One of our Forum members asked: “Are there any good books on pistol marksmanship? I’m looking for a book that covers techniques and concepts….” Here are our recommendations — six titles that can make you a better pistol shooter. These books run the gamut from basic handgun training to Olympic-level bullseye shooting.
Good Guidebooks for Pistol Shooters
There are actually many good books which can help both novice and experienced pistol shooters improve their skills and accuracy. For new pistol shooters, we recommend the NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting. This full-color publication is the designated student “textbook” for the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course.
Serious competitive pistol shooters should definitely read Pistol Shooters Treasury a compilation of articles from World and National Champions published by Gil Hebard. You could work your way through the ranks with that book alone even though it is very small. It is an excellent resource.
If you’re interested in bullseye shooting, you should get the USAMU’s The Advanced Pistol Marksmanship Manual. This USAMU pistol marksmanship guide has been a trusted resource since the 1960s. Action Shooters should read Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos, and Ben Stoeger’s new-for-2013 Practical Pistol Book. Brian Enos is a well-known pistol competitor with many titles. Ben Stoeger is a two-time U.S. Practical Pistol shooting champion and a member of the USA Team at the 2011 World Pistol Championships. Last but not least, Julie Golob’s new Shooting book covers pistol marksmanship, along with 3-Gun competition. Julie holds multiple national pistol shooting titles.
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High-Tech Rimfire Rigs
If you watched the smallbore position and prone shooters at the 2016 Brazil Olympic Games, you couldn’t help but notice the exotic rifles competitors were shooting. There were wood stocks, metal stocks, factory-built rifles and customized specials. Why are there are so many different design features and stock types? To answer this question, the NRAblog’s editors called on Jessie McClain of the NRA Competitive Shooting Division.
“The customized rifles, like the Anschütz you showed me, can make a real difference in a shooter’s performance,” explained McClain. “I went from a decent shooter to making the varsity shooting team my freshman year because of the rifle.” As Jessie explained, one new feature out there is the adjustable stock, which she called the Porsche of the shooting world. Fully adjustable from the butt plate to the check piece to the hand stop and risers and bolt knobs, this component is fully customizable to the athlete … which can be a huge advantage. “Every person is different … a customizable rifle fits anyone. A rifle team can purchase four of these and field a shooting team for years.”
The Modern Anschütz Position Rifle
Smallbore match rifle makers are using modern materials in response to the need for greater adjustability (and enhanced accuracy). One of the popular new designs is the Anschütz model 1913 position rifle with a “1918 ALU Precise” brushed aluminum stock. This looks like it has been crafted in an aircraft plant.
Have you ever wondered how Olympic-class position shooters hold their aim so steady? Those bulky shooting coats help, but there is a lot of bio-mechanics involved also. Top shooters employ their body structure to help support the weight of their rifles, and to steady their aim. This interesting video, produced by GOnra Media, demonstrates rifle hold and body alignment for prone, standing, sitting, and kneeling positions. Olympic Gold Medalist Jamie Gray demonstrates the proper stance and position of arms and legs for each of the positions. Ideally, in all of the shooting positions, the shooter takes advantage of skeletal support. The shooter should align the bones of his/her arms and legs to provide a solid foundation. A shooter’s legs and arms form vertical planes helping the body remain stable in the shooting position.
Jamie Gray, London 2012 Gold Medalist in Women’s 3 X 20, has retired from top-level competitive shooting. However, Jamie remains involved in the shooting sports as a Public Relations/Marketing representative for ELEY, a leading maker of rimfire ammunition. Jamie also works with shooting clubs and educational institutions to promote smallbore target shooting.
Images are stills from GOnraMedia video linked above.
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The 2016 Rio Olympic Games kick off today with the Opening Ceremony. Shooting sports will be a part of these Olympics with competitions for rifle, pistol, and shotgun. From August 6 though August 14, Olympic shooters will compete in Brazil’s ultra-modern Olympic Shooting Center, originally created for the 2007 Pan-American Games at a cost of $53.5 million.
