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August 7th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: Marksman Inspired by Grandfather’s Legacy

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

Jeff Hansen of Utah now holds Distinguished Rifleman Badge #2561. Jeff’s journey to Distinguished status began with a box filled with his grandfather’s old shooting medals, which led him to the Camp Perry National Matches in Ohio.

Though he had no intention of shooting competitively, only arriving to see the ghosts of his grandfather and uncles, he was so moved by the ambiance of Perry that he began his own marksmanship career — eventually leading him to a prestigious Distinguished Badge.

At the 2022 National Matches, Jeff fired his best scores yet. In the National Trophy Individual (NTI) Match, he reached an overall score of 487-9X for 52nd overall out of nearly 790 competitors. And at the 600-yard line he shot an outstanding 199-5X out of a 200 possible.

“He was on the range with me shooting that 199″, Jeff said of his grandfather. “I felt like he was right there when I finished up. I just hope other people see this and see what I’ve tried to do – if I can do this, they can do this”, he said. “Chase that dream”.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
Left to Right: Alvin Hansen, Ray Hansen, and Jeff’s Grandfather Lou Hansen at Camp Perry.

Inspired by My Grandfather to Become a Distinguished Marksman

Article based on CMP Report by Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen earned his Distinguished Rifleman Badge in 2022 – a journey which began with his Grandpa’s own marksmanship tales from the 1920s and 1930s.

As early as I can remember, my grandfather, Lou, was a huge influence in my life. He was a great marksman. My dad, Ed Hansen, would tell me about the hunting trips they would go on and how Grandpa would make incredibly long shots to get an amazing bull elk or mule deer, only taking one shot to do so. He was always taking me hunting and fishing and shooting – lots of sleepovers where I didn’t actually sleep much, if any, because I would be so excited for the adventures that were going to happen with him the next day.

Whether it was hunting ducks, pheasants, chukars or just shooting, it didn’t matter. It was always an awesome experience with him. Life was great. Then, we got some tough news – my grandfather had leukemia. He fought a courageous battle with it for a couple of years, then in 1978, when I was 8, he passed away. Needless to say, I was devastated.

Inspired by Grandfather’s Shooting Medals
Not too long after he passed away, my dad brought home a box from Grandpa’s. It was full of medals. He carefully removed them and told me they were from when my grandfather competed in rifle matches with his brothers (Alvin Hansen, a U.S. Army veteran of World War I in France, Ray Hansen, and Oscar Hansen) at Camp Perry, Ohio, in the late 1920s to 1937.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
Shooting medals from 1920s and 1930s with picture of Lou Hansen and his brothers.

My Grandpa was really humble – never said much about his trips to Camp Perry or his accomplishments there. Seeing the contents of the box, my grandfather became an even bigger hero to me. The medals he earned that impressed me the most were the three President’s Hundred brassards from 1935, 1936 and 1937 – along with many others.

I grew up looking at those medals thinking I wish I could do that maybe, someday. My life moved forward. My dad, a U.S Air Force veteran, and I both loved hunting, fishing, and shooting and still went as often as we could. Later, I got married and now have three daughters and one son. As my family grew up, we also enjoyed hunting, fishing, and shooting together.

Then, life threw some blows. My dad passed away suddenly in November 2014, and my mom fought a fierce battle with cancer for a few years before passing away in March 2018. Not long after she passed away, I found myself hanging [my grandpa’s] medals on the wall in my own home. Seeing them there got me thinking about how awesome it would be to go to Ohio and watch the President’s Match – not shoot, just watch.

In July 2018, I went. I’ve got to admit there were a few tears in my eyes driving between the two iconic lighthouses at the entrance to Camp Perry. I loved it.

The year I came happened to be the year SFC Brandon Green of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit cleaned the President’s Match — a record that still holds today. I got to talking to one of the Army Reserve team guys, asking him questions about competing, and he couldn’t believe I was there just to watch. I showed him some pictures of my grandfather’s medals, scorebook, and of Camp Perry in the 1930s. Matt Goad and Jon Arcularius of the Army Reserve team came over to look at them.

They said, “Hey, you can’t come all the way out here with a family history like that and not shoot here!”

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

They offered to sign me up for the NTI match the following day and even said they would get a rifle, ammo, and anything else I would need. That was so awesome, but I couldn’t make it work – I was flying back home the next day. Although I didn’t shoot, they did get me all the information I needed to get started.

I loved every minute of my first Camp Perry trip. It was because of the people there, showing me such kindness and taking me under their wings, that I thought, “I’ve shot all my life and hunted, and I’ve always liked marksmanship. This is something I can do.”

When I got home, I ordered a White Oak upper and started changing parts on my AR-15 to make it ready for matches. I was ready in the spring of 2019 and started shooting mostly small matches.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
Grandpa Lou was humble and never talked about his achievements at Camp Perry.

At first, all I wanted to do with my rifling career was get a President’s Medal — following in my Grandpa’s footsteps. I didn’t know what “going Distinguished” was all about. I got a Silver Achievement Medal in the first match I went to, then started to go to more matches. Through that, I caught wind that winning President’s is one thing, but you’ll get to President’s if you excel your skills and go Distinguished. So, that became the new goal.

By summer, I was traveling to EIC matches and earned my first points at Nampa, Idaho, on July 21, 2019. After that, it was time to head back to Perry for the President’s and the NTI.

