April 3rd, 2014

Pistol Guy Shocks ISSF Ranks by Medaling in Smallbore Rifle

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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February 14th, 2014

Olympics Insight — Anatomy of a Modern Biathlon Rifle

Anschutz 1827 fortner straight pull biathlon actionIf 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.

Watch Olympic Biathlon Competition (Archive Footage)

Anschutz 1827 fortner straight pull biathlon action

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.
Anschutz 1827 fortner straight pull biathlon action

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).

Anschutz 1827 fortner straight pull biathlon action

Anschutz 1827 fortner straight pull biathlon action

Anschutz 1827 fortner straight pull biathlon action

Anschutz 1827 fortner straight pull biathlon action

Anschutz 1827 fortner straight pull biathlon action

Credit Chris Cheng, Top Shot Season 4 Champion, for finding these photos of the model 1827F Fortner on the Anschütz website.

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March 27th, 2013

ISSF Introduces Target Sprint — A New Shooting/Running Sport

Original story by Marco Dalla Dea for ISSF.
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.

ISSF Target Sprint Air Rifle

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.”

ISSF Target Sprint Air Rifle

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 Air RifleISSF 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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December 7th, 2012

New ISSF 2013-2016 Rules: Finals Start from Zero, and End in Head to Head Duel for Gold

ISSF Rule ChangesIn November, the ISSF Administrative Council approved new ISSF rules calling for major changes in ISSF and Olympic Shooting Sports events. Starting in 2013, all Finalists will start with zero scores and there will be elimination rounds, ending with a final two-shooter duel for the Gold medal (the loser of the duel gets Silver). The new Finals procedure represents the ISSF’s first major format change since the introduction of finals in 1986. The new Finals format will be used in all 2013 ISSF Championships.

This rules were changed to make shooting events more “spectator-friendly”, attract media coverage, and engage a larger fan base. It is hoped that the new format, ending in a duel, is more appealing and easily understandable. The new ISSF rules contain new Finals formats for all Olympic shooting events mandating that ALL finalists start from zero. This means that qualification scores will not be carried into the Final anymore, making the scoring system immediately understandable for spectators. Furthermore, all Finals feature eliminations, and end with duels between the two best athletes to decide the gold and silver medals. The new 2013 Rules have been published on the ISSF website, ISSF-sports.org.

Other Shooting Rule Changes to Be Implemented
The new ISSF Rules also include the separation of sighting and match firing in 10m and 50m rifle and pistol events, a new position order for 50m Rifle 3-Position events, and a provisional test of decimal scoring for 10m Air Rifle and 50m Prone Rifle events. The Final for the 50m 3-P Rifle event will become a true 3-Positions Final, not a one-position Final like it used to be. And new time limits will require shooters to make more rapid position changes in future 3-position rifle Finals. Both 25m Pistol Finals will use hit-miss scoring to encourage more spontaneous spectator reactions.

ISSF Big Shots Praise Finals Format Changes
“The shooting sport has always been a leading sport in the Olympic movement. And with the new finals we made an important step forward to keep that leading position,” said ISSF President, Mr. Olegario Vazquez Raña.

ISSF Sec. Gen’l Franz Schreiber concurred: “It was time to change….The ISSF has always been open to innovation, and we are proving it once again. All sports must adapt to the digital era of technology and media. The time has come to adopt new [formats] which fulfill these objectives.”

Legendary USA Olympic marksman and ISSF Vice-President Gary Anderson observed that the rule changes will present challenges: “We will have to work hard to make this work. But our sport will benefit from this new, appealing format.”

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November 21st, 2012

Gary Anderson Receives IOC’s Olympic Order

Gary AndersonUSA Shooting President and two-time Olympic gold medalist Gary Anderson was awarded the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Order on Thursday. ISSF President Olegario Vazquez Raña presented the Olympic Order to Anderson in Acapulco, Mexico at an ISSF meeting.

The Olympic Order (for distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement), is the IOC’s highest individual award. Worn around the neck like a garland, the IOC Olympic Order features the five Olympic rings framed by olive branches.

“Gary Anderson has devoted his life to sport, both as an athlete and as a sports administrator in the USA and at the International Shooting Sport Federation,” said Raña. “He has placed his knowledge and experience as an elite athlete at the service of sports administration.” Anderson was a member of the USA Shooting Team for 10 years (1959-1969) and earned two Olympic gold medals in Tokyo (1964) and Mexico City (1968). He also claimed seven World Championship medals, two Pan American Games titles, 16 National Championship titles, and six individual World Records in his career.

