December 2nd, 2017

Marksmanship Fundamentals: Finger Placement on Trigger

kirsten joy weiss trigger placement shooting skills

You can spend thousands on a fancy new rifle, but all that expensive hardware won’t perform at its best if you have poor trigger technique. One key element of precision shooting is trigger control. Our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss has produced a good video that shows how to refine your trigger technique for better accuracy. In this video, Kirsten talks about the actual placement of a shooter’s index finger on the trigger. It is important to have the finger positioned optimally. Otherwise you can pull the shot slightly left or slightly right.

Kirsten tells us: “Finger placement on the trigger might not seem like a big deal, but it actually is. The reason for this is because, depending on where your index finger is placed on the trigger, [this] translates to different muscle interactions with the gun.” Watch this video to see Kirsten demonstrate proper finger placement (and explain problems caused by improper finger positioning).

When you pull the trigger, you only want to engage the last section of your finger, in order to avoid unwanted muscle engagement and to achieve a smooth shot. Remember there is a “sweet spot” between the crease (first joint) and the tip of the finger. If you position the trigger in that “sweet spot”, you should see an increase in your accuracy. Don’t make the mistake of putting the trigger in the crease of your finger, as shown below.

kirsten joy weiss trigger placement shooting skills

Effects of Incorrect Finger Placements
You want to place the trigger shoe between the end of your finger and the first joint. If you place the trigger on the very tip of you finger you’ll tend to push the rear of the rifle to the left when engaging the trigger, causing shots to go right (for a right-handed shooter). On the other hand, if you put the trigger in the crease (first joint), you’ll tend to bring the rear of the rifle to the right, causing shots to fall left. This is illustrated below for a right-handed shooter.

kirsten joy weiss trigger placement shooting skills

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November 15th, 2017

Pistol Fundamentals Explained — Infographic and Video

pistol fundamentals NRA marksmanship sight alignment
Photo courtesy St. Bernard Indoor Shooting Center.

Do you enjoy shooting pistols for sport, or perhaps you carry a handgun for self-defense? If you’re like most of us, you might benefit from a “refresher course” on the fundamentals of handgun shooting. The NRA has created a useful Infographic that covers important basics of handgun marksmanship — key things such as Sight Alignment and Trigger Control. Here are the first two (2) lessons. Click the link below to see all SIX (6) training topics: Sight Alignment, Sight Focus, Trigger Control, Breath Control, Hold Control, and Follow-Through.

CLICK HERE for FULL INFOGRAPHIC with SIX LESSONS

pistol fundamentals NRA marksmanship sight alignment

VIEW ALL Six Handgun Fundamentals

Video Shows Sight Alignment, Grip, Stance, Trigger Control and More
In this USAMU video, SGT Shane Coley talks about the basics of sight alignment and trigger control. But then SGT Coley talks about other important control factors such as grip, arm position, and body stance. For rapid-fire shooting, you need to have a good arm and body positioning to control recoil and get back on target quickly. This video is a valuable complement to the NRA Infographic because it demonstrates all the important pistol fundamentals during live fire, at the range.

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October 29th, 2017

Practical Shooting Skills for Hunters — Field Rests

Thomas Haugland HuntingHunting season is here — and we know many of our readers will soon head to the woods in pursuit of deer, elk, or other game. To make a good shot, it’s wise to rest your rifle when possible. In this video, methods for stabilizing a rifle in the field are demonstrated by Forum member Thomas Haugland, who hails from Norway. Thomas focuses on practical field shooting skills for hunters. In this video, Thomas (aka ‘Roe’ on Forum and Sierra645 on YouTube) shows how to verify his zeros from bipod and then he demonstrates improvised field rests from the prone, kneeling, and sitting positions.

Thomas explains: “In this video I focus on basic marksmanship techniques and making ready for this year’s hunt. As a last check before my hunting season, I got to verify everything for one last time. My trajectory is verified again, the practical precision of the rifle is verified. I also practice making do with the best [improvised] rest possible when an opportunity presents itself. After getting knocked in the face by a 338LM rifle during a previous filming session, I had to go back to basics to stop [flinching]. I include some details from bipod shooting that hopefully some hunters will find useful. Fingers crossed for this years season, good luck!”

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October 28th, 2017

Fathers and Sons Compete at Talladega Marksmanship Park

Talladega Marksmanship Park father son shooting competition
Terry Mathy (right) watched as his father Dusty (left) fired on electronic targets for the first time.

Here’s a “feel-good” account of father and son duos who competed this year at the CMP’s modern Talladega Marksmanship Park. It’s great to see fathers introduce their children to the shooting sports, and carry on the tradition of marksmanship from generation to generation.

“In my opinion, there is no better way to teach responsibility, self-discipline, integrity and to build trust. There are so many lessons in shooting sports, and in hunting, which apply to other areas of life. It’s also an opportunity to build an understanding of the freedoms we enjoy, why we have those freedoms and why we must act responsibly to preserve them.”

