September 4th, 2019

Adaptive Shooting Programs for Competitors and Hunters

Adaptive Shooting Team USA matt matthew schwartzkopf

One of the great thing about shooting is that marksmanship is one of the few sports where physically-challenged persons can compete at the highest level — with some provisions for wheelchair access and mobility. For example, in the world of F-Class competition, Matt Schwartzkopf is one of the best in the nation. Matt, a rangemaster at Ben Avery in Arizona, is a double amputee (below the knee). He hasn’t let that challenge stop him. He has been a Top-10 finisher at major F-Class matches, and was chosen to shoot with F-TR Team USA.

Adaptive Shooting Team USA matt matthew schwartzkopf

Adaptive Shooting Team USA matt matthew schwartzkopfF-TR Team USA member Matt Schwartzkopf is a double amputee below the knee, having had his lower legs removed due to a birth defect. That hasn’t held him back. Matt is an inspiration to us all. He told us: “This condition has not held me back from anything.” Jokingly, he added, “I may not have ‘a leg to stand on’, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still shoot 10s and Xs at 1000.” Matt is living proof that competitive shooting is a sport for all individuals — young and old, able-bodied and physically challenged.

Matt isn’t just a talented shooter — he runs range operations at Ben Avery in Arizona. During a major match, Matt can be seen supervising the firing line, organizing pit crews, and posting match results.

New USA Nationwide Adventure Database for Adaptive Shooters

Here’s a great new opportunity for shooters and sportsmen with physical limitations. The NRA has created a nationwide database of hunting and fishing adventures for individuals with disabilities. There are programs throughout the country with 45+ organizations such as Buckmasters, Freedom Hunters, Hope Outdoors, Hunting with Heroes, and Safari Club International.

“Venturing into the outdoors has long been acknowledged as healing for the body and soul”, said NRA National Adaptive Shooting Programs Manager Dr. Joe Logar, PT, DPT. “These benefits can be even more profound for someone experiencing an illness, injury, or disability.”

Adaptive Shooting NRA hunting fishing database outdoor adventure

NRA’s Hunter Services and Adaptive Shooting Programs have maintained a list of organizations offering people with disabilities outdoor opportunities. Now available in a searchable database, any adaptive shooter can easily choose from adventures such as guided whitetail hunts, chartered fishing trips, and accessible hiking trails anywhere across the country. To find a program, visit the NRA Adaptive Shooting Program’s Hunting/Fishing Trip Database.

NRA Resources for Adaptive Shooting Events
The NRA Adaptive Shooting Program also provides information for organizations planning an event to include person with disabilities. Events may be organized by veterans’ groups, rehabilitation facilities, and gun clubs. For more information visit AdaptiveShooting.nrahq.org.

Adaptive Shooting Team USA matt matthew schwartzkopf

Adaptive Shooting Programs in the United Kingdom

Across the pond, the National Rifle Association of the United Kingdom (NRAUK) also has adaptive shooting programs. The NRA.ORG.UK website has a wealth of information for disabled shooters.

Adaptive Shooting Team USA matt matthew schwartzkopf

The NRAUK states: “There are many different types of target shooting available for people to try in Great Britain. Some of them are readily accessible to disabled people, others less so. Also, shooting clubs and facilities do not all cater for every discipline; some only offer one, whilst larger complexes can cater for many of them. The only place in the country where almost all disciplines can be tried is Bisley Camp in Surrey. Access to the outdoor ranges is being improved all the time, although most are already accessible.

If the disciplines that you particularly fancy are not suitable for your type of disability at the moment, or are not currently available in your area, do not give up hope! The key skills for target shooting are very similar for all disciplines, so you could start with a different but similar option, learn those key skills, and take up your first choice when it is available to you.”

Adaptive Shooting Team USA matt matthew schwartzkopf

Making Ranges Suitable for Disabled Shooters
The latest edition of NRA Club Connections magazine has a feature on Adaptive Shooting. This article explains how range owners can make their lines of fire more accessible with the addition of a simple mat.

