What is the point of team matches at shooting competitions?

In conventional and military shooting disciplines, team matches are often the aggregate of individual scores. For some events team members might even shoot on different relays with their individual aggregates comprising a team score. Sometimes, team matches are only paper matches that just add up individual scores to create a team score.

Most of these events have a “new shooter” rule where one or more of the team shooters have to be new and definitions of who is a “new” shooter vary by event.

The point is for experienced shooters to bring in new shooters every year as the only way to have a valid team is to find and train a new shooter. For military events, this new shooter may also be need to be assigned to your unit, battalion, post/base, etc. The idea was to encourage bringing new people in.

National Trophy Infantry Team is one of the few “true” team matches. The “rattle battle” is one of the remnants of what used to be called skirmisher matches.




Originally, the six team shooters were armed with four Springfields and two BARs, distributing fire across eight targets. After 1934 it was difficult for civilian shooters to obtain full autos so ever since all shooters fired rifles.

Modern NATO combat matches, originally designed in the Commonwealth militaries, still use skirmisher events, with teams (usually of four shooters) advancing and engaging targets together. For example, at AFSAM (Camp Robinson) we shoot an event that starts with teams advancing a 100 yards through obstacles and engaging steel targets as a group with total elapsed time being the score. Other events group teams and require an automatic rifle or light machine gun (usually a M249/L110/Minimi, though most of the USAR team preferred Colt’s Automatic Rifle when that’s an option.) Being a military-only event this isn’t as difficult to arrange.

Events are named AASAM (Australian Army Skill at Arms Meeting), AFSAM (Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting) and CAFSAC (Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration), among others throughout NATO.