When I think of some of the top names in shooting, Daniel Horner instantly comes to mind. When he's not on the road dominating the leaderboard at major 3-gun competitions across the country, this national champion is at Ft. Benning in Georgia serving as a shooter and instructor with the United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU).

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A Springfield Armory 1911 pistol

When I pulled into the parking lot of NRA Headquarters yesterday, I noticed something out of the ordinary: numerous police cruisers. But fear not, no crime had been committed; no police tape had been hung. As I came to find out, the officers were there as part of one of NRA Law Enforcement Division’s Tuition-Free Armorer Schools.

“The course enables them to go back to their agency and troubleshoot and repair the agency’s firearms,” explained Tim Cole, one of NRA’s Law Enforcement Training Coordinators.

Beginning yesterday, 20 law enforcement officers and military personnel are participating in a three-day Armorer School for Springfield Armory firearms.

“Each day, the course focuses on a different firearm,” Cole explained. Day One had students learning how to work on Springfield 1911s (pictured), today focused on the Springfield XD and XDM, and tomorrow will turn to rifle work with the legendary Springfield M1A.

Free to law enforcement and military, NRA holds 10-12 Armorer and Shooting Schools each year at either NRA Headquarters here in Fairfax, Virginia or at the Fairfax County Police Firearms Training Facility in nearby Chantilly.

“We offer this training at no cost as a way to say ‘Thank You’ to police and military for their service,” said Cole.

Although the courses are free, attendees or their agencies must pay for travel costs, lodging, and meals. Classes are limited to approximately 20-30 students depending on the course and include training materials. Each course is taught by representatives of the specific firearms manufacturer.

Space in each course is limited, and due to popularity, attendees are chosen through a random drawing. For more information on upcoming schools and how to register, visit web page for Tuition-Free Armorer Schools or contact Tim Cole at tcole@nrahq.org or 703-267-1626.

SPC Payne is dominating 3-gun competitions across the country

SPC Tyler Payne took first place at the FNH 3-Gun Championship

Glengary, West Virginia - More than two years ago, we introduced you to a young 3-gun competitor named Tyler Payne. After witnessing his performance at the 2009 LaRue Tactical 3-Gun Championship, we knew Payne was one to watch - and so did the Army. Now, more than two years later, SPC Payne is dominating the range at 3-gun competitions across the country as part of the Army Marksmanship Unit's (AMU) Action Shooting Team.

More on Tyler Payne's win at the FNH 3-Gun Championship ...

Event marks special achievement in National Guard's career

Colonel Guy Gormley and his family at the National Firearms Museum for his promotion ceremony Fairfax, Virginia - The National Firearms Museum played host last week to a very special event. After almost twenty-five years of service, first with the United States and then with the National Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Guy Gormley received promotion to the rank of Colonel. And what better place for an NRA Life Member to hold such a ceremony then inside the Robert E. Petersen Gallery at the NRA National Firearms Museum.

Filled to the rim, Gormley was accompanied by his parents, wife Sara, daughter Katherine and son Guy … not to mention the crowd of co-workers and friends he picked up along the way. Overseeing the ceremony was Colonel James P. Bagely.

More on Colonel Cormley's promotion at the NRA Museum ...

The Men's Modified Team won a gold medal at the IPSC World Shoot

Rob Leatham, JoJo Vidanes, Mike Voight, and Barry Dueck brought home a Team Gold Medal in the Modified Division - Photo courtesy Julie Golob

This past weekend wrapped up the competition at the IPSC World Shoot in Rhodes, Greece, and shooters from America dominated the leaderboards. Competitors from the United States took home 23 individual medals, with eight of them being gold. They also picked up nine team medals, for a grand total of 32 medals, more than any other country represented. Both male and female U.S. competitors helped rack up the medal count across the different divisions, but for right now, let's here it for the boys. Here's a look at the guys who picked up medals in their respective division and/or age group:

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A competitor's muzzle flash at the New Mexico Challenge

Yesterday we told you about the New Mexico Challenge, a competition here at the 2011 National Police Shooting Championship specifically for New Mexico police and military who are new to Police Pistol Combat shooting. Here's a look at the action on the range with photos taken by none other than Glen Hoyer, Direction of NRA's Law Enforcement Division.