Adaptive Shooting

Adaptive Shooting Team USA matt matthew schwartzkopf

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December 4th, 2016

How Disabled Shooters Can Participate in NRA Competitions


Photo courtesy USA Shooting.

disabled shooting services NRACompetitive shooting is one of the few sports where people with physical disabilities and handicaps can compete side-by-side with their able-bodied counterparts. The NRA’s Disabled Shooting Services Program helps disabled shooters participate in NRA rifle and pistol competitions. The NRA’s Special Authorization Card allows disabled competitors to shoot from a modified position or wheelchair based on the type of disability or handicap.

Jessi McClain, NRA Disabled Shooting Services Coordinator explains how allowances are made: “Physical limitations may prevent a shooter from getting into a certain position to compete. For example, a paraplegic person can’t shoot from the standing position, so [he] would use an adaptive shooting position to compete”.

To obtain a Special Authorization Card, competitors can download two forms online. The first is to be completed by the shooter, and the second by his/her doctor. Forms can then be sent to NRA Headquarters along with pictures of the modified shooting position and/or adaptive device being used to compete. The Manager of the specific shooting discipline (rifle, pistol, air gun, etc.) then reviews the request. If approved, a temporary card good for one year is issued. For juniors, Special Authorization Cards are issued for several years at a time so that re-evaluations can be completed as children’s bodies change.

The medical waiver application is fairly simple and consists of two documents. The first form, the Competitor Application, should be filled out by the shooter. The second document is a Medical Form that must be completed by the competitor’s physician.

Once received, the applications are reviewed by the NRA. After approving the application, the competitor will receive a card authorizing him/her to use the adapted position or equipment. The Authorization Card must be shown to the Match Director prior to the start of any competition.

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June 2nd, 2016

Profiles in Courage: Two Shooters Overcome Disabilities Together

Taylor Farmer Greg Drown multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy handicapped paralympic wheelchair junior cmp

Story based on article by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
This story is about two shooters who have shown dedication, courage, and the ability to overcome physical limitations. 18-year-old Taylor Farmer has cerebral palsy. Her mentor and shooting coach, Greg Drown, has multiple sclerosis. But working together, Taylor has shown amazing abilities in competitive shooting. Taylor hopes someday to compete for the USA as a paralympic shooter in the Olympics.

Taylor Farmer was born to persevere. Her entire life, cerebral palsy (a neurological condition that limits muscle coordination) has forced her to work harder than others to achieve her goals. The effects of the disease on her body cause her to walk with crutches and to use a wheelchair for longer distances — but that hasn’t slowed her down.

As a teenager, Taylor began shooting rifle with her dad and her older brother. She never let the cerebral palsy get in the way of her desire to shoot. “I didn’t really think of it as being a challenge. I just wanted to do it…” she said.

Taylor Farmer Greg Drown multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy handicapped paralympic wheelchair junior cmp

Taylor built her marksmanship skills shooting rimfire rifles with a junior 4-H club. Her 4-H coach, Mary Ann Miller, recognized Taylor’s talent and introduced her to Greg Drown, a past State Champion shooter. That was the beginning of a great partnership…

Shooting Champion Doesn’t Let Multiple Sclerosis Stop Him
Greg Drown, 56, was a member of the Ohio State University Rifle team from 1980-1984, serving as team captain and earning numerous shooting honors. He competed in the 1984 Olympic Team Tryouts in Los Angeles and has been a State Champion in Three Position Air Rifle and Smallbore Prone. But a greater challenge lay ahead…

From 1995-2000, Greg gradually developed multiple sclerosis, a disabling condition of the central nervous system. His disease placed him in a wheelchair, but his determination kept him moving further into his shooting career (and winning a slew of gold medals and championships).

Taylor Farmer Greg Drown multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy handicapped paralympic wheelchair junior cmp

“It was a daunting task to re-learn the positions, not to mention shooting out of a chair with an attached table,” he said. “I had my trials and tribulations, but it took three or four years to become competitive again.” With determination, Greg reached the pinnacle of his career by winning the 2009 3P Any Sight Para National Championship at Camp Perry. He also made it to a Para World Cup in 2011.