With Rio just one hour ahead of the Eastern Time zone, Americans will enjoy great “real-time” coverage of the 2016 Summer Games. NBCUniversal will present 2,084 hours of Olympic programming across 11 affiliated TV and Cable networks.
Olympic Shooting Event Schedule
Note: All times are listed in Eastern Standard Time, one hour AFTER Rio Local Time. These are events with USA competitors.
Friday, August 5
7:00 pm Opening Ceremony
Saturday, August 6
7:30 am – 10m Air Rifle Women
9:30 am – Finals 10m Air Rifle Women
12:00 pm – 10m Air Pistol Men
2:30 pm – Finals 10m Air Pistol Men
Sunday, August 7
8:00 am – 10m Air Pistol Women
8:00 am – Trap Women
10:00 am – Finals 10m Air Pistol Women
2:00 pm – Finals Trap Women
Monday, August 8
8:00 am – 10m Air Rifle Men
11:00 am – Finals 10m Air Rifle Men
Tuesday, August 9
8:00 am – 25m Pistol Women Precision Stage
11:00 am – 25m Pistol Women Rapid Stage
2:30 pm – Finals 25m Pistol Women
Wednesday, August 10
8:00 am – 50m Pistol Men
8:00 am – Double Trap Men
11:00 am – Finals 50m Pistol Men
2:00 pm – Finals Double Trap Men
Thursday, August 11
8:00 am – 50m Rifle 3-Position Women
11:00 am – Finals Rifle 3-Position Women
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
You’ll find more information on Team USA and Olympic Shooting Competition on these websites:
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Marksmanship will be an important part of the Rio Olympics. Nearly 400 top shooters from around the world will compete in rifle, pistol, and shotgun events. The shooting competitions will take place in a large, modern sports complex originally created for the 2007 Pan-American Games at a cost of $53.5 million. This complex, located within the Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio, offers roughly 30,000 square meters of improved areas on the 125,000 square meter site. Brazil’s Olympic Shooting Center (also known as the National Shooting Center) is an impressive facility. In size, scale, cost, and capabilities, Rio’s Shooting Center is without rival in the Southern Hemisphere.
Video Showcases Brazil’s Modern Olympic Shooting Center:
ISSF World Cup Underway at Shooting Center Now
If you want to learn more about the Olympic Shooting Center in Rio, there is an good article on the Shooting Sports USA website. This covers the history of Brazil’s Olympic shooting teams, and explains what competitors can expect this summer. Right now the Olympic Shooting Center is being used for the ISSF World Cup.
2016 Olympic Dress Rehearsal
“The 2016 Olympic Games this August will be one of the largest sporting events ever held. There will be another contest this year in the wonderful city of Rio de Janeiro that will function as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the big show. On April 14-25, the Olympic Shooting Center will host the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup. During the 11-day competition, 700 athletes from dozens of countries will showcase their skills at the biggest shooting sport event in Brazil before the Olympics.” — Read more at Shooting Sports USA
Got a minute — one minute and six seconds to be precise? Then you should watch this excellent “trailer” video from the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) TV channel. You’ll see virtually all the major Olympic/International shooting disciplines. Even if you’re not a skeet/trap shooter you’ll enjoy the clips of shotgun champions at the top of their game. And the footage of position rifle shooters reveals the intense concentration required in that discipline. We really enjoyed this short clip. The MTV-style editing and soundtrack holds your attention, and the cameramen did a great job of capturing the exact moments when shooters took the winning shot. Enjoy.
Great Video — Highly Recommended — Shows Rifle, Pistol, and Shotgun Champions…
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In the archives of On The Mark magazine, DCM Emeritus Gary Anderson, an Olympic Gold medal-winning shooter in his younger years, offers sage advice for competitive shooters.
In his article Ten Lessons I Wished I Had Learned as a Young Shooter, Anderson provides ten important guidelines for everyone involved in competitive shooting. Here are the Ten Lessons, but you should read the full article. Anderson provides detailed explanations of each topic with examples from his shooting career.
LESSON 1 – NATURAL ABILITY WILL NOT MAKE YOU A SHOOTING CHAMPION.
(You also need hard work, training effort and perseverance.)
