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April 14th, 2012

350 Shooters at National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships

Over the next three weeks, junior shooters take the spotlight at the 2012 National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC). Nearly 350 shooters, ages 12 to 20 years, will be competing at the U.S. Shooting Center in Colorado Springs, CO. These athletes qualified for an invitation to the NJOSC with top scores in their respective State Junior Olympic Championships. The NJOSC competition is important for shooters looking to “move to the next level”. The top two finishers in each rifle and pistol event will be offered a place on the National Junior Shooting Team.

National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships

For scores, please visit USA Shooting’s Match Results Page following each competition.

Ladies First — Women Shoot April 13-17
The women’s rifle events will take place from April 13-17. There are nearly 100 registered athletes from 36 states for Women’s 10m Air Rifle, which will culminate in the event final at 1:30 p.m. MST on April 15. Next comes the 50M three-position smallbore (rimfire) event, slated for April 16 and 17, with the women’s smallbore final to be held at 5:15 p.m. on April 17. Sixty-four ladies are signed up for smallbore shooting.

Men Compete in 10m Air Rifle, 50m 3P, and 50m Prone
The rifle action continues with competition in Men’s 10m Air Rifle, Men’s 50m Rifle Three Position and Men’s 50m Rifle Prone from April 19-24. Tyler Rico, last year’s NJOSC J2 gold medalist in air rifle, is now a J1 shooter and looks to break into the final with another year of training under his belt. Other notable contenders are National Junior Team members Connor Davis, Michael Liuzza, and Ryan Anderson. The Men’s 10m Air Rifle final will be held on April 21 at 1:30 p.m. MST. The men’s smallbore field is highlighted by National Junior Teamers Davis, Liuzza and Michael Matthews. There are 62 registered competitors from 30 states.

National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships

NJOSC Wraps Up with Air Pistol Matches
NJOSC competition concludes with Women’s and Men’s 10m Air Pistol events. These matches will draw a combined field of nearly 100 shooters. The Men’s 10m Air Pistol and Women’s 10m Air Pistol finals will be held on April 28. Most NJT members who are shooting air pistol will also compete in the Men’s and Women’s Sport Pistol event (Men’s Sport finals, April 29; Women’s Sport finals, April 30).

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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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March 1st, 2012

New Orion Scanning System Approved for NRA Airgun Comps

Orion Scoring SystemLooks like the days of manual target scoring are numbered — at least for airgun shooters. Effective April 23, 2012 (after this year’s Sectionals) the NRA will accept targets digitally scanned and scored with the new Orion Scoring System. Produced by Shooter’s Technology in Virginia, the Orion System exceeds the accuracy standards set by the ISSF, and routinely scores shots within .04mm. Currently the Orion scoring system can work with 5m BB gun targets, 10m Air Rifle Targets, 10m Air Pistol Targets, and 50-foot smallbore (.22LR Rimfire) targets.

50m Smallbore Capability in Development
Orion is working hard on more powerful software that will be able to score 50m smallbore targets — but that’s still many months away.

The makers of the Orion Scoring System claim it can score targets faster, more accurately, and more reliably than scoring by hand using calipers and target plugs. Orion 2.0 will score a 12-bull air rifle target in about 5 seconds — that’s up to five times faster than manual methods. Single-shot accuracy is consistently between .04mm and .10mm, even for low velocity sporter air rifles. Multiple-shot accuracy (when two or more shots overlap on a target) is between .10mm and .25mm.

Orion Scoring System

The Orion Scoring System is a new technology that automates the scoring process. Shooters fire at specially-designed paper targets sourced from Orion. Once each stage of the match is completed, targets are collected and then digitized using commercial scanners. The Orion software reads the target image files, and scores each shot using an image processing algorithm.

Orion’s Dr. Erik Anderson explains how the system works: “Orion’s scoring process uses a computer vision algorithm known formally as ‘Visual Image Scoring’ (VIS). VIS works in a three-step process. First, VIS calculates the precise center of the aiming bull by extrapolating and using the edge of the aiming bull. Second, VIS locates the center of each shot using a similar process using data from the shot hole edge. Finally, the distance between these two locations, called the radial distance, is used to determine the score value. A key to Orion’s accuracy is using the complete shot hole edge. In comparison, manual methods of scoring only look at the inner most edge point and thus have a limited amount of data to determine the shot value.” Anderson says the Orion Scoring System can be as accurate as very expensive electronic targets, though the Orion requires a much smaller investment in hardware. The only special equipment a shooting club needs is a decent flatbed scanner for the targets. Orion says: “most flat-bed scanners manufactured in the last five years are likely to work with Orion.” Another advantage of the Orion System over electronic targets is that a physical copy of the target exists. The match results won’t disappear if someone fries a computer hard-drive.