“It makes me proud when others approach us at the range and compliment [my son] Terry on his safety and etiquette. There are no stronger bonds between father and son than those formed in the woods, on the water, and at the range.” — Dusty Mathy

Through the Eyes of Father and Son: The Affinity of Marksmanship
Report based on story by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer

The Talladega Marksmanship Park is a major draw for marksmen around the country. Just ask father/son duo Dusty and Terry Mathy. Back in June 2017, SSG Dusty Mathy (U.S. Army) visited Talladega for the first time. Dusty brought along all four members of his family: wife Rachel, son Terry (9) and daughter Olivia (8). The Mathy family traveled all the way from their Kansas home to attend the Talladega D-Day matches.

Talladega Marksmanship Park father son shooting competition
During the D-Day event, father Dusty Mathy earned a medal for his Carbine Match performance and posed with his son, Terry (left).

During the D-Day match, father Dusty took his first shots on outdoor electronic High Power targets, an experience he won’t soon forget: “That alone was worth the trip… Shooting an entire EIC match, start to finish in about 90 minutes, with no pit duty, [was] priceless.” Son Terry helped out by recording scores: “I marked my Dad’s shots in the data book, and looking at the electronic targets saved time. The match was much faster, and it was easy to see how my dad was doing. And easy to mark his shots.”

Talladega Marksmanship Park father son shooting competition
Talladega Marksmanship Park in Alabama is a 500-acre facility featuring modern electronic target systems with monitors at each shooting station.

For Dusty and Terry, marksmanship is more than putting shots through a target — it’s a way of building character and … enjoying life together. When Terry was 7, the two shot at their first Project Appleseed event, where they learned about American history as well as marksmanship. Now the father and son regularly shoot at a local 300-yard Vintage Sniper Match using Terry’s .223 Savage Axis in Open class. Terry’s skills continue to improve each time he fires — his personal best so far is 97-3X.

During the week the Mathy family visited the South CMP Store in Anniston and took a tour of the CMP’s impressive armory. The family also attended the barbeque the CMP hosts as a “thank you” for competitors and guests. “It was outstanding,” said Dusty of his family’s experience. “We met some really great people at the matches. Rachel and Olivia really appreciated the relaxing environment in the Club House and being able to sit at the little covered bleachers during the matches.”

The Lewis Father and Son Team at Talladega
There was another father and son team at the Talladega during the D-Day event in June 2017. LTC Jerry Lewis and his son Josh Lewis (16) of Fayetteville, Georgia, both attended and competed in the Talladega D-Day event together. Though still in high school, Josh is an accomplished marksman who learned his skills from his father, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. military.

Talladega Marksmanship Park father son shooting competition
Josh Lewis shoots M1 Garand (.30-06 Sprg) while his father Jerry Lewis tallies the score.

Talladega Marksmanship Park father son shooting competition
Jerry and Josh Lewis are another example of family teams who enjoy Talladega’s competitions and deluxe shooting facilities. There are shotgun and pistol ranges along with the rifle range.

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May 21st, 2017

Review Shooting Fundamentals with Ryan Cleckner Video

Still Tac30 action tactical rifle Ryan Cleckner book
Photo by Forum member GAT. Chambered in 6-6.5×47 Lapua, this rifle features a Stiller TAC30 action, Krieger barrel, Harrells brake, Konohawk Stock, and Sightron SIII 6-24x50mm scope.

Ryan Cleckner has created many good shooting videos for the NSSF, such as his excellent Understanding MOA Video. Ryan is noted for his ability to explain complex topics in an easy-to-comprehend manner. This video, covering the fundamentals of shooting, has been viewed over 1.6 million times. It’s worth watching, particularly for guys getting started in PRS/practical competitions.

In this video, Ryan Cleckner reviews proper technique for rifle shooters. A stable platform, sight alignment, sight picture, and trigger control are key fundamentals to shooting properly. This is basic stuff, but Cleckner presents it in a clear, logical fashion. This is a good video for novice shooters.

Tip on Viewing Your Reticle:
Cleckner: “Sometimes it can be difficult to focus between the target and the reticle, even with the parallax adjusted properly. I recommend you focus only on the reticle. Just like the front sight on a rifle or a handgun, that reticle is what you can control, and it’s what matters. Focus on a crisp, clear reticle, in a stable platform, and all that’s left is trigger control.”

Tip on Trigger Control:
Cleckner: “Trigger control is pretty straightforward, as long as you think about it as a continuous process, and not just one thing that happens. I like to think about it as drawing a line in the dirt. I like to think about this constant pressure that I’m adding as I draw this line straight back, and then… continuing to draw that line even as the rifle goes off. That’s the good follow-through you’ll need.”

Long Range Shooting Handbook — A Good Resource
Cleckner has authored a book, the Long Range Shooting Handbook, which expands on the topics covered in the above video. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com.

