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Subject: Does Civilian Service Rifle Marksmanship Competition Help The Military?
CJH    2/27/2005 7:45:24 PM
I am involved with NRA highpower rifle matches. Although many classes of rifles can be used, most people shoot a copy of a US service rifle. Service rifles are almost exact copies of military rifles in terms of externals. The AR15 (civilian M16) is by far the most popular service rifle although some shoot M1As (civilian M14). A few shoot Garands and 1903 Springfields. NRA highpower competitions like ours are held all over the country. There are state campionships and the national championships are held every summer at the Ohio National Guard's Camp Perry by the NRA and the Civiliam Marksmanship Program. Camp Perry is on Lake Erie in Ohio not far from Sandusky. The military services field teams and shooters at Camp Perry. Given the current conditions and demands on military marksmanship skills, do civilian competitions help with military marksmanship? Do say Army and Marine marksmanship instructors and/or coaches usually have a civilian competition background which helps them? A guy who helped me get started running matches was a former instructor with the US Army Marksmanship Unit. Is civilian marksmanship promoted enough? In my state there is a law which which charges the state's national guard with promoting civilian marksmnship but it's not a priority. Any ideas?
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Bigbro    RE:Does Civilian Service Rifle Marksmanship Competition Help The Military?   3/5/2005 11:23:56 PM
With all the Guard units going to the sand box I think that we should make more of an effort to let them know that we are there to help. Good work is being done with some units already by local highpower clubs with some troops going over to Iraq. Maybe a grass-roots effort to let the units know that we are ready and avalable? Bb
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Yimmy    RE:Does Civilian Service Rifle Marksmanship Competition Help The Military?   3/6/2005 10:41:03 AM
A civillian marksman is worth his weight as conscripted cannon fodda in times of national emergencies... little else.
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Bigbro    RE:Does Civilian Service Rifle Marksmanship Competition Help The Military? Yimmy   3/6/2005 11:08:34 AM
What we were talking about is additional training in marksmanship for troops that are going to be deployed. The National Guard unit that was shipped from where I live was a transportation unit. They got very little range time with their rifles and about zero with pistols. If they are given the opertunity to get range time with a qualified highpower shooter it can improve their kit probability at all ranges. Same thing with pistols, I had a friend out at the range yesterday that had never shot a pistol, after two hours working one on one with him he was shooting 3 to 4 inch groups at 25 yards. That is the capability that we can bring and I believe that was what CJH was talking about. Right now the largest trained body of people in our country with the M14 is in the NRA highpower ranks. They are being asked all over to help train riflemen in the proper use of the M14. As a referance see "Soldier of Fortune" April 2005, page 16, "Tennessee, Kentucky Riflemen Help Prepare GIs for Iraq" By Janae Daniels. "A civillian marksman is worth his weight as conscripted cannon fodda in times of national emergencies... little else." Tell that to the Russians, seems they have had problems with civillian marksmen over the last few decades. Bb
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Natedawg       2/25/2007 12:49:49 AM
I got back from my very first competition in the high power category.  It was the first time I have ever been to a NRA event and the second time I have ever fired a service rifle.  Off subject really fast, it was the most exciting thing I have done in a while.  Anyways... I have enlisted in the Army and ship out this summer.  Having never fired a high powered rifle (except I was given the chance to fire an M14 once) I did not know what to expect.  Well it is important to know what to expect and not scream like a girl when I'm at basic and I take the rear sight to the eye......  I didn't really scream but it was freaky.  I spent nine hours at a club today and I know what firing a m16 platform is like, I know how to operate it, and I know how to take it apart and clean it.  I knew nothing of that before today.  I think that it is really beneficial for future solider to have experience on a NRA range so they have one less thing to worry about in basic.

I know it isn't important but, I scored 658-10X my first time out.

