Silver State Shooting Sports Association (SSSSA) is an NRA-affiliated club offering a variety of NRA programs to members and the public. Club President Dolores McNamara shared the following information on how SSSSA gets new people involved, particularly youth:

Our organization, the Silver State Shooting Sports Association, has trained more than 700 new junior shooters in the past seven years. We work with the Boy Scouts, Venture Scouts, Civil Air Patrol cadets, ROTC and JROTC. These organizations have responded very well to our youth shooting programs and are regular participants. The youth are enthusiastically earning their patches, rockers and medals in the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program. SSSSA is the only shooting organization in our area actively and successfully conducting the rifle, pistol and shotgun programs we offer. We also recruit new youth shooters from all the Southern Nevada gun shows. Our youth programs enjoy the support of parents, too. Some of our young shooters have been with us for years. Many have progressed all the way to the Distinguished Expert awards. One of our shooters was invited to the “Winter Nationals” and has the potential of going to the Olympics in 2012. We are looking at possibly two other shooters for the Olympics and one for the Special Olympics.

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Justin McDaniel wrote the following article for NRAhuntersrights.org and was kind enough to share it with us:
First Hunter earns top Marksmanship Rating
Founded by Winchester in 1918 as the Winchester Junior Rifle Corps and transferred to NRA in 1926, the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program has been used by thousands of shooting coaches and hunter education instructors as a way to help youngsters develop their shooting skills and grow their interest in the sport.

Many of you reading this article probably even have patches and pins stashed away in closets and drawers from when you participated in marksmanship qualification as a youth.

Although the program is widely popular within the shooting community, many people don’t realize that both adults and kids can take part in the program, or that there is now a hunting marksmanship component. In fact, the new Hunter Marksmanship Qualification discipline, as it is known, recently reached an important milestone in its young history, recording its very first Distinguished Expert, the program’s highest honor, which was attained by a 61-year-old lifelong hunter and shooter.

Bob Plyler of Asheville, N.C., killed a 10-point whitetail on Nov. 20, 2009, in Halifax County, N.C., to achieve his Distinguished Expert rating. Plyler made an off-hand, 170-yard shot on the buck (pictured above) with his Savage .243 while hunting from a treestand on private property.

Plyler is an NRA-certified rifle, pistol and shotgun instructor, as well as an NRA-certified Range Safety Officer and NRA Hunter Clinic Instructor. He originally decided to give marksmanship qualification a try just to increase his knowledge of the program, which he said would give him the credibility to talk about it with his students. However, after participating in the program, he discovered that it actually improved his shooting, and he’s continued working to earn higher and higher ratings in many of the program’s 13 disciplines.

“I think it’s a superb program,” he said. “I’m associated with law enforcement—I have two sons that are police officers—so I shoot with a lot of cops. I’ve always been decent, but now I can shoot a handgun as good as them any day. I’m shooting for a purpose, which has just made me a better overall shooter.

Continue reading here.

Sydney Duncan's badge display

Ann Marie Foster was thrilled to share the following news with NRAblog: "This young lady, Sydney Duncan, recently obtained Distinguished Expert.   "She's a hunter, too!" Foster said.

“This has been a great program and I have really enjoyed the challenge," Duncan told Foster. Above, Duncan has carefully collected and preserved each of her badges.

Sydney Duncan"I started shooting at 8 years old and hunting with my Dad. From the very beginning I loved it dearly," Duncan continued. "Now at 15, I am a avid hunter and a accomplished competition skeet shooter. I think everyone should try shooting sports and this program provides structure and goals to keep you on track."

"It has taught me patience and self-discipline like nothing else I have ever done," Duncan said. "I plan to support the NRA and continue shooting for the rest of my life. Look for my Distinguished Expert application in rifle and handgun very soon."

We'll keep you updated on this talented young lady! Learn more about the Winchester/NRA Qualification program here.

When Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association back in 1871, one of their primary goals was to promote and encourage civilian marksmanship. That's why it's great to read something like this:

San Saba 4-H Shooting Sports Team meet their next NRA Ranks

The time has come once again to reward our shooters on their progression to the next rank in their NRA Marksman Qualification Course. This quarter light-rifle shooter Ron Gerhart has achieved the qualifications for the level of Expert. There is only one more rank for Ron to complete before achieving the highest rank in the NRA Marksman Qualification Course.

Newcomer and light-rifle shooter,Micheal McKinnerney has achieved his first rank, Pro-Marksman, in his Qualification Course. Caelob Hardman has achieved his first level of the NRA Marksman Qualification Course as Pro-Marksman as well. Michael McKinnerney, Emily Esquivel, and Meredith Meador have received their safety qualification awards which mark the beginning of their NRA Marksman Qualification Course.

Read the rest of the article here.

Thanks to this video from NRA’s Education & Training Division, the phrase “Shoot Like a Girl” really does have a whole new meaning. NRA has programs for women of any age or experience level including postal matches, Women On Target Instructional Shooting Clinics,, hunts for women, and the ever-popular Women's Wilderness Escape.

Young women have the chance to participate in a bevy of shooting activities, from the Youth Hunter Education Challenge, to NRA Day events, or the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program.

Ladies also take part in our numerous competitive shooting disciplines, training courses, and law enforcement activities. No matter what your age, level of experience, or area of interest, NRA has programs to get anyone shooting like a girl!

Thanks to Ann Marie Foster of NRA Women's Programs for the following:
Congratulations to Karen Wright on obtaining “Double Distinguished Expert.”

Karen completed the Distinguished Expert Rifle course of fire in May 2009 on a bench rest using a Thompson Center .22 rifle. She completed this course of fire at Open Range located in Crestwood, Kentucky. Karen previously obtained the honor of the first woman in the country to obtain Distinguished Expert in the pistol course of fire. Once again Karen is holding top honors as the first to obtain the “Double Distinguished Expert Rank.”  More

Barry Ranney, NRA’s Marksmanship Qualification Program Coordinator brings us the following news:

The new Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification book is completed and in stock at the NRA Program Materials Center. The book has a new look and design and contains some slight changes for a few courses of fire. They are:

  • Handgun: The Distinguished Expert course of fire has changed.
  • American Rifleman: The Prone F-Class course of fire has been added.
  • Sport Shooting: Now called Hunter Marksmanship.

Be sure to note the changes and contact the Marksmanship Coordinator at marksmanship@nrahq.org with questions. Order the new Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification book online from our Program Materials Center or by calling 1-800-336-7402.

Go online for more information about the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program and view this video to see what the program is all about.

Justin McDaniel from NRAHuntersRights tells us Winchester Ammunition has unveiled a new website design for the Winchester/NRA Qualification Program featuring our very own Sam Olsen from Youth Programs.

Check it out, and e-mail marksmanship@nrahq.org for more information!

Marksmanship Qualification ProgramIf you're interested in a year-round recreational shooting activity that provides you with incentive awards for developing and improving your shooting skills, look into the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program.

This program allows shooters to obtain nationally-recognized NRA awards by achieving certain minimum scores in various courses of fire. These awards can be ordered directly from the NRA Program Materials Center upon the completion of each skill level of the program, and include patches, rockers, certificates, medal, and medal bars. The courses of fire take shooters from beginning skill levels (Pro-Marksman and Marksman) through intermediate levels (Marksman 1st Class, Sharpshooter, and Expert) up to the highest skill level of Distinguished Expert.

If desired, this program can be fired by one person alone under the honor system. An individual can fire, score targets, and apply for awards on a completely independent basis. The program can also involve other shooters, and may be set up as a family, group, instructor, club, or community activity.

PatchesThe program is open to everyone -- men, women, adults, and youths. And the types of courses cover a wide variety of guns, including handguns, rifles, shotguns, air guns, and muzzleloaders.

If you want to learn more about this fun-filled recreational and training activity, visit the website of the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program. NRA staff is also available to answer any questions you may have; just call the NRA Qualification Coordinator at (703) 267-1505.

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