LESSON 2 – ANGER IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD SHOOTING.
(The key to recovering from a bad shot is to stay cool, no matter what happens.)
LESSON 3 – BAD SHOTS CAN TEACH YOU MORE THAN GOOD SHOTS.
(Today, error analysis is one of the most powerful tools for improving scores.)
LESSON 4 – NEVER GO WITHOUT A SHOT PLAN.
(A shot plan is a detailed breakdown of each of the steps involved in firing a shot.)
LESSON 5 – PRACTICE IN BAD CONDITIONS AS WELL AS GOOD CONDITIONS.
(Most competitions are fired in windy conditions or where there are plenty of distractions.)
LESSON 6 – CHAMPIONS ARE POSITIVE, OPTIMISTIC PEOPLE.
(Negative shooters expect bad results; positive shooters expect to train hard to change bad results.)
LESSON 7 – IT’S NOT ABOUT WHETHER YOU WIN OR LOSE.
(It’s about how hard you try to win.)
LESSON 8 – YOUR DOG WON’T BITE YOU AFTER SHOOTING A BAD SCORE.
(Hopefully your coach, parents and friends won’t bite you either.)
LESSON 9 – YOUR PRESS CLIPPINGS CAN HURT YOU OR HELP YOU.
(Winning can go to our heads. We start thinking we are so good we don’t have to work hard any more.)
LESSON 10 — YOU NEVER SHOT YOUR BEST SCORE.
(Great champions are always looking for ways to improve.)
About Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson served as the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) from 1999-2009, and is now DCM Emeritus. As a Nebraska farmboy, Gary grew up hunting and shooting. Dreams of winning an Olympic Gold Medal in shooting led Gary to the U.S. Army. In 1959, he joined the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. Just two years later, he won his first national championship.
At the 1962 World Shooting Championships in Egypt, Anderson stunned the shooting world by winning four individual titles and setting three new world records. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Gary won the 300m free-rifle Gold Medal, setting a new world record in the process. At the 1966 World Shooting Championships in Germany, Anderson won three additional world titles. At the 1968 Olympics, Gary won a second gold medal in the 300m free-rifle event.
Gary retired from active international competition after the 1969 World Championships in Spain, where he set a 50m, three-position world record. After his “retirement” from international competition, Gary competed in the National High Power Championships, winning the President’s National Trophy in 1973, 1975 and 1976. Over his competitive career, Anderson won two Olympic Gold Medals, seven World Championships, and sixteen National Championships. No American has ever won more major shooting titles.
Gary’s influence on shooting sports extends beyond the United States. Gary has attended eleven Summer Olympic Games, three as a competitor and eight as technical delegate or a jury member. Gary is the first American ever elected as Vice President of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), and still serves in that capacity. In 2012, Gary received the International Olympic Committee’s highest honor, the Olympic Order.
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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.
As 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
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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Three-Position (3P) Air Rifle Shooting is the most popular and fastest-growing form of shooting sports competition for junior shooters (High School age and younger). The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) conducts two different 3P Air Rifle events. Precision Air Rifle is modeled after Olympic-style shooting and allows the use of specialized target rifles and equipment. Sporter Air Rifle is designed for new competitors or those who desire to compete with a minimum of equipment and expense.
In both types of shooting, competitors fire at targets at a distance of 10 meters in three different positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Three-Position Air Rifle provides young competitors with competitive shooting sports opportunities that can be offered on a wide variety of easily accessible or easily constructed ranges, with equipment that is commonly available at affordable costs.
The CMP actively promotes Three-Position Air Rifle shooting as a premier youth marksmanship competition by providing low-cost equipment and pellets as well as training materials and competition activities. In addition, other air gun events for juniors and adults are hosted by CMP throughout the year. CMP facilities have Open Public Shooting evenings, and matches for air rifle and air pistol take place at the CMP Marksmanship Centers.
One of the most important trends in the shooting world is the rise in the number of females who own firearms. We know women can shoot — just look at champions such as Nancy Tompkins, Trudie Fay, Michelle and Sherri Gallagher, and Jessie Duff.