Anderson served as the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) from 1999 to 2009. Anderson’s influence on shooting sports extends well beyond the United States. He has traveled extensively throughout his career in shooting, serving as a genuine ambassador for shooting sports, attending 12 Olympic Games, three as a competitor and nine as technical delegate or a jury member.

Anderson has served USA Shooting as President since 2009. At the international level, he joined the international shooting family in 1978 as member of the ISSF Administrative Council, and is now serving the international federation as Vice President.

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August 23rd, 2012

USA Shooters Get Ready for Paralympics in London

The 2012 Paralympic Games run August 29 – September 9, 2012. The 277 American athletes named to the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team will compete in 19 sports contested throughout the 11 days of competition. Among the events will be target shooting. Profiles of Team USA’s Paralympic atheletes, including pistol shooter Eric Hollen and rifle shooter SFC Josh Olson, are provided in the official 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team Media Guide. This handy guide to the Paralympics can be downloaded for free.

CLICK HERE to download Paralympic Team Guide

Eric Hollen — Paralympic Pistol Shooter
Hollen, a former U.S. Army Ranger in the 2/75 Ranger Regiment, suffered a life-altering injury on his horse farm in Tennessee. Getting involved in competitive pistol shooting has helped Hollen adjust to life after his injury. Showing great determination, Hollen is now one of the top paralympic pistol shooters in the world. At the IPC World Cup Sydney, he won a Silver Medal in Air Pistol and a Bronze Medal in Free Pistol. Hollen is looking forward to the challenge in London: “This has been 10 years in the making and it’s an awesome opportunity to represent my country. I shoot with the best able-bodied athletes in the world here at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and I have the opportunity to now go and win my matches and that’s what I’m setting out to do.” Hollen will compete in the Men’s P1 10-meter Air Pistol event on August 30th. On September 6th, he’ll compete in the 50-meter free Pistol event.

USAMU Rifle Marksman SFC Josh Olson
While on patrol with his unit (101st Airborne Div., 3rd Brigade 1/187) in Iraq in 2003, SFC Josh Olson was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade resulting in the loss of his right leg from the hip down. After spending 18 months at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Olson was assigned to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning, Georgia. Olson has been a member of the Paralympic National Team for five years, but this will be the first time Olson competes at the international Paralympic Games. Olson will begin competition on Saturday, September 1 in the 10-meter Air Rifle Prone event followed by the Smallbore (.22 caliber) 50-meter Rifle Prone on Tuesday, September 4. In the video below, you can learn more about Olson’s background and courageous process of rehabilitation.

Watch Video Interview with SFC Josh Olson

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July 28th, 2012

First Gold at 2012 London Olympics Goes to Air Rifle Shooter

London Olympics 2012 ShootingThe 2012 Olympic Games kicked off last night in London. And the first gold meal awarded at the 2012 Game went to a shooter — Yi Siling of China. The top-ranked Chinese Air Rifle shooter edged Slywia Bogacka of Poland to win Gold in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle event. The South Korean shooting squad also captured its first Gold Medal of the games as Jin Jong-oh won the Men’s 10m Air Pistol event. Jin had won silver in the last Olympics at Beijing, China.

CLICK for Shooting Events Schedule | CLICK for Air Rifle Match Photos

London Olympics 2012 Shooting

Visit NBCOlympics.com for complete online coverage of the Olympics. On that website, in the upper left-hand corner (next to the London 2012 logo), you’ll find a “Select a Sport” button. That button opens a menu with links to all the different sports. There is a dedicated page for the Shooting Sports. CLICK HERE to visit the Shooting Sports Page at www.nbcolympics.com/shooting/.

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July 13th, 2012

NSSF Donates $100,000 to USA Shooting Team

$100,000 donation NSSFThe National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a longtime USA Shooting sponsor, has donated $100,000 to help support the USA Shooting Team and shooter development programs. This large donation will help the USA Shooting Team at the London Olympics and help support USA Shooting’s ongoing operations.

