September 19th, 2019

Hunting 101 — Stabilize Your Shooting Positions

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand
For hunters in a tree stand, SFC McPhail recommends a position with your weakside leg pulled up and firmly braced on the front rail of the treestand. You can then rest your support arm on your leg. This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestandTeam USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail is one of the world’s best smallbore rifle shooters. He is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In a USAMU video, McPhail shows how competition shooting positions can be adapted for hunters. McPhail shows how well-established positions can provide a more stable platform for hunters in the field. That can help ensure a successful hunt. McPhail demonstrates three positions: kneeling, supported prone, and sitting in a tree-stand.

Watch SFC McPhail Demonstrate Positions for Hunters (Good Video):

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail first demonstrates the kneeling position. Michael notes: “I like kneeling. It’s a little bit of an under-utilized position, but it’s almost as stable as prone. It allows you get up off the ground a little bit higher to [compensate for] vegetation. For kneeling start by taking your non-dominant foot and put that towards the target, while at the same time dropping down to a knee on the dominant leg. At the same time … wrap the sling around wrist and fore-arm, lean slightly into the target and take the shot.”

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail shows a nice “field expedient” use of your backpack. He shows how the basic prone position can be adapted, using the pack as a front rifle support. McPhail recommends pulling your dominant (strongside) leg forward, bent at the knee. According to Michael, this takes pressure off the abdomen, helps minimizes heart beat effects, and helps with breathing.

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June 17th, 2019

Team USA Rifle Shooters Head to Peru for Pan-American Games

Ginny Thrasher Gold Medal Olympics Pan American Games Peru

Seven United States rifle competitors, including Olympic gold medalist Ginny Thrasher, will compete for Team USA at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. The XVIII Pan American Games will be contested July 26 – August 11 and will feature over 6,500 athletes from 41 nations.

Athletes were determined based on results of the 2019 Spring Selection Match held March 25-30 in Fort Benning, Georgia. In search of three Olympic quotas, Team USA will include the reigning Olympic champion Thrasher, now competing in Three-Position (3P) smallbore (not Air Rifle where she won Gold). She’ll be joined by her 2016 Olympic teammates Michael McPhail, and Lucas Kozeniesky. The full list of all Pan-American Games USA Rifle competitors is at the end of this story.

In men’s Three-Position Smallbore, two-time Olympian McPhail is slotted to compete alongside his U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) teammate Tim Sherry. Sherry will also compete in Air Rifle and in the Mixed Team Air Rifle competition with Weisz.

Ginny Thrasher Gold Medal Olympics Pan American Games Peru

This will be the first Pan American Games for Thrasher, who recently graduated from West Virginia University. While at WVU, Thrasher won the 2016 NCAA smallbore and air rifle titles and helped lead the Mountaineers to two NCAA National Championships, while earning 12 All-America awards.

Shooting Olympics prone smallbore 50 meter 50m ISSF World Cup Team USA
SFC Michael McPhail has switched from prone smallbore rifle to three-position smallbore.

Gunning for a third Olympic opportunity, McPhail had to re-invent himself after his discipline (Prone Rifle) was eliminated from the Olympic program after 2016. The USAMU soldier now shoots Three-Position Smallbore Rifle very well indeed — McPhail won the Spring Selection Match and earned a bronze medal at the 2018 World Championships.

(more…)

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September 3rd, 2018

For a More Successful Hunt, Build a More Stable Shooting Position

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

It’s hunting season already in many areas of the country. Improve your chances of a successful hunt by working on your position shooting skills before heading into the backcountry. Here are tips from Team USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail.

One of the world’s best smallbore shooters, McPhail is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In this excellent short video from the USAMU, McPhail shows how competition shooting positions can be adapted for hunters. McPhail shows how well-established positions can provide a more stable platform for hunters in the field. That can help ensure a successful hunt. McPhail demonstrates three positions: kneeling, supported prone, and sitting in a tree-stand.

Watch SFC McPhail Demonstrate Positions for Hunters (Good Video):

McPhail first demonstrates the kneeling position. Michael notes: “I like kneeling. It’s a little bit of an under-utilized position, but it’s almost as stable as prone. It allows you get up off the ground a little bit higher to [compensate for] vegetation. For kneeling start by taking your non-dominant foot and put that towards the target, while at the same time dropping down to a knee on the dominant leg. At the same time … wrap the sling around wrist and fore-arm, lean slightly into the target and take the shot.”