The number of female shooters and female gun owners have risen steadily in recent decades. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2005, only 13 percent of women were female gun owners, but by 2011, that number rose to 23 percent. That’s a 77 percent increase in seven years.
Additionally, shooting ranges across the country have seen a 51.5 percent increase in the number of women who participate in target practice, and 41.8 percent increase in the number of women who participate in hunting activities over the past ten years (Source: National Sporting Goods Assn. cited in New York Times.)
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Got a minute — one minute and six seconds to be precise? Then you should watch this excellent “trailer” video from the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) TV channel. You’ll see virtually all the major Olympic/International shooting disciplines. Even if you’re not a skeet/trap shooter you’ll enjoy the clips of shotgun champions at the top of their game. And the footage of position rifle shooters reveals the intense concentration requied in that discipline. We really enjoyed this short clip. The MTV-style editing and soundtrack holds your attention, and the cameramen did a great job of capturing the exact moments when shooters took the winning shot. Enjoy.
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You don’t want to inquire about the price of a Bleiker competition rifle. As the expression goes, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it”. At the Pardini USA booth at SHOT Show we saw a pair of black beauties — two “full-race” Bleikers, one a smallbore match rifle (.22 LR) and the other a 300m position rifle chambered in 6mmBR Norma. The combined price for the two rifles was a jaw-dropping $20,100.00. Yep, over $20K for the two. The 6mmBR rig was $10,200 while the smallbore rifle was $9,900.00.
Bleikers command such high prices because they win. At recent ISSF 300m and Smallbore Championships, Bleikers have been used by many of the medal winners. A gun is worth $10K if it can really put you on the podium or, better yet, deliver a world championship.
You are looking at $20,100 of Competition Rifles here. (Click Image for full-screen version.)
Take a look at this slick feature on the 300m gun. The adjustable cheek-pad automatically tilts up (for clearance) when you retract the bolt. That’s clever Swiss Engineering.
Writing for the ELEY Bulletin, USA Olympic Gold Medalist Matt Emmons provides rock solid advice for anyone involved in competitive shooting. Matt talks about dealing with pressure, and how to maintain concentration and focus. Matt says two keys to maintaining focus are practice and imagination….
Sports Shooting Psychology – Concentration
Concentration – staying focused in stressful competition situations
There are books… totally devoted to concentration, so I what I am about to write is only my opinion and take on the subject matter. There are so many aspects to the game of shooting, whether it be rifle, pistol, or shotgun. At the same time, one of the constants is concentration. Concentration is one of the things that allows you to be your best and keeps you in the “zone” when you are performing extremely well. It’s also a piece of the puzzle that has often disappeared when things go awry.
So how do you concentrate when the pressure is on? The exact recipe will be slightly different for different people, of course. Two important things for anyone, however, are practice and a great imagination! If you never practice focusing intently on anything, or especially during training, you will never learn to do it when you really want to. You must practice every situation that could occur during an important competition and practice what you will do so that you can continue to be your best. That means imagining and practising what you will do in the biggest match of your life when things are going incredibly well. How will you react? How will you work with it so that you continue to perform beautifully?
What will you do if you are in that same biggest match of your life and something goes wrong? How will you keep your poise, get back on track, and do what you’re capable of to achieve your goal? The answer depends on you. A great shooter needs to have a great imagination and needs to be able to look deep inside themselves to know how they might react in every different situation. If something doesn’t feel comfortable or there is nervousness, that means the athlete needs to work on preparing for it in training so that if the situation happens in a competition, there will be no lapse in concentration. There is a plan and it has be rehearsed so that it flows effortlessly.
I certainly can’t recommend any “quick fixes” to help anyone concentrate better. That doesn’t really exist. A couple things that always help in stressful situations, however, are these:
– Breathe!! Stop and take a few slow, deep breaths to slow the heart down. You’ll be surprised how much this can help.
– Keep your thoughts rational and focused on things you can control. Any worries about “what if’s” or things out of your control are completely useless and will only take your concentration off of what you’re trying to do.
