Just over a century ago, Gen. George Wingate, co-founder of the National Rifle Association and author of Why Should Boys Be Taught To Shoot began hosting shooting tournaments for junior marksmen. As the president of the Public Schools Athletic League, Wingate was able to start a number of youth shooting programs in the New York area. Interest grew, culminating with a large tournament at Creedmoor. Yes, Creedmoor, as this was back in the days prior to Camp Perry.
Winchester offered a similar marksmanship qualification program, called the Winchester Junior Rifle Corps, which was subsequently merged with a NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program offering. As there is nothing new under the sun, this same marksmanship qualification program is again sponsored by Winchester.
The concept of MarksmanshipQualification℠ is simple. Shooting courses and standards are available year-round for developing and improving marksmanship skills. Performance is measured against established par scores and any shooter who meets or exceeds those scores is entitled to the corresponding recognition. It’s a drill. The Firearm User℠ shoots at his own pace on an established course of fire of his choosing.
While the Winchester/NRA courses comprise the oldest and most recognized marksmanship qualification program it is not the only one. Some examples of other popular MQ courses include:
- The Appleseed Project started by Jack Dailey of Fred’s M14 Stocks uses the AQT (Army Qualification Test), which is a 25 meter reduced version of a National Match-type Excellence in Competition course shot at the All Army matches.
- The High Power Sporting Rifle course was designed for competition, but the classifications listed in the rule book makes for a good Marksmanship Qualification for big game hunters. Any good field marksman should be able to earn a Master rating with a basic, inexpensive hunting rifle.
- Todd Green of Pistol-Training.com created a short practical pistol MQ course called F.A.S.T. (Fundamentals, Accuracy, & Speed Test)
- One of the most difficult Marksmanship Qualification Programs was designed by firearms trainer and former IPSC competitor Chuck Taylor called the 4-Weapon Combat Master. This MQ is also the basis of the qualification cirriculum used at Front Sight
- Military and police qualifications are commonly used for the masses of serving personnel.
The Firearm User Network℠ promotes organized shooting. Competition is one form of organized shooting and MarksmanshipQualification℠ is another. Find formats and courses that appeal to you and get involved!