In April, the NSSF visited USA Shooting’s Colorado training center and interviewed marquee USA Shooting athletes and coaches. These video interviews, hosted on the NSSF’s YouTube Channel, feature noted Olympians, who provide useful tips on target shooting. In the video below, Olympic shooter and Team USA member Matt Emmons explains how to shoot a rifle from the kneeling position:

NSSF Previously Provided Funds for USA Shooting’s Electronic Targets
The NSSF has been a valuable contributor to USA Shooting for many years now. NSSF funds helped USA Shooting purchase electronic targets for its indoor ranges in Colorado Springs. In addition, the NSSF showcases USA Shooting Programs at the annual SHOT Show. This provides valuable exposure for USA Shooting’s talented shooter-athletes.

“The firearms and ammunition industry takes great pride in being a longtime sponsor of the USA Shooting Team,” said NSSF Managing Director of Business Development Randy Clark. “From its introductory junior programs to its elite athletes who soon will be representing our country in London at the Summer Olympic Games, USA Shooting broadens awareness of the challenging and fun sport of target shooting.”

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July 6th, 2012

TV and Online Coverage of Shooting Sports in 2012 Olympics

NBC London OlympicsThe 2012 Summer Olympics in London begin July 27 with shooting events starting the 28th and wrapping up August 5, 2012. NBC has already launched a full-featured website dedicated to the London Olympics at NBCOlympics.com.

LINK: NBC Olympic Shooting Events Web Page

We visited NBCOlympics.com this morning and were pleased to see that NBC has already launched a content-rich “homepage” dedicated to Olympic shooting. This includes Latest Shooting News, Tech Info, Event Schedules, Shooter Profiles, and Feature Stories with Video. There’s an excellent Video Interview with Sarah Scherer (10m Air Rifle), and you’ll even find a ‘Glamour’ Photo Shoot with Smallbore 3-P Shooter Amanda Furrer. In the NSSF video below, Amanda chats about the challenge of making the U.S. Olympic Team:

Fifteen (15) shooting events are featured at the 2012 London Olympic Games
Rifle Pistol Shotgun
  • Men's 10m Air Rifle 
  • Men's 50m Rifle Prone 
  • Men's 50m Rifle 3 Positions 
  • Women's 10m Air Rifle 
  • Women's 50m Rifle 3 Positions
  • Men's 10m Air Pistol 
  • Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol 
  • Men's 50m Pistol 
  • Women's 10m Air Pistol 
  • Women's 25m Pistol
  • Men's Trap 
  • Men's Double Trap 
  • Men's Skeet 
  • Women's Trap 
  • Women's Skeet
  • Olympic Television Broadcasts and Online Webcasts
    NBC TV will broadcast many shooting events as part of its 2012 Olympics coverage. Supplementing that broadcast coverage will be Live Extra WebCasting. The Live Extra option provides real-time or delayed coverage of EVERY Olympic event. That’s right, you can watch every single Olympic event on the web. The Live Extra service does require viewers to register online for the service. In addition, you will need to verify that you subscribe to a cable, satellite, or telecom video tier that includes CNBC and MSNBC on the NBCOlympics.com website. CLICK HERE to learn more about Live Extra services.

    History of Shooting in Modern Olympics
    One of the original events featured at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, the shooting sports have been present in all but the 1904 and 1928 games. The United States leads the field in shooting sports medals, having racked up 103 all-time, including 50 Gold. China is second with 42 total shooting medals and 19 Gold. The Chinese had the top showing at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, taking home eight shooting medals, five of which were Gold. (In Beijing Team USA garnered six shooting medals, including two Gold.)

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    June 27th, 2012

    Olympic Starter Can’t Use His Starter Pistol at UK School Race

    Starter Pistol Alan Bell ScotlandAlan Bell, the “Chief Starter” for track events at the 2012 London Olympics, has been called one of the “world’s top race starters“. Over the past 36 years, using his trusty blank-firing starter pistols, Alan has started over 25,000 events, including Olympic and World Championship races. Bell, the current Chairman of the IAAF International Starters Panel, is widely recognized as one of the most capable (and knowledgeable) race starters on the planet.

    However, the regional Council in West Dunbartonshire (Scotland) recently decided that Bell should not be allowed to start a running race at a local elementary school. Bell had originally been invited as an Olympic VIP for the benefit of the student athletes in this small community near Glasgow. Bell was even planning to start the school race by firing the same starter pistol which will be used to start the 100m Finals in the 2012 summer Olympic Games.

