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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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.

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October 13th, 2011

NRA Creates Activity Authorization Card for Disabled Shooters

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 has created a way to make it easier for disabled shooters to shoot in NRA competitions. A new Special Authorization Card allows disabled competitors to shoot from a modified position [or wheelchair] based on the type of disability or handicap.

As Jessi McClain, NRA Disabled Shooting Services Coordinator explains: “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.

To learn more about Special Authorization Cards or the NRA’s Disabled Shooting Services, send an email to: disabled-shooting [at] nrahq.org.

Story by Kerrin Brinkman, courtesy The NRA Blog.
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May 13th, 2010

NRA Open Range Day Empowers Disabled Shooters

Disabled Open Range DayOpen Range Day in Phoenix, AZ is a special NRA program providing shooting opportunities for persons with disabilities. Under the direction of Vanessa Ross, NRA Disabled Shooting Services Manager, the 2d Annual Open Range Day was a great success. Art Merrill, a freelance writer for Shooting Illustrated, provides this on-the-spot report from Phoenix’s Ben Avery Shooting Facility.

Open Range Day Report (by Art Merrill)
Vanessa’s safety briefing Saturday morning was the no-nonsense pronouncement we’re used to hearing from rangemasters – except for the “sip & puff” part: “Always always always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction! Keep your finger away from the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. If you’re using the sip & puff trigger mechanism, don’t put it your mouth ’til you’re ready to shoot. If you need help, if you have a question, don’t be stubborn – ask a volunteer.”

Indoor Air Rifle Shooting Popular
The air rifles appealed to a lot of shooters today, and not just because it was indoors, sheltered from the 95-degree desert spring. Every shooter enjoys hitting reactive targets, in this case, air rifle metallic silhouette targets. But there are other reasons, as well: “I don’t like loud bangs,” Ashleigh Justice said. “I liked the .22 pistol, but the .38 was too much.”

Ashleigh had never shot a firearm before today. What motivated her to come out to Open Range Day? “I was afraid of guns. I wanted to get over it,” she said. “My husband shoots and I was tired of the anxiety I felt around guns.” Beyond that, however, was a desire to push the envelope of her disability to achieve something more: “I want to be good at something that takes skill more than physical ability”, she said. Looks like she found it: she, too came away from the firing line talking about the possibility of a regular air rifle competition.

Disabled Open Range DayShooting Provides Important Challenge
For Mike Tagliapetra, it’s all about challenge. You can feel it in his handshake even before he talks about competing in marathons and even a triathlon – using his wheelchair. Mike’s motivation, a quote from writer Ella Wheeler Wilcox, is boldly emblazoned on his business card: “There is no chance, no destiny, no fate that can hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.”

Open Range Day is winding down now, and the shooters are all going home. They had different motivations for being here and yet, because every participant said they want to return again next year. Something about the shooting sports is satisfying all of their motives. If there’s a common denominator to these motives, it’s the desire for challenge and the satisfaction of success – and empowerment – that comes from it. In the shooting sports, yes, there’s only one match winner; but every time we approach the firing line we are competing, not only against others, but also with ourselves to accomplish our personal best.

Contributions from many businesses made Open Range Day possible. Sponsors included: Birchwood Casey (targets), Colt (firearms), Davidson’s (Weatherby shotguns), Kowa (spotting scopes), Lapua (ammo), Pyramid Air (pellets), Ruger (firearms), Savage Arms (rifles), White Flyer (trap targets), and Winchester (ammo). Symbius Medical catered lunch, and Arizona’s Game & Fish Department made its world-class facility available for the event.

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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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September 8th, 2008

Vanessa Warner to Head NRA's Disabled Shooting Services

It’s great when a talented person we know gets selected for an important job. It’s even better when that person will now serve the shooting sports community in a key role. Vanessa Warner has accepted the position of Disabled Shooting Services Manager for the NRA. This is a great choice by the NRA, and shooters nationwide will benefit.

Vanessa is a respected long-range shooter with an impressive resume in marketing and communications. She will work within the National Rifle Association’s Competitive Shooting Division to improve the opportunities for disabled and physically-impaired shooters of all ages.

Vanessa Warren, NRA Disabled Services
Vanessa Warner (bottom row, left) at 2006 F-Class Nationals.

Warner’s responsibilities include planning, developing, and implementing shooting and hunting programs for the disabled community. Warner also serves as Secretary for both the NRA Protest Committee and the President’s Committee on Disabled Shooting.

Vanessa has big plans for the future of the NRA’s Disabled Shooting Services: “If you picture a wagon wheel, there is a center hub and a number of spokes that all connect to the outside rim. I want Disabled Shooting Services to be the hub,” Warner said. “Each of the spokes represents a shooting discipline and the outside rim is the shooting community at large. It is my dream to have full inclusion of disabled shooters on the firing lines-to have disabled and able-bodied shooters compete ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ in matches.”

Warner can be reached at NRA Headquarters by calling (703) 267-1495. CLICK HERE to learn more about NRA’s competitive shooting programs.

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