Greg and Taylor Work Together
In September 2015, Greg and Taylor connected for the first time during the Ohio Day at the Range at Camp Perry. This event, held annually at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center, is conducted for children and adults with disabilities and their families.

“I grabbed a sporter rifle off the rack and Taylor began shooting off the foam rests,” Greg said. “She consistently put 20 or so shots in the 10 ring.”

Taylor then asked Greg if she could get rid of the rest and shoot out of the adapted standing position while seated in her wheelchair. To Greg’s amazement, she continued to put shot after shot in the 9 and 10 ring — all without a coat and glove.

(more…)

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November 20th, 2014

LSU Develops Shooting System for Disabled Marksmen

Story by Kyle Jillson for NRABlog.com
The NRA Foundation is proud to support Louisiana State University’s Mobile Marksman Project, a system developed by the LSU Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Program to help high-level quadriplegics to participate in the shooting sports. The nearly $2,200 grant funded the 2014 system, the team’s final design iteration.

Mobile Marksman disabled quadraplegic software LSU

Mobile Marksman disabled quadraplegic software LSUCreated in 2009, the Mobile Marksman Project is a manually-controlled shooting platform that allows handicapped hunters to aim and fire a mounted firearm with head-tracking software and a small tube that is activated with a puff of air.

Capstone Design Instructor Capt. Dave Giurintano and the Mobile Marksman team worked with high-level quadriplegics to address system requirements and create a lightweight, portable system that is simple to use and enjoy. Recent additions include recoil-absorbing legs and a rail-mounted camera that displays the crosshairs and target on a high-resolution digital screen.

“It has been our profound pleasure to have a hand in working on it, to extend the hunting and shooting experience to everyone, regardless of physical disability,” said Garen Armbruster, Mobile Marksman Team Leader.

Mobile Marksman disabled quadraplegic software LSU

Established in 1990, The NRA Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that raises tax-deductible contributions in support of a wide range of firearm-related public interest activities of the National Rifle Association of America and other organizations. These activities are designed to promote firearm and hunting safety, to enhance marksmanship skills, and to educate the general public about firearms.

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September 29th, 2014

Disabled Persons Enjoy Ohio Day at the Range

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.

disability disabled ohio day range

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.”

disability disabled ohio day range

disability disabled ohio day range

disability disabled ohio day range

disability disabled ohio day range

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April 29th, 2010

NRA Open Range Day For Disabled Shooters May 8th in Phoenix

NRA Open Range Day PhoenixThe Disabled Shooting Services of the National Rifle Association will host the second annual Open Range Day at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 8, 2010. Open Range Day is an all-inclusive event where certified trainers and instructors introduce a variety of shooting sports to people with physical disabilities. Sponsors provide shotguns, rifles, pistols and air rifles for the participants.

“We had a huge response from first-time shooters last year,” said Disabled Shooting Services Manager Vanessa Ross. “Registration for 2010 is already twice the size of last year’s class, and we can’t wait to get things started.”

Open Range Day begins with a safety clinic led by NRA Certified Instructors. Participants then have the opportunity to learn the proper way to shoot shotguns, rifles, pistols, and air guns. “The important thing is for everyone to explore their personal potential on the range and simply have fun,” explained Ross.

“We wouldn’t be able to hold such an event without our corporate sponsors,” said Ross. “Ruger, Savage, and Davidson’s are donating the use of their firearms, White Flyer Targets and Birchwood Casey are donating targets, while Kowa Optimed, Pyramyd Air, Lapua and Remington are donating spotting scopes and ammunition.” For more on Open Range Day, contact Vanessa Ross at (703) 267-1495 or email disabled_shooting [at] nrahq.org. CLICK HERE to learn more about NRA’s disabled shooting programs. If you’d like to volunteer as an Open Range Day assistant, click the link below.