– Stay in the moment! Good or bad, the past is done! You cannot change it. If the past was great, enjoy it for a moment and move on to now. If it was bad, learn what you can from it and move forward. The future is what you create. Every future moment is this current moment. Enjoy and make the best of this current moment and the future moments will come by themselves. Make the current shot the best shot you can possibly make, enjoy it then repeat on the next one.
– Picture what you want to see happen. Imagine a short video of the “your perfect shot” and play it over and over again in your head. Keep it short, keep it simple.
– Lastly, no matter whether it’s your club championship or the Olympic Games, remember why you are shooting. Hopefully you are in that particular moment because you love the game. At the heart, that is why we play any game – because we enjoy it! Never forget that no matter how stressful any competition might be. Aligning the sights and making a great shot is a whole lot of fun to do wherever and whenever you do it.
Good luck and great shooting — Matt Emmons
About ELEY Ammunition Established in 1828, ELEY now produces some of the most consistently accurate .22 LR rimfire ammunition in the world. Countless championship medals have been earned with ELEY rimfire ammo, and most current smallbore ISSF world records were set with ELEY ammo. ELEY maintains a large production and testing facility in Birmingham, West Midlands, in the UK. ELEY employs a team of specialists (including many Six Sigma qualified engineers) with extensive knowledge of internal and external ballistics, powder dynamics, and advanced production methods. ELEY has always been at the forefront of the ammunition industry, pushing technological boundaries which have resulted in patented new methodologies and techniques.
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Here’s an interesting video about three-position shooting. Produced by GOnra Media, this video demonstrates rifle hold and body alignment for prone, standing, sitting, and kneeling positions. Olympic Gold Medalist Jamie Gray demonstrates the proper stance and position of arms and legs for each of the positions. Ideally, in all of the shooting positions, the shooter takes advantage of skeletal support. The shooter should align the bones of his/her arms and legs to provide a solid foundation. A shooter’s legs and arms form vertical planes helping the body remain stable in the shooting position.
50 years ago today, October 15, 1964, Gary Anderson (now CMP Director Emeritus) celebrated his Gold Medal victory at the Tokyo Olympics. Gary earned Olympic Gold for winning the 300m rifle event. A few days later, Gary’s team-mate, Lones Wigger, won a gold medal for the USA in 50m rifle competition.
The digital archives of Shooting Sports USA feature an interview with Olympic smallbore shooter Lones Wigger. This constitutes the third and final part in a series by Jock Elliott on pressure during a match and the methods top shooters use to handle their nerves.Read Part I | Read Part II.
The Fine Art of Not Cracking Under Pressure – Part III
by Lones Wigger, Smallbore Rifle Olympic Medalist
It’s pretty complicated — this subject of dealing with pressure. I’m a precision shooter and have learned to excel in that discipline. You’ve got to learn to shoot the desired scores at home and in training. And once you’re capable of shooting the scores, you may not shoot the same way in the match because of the match pressure. As a result, it takes 3-4 years to learn how to shoot, and another 3-4 years to learn how to win — to deal with the match pressure. It takes several more years to learn how to do it when it counts.
To win, there are several things you have to learn how to do. You have to do it from within. You have to learn how to train just as if you were in a big competition. You work on every shot. You have got to learn to treat it just like a match — to get the maximum value out of every shot. You have got to use the same technique in practice and in training. A lot of shooters have a problem because they change their technique from practice to the match. In competition, you work your ass off for every shot. You have to approach the training the same way.
A second way to combat pressure is to shoot in every competition you can get into so that you become accustomed to it.
Do Everything Possible to Prepare
The third technique is preparation. Before you are going to shoot in a big competition, train hard to do everything you can to raise your scores. So when you’re in the match, you know that you have done everything humanly possible to get ready for the competition. If you have self-doubt, you will not shoot well. You have to have the will to prepare to win.
When Gary Anderson was a kid, he couldn’t afford a gun or ammunition. He had read about the great Soviet shooters. With his single shot rifle, he would get into position, point that gun and dry fi re for hours at a time in the three different positions. He had tremendous desire. He wanted to win and he did whatever he could to get there. When he finally got into competition, he shot fantastic scores from the beginning.