Ryan Cleckner’s new book is designed as an intro to important fundamental concepts such as MOA vs. Mils, External Ballistics, and Environmental Effects. Included are personal tips and advice based on Cleckner’s years of experience as a sniper instructor and special operations sniper.

The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter.

As a long-range shooting expert, Ryan Cleckner has impressive credentials. Cleckner was a special operations sniper (1/75 RGR) with multiple combat deployments, and he has served a U.S. Army sniper instructor. Currently he works as a firearms industry executive and attorney.

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May 5th, 2017

NSSF Offers Grants to Boy Scouts of America Councils

BSA Boy Scouts Council Rifle Shooting Grants NSSFThe National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is pleased to announce the launch of its annual grants partnership with the Boy Scouts of America Councils. Through this partnership, BSA Councils can receive a portion of $100,000 in NSSF-provided grant funds to develop or expand their troop activities in target shooting and marksmanship. Target shooting programs continue to rank among Scouting’s most popular activities, teaching firearms and range safety, teamwork building and fundraising skills.

“This seventh year of supporting the BSA Council Grant Program … brings with it a new level of excitement,” said Zach Snow, NSSF Director, Range Services. “Safety and marksmanship training through the Boy Scouts is a time-honored introduction to the shooting sports. We’re looking forward to increased participation from Scouts pursuing [merit] badges in these activities and then taking those new skills afield for a lifetime of enjoyment.”

How Scouting Groups Can Apply for Grants
BSA Councils wishing to apply for grants should visit the grant guidelines and application procedures at nssf.org/bsagrant. Councils awarded funds through NSSF’s BSA Grant Program must use those grants to purchase of equipment and supplies for their shooting sports activities from an NSSF Member Retailer. The full list of these retailers is available at nssf.org/retailers/find. Examples of qualifying purchases are: ammunition, eye and ear protection, firearms, targets and shooting vests. For more information on this special program and qualifications, contact NSSF’s Zach Snow at zsnow@nssf.org or 203-426-1320 ext. 224.

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April 18th, 2017

Teaching New Shooters — CMP Training Resources

The CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) offers a wide variety of resources for novice shooters and juniors. These materials help novices learn basic marksmanship skills and get started in competition. Some resources can be downloaded from the CMP website, while others are available for purchase from the CMP E-Store. In addition, The CMP maintains a Coaching Resources webpage with dozens of informative articles. Here are some of the CMP articles you can find online:

teaching shooting positions youth junior

Videos

These short marksmanship trainging videos cover the basics of the Kneeling, Standing, and Prone postions. (NOTE: these are live links — videos will launch when you click.)

(more…)

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December 16th, 2016

Holiday GIFT Picks — Top 10 DVDs and Free Shipping

David Tubb Jim Hill High Power DVD instruction video CD

Today, December 16th, 2016, Creedmoor Sports is offering FREE SHIPPING on ALL orders within the Continental USA. Orders must be placed by 11:59 PM EST, on Friday, December 16. And now through January 2, 2017, Creedmoor is offering holiday sale prices on a host of products, including match ammo, shooting coats, gun cases, gloves, spotting scopes, shooting mats, eyewear, and much more.

In its Holiday Shopping Catalog, Creedmoor has also cut prices on its best-selling instructional DVDs. You can save up to $9.50 per disc, with typical savings of 20% or more. Serious High Power rifle competitors can definitely benefit from these informative DVDs which combine instruction with photos, video, and interviews. Here are three highly recommended DVDs, the first from Triple-Distinguished Marksman Jim Hill and the other two from 11-Time National High Power Champion David Tubb. You can ORDER these DVDs Online.

David Tubb Jim Hill High Power DVD instruction video CD

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December 10th, 2016

Marksmanship Camps for Youngsters — Openings Available

Dustin Ellermann Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann is not just a great shooter. He also directs a Christian-oriented youth program in Texas. In the spring of 2017, Dustin’s Camp His Way team will be offering weekend marksmanship camps for youngsters and teens. Dustin tells us that there are still a few spots available for the Kids’ Camps on February 25-26 and March 25-26, as well as the Teen Camp on March 11-12, 2017. These two-day Camps make a great holiday gift for youngsters. The programs are conducted at Camp His Way outside of Zavalla, Texas. For more information, visit Marksmancamp.com.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

These weekend Marksmanship Camps are specially designed for kids aged 9-13 and teens 14-18. The Christian-oriented two-day camps focus on safety, marksmanship skills, and team building. Campers enjoy a host of fun skill-oriented activities: Airgun Shooting, Archery, Blowguns, Knife Throwing, Paintball Games, Slingshots, Tomahawk Throwing, and of course Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship with a variety of rifles. The Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship program features Volquartsen Custom Rifles, S&W M&P 15-22s, Ruger 10/22s, Savage bBolt Actions, and Henry Lever Actions.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

The Kids’ (ages 9-13) Marksmanship Weekends cost $270. Teen (ages 14-18) Camps are $300.00. These fees include all ammo, equipment, meals, lodging, team t-shirt, and one adult guest spectator. Parents are welcome to attend and spectate, but participation in marksmanship activities is limited to the kids at this time. CLICK HERE to reserve a spot — a few openings are still available.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

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December 6th, 2016

TEN TITLES for Christmas — Great Gift Books For Shooters

AccurateShooter Christmas Book List recommended shooting books

Christmas is coming soon. Books have always been popular holiday gifts. If you haven’t completed your holiday shopping, here are some recommended titles that should please the serious shooters and firearms enthusiasts on your shopping list. For shooting clubs, books also make great end-of-season member awards. Most of us would rather have a useful book than one more piece of wood to toss in a box in the closet.