Orion Scoring System

Orion Match Management and Score Publishing Functions
The Orion Scoring System can generate ranked results and instantly post them online. Once a shooting facility links up to Orion’s Online Results Center, match results (and target scores) can be uploaded for later viewing on the web. If the range lacks a web connection, the Orion score data can be captured on a thumb drive and moved to a computer hooked up to the web.

How Accurate is Orion?
Orion is designed to meet or exceed the accuracy requirements set by the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF):

Air Rifle: 0.125mm radial error
Air Pistol: 0.40mm radial error
50ft Rifle: 0.122mm radial error

How Fast is Orion?
The time it takes to score a set of targets depends on scanner speed and computer processing power. On a dual-core 2.6GHz machine, with Canon DR-6010C scanner, Orion will score:

An air rifle 3×20 set of targets in 1 minute 25 seconds
A smallbore 3×40 set of targets in 1 minutes 55 seconds
A 60 shot air pistol course in 2 minutes 30 seconds

Orion is available from three sources: Shooter’s Technology, the makers of the Orion Scoring System, Gold Medal Shooting, and 10.9.com. Orion is licensed on an annual basis. The first year license fee is $398. The fee for the second year (and each subsequent year) is $78. Separate licenses are required for air rifle, air pistol and 50-foot pistol. Both the National Three Position Air Rifle Council and USA Shooting have approved Orion-based scoring for airgun matches.

Story based on report by Kyle Jillson in The NRA Blog.
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December 15th, 2011

Special Forces Vet Earns Quota for 2012 Paralympic Games

U.S. Army Ranger and Special Forces veteran Eric Hollen utilized shooting as a tool for recovery after an injury that broke his back. Hollen is now the top-ranked Air Pistol and number two Free Pistol athlete in the world and has set a goal for himself: the Gold Medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Eric Hollen, a former U.S. Army Ranger, has been named the 2011 USA Shooting Paralympic Athlete of the Year. In addition, Hollen has secured a quota for the 2012 Olympics based on his performance 2011 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup in Sydney, Australia. The quota that Hollen won down-under earns him a nomination to the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team (pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee). Barring something unforseen, this means that Hollen should compete for the United States at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Hollen Wins Silver and Bronze in Sydney
“Eric is an Army Special Forces veteran who has taken advantage of the unique opportunities available as an Olympic Training Center (OTC) Resident Athlete,” said Coach Bob Foth. At the IPC World Cup Sydney Hollen won a bronze medal in P4 Mixed 50m Free Pistol. Then, in the P1 Men’s 10m Air Pistol even, Hollen fired 98.1 points to secure the silver medal. The historic part, however, came from the 2012 Paralympic quota that Hollen won along with the medal. This is the first-ever Paralympic quota won by an American shooter under the IPC’s new quota distribution system. An elated Hollen said, “I am so thankful to be part of such an amazing program and to the people who have helped me reach the next step to my ultimate goal — Coach Bob Foth, Coach Ray Arredondo, Sean McCann, Dave Johnson, Sergey Luzov and many more.”

Hollen Achieves New Goals After Loosing Use of His Legs
Eric Hollen served in the U.S. Army for nine years, first with the 2/75 Rangers in Fort Lewis, WA, and then with the 10th Special Forces Group out of Fort Carson, CO. After leaving the Army, while farming in Tennessee in 2001, a tractor overturned on him, breaking his back. Despite that devastating injury, Hollen has gained a new lease on life. He enrolled in East Tennessee State University, earning his bachelor’s degree in April of 2010. He was awarded USA Shooting’s Paralympic Athlete of the Year honor after a terrific 2010 season. Hollen strives to help newly injured veterans reach their goals despite their disabilities. He advises junior shooters to: “Do the hard things — the hold drills and dry-fire drills that are not much fun — and you will find success.”

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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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July 1st, 2011

USA Shooting Nominates Jamie Beyerle to 2012 U.S. Olympic Team

Jaime Beyerle OlympicsUSA Shooting is pleased to announce that 2008 Olympian Jamie Beyerle (Lebanon, Pa.) has qualified for a nomination to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee. Upon approval, Beyerle will be competing in her second consecutive Olympic Games in Women’s 50m Rifle Three Position. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Beyerle finished fourth in Women’s 10m Air Rifle and fifth in Women’s 50m Rifle Three Position. Beyerle is currently the top-ranked Women’s 50m Rifle Three Position shooter in the world. In 2011, Beyerle won gold at ISSF World Cup events in Sydney, Australia and at her home range in Fort Benning, Georgia. In the ISSF video below, you can watch Jaimie’s winning performance in Sydney:

National Rifle Coach Major Dave Johnson said, “Jamie has continued her march to the top of our sport. In the last 12 months, Jamie has earned three gold medals in World Cups and placed in the top five in two more starts. Her performance has earned her a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team as one of the best in the world.” Jaime credits Johnson and the USAMU for much of her success: “It is an honor to be nominated to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games. I would not have that honor without the support of USA Shooting and Coach Dave Johnson as well as the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and Coach Tom Tamas, who have all helped me to achieve my goals thus far.”

