2014 Paralympic Athlete of the Year Mike Tagliapietra spills the contents of his range bag for Shooting Sports USA

2014 Paralympic Athlete of the Year Mike Tagliapietra

Mike Tagliapietra is our country's foremost Paralympic marksman and Barb Baird of Women's Outdoor News got to peek into his range bag for Shooting Sports USA.

You could say that Mike Tagliapietra had a great year last year. Named the 2014 Paralympic Athlete of the Year, this Wisconsinite’s performances in prestigious world competitions qualified him to be the lead and the face of the Paralympic Program for USA Shooting. His perseverance and winning performance also propelled him to secure a berth on the Olympic team for 2016, to be held in Rio de Janeiro.

More on Mike Tagliapietra's range bag ...

From the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources - Wheelchair turkey hunt held in Upstate

Wheelchair turkey hunt held in Upstate South Carolina The first S.C. Department of Natural Resources co-sponsored wild turkey hunt for persons permanently confined to a wheelchair was held in the Upstate on Saturday, April 13.

This special hunt was conducted in Newberry County at a private hunting lease and is another example of the ongoing partnership among various private landowners in the Upstate and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The hunt was a tremendous success overall, but it was especially so for Jeff Cooper of Camden who took his first gobbler on his first turkey hunt. Cooper, who has been in a wheelchair for 30 years, said that he was sincerely appreciative to have such an exciting outdoor recreational opportunity.

More on South Carolina's wheelchair turkey hunt ...

Rocker Ted Nugent works with wounded veterans, shares story at NRA Convention in Houston

Ted Nugent laughs at a joke during the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas Nobody gets the crowds rocking harder than the Motor City Madman, and his appearance at the NRA Convention on Sunday was no exception. This experience, however, ended a little different than the others. Sure there was talk of guns and politics and the spirit of the hunt, but that soon gave way to a more somber moment. The moment when the Nuge revealed one of his darkest secrets.

"I've got to admit something right here. I feel guilty. You know it's hard to find ammo. I'm sorry … I've got it all.

"I'm really sorry about that. I've got this hobby."

More on Ted Nugent's work with wounded veterans at the NRA Convention ...

Mike Tagliapietra likes the AR-15 and shoots it well on NRAblog. This weekend's NRAblog Rewind comes courtesy of Art Merrill, a freelance writer for "Shooting Illustrated," as he completes his series from Disabled Shooting's 2010 Open Range Day in Phoenix, Arizona.

Phoenix, Arizona - Saturday morning's safety briefing was the no-nonsense, all-business dialogue we're used to hearing from match directors and rangemasters – except for the “sip & puff” part:

“Always always always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction! Keep your finger away from the trigger until you're ready to shoot. If you're using the sip & puff trigger mechanism, don't put it your mouth 'til you're ready to shoot. If you need help, if you have a question, don't be stubborn - ask a volunteer. Keep them busy.”

After that, it was pretty much all fun in the desert sun.

The air rifles appealed to a lot of shooters today, and not just because it was indoors, sheltered from the 95-degree desert spring. Every shooter enjoys hitting reactive targets, in this case, air rifle metallic silhouette targets. But there are other reasons, as well.

“I don't like loud bangs,” Ashleigh Justice said. “I liked the .22 pistol, but the .38 was too much.”


A member of Project Enduring Pride takes aim with a SIG P230 at the NRA Range

A group of around 20 combat wounded veterans from Project Enduring Pride visited NRA Headquarters and, along with friends and family, were treated to a tour of the National Firearms Museum as well as a chance to get some target practice in at the NRA Range.

Donated from the museum's collection and generous volunteers, there was a wide variety of firearms at every lane. A MAC-10, M-4 Carbine, SOCOM-16, Ruger Mini-14, FN SCAR, Browning Automatic Rifle, SIG P230 and H&K UMP were just some of the available guns these brave men and women could try out.


Wounded Veterans spend a day firing SIGs, Colts and more

NRA staff views disabled veteran firing an uzi

Fairfax, Virginia - When twenty disabled veterans from Project Enduring Pride visited NRA Headquarters last month they were treated to more than just a guided tour of the National Firearms Museum. After gazing at 600 years of firearms history, the vets joined friends and family at the NRA Range for a hands-on experience with some of the same guns they were just ogling.

Project Enduring Pride helps combat-wounded servicemen and women in the Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Richmond areas transition from military to civilian life. Thinking veterans would enjoy getting behind the sights again, the NRA Range spent more than two months organizing sponsors and volunteers before inviting Enduring Pride for its afternoon of fun.


NRA's Doug Wicklund speaks on the history of the 1911 at the National Firearms Museum

This past January a group from the Enduring Pride Project were invited to NRA Headquarters by the NRA Range. Here, they were treated to lunch at the NRA Cafe, a guided tour of our National Firearms Museum and the opportunity to squeeze off a few rounds down at the range.

The program had such a good time at NRA they wanted to come back in the future and the the NRA Range's Debbie Crews was more than happy to plan their next visit. After a couple months of getting some great sponsors and volunteer Range Officers, Enduring Pride showed up on Tuesday with a group of over 20 combat disabled veterans accompanied by friends and family. There were a lot of new faces and a couple old ones, but you can always learn something new at the museum and target shooting never gets old, right?


The 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games takes place this June in Richmond, Virginia. Founded in 1981, the Veterans Wheelchair Games is open to any retired serviceman with spinal cord injuries, certain neurological conditions, amputations or other mobility impairments. Offering events spanning from rugby, swimming, track, and basketball, the games tend to draw more than 500 athletes to the competition every year.

NRAblog attended the 30th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Denver, Colorado. Above is a shot of competitors from the Air Gun range.

To learn more about the games, and sign up for the event, go to the Paralyzed Veterans of America website.

Kyle is down at Fort Benning in Georgia right now covering the 2012 NRA Collegiate Championships, hosted by the United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU). But other exciting news has just come from the USAMU, making history for both disabled shooting and the Army. At the center of this news is National Matches competitor Sgt. 1st Class Josh Olson, a combat-wounded veteran who will be competing at the Summer Olympic Games in London. Here's what the USAMU has to say about their latest news:

SFC Josh Olson of the USAMU will compete in London this summer
Sgt. 1st Class Josh Olson of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit is the first Active Duty Soldier nominated to the U.S. Paralympic Team. (Photo by Michael Molinaro, USAMU PAO)

FORT BENNING, Georgia — The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit is proud to announce its historic expansion with the creation of a Marksmanship Instructor Group and Paralympic Section, the first-ever Army units designed specifically for wounded warriors deemed able to continue to serve on active duty. Approved by the Army this week, this historic first is part of the Army Chief of Staff’s initiative supporting Wounded Warriors.

For these Soldiers, serving in the USAMU will involve raising Army combat readiness by providing the absolute best shooting instruction for all Army units. They will also showcase the Army by competing at a world-class level in national and international competition as part of the USAMU's efforts to connect the Army to the nation's citizens. Sgt. 1st Class Josh Olson, Operation Iraqi Freedom combat-wounded veteran and USAMU Paralympian, is the first Active Duty Soldier to be nominated to the U.S. Paralympic Team and will compete in London this summer.

This ground-breaking approach inspires wounded combat veterans to remain on active duty, enhances combat readiness, and highlights ability rather than disability. "Despite their injuries, these Soldiers are stronger for serving and continuing to serve; now they will make the Army even stronger,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Hodne, commander, USAMU.

Congratulations to SFC Olson and to all of our friends at the USAMU. We look forward seeing how this will revolutionize the shooting sports and increase opportunities for both combat-wounded and disabled shooters.

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