Here Are TEN BOOKS Recommended for Serious Shooters:

Top-Grade Ammo
by Glen Zediker, $34.95 (Softcover)

Glen Zediker’s brand new book, Top-Grade Ammo, is hot off the press. Many folks believe this is Glen’s best book ever. This 314-page resource covers every aspect of the reloading process — component sorting, priming, sizing, bullet seating and more. With 430 photos, Top-Grade Ammo is a richly-illustrated, step-by-step guide to producing high-quality handloads. Unlike many reloading books, Top-Grade Ammo is truly current and up-to-date, so it covers modern practices and the latest precision reloading tools. While Zediker focuses on producing match-grade ammo for competition, this book will also help novice reloaders on a budget. It’s written for all hand-loaders — beginners through advanced. This book features a special “lay-flat” binding so it’s easy to use as a benchtop reference. To view Chapter List and sample pages visit ZedikerPublishing.com.

Modern Advancements in LR Shooting
by Bryan Litz, $27.99 (Kindle), $43.95 (Hardcover)

If you’re a serious long-range shooter, consider adding this book to your library. Relying on extensive ballistics testing, Modern Advancements contains some fascinating research results, including the effects of twist rate on muzzle velocity, BC, and precision. Other sections detail the evolution of modern rifle, bullet, and optics designs. And there is an important comparison test of chronographs. Laser rangefinders and wind measurement devices are explained in detail by contributing author Nick Vitalbo. This book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to understand the current “state of the art” in today’s shooting world. There is a ton of “hard science” in this book — not just opinions.

mike ratigan book Extreme Rifle Accuracy
by Mike Ratigan, $35.65 (Softcover)

This book should be on the shelf of every short-range benchrest shooter. (Shooters in other disciplines will find the book helpful as well.) Butch Lambert says Mike’s book is “far and away the best Benchrest book written. Very comprehensive, it touches on every aspect of our game.” Mike’s 368-page book is dedicated to getting the most from modern rifle accuracy equipment with an emphasis on shooting 100-200-300 yard group benchrest tournaments. This book covers the most popular hardware plus new equipment offerings are covered, including external mount scopes, actions, triggers, stocks, wind flags, and more. Also covered are rifle handling techniques, note taking, tuning, bullet selection, goals, and match strategies. Mike provides many tips that will help active competitors update their own competitive program.

Nancy Tompkins Long Range book Prone and Long-Range Rifle Shooting
by Nancy Tompkins, $45.00, (Hardcover, 2d Edition).

Nancy Tompkins is one of the greatest long-range shooters in American history. She has won five National Long-range Championships. Tompkins’ treatise is a must-read for serious Palma, F-Class, and High Power shooters. The revised Second edition includes F-Class equipment and techniques, and newly updated information. Color pictures. Topics include Mental & Physical training, Reading Wind & Mirage Shooting Fundamentals, International Competition, and Loading for Long Range. Nancy Tompkins is a 4-time winner of the National Long Range Championships, and has won countless other major events. Nancy has been on six Palma Teams (as both a shooter and a coach).

Tony Boyer Book rifle accuracy benchrest Long Range Shooting Handbook
by Ryan Cleckner, $24.95 (list); $10.67 (Softcover, Amazon Price), $9.99 (Kindle)

Ryan Cleckner is noted for his ability to explain complex topics in an easy-to-comprehend manner. Now Cleckner has authored a book, the Long Range Shooting Handbook, which expands on the topics covered in Cleckner’s popular NSSF video series. The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com.

Tony Boyer Book rifle accuracy benchrest The Book of Rifle Accuracy
by Tony Boyer, $34.50 (Softcover); $42.50 (Hardcover).

Tony Boyer, the most successful shooter in the history of short-range benchrest competition, shares many of his match-winning tips in this 323-page book. The book covers all aspect of the benchrest discipline: loading, windflags, rest set-up, addressing the rifle, and match strategies. This is a high-quality publication, filled with valuable insights. Every serious benchrest shooter should read Tony’s book. Boyer has dominated registered benchrest in a fashion that will never be duplicated, having amassed 142 U.S. Benchrest Hall of Fame points. The next closest shooter, Allie Euber, has 47 Hall of Fame points. This handsome, full-color book is 323 pages long, with color photos or color illustrations on nearly every page.

