High School Shooting Range: 1950s and today

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Back in 1960, 28.7% of the total NRA membership maintained skill Classifications in competition and there were almost as many Qualification awards recognized as total members (89.5%)

Today, only 2% of the total NRA membership maintained skill Classifications in competition and 0.2% participate in the Qualification program.

Despite a ten-fold increase in membership, less NRA members hold a Classification today than did in the 1960s. Part of the reason for less organized shooting activity in public schools is gun owners are less interested in participating in organized shooting activity.

Some stats:




Golfing and Shooting Demographics

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Golf Week magazine reported on golfing participation numbers.

Bowling and Shooting Demographics


In an Ernst and Ernst study, it was determined that an average bowling alley derives 65 per cent of its income from bowling itself. Even with additional attractions or services, such as a pro shop, restaurant, and bar, two-thirds of a bowling alley’s income comes from participants. Getting bowlers to actually bowl is key.

Among participants, league bowling is the principal source of income and patronage. The same study showed that patronage by percent of yearly lineage was:

  • League bowlers, 52.6%
  • Tournament bowlers, 4.3%
  • Junior bowlers, 3.3%
  • Open bowlers, 39.8%

Of participants, nearly two-thirds of income comes from those involved in organized events such as leagues and tournaments and just over one-third is from open, non-enrolled participants. Note, this is gross income. Consider the ease of marketing to those involved in league play, who visit regularly, offer contact information, and want to hear from the alley because they want to see scores, league standings, upcoming events, etc. Consider this active group is also smaller and easier to communicate with.

According to research reported by the Bowlers Journal International, 70% of a bowling alley’s total income is derived from regular, organized events such as leagues, arriving at an even higher figure of the importance of league play than that reported by the Ernst and Ernst study.

What does this have to do with shooting and why should you care?

Bowling companies recognize the value of organized participation. Consider AMF and Brunswick both list directories of active leagues. It is rare to find a firearm manufacturer doing anything similar.

Worse, organizations that are supposed to organize this, don’t. The NRA reports that 98% of its card-carrying membership have never participated in an NRA sanctioned (approved or registered) event.

Sports and activities that can’t depend on financial success via spectators must drive participation. They must find ways to get people that own the equipment to use it in an organized fashion on an on-going basis.

Award-winning Pennsylvania high school rifle team left out of yearbook


Emmaus High School is a rarity in that it actually has a shooting team as a part of its athletic department. The school caused a bit of an uproar when its 2013 yearbook omitted any mention of this team.

Golfers vs. Gun Owners

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Golf Week magazine reported on golfing participation numbers.

Target Shooting

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A note from a reader at American Gunsmith


History of the Marksmanship Qualification Program


The following is a history of the National Rifle Association Marksmanship Qualification Program originally written by Denise Conni for NRA InSights (http://www.nrainsights.org).


Please note, even though this program was initially motivated as a method to involve junior shooters, the NRA MQP is not for kids only! Adults are encouraged to participate as well!

The real pity about the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program is that it continues to decline. In 1961 the NRA reported that with a membership of 418,000 total the Marksmanship Qualification Program had 374,112 participants.

Today, despite having over 4 million NRA members and financial support from Winchester again, there are less than 10,000 MQP participants total, youth and adult combined.


NRA Classification Fall Off


The amount of marksmen within the National Rifle Association has dropped significantly. Why are so few gun owners participating in organized events?


“Target Shooting” and Ball Sports

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Imagine walking into a sporting goods store and approaching a salesperson with this:

Single Mom Shoots at Home, Makes Olympics

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Next time some gun owner complains about the expense or time commitment to shoot, slap him upside the head with this:



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