April 10th, 2019

Match Etiquette: Be Prepared, Know the Rules and Course of Fire

Match Etiquette USAMU Course of Fire Rules SFC Norman Anderson CMP Rulebook NRA

Match Etiquette USAMU Course of Fire Rules SFC Norman Anderson CMP Rulebook NRA

Don’t Be “That Guy” (The Bad Apple on the Firing Line)

By SFC Norman Anderson, USAMU Service Rifle Team Member
You know the guy, he’s still talking at the coffee jug when his preparation period begins, then his magazines aren’t loaded when the command “STAND” is given, and finally, he doesn’t know the rules when he argues with the block officer as his target comes up marked “9 and No”. Although this guy might be the highlight of the “after match” activities, he is the proverbial bad apple on the firing line. With this example fresh in your mind, let’s go over how not to be “that guy”.

While the sport of High Power shooting is a hobby for most, all are passionate about performance throughout the day. In order to achieve your maximum performance each and every day, it is essential that you conduct yourself as a professional competitor. As a competitor, you have a personal responsibility to know the course of fire as well as the rules and procedures that apply to it and to be prepared to follow them. Knowing this will not only make you a better competitor, but it will enable you to resolve situations with other targets besides your own. So what does all this mean? I’ll explain…

Know the Course of Fire
Know the course of fire. It sounds easy enough, as we all shoot plenty of matches, but it’s more than that. If you think about it, how many people in the pits, for example, do not really know what is happening on the firing line? This leads to targets being pulled early during a rapid fire string or missing a shot during a slow fire string. In cases like this, the result is the same, delays in the match and upset competitors. To avoid being “that guy,” it is imperative that you stay tuned to the events as the day progresses. When you are at the range shooting a match, be at the range shooting the match.

At any firearms competition — be sure you know (and understand) the course of fire.
CMP Match Etiquette

Match Etiquette USAMU Course of Fire Rules SFC Norman Anderson CMP Rulebook NRAKnow the Rules
Now, let’s discuss rules. As you have probably heard more than once, the rulebook is your best friend. Here is why. I can virtually guarantee that most competitors know some of the rules based only on the old “this is how we do it at home” adage. The funny part of that is, the same green NRA rulebook and orange CMP rulebooks are used to govern High Power matches all over the country.*

It is vital that all shooters be familiar with the rules as they are written, not with “how they are applied at home”. This creates consistency and continuity in how matches are conducted, from local club matches to state tournaments to National Championships. Knowledge is power when it comes to scoring targets under contention, what to do in the case of a malfunction, or even how to file a protest correctly. These rules are in place for a reason and it benefits everyone to both know and operate by these rules.

Maintain Composure and Humility — Exhibit Good Sportsmanship
One aspect of competing that cannot be forgotten is bearing. As I mentioned earlier, you must be prepared for both good and bad to happen. All too often we all see “that guy” (or that “that guy’s” gear) flying off of the firing line in disgust. Remember that we all must maintain our composure and humility in all conditions, not matter what happens. After all, it’s just a game. To put it into perspective, if it were easy, attendance would be a lot higher. Sportsmanship must be displayed in an effort to keep from ruining the day for all those around you. It doesn’t cost anything to smile, and smiling never killed anyone. So turn that frown upside down and keep on marching, better days will come.

Like a Boy Scout — Always Be Prepared
Lastly, I would like to cover preparedness. Being prepared goes beyond simply having your magazines loaded and a zero on your rifle. It means approaching the firing line, knowing what you are about to do, being ready for what is going to happen (good or bad), and being ready for the results. If you approach the firing line to merely shoot 10 shots standing in your next LEG match, you are not going to be pleased with the result. You must be prepared mentally and physically, not only for the next stage, but also the next shot. By being prepared physically (equipment ready), you give yourself peace of mind which is an essential part of being prepared mentally, and by being prepared mentally, you are less likely to become distracted and are more likely to maintain focus for each and every shot.

Conclusion — Informed Competitors Make for Better Matches
The culmination of these efforts results in a shooter that knows how to be ready for success on the range, but also and perhaps more importantly, a shooter who knows what it means to be a competitor. When you have a range full of competitors who know and follow the rules and proper match procedures, the match runs smoothly, everyone shoots well, and a good time is had by all. In the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?