David Tubb High Power Rifle The Rifle Shooter
by G. David Tubb, $34.95 (Softcover)

This book by 11-time National High Power Champion David Tubb focuses on position shooting and High Power disciplines. Section One covers fundamentals: position points, natural point of aim, breathing, triggering mechanics and follow-through, sling selection and use, getting started, getting better, avoiding obstacles. Section Two covers mechanics of offhand, sitting, and prone positions. Section Three covers shooting skills, including wind reading and mental preparation. Section Four covers the technical side of shooting, with extensive disuctions of rifle design, load development, reloading barrel maintenance, and rifle fitting. We consider this book a “must-read” for any sling shooter, and there is plenty of good advice for F-Class shooters too.

Bullseye Midnd Raymond Prior Creedmoor Sports Bullseye Mind
(Mental Toughness for Sport Shooting)
by Dr. Raymond Prior, $17.95 (Softcover).

Having a Bullseye Mind means thinking in ways that create confidence and consistency, even under pressure. A “must-read” for competitive shooters, Bullseye Mind is a mental training book written specifically for the shooting sports. The book is well-organized, with handy highlighted lists and key “talking points”. Each chapter concludes with examples from a world-class shooters such as: Matt Emmons, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist; Vincent Hancock, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist; Jamie Corkish, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist; Petra Zublasing, 2014 World Champion/ISSF Shooter of the Year; and Nicco Campriani, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, 2010 World Champion. This book has earned rave reviews from competitive shooters who found it really helped their “Mental Game”. One recent purchaser states: “This book is as though you had a coach in your back pocket…”

Miller Cunningham Wind Book The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters
by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham, $20.53 (Softcover).

Many of our Forum members have recommended The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham. This 146-page book, published in 2007, is a very informative resource. But you don’t have to take our word for it. If you click this link, you can read book excerpts on Amazon.com. This lets you preview the first few chapters, and see some illustrations. Other books cover wind reading in a broader discussion of ballistics or long-range shooting. But the Miller & Cunningham book is ALL about wind reading from cover to cover, and that is its strength. The book focuses on real world skills that can help you accurately gauge wind angle, wind velocity, and wind cycles.

Boelter Book Rimfire Rifleman’s Guide to Rimfire Ammunition
by Steven Boelter, $29.95 (Softcover)

Steven Boelter’s 352-page book is a comprehensive study of all types of rimfire ammunition (including 17s and 22 mags), with over 600 photos. In a remarkable undertaking, Steven Boelter fired every brand and sample of rimfire ammo he could acquire (including .22 LR, 17 Mach 2, 17 HMR and .22 WMR), and recorded all the results. In all, Steven tested 11 brands and 137 different rimfire rounds, firing over 32,000 test rounds.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
July 12th, 2016

Talladega Marksmanship Park on Shooting USA This Week

Talladega Marksmanship Park
The Talladega Marksmanship Park boasts Kongsberg electronic targets at 200, 300, and 600 Yards.

The CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park — the most impressive (and high-tech) shooting facility in North America, will be featured on this week’s episode of Shooting USA television. The show tours the Talladega facility and spotlights Talladega’s first-ever competition, the inaugural D-Day Memorial match last year. (Talladega recently held its second D-Day match on June 4-5, 2016).

Shooting USA Television Air Times (Wednesday/Thursday) on the Outdoor Channel:
Eastern Time: 9:00 PM, 12:30 AM, 3:00 AM (Th)
Central Time: 8:00 PM, 11:30 PM, 2:00 AM (Th)
Mountain Time: 7:00 PM, 10:30 PM, 1:00 AM (Th)
Pacific Time: 6:00 PM, 9:30 PM, Midnight

John C. Garand Match — Part of D-Day Memorial Event
Talladega Marksmanship Park

Talladega is known for NASCAR and its super-speedway, but now there is another destination for sports enthusiasts, thanks to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). Congress created the CMP in 1903 with an original mission to promote civilian marksmanship, but in its 110-year history, the CMP never had its own range. So, the organization built the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park, a $20 million sports facility, one of the most advanced shooting sports facilities in the world.

Talladega Marksmanship Park

Talladega Marksmanship Park

“You won’t find another place like this in the United States, and I think in most of the world,” says Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama. “You know, I brag on the Talladega 500 all the time, being the fastest NASCAR track, and now I’ll be able to brag about having the best, if not the most world-class marksmanship facilities in the world here in the same neck of the woods.”

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July 7th, 2016

Prepare for Perry — Opening Ceremony Monday, July 11, 2016

Camp Perry 2016 National Matches

On Monday, July 11th, the CMP and NRA host the 2016 First Shot Ceremony, the official opening of the National Trophy Pistol and Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. The ceremony kicks off at 9:30 am and is open to the public.

Camp Perry First Shot Ceremony 2016 Ohio

The event begins with music from the 122nd Army Band. Next come aerial fly-overs by a Navy TBM Avenger, a WWII-era B-25 bomber, and the Yankee Air Museum’s Yankee Lady B-17. Vintage military vehicles (jeeps and tanks) will also be on display during the ceremony.

