One of skeet shooting's top stars lets the NRA peek in his bag

Two time Olympic gold medalist and US Army sergeant Vincent Hancock

Fairfax, Virginia - Four years ago US Army sergeant Vincent Hancock won Olympic gold in Beijing at the age of 19. This past summer he took home another gold and became the first skeet shooter to win consecutive Olympic titles. Now 23, Hancock is still substantially younger than the average medal-round qualifier and looks to have a bright future ahead of him.

Barbara Baird of Women's Outdoor News recently caught up with Vincent to ask a very important question for this month's issue of Shooting Sports USA: What's in your range bag?

Vincent Hancock is the first skeet shooter to win consecutive gold medals in the Olympics, winning in Beijing in 2008 and London this year. Hancock, also a sergeant in the United States Army and a member of the Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, GA, packs a very small range bag. He keeps spare parts for his Beretta DT10 Trident shotgun in his gun case. He says he has been shooting this Beretta for 10 years and has never had any problems with it. He is so trusting of this gun that he does not even carry a back-up gun to competitions.

More on what's inside Vincent Hancock's range bag...

How about NRA Double Distinguished in both Sporter and Precision Air Rifle?

NRA National Junior Indoor Rifle Championships

Fairfax, Virginia - Hey air gun shooters! Do you dream of an overall win in the NRA Indoor National Championships? Or how about your air rifle skills earning you Olympic gold?

All that may be a few years off, but did you know that you can work on becoming an NRA Distinguished shooter in Sporter and Precision Air Rifle right now?

More on becoming a Distinguished Air Rifle shooter with the NRA...

The story behind the Frank Parsons Memorial Trophy and the Frank Parsons Memorial Trophy

NRA's Frank Parsons Memorial Trophies

Fairfax, Virginia - Here at the NRA we have not one, but two Frank Parsons Memorial Trophies. A seminal figure in the shooting world, Parsons was a famed collegiate, national and international shooter. But how did he wind up with two trophies by the same name?

Attending George Washington University, Parsons was a part of the first shoulder-to-shoulder Intercollegiate Championship team in 1928 and went on to coach at his alma mater for a number of years after graduation.

More on the NRA's Frank Parsons Memorial Trophies ...

Even thought the Closing Ceremonies don’t happen until next week, the last shooting sports events at the 2012 Olympic Games were held over the weekend. How did Team USA do overall at this year’s games?

Olympic Skeet Shooter Kim Rhode In 1996, California native Kimberly Rhode stepped onto the Olympic stage in Atlanta for a first bite at History's apple. It was there, at the ripe of age of 18, that she captured Gold in the Double Trap. Fast forward sixteen years (and three medals) later, and she's doing more then winning gold ... she's setting records.

Sunday, at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Kim Rhode won her fifth Olympic medal in five consecutive games ... the first U.S. athlete to win an individual medal in five straight Olympics. Not too bad for a six-time national champion.

Personally I can't think of a better person to earn such an honor. After meeting Kim during my days producing NRANews, she's been nothing but a pleasure to work with. Always available for interviews, to encourage up and coming shooters, as well as lending a smile along with her famous face to a handful of NRA events, she personifies the best in all of shooting sports.

So kudos to Kim ... here's to hitting number six in 2016.

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London begin July 27 with shooting events starting the next day and wrapping up August 5th.

One of the original events featured at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, the shooting sports have been present in all but the 1904 and 1928 games.

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Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker is greeted by his youngest son, Wyatt, and wife, Andrea, after clinching his 4th Olympic trip. - photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit
Parker congratulated by wife and son after his win
Fort Benning, Georgia - Sergeant 1st Class Jason Parker is going back to the Olympics. For the fourth time in twelve years, Parker earned a spot on U.S. Olympic Rifle Team ... this time for the men’s 50-meter rifle three position competition.

“It’s always an honor to represent the Army and your country at the Olympics,” said Parker. "Everybody goes to the Olympics to win a gold medal and I’m no different. That’s the ultimate goal. But my expectations going over there are to compete hard, represent my country well and do my best and train my best leading up to it.”

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Nick Mowrer at firing point one during the 2012 NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships

Nick Mowrer, three-time NRA Intercollegiate Pistol champion (who only competed three years), is now an Olympian and will join Team USA at the London Olympics later this summer.

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore were held over three days in Fort Benning, Georgia, at the United States Army Marksmanship Unit's facility. Mowrer entered the last day's 50m Free Pistol finals a single point behind 2008 Olympian Brian Beaman and needed to step up or go home empty handed.

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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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