I’m a fan of competitive shooting, as well, and am just beginning to get into that arena. I also believe in working through some type of qualifications, such as the NRA/Winchester Marksmanship steps, in order to have a measurable way to improve. It’s a great way to get started and move toward the next goal.
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!