After the aircraft, a salute will be fired from four artillery pieces, which span 200+ years of the nation’s history. The “Guns of July” will include: War of 1812-era cannon, Civil War-era cannon, modern-era 37mm anti-aircraft gun, and last but not least, Camp Perry’s own 70mm cannon.

The distinguished First Shot Speaker will be CMP Board Member, Oscar Mahlon Love, a former Commissioner of the New Mexico State Police and Civilian Aide Senior to the Secretary of the Army. After the speech Mr. Love will fire the first official shot of the National Matches down Rodriguez Range.

Birds-Eye View of Camp Perry Ranges
We know many of our worldwide readers may never have a chance to visit Camp Perry in person, but they are still interested in this historic facility on the shore of Lake Erie, near Port Clinton, Ohio. If you’ve always wanted to see what Camp Perry looks like, here are a series of “Birds-eye” photos taken from the Beach Tower.

Photos Courtesy Civilian Marksmanship Program.
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April 5th, 2016

Scouting on Target — The Marksmanship Merit Badge

Boy Scout Merit Badge American Rifleman

Last year 43,196 young Americans earned a very special marksmanship distinction. Can you guess what that was? Here’s a hint — the award helps a young person become an Eagle Scout. That’s right, last year 43,196 Boy Scouts earned the Marksmanship Merit Badge for rifle shooting. This is one of the toughest badges to earn, according to Scouting leaders, but it is still one of the most popular badges among Scouts — it fact it is the second most earned elective merit badge. Since 1910, over 350,000 Scouts have earn Rifle Shooting Merit Badges. Millions more have participated in Boy Scout Shooting programs. Merit badges are offered for both Rifle Shooting and Shotgun shooting.

Mark Keefe, editor of the American Rifleman explains: “According to Scouting magazine, the Rifle Shooting Merit badge was number two of the non-required badges earned by all Boy Scouts cross country last year with 43,196 Rifle Shooting merit badges sewn on sashes. Since 2009, again according to Scouting, nearly 350,000 Rifle Shooting merit badges have been earned. That’s a lot of merit badges — and a lot of .22 Long Rifle downrange.”

Boy Scout Merit Badge American Rifleman

The Marksmanship Merit Badge has been offered by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) since the first Boy Scout Handbook in 1910. Keefe explains: “Back in 1910 to earn the ‘Marksman’ Badge of Merit, you had to ‘Qualify as a marksman in accordance with the requirements of the National Rifle Association.’ And NRA and the BSA of have had a strong partnership for more than a century, and both organizations remain committed to teaching firearms safety and marksmanship.”

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April 1st, 2016

NRA Launches New “MRA” Activities Program for Millennials

Millenials NRA MRA participation trophy

At its upcoming Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, the National Rifle Association (NRA) will launch a new activities program for Millennials — young Americans in their 20s and early 30s. The new MRA (Millennial Rifle Activities) program will include a series of special events for Millennials held throughout the nation. These MRA “gatherings” will be unique among NRA competition disciplines. First, all participants in MRA events will receive a participation badge or trophy for showing up. Second, though shooting at targets will be encouraged, no actual gun-handling is required. Millennial participants can choose to watch instead. Finally, for those who do choose to shoot at MRA events, scoring will optional. Actual scores will be kept confidential, and there will be no published rankings. “At MRA events”, promises an NRA news release, “all participants will be winners.”

Millenials NRA MRA participation trophyThe NRA’s new MRA activities program targets “Millennials” — the young Americans raised on video games and the internet. If you’re not familiar with the term “Millennials”, this refers to Americans born between 1980 and 2000. They represent “the first generation that grew up with the internet and the first to have truly incorporated technology into their daily lives.” READ More.

Scoring Optional at Millennials Matches
Creating a competition program for Millennials has been challenging. With short attention spans, Millennials are easily distracted and they lack motivation to prepare or practice. Very self-absorbed, Millennials were raised on “instant gratification” and see themselves as entitled. These personality traits seem to run contrary to the focus, self-discipline, and mindset required for serious competition. Accordingly, the NRA has taken a whole new approach to MRA matches — scores won’t count and the focus will be on participation. Said one member of the NRA Competition Committee: “These were the kids who got ‘participation trophies’ for playing soccer. We are offering the same kinds of rewards. At our Millennial Matches you’ll be acknowledged just for showing up. Scoring will be optional. The emphasis is not on winning, but on participating.”

Millenials NRA MRA participation trophy

An NRA spokesman told us: “We’ve done a lot of research into the Millennial group. This demographic is very different than older generations. They expect to be rewarded for participation and they don’t want to be judged by objective standards, such as numeric scores. We’ve also learned that they like to do activities on the spur of the moment and without preparation. That’s why actual shooting will be optional at MRA events. We expect that many participants will arrive completely unprepared — without a gun or ammo. But they can still participate, and be acknowledged… and that’s what it’s all about. We want to get more Millennials involved, whether they actually shoot or not.”

