Most Americans, including the gun owners, view the National Rifle Association of America as a political organization due to changes made during the 1970’s which changed their focus to politics and lobbying. However, before then the NRA was primarily concerned with promoting marksmanship training and competition.

This book, published in 1967, when the NRA was still primarily a marksman’s organization accounts not only the history of the organization but the development of formal marksmanship training. Mass produced rifles became readily available during the mid 1800’s and highly drilled regular forces quickly learned that orderly march and drill was no match for riflemen. However, no recognized system for teaching the rifle existed. The British started Schools of Musketry and founded the original National Rifle Association in their country. American General George Wingate along with publisher Colonel William Church founded the NRA of America twelve years later to foster organized shooting events to promote and teach marksmanship.

All forms of shooting skill in military, law enforcement, hunting and civilian circles can trace its origins back here. The US Army’s first marksmanship manual was Wingate’s “Manual of Rifle Practice” based on skills learned in competition shooting venues promoted by the military. Shooting was a popular spectator sport and received wide media coverage.

All that history is here. Too bad nobody at the NRA today seems to know it.

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