The Tactical Police Competition is winding down and it's almost time for final results and awards. Stay tuned, because we'll have it all for you right here on NRAblog.

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Chapter 3 of ODA 574 on NRA Life of Duty on NRAblog

To paraphrase from the original announcement, NRA Life of Duty is made for those who make it their business to protect the rest of us by strapping on a gun. Police, military, anyone who has a hand in looking after the public ... that's who the NRA had in mind when creating Life of Duty.

Constantly updating the site with both the interesting and exciting, Life of Duty just posted another video chapter on the activities on the Special Forces team of Green Berets known as ODA 574. Based on Eric Blehm's The Only Thing Worth Dying For, ODA 574 headed into mountains of Southern Afghanistan in November of 2001.

When you have a moment, give Life of Duty and ODA 574 a look ... you'll be hooked in no time.

Stage 1 of the JP Enterprises' Rocky Mountain 3-Gun is making competitors work hard before they even get to shoot. To get to the stage, shooters have to climb up a steep hill that would challenge the most sure-footed mountain goat, all the while lugging their gear and ammo. Luckily for the competitors, they only need one firearm on Stage 1 - their rifle. 

Comprised of 12 steel and 12 paper targets, the course of fire for Stage 1 is a winding trail set on top of a ridge. As competitors move through the stage, they must fire at a targets ranging anywhere from 10 out to 400 yards.  

We were able to catch up with Squad 10, comprised of industry shooters and competitors from the Army Marksmanship Unit's Action Shooting Team. In the photo slideshow above, we've featured Remington's Robby Johnson, DPMS' Tate Moots, and AMU shooters John Halsey, Daniel Horner, and Tyler Payne. We've still got seven more stages and two days of competition to cover, so keep checking back for more from Rocky Mountain 3-Gun here at the NRA Whittington Center.   

John Zurek, Philip Hemphill and SFC Jim Henderson on the winners podium at the 2011 NRA National Pistol Championships

Now that the 2011 NRA National Pistol Championships have come to a close, it's time to take a look at the predictions I made prior to the competition and see how well I picked my ponies. When I heard that 10-time National Champion Brian Zins wasn't competiting due to a case of tennis elbow, I naturally leaned toward 10-time NPSC Champion Philip Hemphill and two-time National Champion SFC Jim Henderson as my top picks. Both are strong, consistent shooters who are practically guaranteed a spot in the top five, if not the top three. But as the competition began, I was beginning to doubt my picks...

The Harry Reeves Memorial and Distinguished Revolver Matches open the competiton during the Pistol Championships, and as I watched these matches, I realized I probably should have added some more names to my list of picks. David Lange, a civilian shooter from New Jersey, won Distinguished Revolver Match and placed second in the Harry Reeves Memorial Match. SSG Jean-Noel Howell of the Army Marksmanship Unit was on Lange's heels in each match, taking third in the Harry Reeves and second in the Distinguished Match. I'll always give credit where credit is due - using a revolver in the world of bullseye competition is harder than it may look, and Lange and Howell had me impressed. SSG Patrick Franks, another one of my top picks, also shot well, giving me a bit of hope as far as my predictions were going.

Going into the Preliminary Pistol Championship the next day, I was fully expecting SFC Henderson to come out of the gate strong. Having won the event for the past two years, I knew he was a prime candidate to take another win, albeit in this "practice match". While it may not count towards the aggregate score of the overall championship, the results of this match can set the pace for the week and leave some intimidated. In the end, SFC Henderson did not let me down, taking the win yet again.

Moving into the .22 Caliber Matches, I was blown away to see a new name top the leader board when Greg Derr won the .22 Caliber Championship. Mere X's seperated the next four competitors, including Henderson, Hemphill, and CPO Wes Fleming of the Coast Guard. With two more days of competition left, I still felt confident in having picked Henderson and Hemphill, but I made a mental note to expand my list of picks from three to six in 2012. Could a new name really rise to the top this year?

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