    Why did the West Dunbartonshire Council send Bell home? It’s all about gun-phobia. Council members feared “that the sound of a pistol discharge would frighten the children and, perhaps, psychologically scar them forever”. (Source: Outdoor Life Blog).

    As might be expected, some locals lambasted the Council’s action. One parent told The Scottish Sun: “It was ridiculous. We were told that the children would be distressed by Mr Bell firing his starting pistol. Anyone who believes they would be frightened by a starting pistol has never experienced the noise at a typical three-year-old’s birthday party.” So worried was the Council over the firing of a starter pistol (which shoots blanks with no projectile), that it tried to find a “politically correct” alternative. One proposed solution was to use an iPod to play a recording of a starting pistol. The school’s administrators eventually decided to start the race with a Klaxon horn noise instead of the crack of a starter’s pistol.

    Score one more victory for the gunphobic Nanny State. One wonders if the West Dunbartonshire Council’s next move will be to ban local broadcasts of the actual Olympic Games, so the sound of a starter’s gun on television will not traumatize young viewers.

    Related News Stories about Starter Pistol Controversy: Daily Mail Online | The Telegraph.

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    June 26th, 2012

    Olympic Shooting Sports Schedules — Mark Your Calendars

    London Olympics shooting sportsForum member George (aka gcarbrera) let us know that complete Shooting Sports schedules for the 2012 London Olympic Games can now be viewed online. Olympic shooting events start on July 28, 2012 with Women’s 10m Air Rifle and Men’s 10m Air Pistol. The final rifle event, Men’s 50m 3-Position Finals, will be held August 6, 2012.

    London 2012 Olympics Website
    LINK: Complete Olympics Shooting Schedule with links.

    NBC Broadcast Schedule for Shooting Sports
    LINK: Shooting Sports Event Schedule on NBC TV

    London Olympics shooting sports

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    June 16th, 2012

    Meet the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Rifle Competitors

    The rifle shooters who will represent the United States at the 2012 London Olympics are currently profiled on the RifleShooter magazine website. Log on to RifleShooterMag.com to read about Team USA’s Olympians who will be competing in Air Rifle and Smallbore (.22LR Rimfire) events in London next month. The Olympic selection process recently concluded, and we now know the talented men and women who made the cut. CLICK HERE to read bios of individual athletes.

    U.S. Olympic Rifle Shooters Team USA


    Men’s Rifle Team

    Matt Emmons, 50m 3P
    10m Air Rifle

    Jonathan Hall, 10m Air Rifle

    Michael McPhail, 50m Prone

    Josh Olson, Paralympic R3, R6

    Jason Parker, 50m 3P

    Eric Uptagrafft, 50m prone


    Women’s Rifle Team

    Jamie Beyerle Gray, 50m 3P
    10m Air Rifle

    Amanda Furrer, 50m 3P

    Sara Scherer, 10m Air Rifle
    Story find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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    June 10th, 2012

    USA Olympic Shooters to Train in Denmark Before London Games

    Copenhagen Shooting Society Team USAAmerican Olympic Shooters will be able to train together as a team in Europe prior to the 2012 London Olympic Games, thanks to a contribution from Dallas Safari Club (DSC). With DSC funding, the USA Shooting Team has secured exclusive use of a shooting range in Denmark for a pre-Olympic Games Training Camp. Prior to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the USA Shooting Team conducted a similar camp in Korea. That move was considered a key factor behind the team’s successful showing with six medals, 12 top-5 finishes and two Olympic records. Hopefully, the Training Camp in Denmark can likewise help our shooters in their Olympic quest.

    Copenhagen Shooting Society Team USAImmediately before the London Games, which begin July 27, the range in Copenhagen, Denmark, will be specifically dedicated for use by the USA Shooting Team for training around the clock in a distraction-free environment. In addition, the camp will be used to enhance team unity and commodore as well as solidify the athlete support structure.

    The partnership between DSC and USA Shooting has been building for several years. DSC has provided pivotal funding to help underwrite the cost of sending emerging elite junior athletes to the World Shooting Championships and the World Clay Target Championships. With this support, USA junior team members won 10 individual medals and 10 team medals.

