Opinions on NRA's Marksmanship Qualification Program


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losangeles
December 6, 2005, 01:52 AM
Here's a basic description: Click here for description from NRA site (http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/marksmanship/index.asp)

It talks about gaining marksmanship ratings from beginner to sharpshooter to expert, and distinguished expert. It seems pretty cool to go through and qualify for each level. Scoring is based on the honor system until the last level which is distinguished expert and you need someone (NRA member or instructor) as witness. You have to order the booklet to get a more detailed description of the requirements for each level. I just received this today.

Now, I never went through this before, as I've just done range shooting on my own, and the only time I officially got my quals was back in the military.

My question to this community is: Are these NRA quals recognized among shooters or is it something that causes you to smirk? I saw some press about someone using his creds as an NRA distinguished expert like it's impressive? Is it? I wouldn't want to denigrate anyone's accomplishments but looking at the score requirements of expert and distinguished expert levels of rifle and pistol, it doesn't look too tough for me. If this thing is okay, I'd like to do it myself.

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Powderman
December 6, 2005, 04:19 AM
Hi!

You can achieve your ratings by shooting in registered competition. I don't know the qualifications for rifle, but for pistol, you must fire 360 (I believe) rounds in competition to be eligible for a rating.

The only exception is when you attend your first competition. You will be classified as a Master (Unclassified) shooter because your competition level is unknown at that point.

I have to warn you though--once you get bitten by the bullseye bug, it is contagious and you WILL be hooked.

The most friendly and helpful competitors I have ever met will be found on the firing line at a Bullseye competition. Where else can you:

1. Meet someone who will pay your match fee--unsolicited--if you forget your checkbook?

2. Have someone hand you their backup gun to complete a match if yours becomes disabled?

3. Simply walk into a match and state that you're interested--and have people falling all over themselves to loan you their guns and ammo to shoot with--even though they don't know you from Adam?

It IS hard, though--some say it is the most difficult of the shooting sports. With regard to pistol, here's a fact--No one has EVER fired a clean score (2700/270X) in registered competition. Period.

So, give it a shot! If you're interested in hand guns, take a look at www.bullseyepistol.com, and subscribe to the Bullseye List.

Yours,

Powderman

NRA Conventional Pistol
(still struggling to make Master class!)

Trebor
December 6, 2005, 04:35 AM
There are really two different things being discussed in this thread.

What Powderman is describing is the rankings used in competitive Bullyseye shooting. Those rankings are only earned by competing against other shooters in formal matches and are tracked by the NRA. When someone talks about being a "Master Class" shooter (or "Sharpshooter" or "Expert") that's what they are talking about. (The "Distinguished Marksman" award is a whole other award earned by winning a certain number of points over your competive shooting career in "Service Rifle" Highpower matches or "Service Pistol" Bullseye matche. It is very hard to earn and is quite prestigious.)

However, what losangeles was asking about is a completely different program. The NRA Marksmanship Qualification is a self paced program designed to let shooters improve their shooting skills and track their progress by succesfully firing certain set drills. This program is entirely self paced and the NRA does not actually track, or award the qualification levels. It's all pretty much on the honor system.

I think the self-paced program has value, especially for a new shooter, in that it gives you some concrete goals to work towards and, more importantly, gives you a way to track your shooting progress. However, there is not real prestige or "bragging rights" associated with this program. If you shoot it, shoot it to improve your skills, not to impress anyone else.

My reccomendations are:

1. Take a good entry level class. The NRA Basic Pistol class is a good start.

2. Try the self-paced qualification program to give you a baseline idea of where your skills are at. Shoot up the level where you can't achieve the next level.

3. If you are interested in really becoming a good shot, take up either Pistol Bullseye competion or NRA High Power rifle competion. They are both very specialized sports, and they require time and money to compete, but they are the best way to learn pure marksmanship techniques. All the best pistols shooters I know competed in Bullseye Pistol at one time or another. The discipline really drills the fundamentals into you. (The same is true for Highpower Rifle, btw)

Jayb
December 6, 2005, 07:37 AM
losangeles,

Being an NRA instructor, I have several of the Marksmanship Qualification Program books that contain all the various courses of fire. If anyone wants one, just PM or e-mail me your mailing address, and I"ll get one off to you.

Good shooting, Jay

geekWithA.45
December 6, 2005, 08:28 AM
Q: Are these quals recognized among shooters?

A: For the most part, yes. Not everyone knows them in detail, though. They're neither easy nor hard to get, each level of qualification strikes me as an appropriate level of difficulty that reflects the skill attained.

Q: Do people smirk at them?
A: I've never seen it.