I didn’t do as well as I wanted, but it was an amazing experience to be competing where my grandfather had. I struggled the rest of the year and didn’t earn any more points until 2020. It was tough trying to find matches during COVID, but I ended up earning 12 more points by the end of the year. I missed a hard leg at Twentynine Palms, California, by X-Count, and things got tough after that.

I figured I needed to step up the way I was practicing, so I got a Shot Marker electronic target system and some wind flags so I could practice full distance. I’m very lucky that I can practice 30 minutes from home any time I want on public land.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
At the 2022 National Matches, Jeff fired a superb 199-5X at the 600-yard line.

Starting in the first part of December, I had some extremely hard things going on in my personal life, and I didn’t feel like practicing. I didn’t even pick up my rifle for two months. I missed the first EIC in Phoenix in January, and before I knew it, February was half gone. Then, one of my friends talked me into going to the Western CMP Games in Phoenix in March.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

Practice was tough, and sometimes I wondered why I was even trying. Tons of things were going wrong, and I was about DONE. I wanted to quit, many times. [But then] Western Games was fun, and I did well, but gained no points.

Navy Matches were coming around at the end of April, so I practiced as much as I could and made the trip. With several friends going, it would be great getting together after the matches and have a good time. I shot well the first day as well as on that Saturday. I even shot my personal best National Match Course score. Then Sunday, May 1, was the real test – the EIC match.

I struggled in standing and dropped a few more points than usual. Sitting was the same – rapid prone was good. Slow prone went well. The wind had some fairly big changes, but I worked through it and ended up with 477-11X. I figured there’s no way I’m making the cut for a hard leg this time and headed to the pits to finish out the match. We finished and waited for the results.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

When the results were posted, I couldn’t believe it – I FINALLY GOT THAT HARD LEG! I did it. On top of earning my goal at last, it’s awesome to have my friend Jeff Lovat (#2383) be the one to present me with my Distinguished pin. (That President’s Hundred medal is still out there – maybe next year!)

The Honor of Earning the Distinguished Marksman Badge
Though I certainly enjoy earning my Distinguished Badge, the greatest thing I have gained from accomplishing this is without a doubt all the friends and people I have gotten to know along the way. To all my shooting friends, thanks for not letting me quit – part of this accomplishment is yours too.

To all of you that are working toward that goal, don’t ever quit. Keep practicing, and your day will come. Never quit until you reach your goals.

No matter what, I do know one thing. When I walk that stage at Perry at the 2022 National Matches and get my Distinguished Badge officially presented to me — well my father, my grandfather and his brothers will be walking it with me.

About the Distinguished Badge Program

To earn a Distinguished Badge, a competitor must earn 30 Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) points or more in a qualifying competition. Individuals earn the 6, 8 or 10 “leg” points based on score and a percentage of match participation, with at least one “hard” leg, worth 8 or 10 points. Currently, the CMP administers Distinguished Badges for:

Service Rifle
Service Pistol
.22 Rimfire Pistol
Junior Air Rifle
Smallbore Rifle

International Shooter
Distinguished Marksman Badge
Distinguished Air Rifle and Air Pistol
Distinguished Service Revolver Badge

To lean more about the Distinguished Badge Program, visit the CMP website.

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August 7th, 2022

Design Your Own Custom Targets with FREE Target Generator

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

Are you a do-it-yourself kind of guy with a creative eye? Then you’ll love the FREE Target Generator from the folks at This free, interactive webpage allows you to design a variety of fun targets, including grids, benchrest-type Score Shooting targets, sight-in targets, and even playing card targets. Choose the paper size and orientation (vertical or horizontal), then select the number of target elements on the page. For example, you could have four (4) bulls or 52 playing cards. Then click the Style TAB to choose your target style. Use the OPTIONS TAB to overlay a grid on the target, choose squares or diamonds, or include load information blocks. For bullseye targets, you can control the number, color, and spacing (diameter) of the rings. LINK to TARGET GENERATOR.

Click the TARGET STYLE TAB to select one of many target styles, including NBRSA Benchrest targets and 20+ types of NRA bullseye targets, scaled to distance:

NRA High Power
NRA Pistol
NRA Rimfire
Playing Cards
Load Test Blocks

Creating new targets is fast and easy. No computer graphics skills required! We created this green diamonds grid target in just five minutes using the ShooterShed Target Generator:

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

And here is a handy target with short-range range Benchrest competition-style box/circle aiming points, along with fields for entry of gun/load data:

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

The program provides a preview of each target you generate. There are controls to choose border and fill colors. If you like a particular design, save the file, and then print as many targets as you want. Check it out, this program is fun and handy to use. Here are four (4) targets your Editor created just for this article. With a bit of practice, you can be generating your own custom targets in minutes.

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest
Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

About the Creator of the Target Generator
The Target Generator program was created by Rod Brown of Sheridan, Wyoming. Rod tells us: “I build custom rifles and coach shooters. I’ve got a 100-yard range out my back door. I shoot short- and long-range benchrest competitively around the country. I’m a full-time software development consultant and an FFL holder. When I’m not developing custom software for my clients, I’m usually fiddling in the shop, building a custom benchrest rifle, traveling to a match, chambering a barrel, or reloading some ammunition.

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Shooting Skills, Tech Tip No Comments »