Visualize Winning to Train the Subconscious Mind
A little bit of psychology: You picture in your mind what you want to do. You have to say, OK, I’m going to the Olympics and perform well. Picture yourself shooting a great score and how good it feels. You are training your subconscious mind. Once you get it trained, it takes over. A coach taught me to visualize the outcome, and it worked. Eventually you train your subconscious and it believes you can win. At first I didn’t know about teaching the subconscious to take over, but now I do it all the time. And it certainly worked for me at the 1972 Olympics. What it really takes is training and doing the same thing in training as at a match. If you are “just shooting,” you are wasting your time. READ MORE….
A.P. Lane’s Gold Medal-Winning Colt Revolver
This Colt Officer’s Model revolver, factory-fitted with a skeletonized hammer, belonged to legendary Olympic shooter A. P. Lane, who was known as the “Pistol Wizard”. Lane used this Colt Revolver to win FIVE Olympic Gold Medals — three in 1912 and two in 1920.
A.P. Lane was one of the greatest pistol shooters of his generation. He shot scores that were typically 25-50 points higher than those of his competitors. And he exhibited true Corinthian spirit. At the 1912 Olympics, Lane shared his match ammunition with another competitor who used that ammo to capture the Silver Medal (Lane won the Gold).
This revolver, factory-fitted with a skeletonized hammer, was used by American A.P. Lane in winning five Olympic Gold Medals in the 1912 and 1920 Olympic Games. It’s a .38 caliber, Officer’s Model centerfire revolver from the early 20th century. Olympian A.P. Lane’s Gun can be found in Gallery 13, Firearm Traditions for Today, at the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia. The Museum exhibit includes a panoply of Lane pieces – his revolver, his five Gold Medals, and the five Olympic certificates that went along with them.
Click Photo to See Full-Size Image
Watch Video History of the A.P. Lane Revolver
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This week’s big story from the ISSF World Cup in Fort Benning involves a lanky Army Reserve Marksman from Montana, Nick Mowrer. The shooting world was shocked when this “pistol guy” (a 50m Free Pistol shooter for the 2012 USA Olympic Team) took a bronze medal in a World Cup rifle competition. Yes, we said “rifle”. And get this — in the process of earning that World Cup bronze medal, Nick racked up enough points to become a triple distinguished marksman (three disciplines).
In the highest level of ISSF competition, it is very unusual for a pistol shooter to even compete in a rifle match. It is unheard-of that a pistol shooter would actually earn a medal. That is like an Olympic 100m spinter also medaling in the Marathon. It just doesn’t happen.
USAR Team shooter Nick Mowrer pulled off this remarkable accomplishment at the 2014 ISSF World Cup at Fort Benning. It’s not known whether a pistol specialist has ever earned a World Cup medal in rifle competition. In fact none of the experts from USA Shooting can recall another shooter who has even competed in both rifle and pistol categories at the same World Cup event. It appears Mowrer made history with his smallbore rifle Bronze medal. Competitive pistol shooters aren’t supposed to be good rifle shooters as well. Mowrer’s bronze-medal-winning performance has changed that view.
Cross-Training Works Well Mowrer Says
Will we see more pistoleros “cross the aisle” and shoot rifle? Only time will tell. But Mowrer believes that “cross-training” with both rifle and pistol has improved his overall marksmanship skills: “I have used prone smallbore (rifle) as cross training for pistol for years now and I am very excited to have the unique opportunity to represent the USA not only in pistol but rifle as well. I shoot multiple events, not only prone, but the reason is just the same; I use other shooting disciplines to be able to compete in more matches and gain more experience that I am able to then use in my pistol shooting! It also keeps shooting fun and exciting.” Read related USAR story.
Mowrer’s medal at Fort Benning has caused a stir among top-level World Cup shooters. The reigning Olympic gold medalist in Women’s 3-P rifle, Jamie Gray, recently posted:
“Today is an amazing day…our Olympic Pistol Shooter Nick Mowrer broke into the medals in Men’s Prone [rifle event]! Couldn’t be more excited for him and obviously his amazing shooting abilities! Nick… [took] a Prone Rifle Bronze, nothing more to say than AWESOME!”