(I dimly recall qualifying as marksman in light rifle back in boy scouts. I was in the middle of going for expert when camp came to a close)

P0832177
December 6, 2005, 10:21 AM
I think a shooter has more respect from holding High Master, Master, Expert, Sharpshooter, and Marksman rating in the various conventional competitions, High Power, Small Bore, and Bullseye.

Justin
December 6, 2005, 10:36 AM
It seems like it would be a good way to keep track of your skill level outside of a competition setting.

hillbilly
December 6, 2005, 10:41 AM
I coach a college rifle club team.

I'm also an NRA certified handgun instructor and certified rifle coach.

I have seen, with my own eyes, an NCAA scholarship shooting athlete roll out her prone mat for a smallbore rifle competition.

Carefully sewn onto the lower left hand corner of her shooting mat was her NRA Marksmanship rifle badge with all the possible rockers tacked onto the bottom of it.

Go here for a picture of the badges with rockers.

http://materials.nrahq.org/go/products.aspx?cat=Marksmanship%20Patches%20and%20Rockers

TheEgg
December 6, 2005, 02:33 PM
Did this back in the early 60's when I was but a mere slip of a lad!:D

Great program for learning - helps you to have goals and mark your progress.

I did the 50 foot 22 lr program, as that was the one offered at our location. Still have all the medals, badges, and patches!!!!

Anyone who laughs at these programs is invited to shoot against those of us who have gone through these programs and spent some time building our skills. I don't think they will laugh after that.

Standing Wolf
December 6, 2005, 08:39 PM
The most friendly and helpful competitors I have ever met will be found on the firing line at a Bullseye competition.

Powderman is not exaggerating.

I saw a bullseye shooter give a young shooter a spotting scope. I've seen bullseye shooters argue over the privilege of giving ammunition to a fellow who forgot to bring along enough. I've seen bullseye shooters ignore their own targets to help others figure out how to improve theirs. Bullseye shooters invested countless hours coaching me in my novice days, and laughed and told me, "Just pass it on when you get to be an old timer, son," when I tried to thank them. Recently, a bullseye shooter spent an entire afternoon showing me how to strip my model 1911 to the frame and tweak its trigger and assorted other parts.

Shooters in general, in my experience, are amazingly considerate, polite, generous, and kind—and bullseye shooters are moreso.

Powderman
December 6, 2005, 08:41 PM
Did this back in the early 60's when I was but a mere slip of a lad!:D

Great program for learning - helps you to have goals and mark your progress.

I did the 50 foot 22 lr program, as that was the one offered at our location. Still have all the medals, badges, and patches!!!!

Anyone who laughs at these programs is invited to shoot against those of us who have gone through these programs and spent some time building our skills. I don't think they will laugh after that.

Oh, yeah!

I remember the first time I shot a gallery (indoor) course for conventional pistol. Having just made Sharpshooter, I said to myself, "Hey--this is going to be a piece of cake. 50 feet?! What a joke! I'll walk out of here as a master class shooter, that's for sure!"

I went in cocky, and came out after the match with my tail tucked firmly between my legs. I got schooled--and badly, at that!

It was so difficult that I started firing practices at 50 feet with my .22's. Shortly after I did that, I shot my first ever clean score in Outdoor Pistol.

MikeJackmin
December 6, 2005, 10:03 PM
I recently started the qualification course myself. It's fun, and it's made me a better shot.

What's not to like?

444
December 6, 2005, 11:05 PM
When I was a kid, I sent for the book and made a brief attempt to earn the various badges. However, I didn't know serious shooting fundamentals and had no one to teach me. So, I never got very far with it.
As an adult, I have participated in a number of the various shooting sports. One of the most valuable things I discovered about shooting in competition is that I found out how good I was compared with other shooters. I had a yardstick to measure my progress or lack of progress.
These program provides some kind of guage for your skills. IMO, that is a very good thing. If you want to seriously train to be a better shooter, it really can't be any other way. You don't know you are better shooter unless you have something to compare your score with.

deadin
December 7, 2005, 12:30 AM
You guys have stolen everything I was going to say about the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program.
Another vote for it!!

Dean

losangeles
December 7, 2005, 04:21 PM
I'm convinced! OK, I've gone ahead and started the program. I shot in the range one day for a Pro-Marksman in Handgun and another day for Marksman. I should shoot good enough for the highest level, but you have to run through the progression of each level.

Then, I'll do the Bullseye Pistol program concurrently. I'm not experienced at rifle, but I figure a rifle program will get me motivated to stick with practice on rifle.

This makes it all meaningful to practice (besides competition).

