchos, and even a few umbrellas. The match began on a very dark gloomy morning. Conditions improved during the day, but the rain clouds hovered all day long. CLICK HERE for hundreds more CMP photos from the event.
Wounded warrior Sgt. Robert K. Evans competes at Garand Match.