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail shows a nice “field expedient” use of your backpack. He shows how the basic prone position can be adapted, using the pack as a front rifle support. McPhail recommends pulling your dominant (strongside) leg forward, bent at the knee. According to Michael, this takes pressure off the abdomen, helps minimizes heart beat effects, and helps with breathing.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

Last but not least, McPhail shows some clever treestand tricks. McPhail recommends a position with your weakside leg pulled up and firmly braced on the front rail of the treestand. You can then rest your support arm on your leg. (That would be the left arm for a right-handed shooter). This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand. The second half of the video shows how this works.

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August 25th, 2018

World Shooting Championship in South Korea Aug. 31 – Sept. 15

South Korea World Championships

The Int’l Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Shooting Championship commences next Friday in South Korea. Along with pistol and shotgun aces, the world’s top air rifle, smallbore rifle, and 300m centerfire shooters will vie for glory and Olympic placements. Twenty Olympic quotas will be up for grabs in the rifle events and Team USA should secure some spots, along with some trophies in South Korea. The 52nd World Championship run August 31 through September 15 in Changwon, South Korea.

See World Championship U.S. Team preview in the latest edition of USA Shooting News. CLICK HERE for complete schedule of events at the ISSF World Championship. This Championship Finals will be broadcast live via Livestream.com/ISSF.

South Korea World Championships

Top USA Rifle Competitors at the ISSF World Championship

Three-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons will make his sixth World Championship appearance in Changwon where he will shoot Men’s Three-Position Rifle and Prone Rifle. Emmons will also shoot the Men’s Prone Rifle event in which he won gold in 2002, bronze in 2010 and bronze as a Junior in 1998.

Emmons’ two-time Olympic teammate Michael McPhail of the USAMU will also shoot Men’s 50m Prone Rifle. In addition he will compete in Three-Position events. Notably, McPhail will also shoot centerfire at 300 meters. At the 2014 World Championship, McPhail won bronze in Men’s 300m Prone Rifle, which he will once again compete in Changwon.

South Korea World Championships

For Sarah Beard, Changwon marks her third World Championship appearance. She’ll have lots of chances at medals as she’ll be shooting 3P rifle, Air Rifle Mixed Team event, Prone, 300m Three-Position and 300m Prone Rifle. Beard won silver in 2010 in Junior Women’s Prone Rifle in Munich, Germany.

Mindy Miles was the top finisher in Women’s Air Rifle selection for this World Championship. Mindy recently finished a superb collegiate career at TCU that included four of the 10-best Air Rifle scores in the 2017-2018 NCAA season, including a perfect 600 score.

Click Photo to Load Large PDF Matt Emmons Poster
Matt Emmons Shooting tips

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October 31st, 2016

Position Shooting Tips for Hunters — How to Stabilize Your Shot

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

Team USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail is one of the world’s best smallbore rifle shooters. He is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In this excellent short video from the USAMU, McPhail shows how competition shooting positions can be adapted for hunters. McPhail shows how well-established positions can provide a more stable platform for hunters in the field. That can help ensure a successful hunt. McPhail demonstrates three positions: kneeling, supported prone, and sitting in a tree-stand.

Watch SFC McPhail Demonstrate Positions for Hunters (Good Video):

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail first demonstrates the kneeling position. Michael notes: “I like kneeling. It’s a little bit of an under-utilized position, but it’s almost as stable as prone. It allows you get up off the ground a little bit higher to [compensate for] vegetation. For kneeling start by taking your non-dominant foot and put that towards the target, while at the same time dropping down to a knee on the dominant leg. At the same time … wrap the sling around wrist and fore-arm, lean slightly into the target and take the shot.”

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail shows a nice “field expedient” use of your backpack. He shows how the basic prone position can be adapted, using the pack as a front rifle support. McPhail recommends pulling your dominant (strongside) leg forward, bent at the knee. According to Michael, this takes pressure off the abdomen, helps minimizes heart beat effects, and helps with breathing.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

Last but not least, McPhail shows some clever treestand tricks. McPhail recommends a position with your weakside leg pulled up and firmly braced on the front rail of the treestand. You can then rest your support arm on your leg. (That would be the left arm for a right-handed shooter). This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand. The second half of the video shows how this works.

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August 12th, 2016

American Riflemen Seek Olympic Medals in 50m Smallbore Prone

Rio Olympics 2016 50m prone rifle smallbore

Today is an important day for Team USA shooters at the Rio Olympics. American rifle marksmen SFC Michael McPhail and David Higgins will be competing in the smallbore 50m prone event. In addition, 25m Pistol shooters will compete, and the Women’s Skeet Finals will be held this afternoon.