Rudolf the Red
December 20, 2006, 01:37 PM
I have attained Sharpshooter Bar 8 in the Pistol Qualification (Bullseye). It has really helped my shooting skills and I even shot in my first Bullseye Match last weekend. I am totally addicted to it and will not pause until I reach the top level, Distinguished Expert.

I used to never shoot because putting holes in paper for the sake of it means nothing. These Qual courses give you something to do at the range and look foward to doing the next time. I highly recommend getting your hands on a guide and starting a couse with your favorite gun ASAP.

Here's the link:

http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/marksmanship/index.asp

Powderman
December 20, 2006, 02:25 PM
I have attained Sharpshooter Bar 8 in the Pistol Qualification (Bullseye). It has really helped my shooting skills and I even shot in my first Bullseye Match last weekend. I am totally addicted to it and will not pause until I reach the top level, Distinguished Expert.


Actually, go for Distinguished Master. :)

30Cal
December 20, 2006, 02:53 PM
Just to clarrify, the NRA Qualification program is not the same as the NRA competition Classification system.

syh
March 23, 2009, 06:17 AM
Sorry for raising this thread from the grave, but I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find elsewhere.

The NRA Qualification program is not monitored by the NRA at all, right? Does that mean basically that you have a scorebook and you mark your scores, and pat yourself on the back once you've reached certain levels?

Does anything need to be sent in to the NRA? Scores, targets?

Is it necessary to buy the book in order to take part in it?

Thanks in advance for the help!

syh
March 23, 2009, 10:04 PM
oh disregard that, i just saw all the links on the left side of the nra's page just now.

DaveBeal
March 28, 2009, 05:33 PM
Since someone else resurrected this thread, I'll throw in my two cents on the NRA Marksmanship Qual program. I've gotten to Expert in handgun and Distinguished Expert in benchrest light rifle and bullseye pistol. Haven't attempted DE in handgun because it requires shooting at three targets simultaneously, which would be difficult to arrange at the indoor range I belong to.

My perception is that the courses aren't designed so much to make you an exceptional marksman as they are to provide an objective challenge and keep people interested in shooting. The pistol and light rifle courses of fire are apparently designed so that they can be done indoor or outdoor, which means that the challenge may be limited. For instance, the entire light rifle course can be done at 50 feet. It's hard not to score well when shooting a .22LR from benchrest at 50 feet, which makes even the DE rating pretty easy. OTOH, I found DE in bullseye pistol to be fairly challenging. It requires you to score an aggregate of at least 269 out of 300 possible points 10 times, shooting the standard slow, timed and rapid fire from 75 feet. (270/300 = 90%, which would be Expert level in the NRA competition classification.) It took me 11 months to complete the bullseye course from Pro Marksman to DE, and I was going to the range at least once a week. The good part is that there's no limit on the number of attempts you can make, so even a hacker like me can get there eventually.

I've tricked out my new 10/22; tomorrow I'm gonna start working on standing light rifle. :D

syh
April 3, 2009, 04:51 AM
For high power, am I reading it correctly that I would just need to shoot 88% 10 times for DE? Can the 20 shot course be used instead? The page is kinda confusing. I guess I need to get my hands on a rulebook.

kludge
April 3, 2009, 09:08 AM
The program can be used in your local club, and awards can be presented at meetings or at matches.

It doesn't have to be a "pat yourself on the back" program, and the different disciplines are good practice if you follow the program.

Some people need/like to have goals for their shooting practice, and you can push yourself (the highest rakings are hard to achieve)...

and it gives me something to do besides just sending lead downrange.

TEDDY
April 3, 2009, 10:56 AM
I got my training in high school,shooting postal matches and compitition between schools.I got my expert rifle there and my school patch.never went back to rifl after I got out of navy.but in 1969 joined a gun club and the twice weekly bullseye matches sharpened my skill.I have a box full of medals,
and gave my 40 trophies to GOAL to recycle.my eyes never were that good and now that I can see good,I am to old.but I can put 5 rds touching at 100yrds with my 1903.you realy dont learn good shooting til you do bullseye.I shot,22 /38/45.and was top of marksman.I gave up my instructer rating couple yrs ago.:rolleyes::uhoh:

FredHunter
February 6, 2011, 02:12 PM
What types of guns are you using for the different disciplines?

DaveBeal
February 10, 2011, 07:59 PM
What types of guns are you using for the different disciplines?

I used a Browning Buckmark for Handgun, a Ruger 77/22 bolt action for Benchrest Smallbore Rifle and a S&W Model 41 for Bullseye Pistol. All .22LR.

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