    “We’re especially grateful for the support that Dallas Safari Club continues to provide the USA Shooting Team,” said Buddy DuVall, executive director of the USA Shooting Team Foundation. “With [the] boost they’re providing for our London-bound athletes, DSC has been a valuable team member and is raising our competitive abilities.”

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    June 2nd, 2012

    Profile of Team USA Olympic Rifle Shooter Sarah Scherer

    USA Shooting Olympics Sarah SchererA two-time NCAA Champion from TCU, and member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Shooting Team, Sarah Scherer is profiled in the current USA Shooting News eZine. Her story makes compelling reading because Sarah had to overcome a family tragedy to achieve her goals in the shooting sports. Sarah’s older brother, Stephen, a member of the 2008 Olympic Shooting Team, took his own life in October, 2010. Brother and sister grew up shooting together. Early on, Stephen was her training partner and role model. Losing her brother was very tough, but she has not faltered in her drive to be the best, and honor Stephen’s memory.

    Sarah’s coach, two-time World Champion Karen Monez, explains: “[Sarah] has the work ethic to accomplish just about anything she wants to. She doesn’t let adversity and the hardship she’s had define her. It really is more of an inspiration to others if you look at how humble she is with the success she has had, and what’s she’s had to deal with [after her brother’s death].”

    USA Shooting Olympics Sarah Scherer

    READ Sarah Scherer Profile in USA Shooting News eZine

    We will be following Sarah’s peformance in London this July, where she is one of the favorites in air rifle shooting. She has “risen to the challenge” at every stage of her shooting career so far. She has won five National Junior Olympics Shooting Medals and won gold in her first-ever World Cup Match. An All-American in both smallbore rifle and air rifle, Sarah captured the individual smallbore National Championship in 2010, and she was a member of TCU’s NCAA Championship-Winning Team in 2010 and 2012. This past winter, Sarah set a new National Record with a perfect score of 400 in the 10m Air Rifle event. We wish Sarah success, and hope she can continue her winning ways.

    USA Shooting Olympics Sarah Scherer

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    May 24th, 2012

    Final Selections for Shooters on U.S. Olympic Team Being Made

    SGT Vincent Hancock, Cory Cogdell, and SGT Glenn Eller–some of America’s top shotgun shooters–nailed down berths on the U.S. Olympic Team last week. Hancock dominated the Olympic Trials and will join Eller as current Olympic Champions who will defend their golds in London. With SSG Josh Richmond already in the fold, USAMU Soldiers make up 75% of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Shotgun team. Hancock, Cogell, Eller, and Richmond will begin preparing soon, along with other U.S. Team members, for the Olympic Games in London this summer. SSG Richmond, profiled in the video below, is one of the favorites to win a medal in trap shooting.

    The U.S. Olympics Team’s final shooting sports selections will be determined at the smallbore trials in June. CLICK HERE for more information about the USA Shooting Team.

    USA Shooting Team Members Will Provide Shooting Tips on YouTube
    In the weeks ahead, tune in to the NSSF’s YouTube Channel. To help you shoot like an Olympian, the NSSF plans to release a series of video tutorial with tips from USA Shooting Team members.

    USA Shooting Team

    Coming soon from NSSF: Video shooting tips from USA Shooting Team members, including Rachael Heiden (left, shotgun) and Amanda Furrer (right, rifle).
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    May 20th, 2012

    Shooting Facilities Readied for 2012 London Olympic Games

    Story based on Report by Gary Anderson in the CMP’s First Shot Online Magazine
    The Opening Ceremony of the XXXth Summer Olympic Games will take place in London on July 27, 2012. The next morning, the first gold medal of the Games will be awarded to the winner of the Women’s Air Rifle event. That will be the first of 15 Olympic rifle, pistol and shotgun events to be contested on London’s Royal Artillery Barracks Shooting Venue during the first ten days of the Games. 390 shooters from at least 103 countries. plan to participate in Shooting competition. That number of participants places the shooting sports third among all summer Olympic sports.

    London Olympic Shooting Venue
    Finals Range Exterior: All of the rifle and pistol ranges at the London Olympic Venue feature this same distinctive architectural style. This large structure houses the 10m/25m/50m Rifle and Pistol Finals Range.