NRA Millennials Outreach Follows Success of NRA Programs for Women
The NRA’s outreach programs have enabled the organization to grow its membership base successfully. For example, in recent years the NRA has significantly expanded the ranks of female members. The NRA now offers a wide variety of programs expressly for women, including self-defense training and women’s wilderness retreats. The NRA also maintains a media channel for women, NRAwomen.tv. This broadcast/web channel promotes women’s activities and recognizes top female shooters.

Millenials NRA MRA participation trophy

Millennials Create Unique Challenges for Match Directors
Dennis Santiago is a seasoned match director with decades of experience running NRA matches. He said that finding a formula for the new Millennials Match “gatherings” has been a challenge: “Designing a competitive course of fire for the new MRA Millennials discipline is not as easy as you would think. Millennials have short attention spans and it is difficult to draw them away from their digital devices. You have to come up with range commands that can attract their attention. We are thinking of sending commands via Twitter, or possibly streaming match instructions over Spotify.”

Dennis also noted that a shooting competition with “optional scoring” is something new and different for the NRA. “The concept of recording and reporting scores was hotly debated. Ultimately we decided to make scoring optional. We concluded that mandatory scoring would probably discourage participation by Millennials. To a generation that has been rewarded for simply showing up, we wanted to create a ‘safe space’ and a non-threatening environment for this new class of competitor.”

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January 6th, 2016

Click No Bang — Dry-Fire Training with Kirsten

kirsten weiss dry fire anschutz smallbore

Kirsten Joy Weiss has created a useful video about Dry-Fire practice. Dry-Fire is a method of training without a live round in the chamber. Dry-Firing is effective, Kirsten explains, because “it eliminates all the extra noise and messages that you get when you fire a live round. Without recoil, without the sound of a shot going off etc., all you hear is the click of the trigger. This allows you to focus on your sight picture and your trigger press.” This the lastest installment in Kirsten’s ‘How to Shoot Awesomely’ series. Kisten says: “I hope it helps you, and keep on aiming true!”

kirsten weiss dry fire anschutz smallbore

Dennis DeMille High PowerThe Benefits of Dry-Fire Training
If you are not doing Dry-Fire practice yet, then it’s time to start. Dry-Fire training is essential to the sling disciplines, and very useful for F-Class. Dennis DeMille, a national Service Rifle Champion, told us that, for every minute he spent in actual competition, he would spend hours practicing without ammunition. While in the USMC, Dennis would practice in the barracks, working on his hold and dry-firing:

“The most important thing is to spend time off the range practicing. Most of what I learned as a High Power shooter I learned without ammunition — just spending time dry firing and doing holding exercises. Holding exercises will really identify the weak parts of your position. The primary purpose of dry firing is to get you used to shooting an empty rifle. If you can shoot a loaded rifle the same way you shoot an empty rifle then eventually you will become a High Master.”

Dry-Fire Training Can Benefit Benchrest Shooters
What about benchrest? Well, we’ve found that Dry-Fire sessions can even benefit benchresters — it can help reveal flaws in your trigger technique, or inconsistencies in the way you address the rifle from shot to shot. With the gun set up with your front rest and rear bag, if you see the scope’s cross-hairs wiggle a lot when you pull the trigger, you need to work on your technique. Also, dry-fire practice can help you learn to work the bolt more smoothly so you don’t disturb the gun on the bags.

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December 27th, 2015

CMP Offers College Scholarships for Young Competitors

CMP Scholarship

CMP ScholarshipThe Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) invites young men and women shooters to apply for CMP scholarships for the 2016-2017 school year. The CMP offers $1,000 one-year scholarships to current high school seniors. Since 2005, CMP has awarded over $1 million in scholarship grants.

Last year the CMP authorized over 150 scholarships. Based on merit, selected individuals are high school seniors who are currently enrolled in a team or club that is participating in rifle or pistol marksmanship competitions. Applicants must provide rifle or pistol competition history, list of awards, and future goals in the shooting sports. Applicants must also provide academic GPA and an official high school transcript (3.0 Minimum GPA Required).

Applications are Being Accepted Now for 2016-2017
The CMP is now taking scholarship applications for the 2016-2017 freshman college year. Scholarships are one-year awards that may be used to fund any accredited, post-secondary education or vocational program. (Note: Students planning to enroll in a military academy are not eligible).

CMP Scholarship Regulations | 2016-2017 Scholarship Application Form.

The deadline for CMP Scholarship Application is March 20, 2016. Learn more about the program at the CMP Website Scholarship Page. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Williams at 419-635-2141, ext. 709, or email kwilliams [@] thecmp.org.

