“I am interested in competitive shooting. How can I get information on matches?”
When first learning about military-sponsored shooting teams many troops naturally ask how they can get a slot.
Step One: Go shoot!
Your first step in earning a slot on a shooting team is to start in competitive shooting. The best way to start in competitive shooting is to go find events, be it military or civilian, on your own and attending. Consider a player vying for a position on a team in the NFL. If he doesn’t already have years of solid background with high school and college teams, forget it! A couch potato who was never played a game is not going to be offered a tryout. Why bother?
Yet, you’d be amazed how many troops with zero competition shooting experience complain that they can’t get started because no team will give them equipment or fund their travel to a match. For every 100+ troops with no previous competition experience maybe one of them is worth a look. Even if/when you earn a slot you’ll still have to shoot and train on your own so already having places and venues to do so will help long term as well.
Find out what ranges are in your area and look into attending organized civilian events. http://wheretoshoot.org/ is a great resource. Nearly every team shooter has a civilian shooting background and the best way to get started is to simply jump in. If you approach a team having already participated in matches and earning higher level classifications on your own any coach will want you to try out.
For military sponsored events, find a National Guard sponsored event in your state. Even if you’re not the Guard, you can shoot the EIC events. The Arkansas Guard, at Camp Robinson, is the national headquarters for this.
All Army is hosted by the Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning every year in the spring and is open to all Active, Reserve and Guard Army personnel. Even if you’re not on a team you can register in advance on your own and be able to borrow guns and get a free place to stay on post. The event is HIGHLY recommended!
Step Two: Train your Discipline
The USAR shooting team focuses on three disciplines. Two of them, Service Rifle and Service Pistol, are shot as civilian competitions recognized by the NRA and CMP. Shooting Sports USA lists events and is a free, on-line magazine.
The third discipline, Combat, is a NATO event that doesn’t have a civilian equivalent, however practical competition such as Action Pistol, IDPA and USPSA Multigun is close. This is also the style event you’ll find at National Guard hosted events.
The bottom line is, if you want to be on a military sponsored shooting team you need to be a competition shooter. You become a competition shooter by being a competition shooter. Shoot events on your own, attend All Army and you’ll earn a slot.