NRA Open Range Day Volunteer Application Form

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May 17th, 2009

NRA Showcases Programs for Juniors and Disabled Shooters

One of the most popular activities at the 2009 NRA Annual Meeting was target shooting at an on-site air rifle range at the Phoenix Convention Center. There, shooters of all ages (and abilities) lined up to try a variety of air rifles and pistols at 10 meters (about 33 feet). Airguns were provided by Crosman, Beeman and other manufacturers.

air rifle shooting juniors NRA

From elementary school kids to senior citizens, a wide cross-section of visitors came to the air rifle range. It was great to see three and even four generations on the firing line. For many of the youngsters, this was their first opportunity to shoot a quality air rifle. A dedicated crew of volunteer range assistants provided instruction and ensured that safety was paramount.

NRA Disabled Shooting Services
In addition to the able-bodied, a number of shooters with disabilities or impairments joined the fun at the air rifle range. The NRA provided adaptive equipment that allowed shooters in wheelchairs or with limited arm strength to get (and stay) “on target”. Our friend Vanessa Warner, Manager of Disabled Shooting Services for the NRA, was helping out at the airgun range. When we arrived on Saturday morning with the cameras, Vanessa was helping Wayne, a wheelchair-bound, disabled veteran. Due to health problems, Wayne, a natural righty, was learning to aim with his left eye and pull the trigger with his left index finger. Switching from righty to left isn’t easy, but Wayne pulled it off.

Using a rifle rest, Wayne shot superbly, ripping out the center of the target. It turns out Wayne had learned a thing or two about marksmanship in his younger days — while in the military in the ’60s Wayne qualified as expert with four different weapons. He certainly demonstrated that even disabled shooters can enjoy the shooting sports, given the kind of adaptive support the NRA is providing under Warner’s leadership. In the video below, Vanessa explains what the NRA offers for disabled shooters.

YouTube Preview Image
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April 7th, 2009

Ben Avery Hosts Open Range Day for Disabled Shooters

One of our readers recently observed: “You know there’s so much negative news about the economy, gun laws etc., we need to read something positive to keep things in balance. Why don’t you guys do a ‘good news’ story every week in the Daily Bulletin?”

Good suggestion! Here’s an item that we think has a positive slant — a new shooting program for shooters with physical impairments….

Open Range Day for Disabled Shooters
On April 11, the NRA, lead by Disabled Shooting Services Manager Vanessa Warner, is hosting a first-ever “Open Range Day” at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. This event is the latest program offered by the National Rifle Association’s Disabled Shooting Services. The day will focus on introductory shooting for people with physical disabilities. Open Range Day will offer shotgun, rifle, pistol, and air rifle instruction. Warner expects around 80 participants for the inaugural event. “This is a pilot program for what we hope to expand to a national program,” Warner said.

Warner has secured the support of Colt Defense, Ruger Firearms, White Flyer Target, Remington, Kowa Optimed, Birchwood Casey, Davidson’s, Beeman, and Lapua. “We’re still accepting door prize donations,” Warner said.

The event is the first of its kind and will give participants the opportunity to fire a wide variety of firearms. NRAblog.com plans to report live from the event. For more information about Open Range Day or other services for disabled shooters, call Vanessa Warner at NRA Headquarters, (703) 267-1495, or e-mail disabled_shooting@nrahq.org.

Bob Foth Hired as Paralympic Shooting Coach
In related matters, USA Shooting announced the hiring of Olympic silver medalist Bob Foth as its new Paralympic Shooting Coach and Program Manager. A three-time Olympian in rifle, Foth brings a tremendous amount of experience to his new position. He began shooting competitively in 1972 and won numerous national and international medals during his shooting career. He was part of several world champion teams and set six world records. He joined the USA Shooting staff as Youth Programs and Coach Development Manager in 2006 and assumed his new role as Paralympic Coach/Manager on April 6, 2009. Foth will join Warner and NRAblog at the Ben Avery Shooting Complex in Phoenix on April 11 for Open Range Day.

CLICK HERE for large Ben Avery Map.

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