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April 21st, 2011

USA Shooting Names Assistant National Rifle Coaches

USA Shooting logoUSA Shooting, the national governing body for Olympic shooting sports, has named its new team of Assistant National Rifle Coaches: Marcus Raab, Thomas Tamas, and Ernie Vande Zande. These men will work with the National Coaches to help develop junior talent, support National Team members, and promote the shooting sports.

Raab, the NRA’s National Coach Trainer for Rifle and Pistol, has helped lead the National Coach Development Staff program. Raab is also a highly-respected Juniors’ coach. National Rifle Coach Major Dave Johnson credits Raab for much of the junior team’s recent success, including the 2010 smallbore World Championship win by our junior women. As a competitor, Thomas Tamas was a world-class rifleman, particularly in prone. A past World Champion, Tamas has set multiple world records. He has also served as an instructor (and shooter) for the USAMU Rifle Team. Vande Zande has been a long-time coach, competitor, and manager of Olympic-style shooting sports. Like Tamas, Vande Zande was also a world record holder in men’s prone.

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March 7th, 2011

After Battling Cancer, Matt Emmons Is Named USA Shooting Athlete of the Month

When Olympian Matt Emmons wasn’t on the firing line at the 2010 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Final in October, the shooting community took note. Emmons was in New York battling thyroid cancer and recovering from a surgery that removed his entire thyroid. After his surgery, Emmons competed in the 2010 USA Shooting Winter Airgun Championship and reached the podium each day in Men’s 10m Air Rifle.

In February, Emmons won the 2011 Rocky Mountain Rifle Overall Championships. With that gutsy performance, Emmons served notice that he is back, and he’s the man to beat. Emmons set a new USA Shooting National Record with 1188 points in Men’s 50m Rifle 3P qualifier. Moreover, Emmons finished the three-position match with a 19.6 point margin over the silver medalist. His final score was 1188 points in day one, 1179 points in day two and 101.6 points in the final for a total of 2468.6 points. He also topped the competition in Men’s 50m Rifle Prone with 1303.6 total points. Emmons also took gold in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle event with 1295.3 total points.

Emmons was named the match’s Overall Champion after winning all three events in the Rocky Mountain Rifle Championships and finishing an impressive 27 points ahead of the next competitor. National Rifle Coach Major Dave Johnson said, “Emmons continues to build towards the spring World Cups; he’s had an incredible tournament and has worked very hard in recovery.” Performances such as Emmons’ deserve to be recognized, which is why Matt Emmons is the ELEY/USA Shooting Athlete of the Month. We congratulate Emmons and wish him continued success as he prepares for his first ISSF World Cup of the season in Sydney, Australia, March 21 to 30.

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November 22nd, 2010

Smith & Wesson Revolver Auctioned to Benefit USA Shooting

Smith & WessonSmith & Wesson has introduced a limited edition of 500 engraved Model 27, .357 mag revolvers to mark the 75th Anniversary of the .357 Magnum cartridge. The very first of the 500, serial number SFY0001, will be auctioned on Gunbroker.com to benefit USA Shooting. “The proceeds of serial #SFY0001 will benefit not only our athletes but also our various shooting programs,” said Buddy DuVall, USA Shooting Team Foundation Executive Director. USA Shooting provides training facilities for American shooting sports athletes, and supports American shooters in international competitions. CLICK HERE to see the Gunbroker auction, which runs through December 19, 2010.

75th Anniversary Smith Wesson .357 Magnum

For those who can’t afford the first of the line, the remaining 499 special edition m27s should prove desirable collectibles. Constructed of carbon steel and built on a large N-Frame, this special edition six-shot .357 Magnum/.38 Special revolver features a 6.5″ barrel and a high-polish, blued finish. Across the revolver’s barrel, frame and cylinder, there is elaborate machine engraving replicating the hand-drawn artwork of Smith & Wesson engraver David Mishichak. The 75th Anniversary m27 comes with engraved square-butt walnut grips, pinned patridge front sight and a micro-adjustable rear sight. Only 500 anniversary models will be produced with a unique serial number range from SFY0001 to SFY0500. Each Model 27 will be shipped complete with a wooden glass top presentation case.

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