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Civilian Marksmanship Program Is as American as It Gets
This program can provide shooters instruction, competition and even surplus rifles
By Barbara Baird
|Photo courtesy of CMP|
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) began in 1903 when Congress and President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Matches and National Board for Promotion of Rifle Practice. Roosevelt felt that firearms skills developed through competition benefited the nation's military. The program expanded and, after World War II, changed its focus and its name -- primarily fostering youth development through marksmanship training. It became the Civilian Marksmanship Program. In 1996, Congress privatized the program and tasked it with instructing citizens of the United States in marksmanship, promoting practice and safety in firearms and holding firearms competitions. It is now considered a national leader in firearms instruction and competition.
For funding, the CMP sells surplus .30 and .22 caliber military rifles, along with parts and ammunition to qualified U.S. citizens. It also sells government-surplus M1Garands, M1 Carbines, M1917 Enfields, .22 caliber target rifles and other rifles. Two locations -- Camp Perry, Ohio, and CMP's headquarters in Anniston, Ala. -- operate retail stores. Merchandise also can be purchased through its Internet store and at auction.
|Photo courtesy of CMP|
The CMP's crown event, the National Matches, is held at Camp Perry in Ohio in the summer. For more than 100 years, these matches have offered competitions in CMP National Trophy Rifle and Pistol Matches, the Pistol and Rifle Small Arms Firing Schools and rifle events. The event runs from July 8 through Aug. 18 and also includes National Rifle Association's Smallbore Rifle and Highpower Rifle Championships. The matches sponsored by the CMP, NRA and the Ohio National Guard.
Throughout the year, the CMP also conducts firearm-safety programs, small-arms firing schools, three-position air rifle junior competitions, marksmanship clinics and sanctioned competitions throughout the nation.
Anette Wachter from Seattle, Wash., shoots a service rifle, aka AR 15, in competitions sanctioned by the CMP and the NRA. She said one of the reasons she likes this discipline is because "CMP and its competitions are very old school and full of tradition."
|Photo of Anette Wachter courtesy of Anette Wachter|
Wachter continued, "I started my competition shooting in service rifle. CMP offers a Distinguished badge in pistol, smallbore and rifle. The matches are across-the-course position shooting. Offhand at 200 yards, seated rapid at 200, prone rapid at 300 yards and slow prone at 600 yards."
Only about 2,000 shooters have earned the Distinguished badge. Her husband recently earned his badge, and proudly wears the pin on his hat.
Wachter also noted that "only at Perry can you compete for The President's 100, which is a big CMP honor. Depending on the President in office, he will sign a letter of congratulations to you if you make the list."
Wachter hopes to make that list soon.
|CMP by the Numbers