Pregnant Olympic Shooter to Compete in London

At the summer Olympic Games in London this year, rifle shooter Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi, is hoping not to get kicked off the firing line – by her unborn child.   The Malaysian mom will be eight months pregnant when she aims for gold in the 10 meter air rifle competition but said she feels strong and will be talking to her child during the competition, asking for one hour and 15 minutes of calm, with no kicking.

Taibi will be limited to the standing, 10 meter competition, as her third-trimester belly will prevent her from shooting from the prone (lying) position, but to date she feels there is no reason not to compete.

You can read more by clicking on “‘No Kicking’:  Pregnant Shooter Will Compete in London Olympics.”

A Girl, A Glock, and the NRA Pistol Quals – Part 2

Well, it didn’t take nearly as long to complete the handgun qualifications through Expert as it did to write about them, so here is the second part of my NRA pistol qualification quest.

In my last post about the quals I was mid-way through the Marksman 1st Class level, which I completed.  Marksman 1st Class requires two-hand shooting, both strong side and weak side.  This means that you hold the gun with both hands in a normal grip for the strong side shooting, then switch your grip so that the weak hand pulls the trigger during the next set.  It takes a minute to figure out this grip using your weak hand, sort of like trying to cross your arms in the opposite direction than you are used to.

I was shooting at an AP-1 target, so had to shoot from 30 feet, and as with all the prior levels, it required ten qualifying targets.  There are two stages to M1stC:  The first stage being five shots in three minutes, strong side; and the second stage being five shots in three minutes, weak side, for a total of ten shots per target.

This is the first level of the qualification that requires a minimum score.  To pass this level you must acquire five targets with a score of 46 or better and five targets with a score of 56 or better.  The targets do not have to be shot in the same session.

The next level is Sharpshooter, which is the same stance and grip as M1stC, but with a faster time limit and higher minimum score.  For this level the shooter must fire five shots in 20 seconds with the strong-hand grip and five shots in 20 seconds with the weak-hand – still a two-hand grip, ten shots per target.

Scoring for Sharpshooter is, again, ten targets total, five with a score of 60 or better and five with a score of 65 or better.  Both stages for a target must be shot in the same session, but the ten targets do not have to be completed on the same day.

Now we get to the Expert level, which is shot one-handed, both strong-side and weak-side.  Once again at 30 feet for the AP-1 target and 15 feet for the AP-2 target, the shooter must fire five shots in three minutes and five shots in ten seconds with the strong hand; and then fire five shots in three minutes and five shots in ten seconds with the weak hand – for a total of 20 shots per target.

The complete Expert course (20 rounds) must be fired twice with a score of 130 or better and three times with a score of 150 or better.

Now we get to the highest prize, the Distinquished Expert level, which will encompass everything we have done in all previous levels, and which must be witnessed by a current NRA member, instructor, or coach, and for which paperwork must be submitted to the NRA in order to receive acknowledgement in the NRA magazine.

This level should be completed by hanging three targets at eye level, about an inch apart, and they are shot from the same distances as the previous levels.  There are four stages to this level and each of the four stages must be shot during the same session, but the qualifying targets need not be shot on the same day.

In Stage 1, the shooter will fire five rounds, strong side, with two hands in ten seconds.  Stage 2 is the same, except that the rounds are fired with one hand only, the strong hand.  Stage 3 requires five rounds fired with two hands, weak side, in 10 seconds.  For Stage 4, the shooter must place five rounds in the targets in 10 seconds, with the weak hand only.

Scoring for this level requires the shooter to acquire three targets with a minimum score of 145 or better, and three targets with a score of 170 or better.

So, all that to say that I have one more level to complete, Distinguished Expert; and it’s a level I hope to master within the next month.

Wish me luck ~ and happy shooting!

A Girl, a Glock, and the NRA Pistol Quals – Part 1

NRA Women's Pistol Patch

After months of shooting at random targets, I decided to try to become certified in something – not certifiable, mind you, but certified.  My search for a way to begin climbing the ladder of credibility led me to the NRA Pistol Qualifications, which I figured was a good place to start.

The first two levels in the qualifications only require that you shoot at a nine-inch paper plate, or nine-inch target, but I went ahead and purchased the NRA AP-1 targets, because I would need them for future levels.  The AP-1 is a fairly large target, so if you use it, as opposed to the AP-2, which is smaller, you move out to 30 feet after the first two levels.  The end result is the same, but I chose to go with the AP-1 so that I could say I shot the targets at 30 feet – it just sounds more impressive :0)

So on a very hot and steamy day, just before the sun began to set, I packed up my Glock and my gear and headed to the range.  Fortunately, my son, Dylan, came along to be my ammo boy.  He kept my magazines loaded so I could get as far as possible before losing too much daylight.

The first level that must be mastered on this journey is Pro-Marksman, where you are required to shoot five rounds at a paper plate (or a target nine inches in diameter) while sitting with arms braced, and get all of the shots within one-half inch of the outside rim – and then do that ten times.  The distance for this step is 15 feet, and if using a nine-inch target, is pretty easy to master.  Shots are made two-handed, with the “strong hand,” or dominant hand, pulling the trigger.

It can be a bit frustrating to shoot ten targets in a row and only put five shots on each target. Normally, I would shoot until I shot the center out and then cover it with a sticker target and shoot some more – I mean, why waste a perfectly good target, right?

So the next level is Marksman. This step requires ten shots in each paper plate (or nine-inch target), all of which must be within one-and-a-half inches of the outside rim.  This time, the shooter is standing, using two hands, strong-side.  This is, again, not too difficult if you have been target shooting for a while, as it is still shot at 15 feet.  You also need a qualifying ten targets to pass this level.

I conquered that level and was ready to move on, but was beginning to lose daylight, was extremely hot and sweaty, my glasses were fogging up, and I was running out of ammo.  Ugh!  I pressed onward to Marksman First Class, though, and was able to complete three qualifying targets before having to leave.  At least I knew I could do it, and that I would be able to complete that level the next time I was at the range.

Marksman First Class is the first time that AP-1 users must move back to 30 feet.  It also gets more difficult in that the shooter must shoot two-handed, but fire five shots with the strong hand and five shots with the weak hand.  Now, this was more difficult for me than it probably should have been.  I had actually been practicing one-handed shooting in anticipation of these quals, but I had not realized that you do not shoot one-handed, but rather with two hands, strong side, then weak side.  It is very different holding the gun with both hands, but having them overlap in a reverse grip, and then transitioning back and forth between targets.

I learned the hard way that I should spend more time making sure my grip was correct before firing.  I didn’t realize that my strong-side thumb was not tucked carefully away and the slide drew blood on the first shot.  I learned you must always be mindful of where your digits are, because losing that thumb would make shooting all the more difficult.  So I got my little thumb tucked safely out of slide range and completed my three M1stC targets for the day.

I have to say that moving through the first few levels was a definite confidence builder, and I can now order my patch, certificates, and rockers (patches that go under the pistol patch that show the highest level one has achieved) for those levels.  After completing Marksman First Class (seven more targets to go), I will move on to Sharpshooter, Expert, and Distinguished Expert, which I really believe I can accomplish with enough time and ammo – time and ammo being the keys :0)  I’ll keep you updated on the journey!

For more information on the NRA Pistol Qualifications, click here.

And if you have completed any or all of the levels, let us know how you did and what you thought about it.