UPDATE: CLICK HERE for Video Highlights of Mens 50M Prone Finals on NBCOlympics.com

Schedule for the Remaining 2016 Olympic Shooting Events:

Friday, August 12
8:00 am – 50m Rifle Prone Men
8:00 am – Skeet Women
9:30 am – Skeet Men Day 1
10:00 am – Finals 50m Rifle Prone Men
11:15 am – 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men Stage 1
2:00 pm – Finals Skeet Women

Saturday, August 13
8:00 am – 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men Stage 2
8:30 am – Skeet Men Day 2
11:30 am – Finals 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men
2:00 pm – Finals Skeet Men

Sunday, August 14
8:00 am – 50m Rifle 3-Position Men
12:00 pm – Finals 50m Rifle 3-Position Men

SFC Michael McPhail

Hopes are high for McPhail, one of the favorites to win a shooting Gold Medal in Rio. McPhail, ranked number one in the world in men’s 50-meter rifle prone, won the ISSF World Cup Finals in Munich this September. McPhail also won back-to-back gold medals at the ISSF World Cup events at Fort Benning, GA and Munich, Germany, held in May and early June of 2015. This is McPhail’s second Olympic appearance, so he understands what’s at stake: “The Olympics are unlike any other match you’ll ever shoot, the magnitude of it….”

SFC Michael McPhail
SFC Michael McPhail, shown above, is currently ranked #1 in the world in the smallbore 50m prone rifle discipline. He’s one of the favorites to win Gold today in Rio.

Rio Olympics 2016 50m prone rifle smallbore

David Higgins

Air Force Academy graduate David Higgins has been a competitive shooter since his early teens. “I was 13 when I first began shooting Rifle competitively, and I immediately knew that I wanted to pursue Rifle as my primary sport,” said Higgins.

Rio Olympics 2016 50m prone rifle smallbore

Higgins recently graduated from the Air Force Academy and enjoys rock climbing, sailing and surfing in his free time. He now moves on to the next phase of his military career, having cross-commissioned into the Marine Corps upon graduation to become an infantry officer.

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December 31st, 2015

SFC McPhail Aims for Olympic Gold in 50m Prone Rifle

Shooting Olympics prone smallbore 50 meter 50m ISSF World Cup Team USA
SFC Michael McPhail, shown above, is currently ranked #1 in the world in the smallbore 50m prone rifle discipline. He’s one of the favorites to win Gold in 2016.

Shooting Olympics prone smallbore 50 meter 50m ISSF World Cup Team USAAs the 2015 international shooting season comes to a close, the USAMU shooting teams are preparing for the 2016 Olympic trials and a chance to compete in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next summer. One USAMU marksman who has already secured a berth for the 2016 Olympics is SFC Michael McPhail of Darlington, Wisconsin.

SFC Michael McPhail, ranked number one in the world in men’s 50-meter rifle prone, already won his spot on the U.S. Olympic team by virtue of his performances in 2015 ISSF World Cup events. McPhail, of Darlington, Wisconsin, won the ISSF World Cup Finals in Munich this September. McPhail also won back-to-back gold medals at the ISSF World Cup events at Fort Benning, GA and Munich, Germany, held in May and early June of 2015.

Michael McPhail Secures Olympic Team Nomination with World Cup Finals Triumph
Shooting Olympics prone smallbore 50 meter 50m ISSF World Cup Team USA

McPhail said for anyone who wants to participate in the Olympics, the Army provides superior coaching, training, equipment and ammunition. “For a kid who shoots and their goal is to make the Olympics, the Army Marksmanship Unit is the place to go,” McPhail said.

SFC Jason Parker, International Rifle and Pistol Teams coach noted that: “Sergeant First Class McPhail has had a fantastic year. He has a great potential for medaling in the Olympic Games.”

With one seat already taken by McPhail for men’s 50-meter rifle prone, two other USAMU Soldiers are Parker’s top picks for the second and final seat. They are SFC Eric Uptagrafft and SSG George Norton. “Sergeant First Class Uptagrafft is another top contender for making the United States Olympic Team,” Parker said. “In the past, he has won multiple world class medals, he has been to two Olympics already, and he is one of our top shooters. He will be trying to get that last spot in the prone, and I wouldn’t count him out of anything.”

For more information on the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, visit www.USAMU.com.

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