    The Olympic Shooting Venue at the Royal Artillery Barracks
    The British government’s Olympic Development Authority created the Olympic Shooting Venue at the Royal Artillery Barracks at a cost of £36 million. This temporary Shooting Venue includes a combined 50m and 10m Rifle and Pistol Range, a 25m Pistol Range, a Rifle and Pistol Finals Range and a Shotgun Range with three fields. Rifle and pistol targets are electronic. Originally, Olympic shooting events were to be held at the National Shooting Centre at Bisley in Surrey, but that plan was changed after the International Olympic Committee complained about the number of sports staged outside London. So, the decision was made to create a temporary facility at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich (East London). Sadly, that means that the temporary venue will be torn down after the 2013 London Games. Three of these ranges will be moved to Glasgow, Scotland for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. But otherwise the Olympic Shooting venue will disappear after the London Games. According to the BBC website: “The Woolwich venue has proved controversial within the sport as it is temporary and will be pulled down after the Games”, thereby denying UK shooters a post-Olympics legacy facility.

    London Olympic Shooting Venue
    Finals Range Interior. This is where the top eight shooters in each rifle and pistol event compete in Finals. Top to bottom are: monitors for each shooter’s target, the 50m targets, eight finalists on the line, and the Range officer control station.

    The Pre-Olympic Test Competition
    In April, test competitions in London were staged as an ISSF World Cup with athletes from 100 countries participating, the most ever for an ISSF World Cup. The 800+ athletes that competed is more than double the number of shooters who will qualify for the Summer Olympics. The huge number of Test Comp shooters, plus unseasonably cold, wet, windy weather, made the World Cup a supreme test of LOCOG preparations for the Games.

    London Olympic Shooting Venue
    Cold Weather: Headgear worn by these two finalists in the 50m 3×20 Rifle Women Final tells a lot about weather conditions during the test competition.

    The Pre-Olympic Test Competition in London also served as a preview of the Olympic competitions this summer. Scores were surprisingly high considering how bad the weather was. The top medal-winning nations in the London World Cup were Russia and China with six each. Italy won five medals followed by the USA and Ukraine with four medals each. USA medal winners were Matt Emmons, 50m 3X40 Rifle Men; Kim Rhode, Skeet Women; Kayle Browning, Trap Women and Mike McPhail, 50m Prone Rifle Men. The USA Shooting Team hopes to contend for several medals in London.

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    April 1st, 2012

    UK Olympic Pistol Shooters Allowed to Practice with Mock Pistols

    UK Olympic pistol shootersBecause of draconian restrictions on handguns in the United Kingdom, Olympic smallbore pistol shooters from the UK have been forced to conduct their training in neighboring countries, such as Belgium and France. Obviously, the need to travel overseas to practice their sport has been a major handicap for UK shooters who will compete with Team GB* at the upcoming London Olympics. Said one smallbore pistol shooter: “Our goal is to win a medal for mother England, the 2012 host nation. But it is hard to compete on a world-class level when we can’t even train at home. Going overseas every time we need to practice wastes precious time and money. Other Olympic shooters don’t face these kind of obstacles.”

    With the 2012 London Olympics soon approaching, UK Olympic officials have been looking at ways that Team GB pistol shooters can avoid the need to travel abroad just to practice shooting. Now, through a special act of Parliament, it appears that UK Olympic pistol shooters may finally be able to hone their marksmanship skills at home. A new law will allow qualified Olympic-level pistol shooters on Team Great Britain to import a new, non-lethal training device recently introduced in the United States. With the aid of the American-made Trigger Trainer, UK Olympic shooters can now practice their trigger-pulling skills without risking a trip to prison. The Trigger-Trainer is a plastic device with a pistol grip, and spring-loaded “trigger”. However, it is incapable of firing a projectile because it lacks a barrel, magazine, firing pin, and sights.

    UK Olympic pistol shooters

    Some of Team GB’s shooters have expressed doubts about the usefulness of the rather primitive Trigger Trainer. (As it lacks front and rear sights, the Trigger Trainer is difficult to align precisely on the target). But top British Olympic decision-makers believe that the shooters’ complaints are unjustified. British Olympic Association official Nigel Wensleydale observed: “Complaints? That’s just idle whinging if you ask me… nothing’s perfect you know. Perhaps the Trigger Trainers do leave something to be desired as they come out of the box. But our Olympic shooters are clever lads. I think, with a little imagination and some sticky tape, these Trigger Trainers will be tip-top. Goodness, you could simply tape a drinking straw on top and sight through that. I mean how much precision do these chaps really need — the target’s only 10m away for goodness sake.”