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BadNews       2/25/2007 12:59:49 AM
I can't speak for the US ARMY, but as for the USMC, Every Marine from commadant to dish washer MUST qualify annually on a marksmanship range (Not a Combat range) And many USMC markmanship instructors have participated in NRA competitions, in fact the USMC has a Shooting team specifically to compete.
The short answer is yes, (Sorry Yimmy) especially for Guard and reserve units, support units and such who do not receive combat shooting training to the same level as Infantry, Tank and Artillery Units do.
The USMC annual rifle qualifications are much like competition shoots, we shoot from 200, 300 and 500 meters during qualifications in Standing, Sitting and prone positions. This is NOT however to be confused with combat shooting which is conducted pretty much on the unit level and is conducted regularly.
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Horsesoldier       3/1/2007 10:44:15 AM
NRA competition shooting and combat marksmanship aren't overly related.
They've had some civilian volunteers from the competitive shooting community working with the AMU training designated marksmen, where those skills are relevant, and it seems to be working out quite well.
For your average guy in the Guard who may be in a firefight over in the cat box at some point, some time working with guys who shoot IPSC and Three Gun matches would be more productive and relevant.  Various people, including the Corps, are finding that the bulk of engagements are not occurring inside a 300 meter envelope, but that the majority of all engagements are occurring inside of 100 meters.  The skills needed aren't breathing control, slinging up, and all that, the skills needed are target acquisition, controlled pairs, multiple target indexing, etc. 
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owoody       3/11/2007 11:29:57 PM
Just as having driven a civilian pickup often before entering the service would help the soldier transition more easily into driving a duece and a half, shooting of any kind prior to entering the service. Shooting with basically the same rifle will help even more. That is really what highpower rifle competition is all about. It had its start in relation to military shooting needs and still translates well.
I was fortunate enough to do lots of hunting while growing up. Then in college, I was a member of the ROTC the rifle team. And when I went to Viet Nam, things went well enough.
As for the rifleman just being cannon fodder, if that's the case, why waste any time training the soldier for anything at all? It's all just a waste of tax money. Just give him a ticket to the sandbox and let the bad guys have their way with him. Although I am trying to make light of the comment, it is thinking like that that can result in even more problems for the man on the line.
Back to the main question and what I think to be the answer. Absolutely, yes! From what I have seen, highpower rifle competition will be the best pre-induction time one can spend. Learning to use the tools of the trade and use them well will always pay off. Contrary to what the average person thinks, there is lots of living room in between those rounds and if the chips are down, punching holes in tight groups will always be better than "spraying and praying." Noise doesn't kill, but lead on target does. Better yours than theirs.
As for the range being a hundred yards or less... being able to hit a 13" circle at 600 yards doesn't prevent one from being able to hit a four inch target at a hundred yards. But, not being able to hold a six inch group at a hundred will sure leave a lot of room around a man size target farther out.
May you do well and thank you for stepping up to the line.
p.s. For anyone interested in learning a little bit about highpower rifle competition, if you'll drop me an e-mail at, I'll forward an article that I wrote that explains what we did at the competitions in Houston and how one participated. It wasn't written in attempt to inform about marksmanship, but instead it was about participation in the sport.

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scuttlebut steve       3/13/2007 7:42:39 PM

A civillian marksman is worth his weight as conscripted cannon fodda in times of national emergencies... little else.

please explain this comment Yimmy, or do you believe that it is does not help potential soldiers to have good marksmanship skills before serving?
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Yimmy       3/13/2007 7:45:00 PM

A civillian marksman is worth his weight as conscripted cannon fodda in times of national emergencies... little else.

please explain this comment Yimmy, or do you believe that it is does not help potential soldiers to have good marksmanship skills before serving?

I don't think having firearm experience is a bad thing.  My comments was aimed at the use of civilians with firearm experience as any kind of useful military unit, like a militia.
That said, having firearm experience may well give rise for bad habbits, which will make training harder.

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M-14    Article   3/28/2007 1:32:17 PM
Could you send me the article about your competition in Houston?
Much appreciated!!
M-14 (Scott)
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