* After this article was originally written, the CMP separated its rules into two different Rulebooks:

The 2019 7th Edition of the CMP Competition Rules for CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Matches governs all CMP-sanctioned matches for As-Issued Military Rifle and Pistol events including Special EIC Matches that are fired with As-Issued Military Rifles or Pistols.

The 2019 23rd Edition of the CMP Competition Rules for Service Rifle and Service Pistol governs sponsored and sanctioned matches for Service Rifle, Service Pistol and .22 Rimfire Pistol events, including National Trophy Rifle and Pistol Matches, Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) matches and other CMP-sanctioned competitions.

This article by SFC Norman Anderson originally appeared in the CMP First Shot Online Magazine.

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February 9th, 2014

New 2014 NRA Competition Rules Available — Download for Free

It’s a new year, and that means there are updated NRA Competition Rules. The NRA has just made available PDF files with updated 2014 rules for all the NRA competition disciplines (both rifle and pistol classes). You can download free digital versions of all NRA rifle and pistol competition rules via the NRA’s RULE BOOKS webpage.

Below are links for the competition rifle classes (except muzzle-loaders). You can download the 2014 Rule Changes or complete NRA Rule Books in PDF format. Updated changes to the rule books are effective now, as passed by the NRA Board of Directors in January 2014.

High Power Rifle | Download 2014 Rule Changes | Download Rule Book

High Power Sporting Rifle | Download 2014 Rule Changes | Download Rule Book

Int’l Fullbore Rifle Prone | Download 2014 Rule Changes | Download Rule Book

Int’l Rifle (includes Air Rifle) | lDownload 2014 Rule Changes | Download Rule Book

Precision Air Rifle Position | Download 2014 Rule Changes | Download Rule Book

Smallbore Rifle | Download 2014 Rule Changes | Download Rule Book

Silhouette Rifle | Download 2014 Rule Changes | Download Rule Book

Black Powder Target Rifle | Download 2014 Rule Changes | Download Rule Book

Bound copies of all NRA Rule Books (except HP Sporting Rifle and Int’l Fullbore Rifle Prone) may be ordered online from the NRA Store at http://materials.nrahq.org.

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April 14th, 2011

April Edition of Shooting Sports USA Worth Reading

NRA Rules 2011The April Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA) is now available on the web. Shooting Sports USA is FREE to read online, and you can subscribe for free. As always, SSUSA has match reports and a full calendar of NRA shooting events. This month’s digital edition has a “must-read” section on NRA Rule Changes for 2011. This covers multiple disciplines including High Power, Smallbore Rifle, NRA Pistol, and Action Pistol.

Red Dot SightsWe also recommend Larry Carter’s excellent article on Red Dot Sights (pp. 18-19). Whether you’re a multi-gun competitor, bullseye pistol shooter, or a turkey hunter, we guarantee you’ll learn something new from Carter’s article. Here are some highlights:

Dot Size: Use only as much diameter as you need. Small diameter for bullseye and larger diameters for sports that require moving from target to target. Either way the field of view is unlimited if you shoot with both eyes open.

Mounting: Try to get the [red dot] sight as close to the bore as possible. Consult with your gunsmith about what type of mounting is best for your activity and pistol.

Durability: Leave the dot turned on for the day’s shooting. Saving wear on the control is worth the trade-off in battery life. Most sights will run up to 500 hours on a battery.

Vision: If you don’t see a round dot, ask your eye doctor if you have an uncorrected astigmatism. This is especially true if you have really good vision. The eye doctor will not normally give a prescription to correct a small astigmatism if everything else is OK.

Editor’s Note: Astigmatism IS a major problem when it comes to using red dots. Some years ago I ordered an Aimpoint for an AR. Instead of a nice, distinct round dot I saw something that looked like a little starburst with fuzzy edges. I sent the Aimpoint back, thinking it was defective. But the replacement red dot sight was the same, so I went to my optometrist. It turns out I had astigmatism. Once that was corrected with prescription shooting glasses, I could see a nice distinct round dot. Without correction, it was very difficult to use the red dot sight effectively.

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