    UK Olympic pistol shooters

    *Great Britain is the name under which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland competes at the Olympic Games. Great Britain was one of 14 teams to compete in the first Games, the 1896 Summer Olympics, and has competed at every Games. Great Britain is the only team to have won at least one gold medal at every Summer Games.
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    March 2nd, 2012

    USA Shooting Viewpoint: Men vs. Women in Competitive Shooting

    This article originally appeared on the USA Shooting website.

    As the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of Olympic-style shooting in the United States, USA Shooting (USAS) welcomes the dialogue created by the recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Mark Yost titled: Taking Aim at an Old Debate: Can female athletes compete against men?. In shooting, yes — but not in the Olympics. In this article, Yost points out several interesting facts and observations about our sport. This dialogue allows us to engage the shooting community, expand our thinking and establish pathways for bettering our sport for the future.

    You will get little argument from many of today’s top shooters, both male and female, as to the shooting abilities of women throughout USA Shooting’s ranks. The success of the collegiate programs like TCU and many intercollegiate programs in the U.S. only echo these beliefs as do some of the sport’s elite shooters like Kim Rhode, a four-time Olympic medalist in trap and skeet shooting, or Katy Emmons, a three-time Olympic medalist from the Czech Republic who is married to [U.S. Olympian] Matt Emmons.

    Jamie Gray 2008 Olympic Shooter

    “I am a born competitor and whether it is men or women I want to win,” said Jamie Gray, a 2008 Olympian in Rifle. “In a sport that is equal between men and women I would most definitely enjoy the competition. I started out only knowing that men and women compete against each other. It wasn’t until I learned shooting was an Olympic sport that I realized men and women didn’t compete against each other. It is exciting to me that there are still sports out there that men and women can be equal, however for other reasons it may be better that there are different categories for each.”

    From 1968 through the 1980 Olympic Games, Olympic shooting events were mixed, with opportunities for women and men to participate regardless of gender. At the 1980 Games in Moscow, there were six shooting events contested. At the upcoming Games in London, there will be 15 events contested. Opportunities for women to compete in Olympic shooting have not shrunk with the dissolution of “mixed” events, but rather have grown as a result not only in our brand of shooting but across all platforms of the shooting sports. In Olympic competition, 14 women got the opportunity to compete in shooting at the 1980 and 1976 Olympic Games combined. Since that time, the numbers have risen from 77 in 1984 to 145 female competitors at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

    China Shan Zhang 1992 Gold Medal SkeetShan Zhang Won Gold in 1992
    Recent history also suggests that woman can perform alongside men in shooting competitions. At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, female competitor Shan Zhang of China became the Olympic gold medalist that year in mixed-event skeet, topping a field of both men and women. Over two days of competition she produced a score of 373 out of 375, a new Olympic and world record. She also became the first woman in the history of the Olympic Games’ shooting competition, to beat all the male shooters in her event. Since that time, no mixed events have been held in an Olympic shooting competition.

    “As a proud American female citizen, participating in a sport where gender-specific characteristics are not advantageous, I would overwhelmingly favor a chance to compete in a mixed event — or at least a women’s event with an equal number of targets as the men,” said Kelsey Zauhar, a USA Shooting National Team member in Shotgun.

    USA Shooting“I think that anytime you have competition where size or strength is not a factor, females can absolutely compete with the males,” said USA Shooting National Team Pistol shooter and USAS Board member Sandra Uptagrafft. “The fundamentals of executing a good shot work the same regardless of gender, size or age. The question of why females no longer compete with males or why we have differing number of shots in the same events comes up often when I explain our sport to new people. It does seem sexist, but the fact that we have separate events from males in the Olympics actually is a good thing since more females can compete this way. There can only be so many people on the shooting line at one time. I personally am just happy to have a sport like shooting in which I can excel.”

    FACTOID: Research by the National Sporting Goods Association shows female participation in target shooting grew by 46.5% between 2001 and 2010. And an October 2011 Gallup Poll found 23 percent of women own a gun. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, from 2001 to 2010, female participation in hunting grew by almost 37 percent.