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December 26th, 2015

Spots Still Available for Texas Youth Marksmanship Camps

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

You may not know it, but Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellerman is not just a great shooter. He’s also a youth camp director. Dustin runs a Christian-oriented camp in Texas. This spring, the camp will be offering weekend marksmanship camps for youngsters and teens. Dustin tells us that there are still a few spots available for the popular Kids’ Camp which offers a “Top Shot” type experience: “We have openings for the Kids’ Camps on February 20-21 and February 27-28. These are for kids ages 9-13. Sorry but the March 5-6 Teen/Parent Camp is full.” For more information, visit Marksmancamp.com.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

At Camp His Way in Zavalla, Texas, Ellermann hosts weekend Marksmanship Camps for kids aged 9-13 and teens 14-18. The Christian-oriented camps focus on safety, marksmanship skills, and team building. Campers enjoy a host of fun skill-oriented activities: Airgun Shooting, Archery, Blowguns, Knife Throwing, Paintball Games, Slingshots, Tomahawk Throwing, and of course Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship with a variety of rifles.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

The Kids’ (ages 9-13) Marksmanship Weekends cost $270. That fee includes all ammo, equipment, meals, lodging, team t-shirt, and one adult guest spectator. Parents are welcome to attend and spectate, but participation in marksmanship activities is limited to the kids at this time. CLICK HERE to reserve a spot — a few openings are still available.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

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December 21st, 2015

Intro to F-Class Shooting — How to Get Started

Intro to F-Class Shooting

Have Fun with Rifles and Equipment You Probably Already Have….
Forum member Rod Vigstol (aka Nodak7mm) has written a great Introduction to F-Class for shooters getting started in this rewarding discipline. Rod’s article, which originally appeared in the Rifleman’s Journal Blog, covers F-Class basics and addresses concerns that “newbies” may have when trying a new shooting sport. Rod stresses that most guys who own a varmint-hunting or tactical rig likely have nearly all the gear they need to give F-Class competition a try.

Rod explains: “If you’re reading this, you have more than just a general interest in the shooting sports and in the awesome rifles that shoot tiny groups at insane distances. You probably even have friends that enjoy shooting as much as you do. The quandary you may find yourself in is your friends haven’t quite jumped into it head-first like you have and they haven’t spent a lot of money and time obtaining the equipment you have to go shoot these matches. But you know what? Your prairie-dog shooting buddy or coyote-hunter friend can attend these matches and shoot alongside with you. He or she more than likely already has the basic equipment needed to shoot a match.” Most varmint shooters already have a suitable, accurate rifle and the following equipment:

• A variable-power scope in the 4.5-14x range or higher.
• A front bipod like the trusty old Harris 9″-13″, or maybe even a basic pedestal front rest.
• A rear sand-bag or similar sand-sock to rest the butt stock.
• A basic shooting mat from Midway or at least a piece of carpet or canvas to lay on.

Intro to F-Class Shooting

Rod also provides a handy checklist of items to bring to the range. These include: Canvas or carpet strip (to set under bipod), Notebook, Kitchen Timer, Cleaning Rod, Camp Chair, Elbow Pads, Shooting Hat, and Open Bolt Indicator (OBI). Along with rifle, bipod (or front rest), rear bag, and ammo, that’s pretty much all you need.

Intro to F-Class Shooting

Rod encourages all shooters to give F-Class a try — even novices. Rod explains: “We have all been rookies, newbies, new kids on the block or whatever. So we all have a good idea of what may be going on in your mind, the questions and concerns you may have. I’m telling you this sport is full of fantastic people who deep down find it far more fulfilling to help a new shooter get started than running a clean target. You just have to take the first step to get involved.”

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June 2nd, 2015

SFC Emil Praslick III Profiled in Shooting Sports USA

Emil Praslick III USAMU coach marksmanship team U.S. Army

In the just-released June 2015 issue of Shooting Sports USA, you’ll find an excellent profile of SFC Emil Praslick III, a legendary figure in American shooting. As a marksmanship instructor and coach for the USAMU, Praslick has been a mentor for many of America’s greatest marksmen. Praslick has also served as a wind coach for many civilian teams over the years, guiding them to victory in high-level championship events. SFC Praslick plans to retire later this year, when SFC Shane Barnhart will take over as coach of the USAMU Service Rifle Team.

In a wide-ranging Shooting Sports USA interview with writer John Parker, SFC Praslick offers many interesting insights. Here are some highlights (after the jump):

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May 4th, 2015

600-50X! Teen Shoots First-Ever Perfect Rimfire Sporter Score

Rimfire sporter match new record 600-50x Sam Payne
Sam Payne (far left) shot the first-ever “clean” 600-50X score in the CMP Rimfire Sporter Match.

15-year old Sam Payne of Kingston, GA, made history during the Rimfire Sporter Match at the Eastern CMP Games. Sam shot a stunning 600-50X in the T-Class, the first person to clean the Rimfire Sporter Match Course of Fire. (The total possible is 600-60X.) Congratulations to Sam! Full results from CMP Eastern Games can be viewed on the CMP Competition Tracker Site.

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