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If you’ve been following the Winter Olympics in Sochi, no doubt you’ve been watching Biathlon events. This combination of Nordic-style skiing and precision shooting is hugely popular in Europe. Biathlon requires great physical fitness levels, superior marksmanship skills, and of course, a very accurate .22 LR rifle.
This video shows biathletes at previous winter Olympics. Note how the straight-pull actions allow competitors to shoot rapidly without breaking their position (at the 1:00″ mark, the shooter takes five shots in ten seconds). Target racks are located 50m from the firing line. The targets, which flip from black to white when hit, are 45mm (1.8″) in diameter for prone, and 115mm (4.5″) in diameter for standing.
Biathlon rifles are sophisticated. The top competitors use rigs with slick, straight-pull actions, integrated magazine carriers, and ergonomic stock designs that work well for both prone and standing positions. The advanced slings use “bungee cords” to allow rapid deployment from on-the-back carry position (while skiing) to the shooting position.
One of the most popular Biathlon rifles is the Anschütz model 1827F Fortner. This features a straight-pull action with a two-stage trigger typically adjusted to 550 grams (19 ounces). The sprint version of the model 1827F weighs just 3.7 kg (8.16 pounds). Remarkably, even the magazines are optimized for “high-speed, low-drag” performance: “Shortened 5-shot magazines were laterally incorporated into the stock to reduce the surface on which the wind can act. Non-slip magazine bottoms make the handling of the loading process easier. An additional magazine release lever on the side makes an even faster exchange of the magazines possible.” (Anschütz brochure).
Original story by Marco Dalla Dea forISSF.
The ISSF has announced a new name and new competition for the ISSF Run & Shoot event. ISSF TARGET SPRINT will now be the official title for this action-filled ISSF “Sport for All” event. And the ISSF is organizing an international Target Sprint Grand Prix in Munich (GER) in May to promote the new sport. ISSF Target Sprint combines athletes’ precision shooting and running abilities. The new event mixes air rifle shooting and middle-distance running. It requires participants to be fast, accurate shooters and to possess outstanding physical fitness. LINK: ISSF-Sports.org.
You Provide the Running Shoes — ISSF Provides the Air Rifles
“A pair of running shoes is all you need. Everything is designed to keep costs down for the athletes. The ISSF will provide targets and single-shot air rifles,” explained ISSF Secretary General Franz Schreiber. “The game is as easy as it looks”, says Schreiber, “Competitors will run on a track or running path and then stop at the air gun range to shoot at falling targets on their assigned firing points. There are no complicated scoring systems — the first athlete to cross the finish line is the winner.”
ISSF President Olegario Vazquez Raña adds: “We are developing ISSF TARGET SPRINT under the rubric of Sport for All, a program now being strongly promoted by the IOC. We were looking for a new event that combines marksmanship and fitness, can be staged outdoors, and is accessible to everybody.”
How Does ISSF TARGET SPRINT Work?
ISSF Target Sprint participants begin each event with a mass start and a fixed distance run. At the end of the first run, normally 600 meters, they stop at a 10-meter air rifle range where they must pick up their rifles and shoot at and hit five knockdown targets from standing position. More than five shots are often required to hit all five targets, but that adds to the shooting time. There are no penalties, but the sooner you finish shooting, the sooner you can start running your next lap. At the end of the second run, participants must shoot another five targets before beginning the third and final running stage. The final rankings are clear and easy to understand. The athlete who completes the three running stages and two shooting stages and who is the first at the finish line is the winner.
ISSF TARGET SPRINT Competition this May at ISSF World Cup in Munich, Germany
The new event will have its official 2013 inauguration during the 2013 ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup Munich, set for 23-30 May at the Hochbrück Olympic Shooting Range. The ISSF TARGET SPRINT competition will be held on the 26th of May.
Participation is open and more than 40 athletes have already registered to compete. World Cup participants who are interested in trying TARGET SPRINT are invited to bring their running shoes and clothing to Munich and give it a try.
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