NRA Unveils New Match at Camp Perry
National Defense Match
This year’s National Matches at Camp Perry brought some new changes to the shores of Lake Erie. The NRA unveiled a new match with the hope of attracting new shooters and boosting the number of people involved in the shooting sports. Departing from the Camp Perry norms, the National Defense Match is a course of fire involving two different types of targets shot from multiple distances using a defensive type of rifle, such as an AR-15. Shooters were separated into three different divisions based on their rifle equipment and accessories. Iron sight shooters and those with unmagnified red dot sights fell into the Limited category, while those with variable power scopes were in the Tactical Optic division. Shooters with multiple sighting systems, barrels longer than 20”, bipods, or a trigger pull of less than 4.5 lbs were placed in the Open division. There were multiple strings of fire requiring a variety of firing positions from each yard line, starting at 7 yards and extending out to 500. The match rules also required competitors to have a sling on their rifles and carry rifle for the duration of the match, just like our soldiers overseas do on a daily basis. This inaugural match was an invitation-only match that drew enthusiastic participants from across the shooting and firearms community.
The plan for this year’s match at Camp Perry was to shoot the entire 164-round course of fire on Saturday and then again on Sunday, for a total of 328 rounds fired in two days. The specially designed color-coded NDM 5-120 target was used for the strings at the 7, 15 and 30 yard distances. From 60 to 500, the target was changed to the NRA D-1 tombstone target like that used in the action pistol sports. The match itself, while designed to be shot out to 500 yards, is very modular and can be modified for shooting ranges that only have access to shorter distances, making this a match that can be shot by almost anyone across the country. To aid in expediting the match at Camp Perry, an electronic scoring system from Shot Response was utilized. This allowed shooters to see their hits on the target immediately after firing the string, and it eliminated the need to paste bullet holes down range. As soon as the shooters walked off the line, they could see how they did in comparison to others in their relay on a 42” television that was connected to the computerized scoring system. The entire match guide can be viewed here: http://issuu.com/compshoot/docs/ndmflyer2011
On Day 1 of the match, we started out at the close distances with NDM 5-120 targets. From each firing line, there was a sequential order in which targets needed to be engaged. Varying from the proper sequence would result in missed targets and costly time penalties. Each firing line had two different strings of fire incorporating either a different target engagement order or a variety of shooting positions. Speed was the name of the game at these close ranges, as our final score was an aggregate of shooting time plus any applicable penalties. As we moved back to the longer distances, accuracy became more critical as the time penalty for a missed target increased along with the distances. Due to some unexpected delays and a few re-shoots due to cross-fires, the schedule ran a little behind, and we were forced to make some modifications. We stopped after shooting the 200 yard strings and returned Sunday morning for the longer range shooting.
Day 2 brought the threat of Camp Perry thunderstorms, and we were hoping to finish before the showers hit. We were able to shoot from the 300 and 400 yard lines before the storms finally moved in from the lake and funnel clouds began dropping from the sky. We were forced to evacuate the range, and eventually the match was called with no end to the storm in sight. When the final times were computed, I finished in 3rd place in the Open division behind FNH team shooter Tommy Thacker and match winner Ian Harrison from Season 1 of “Top Shot”.
This year was a test of the new match format and some bugs are currently being worked out. Small changes may occur before next year, but the concept will remain the same: a new match that anyone can shoot, regardless of skill level or range capacity, and have fun doing so. I have a feeling this match will be a big success across the country, and I personally cannot wait to shoot it again!
For more information about the National Defense Match or with questions about running one at your local club, please contact the NRA’s Trey Tuggle at 703-267-1487 or by email at TTuggle@nrahq.org.
Sinclair Reloading Technician
NRA Certified Range Safety Officer
USPSA Certified Range Officer