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    February 27th, 2012

    Four Air Rifle Shooters Nominated to 2012 U.S. Olympic Team

    Based on their showings in 10m Air Rifle Olympic trials, four athletes have been nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team. The Men’s 10m Air Rifle nominees are two-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons and 2011 Pan American Games silver medalist Jonathan Hall. The two women nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team are Sarah Scherer and 2008 Olympian Jamie Gray. Olympic Team selection was based on the aggregate of four courses of fire and two best finals. All athletes nominated to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team must now be approved by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

    U.S. Olympic Airgun

    Matt Emmons, already nominated for Men’s 50m Rifle Three Position, led the selection with a total of 2587.7 points. Matt note: “I’m happy to earn another nomination to the team and shoot another event at the Olympics. At the same time, I know the scores that I shot throughout Trials are not going to be competitive at the Games and I know what I need to do to get there.” Close behind Emmons, Jon Hall finished the 2012 Trials with 2586.7 total points. Hall, a senior at Columbus State University in Georgia, finished third in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Airgun Trials, barely missing the team in 2008. Hall said that making the 2012 Olympics team is “a relief and an exciting moment — I’ve been working towards this my whole life.”

    In Women’s 10m Air Rifle, 21-year-old Sarah Scherer and 2008 Olympian Jamie Gray received nominations to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. Scherer is now the second member of her family to earn an Olympic berth. Scherer’s brother, Stephen, was a member of the 2008 Team, and passed away in 2011. “Honestly, thank you Lord. Without him I could not have made it through this match,” said Scherer who battled a severe head cold throughout the weekend. “The only thing that I had left in my shooting that was still me was my focus and concentration. I couldn’t hear or see as well as normal and my heart rate was all over the place. I’m just so thankful that I made it through.”

    Gray, already nominated to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s 50m 3P Rifle, is “looking forward to shooting two events [in London].” Jamie, the wife of USAMU SSG Hank Gray, will continue her training at the USAMU’s ranges in Fort Benning, GA, as well as the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado.

    Airgun Course of Fire Explained
    In airgun competition, male and female competitors shoot 60 and 40 shots respectively during a single course of fire at electronic targets 10m (32.8 feet) down range. The maximum number of points available is 600 for men and 400 points for women with 10 being the highest score possible per shot. Athletes qualify for the finals by placing in the top eight after an aggregate match score. The final for both events consists of ten shots. The scoring in the finals is unique because decimals are counted, so the maximum number of points a competitor can earn is 109 points with 10.9 being the highest score possible per shot.

    In related news, two 10m air pistol shooters secured Team nominations at the Olympic Trials held at Port Clinton, Ohio this past weekend. Now set to compete with Team USA are three-time Olympian SFC Daryl Szarenski, and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Jason Turner. SFC Szarenski is the 2011 Pan-American Games Men’s 10m Air Pistol gold medalist. Daryl came into the weekend with an 18-point advantage over his nearest competitor and finished atop the standings with 2537.4 total points.

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    September 22nd, 2011

    USAMU Hosts ‘Champion of Champions’ Match September 24-30

    USAMU logoThe U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) will host the 2011 Champion of Champions International Rifle and Pistol Match Sept. 24-30, 2011, at Fort Benning, Georgia. Shooting will be done on electronic targets at the Pool Range Complex and Phillips Range.

    The Olympic-style match is a USA Shooting-sanctioned event and qualifies as a performance standard average (PSA) match. Additionally, USA Shooting may use these match scores as a partial tryout for 2012 World Cups. Qualifying PSA scores must be achieved before an athlete may travel with the U.S. Shooting Team to selected international competitions. Champion of Champions Match Awards will be given in the Open and Junior Categories. If you have questions, contact match director Michael Behnke, Michael.behnke [at] usaac.army.mil, or Fax: (706) 545-6252.

    CLICK HERE for Match Program and Entry Form (PDF)

    Champion of Champions USAMU

    Ace Shooters Prepare for 2012 Olympics
    USAMU and U.S. National Team members SFC Eric Uptagrafft, SFC Jason Parker, SSG Michael McPhail, SGT Joe Hein, and CPL Matt Rawlings are among the slew of competitors in the field. Uptagrafft has already been nominated for the 2012 Olympic team and will be competing in rifle matches. This is the final match of 2011 prior to the Olympic Trial matches which will determine Team USA spots for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

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