Thanks to Michael Robinson from California, who shared his story about his journey through the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program:
Even though I grew up in a military household, I would strike most people as an unlikely candidate to become an NRA triple distinguished expert.
I’m a San Francisco Bay Area resident who never fired a pistol or a rifle until I was 52 years old. But in less than two years, I had achieved the highest ranking available under the marksmanship program.
That’s the power of the Winchester/NRA handbook given to gun-safety students. Typically, they’re youngsters. But the program immediately piqued my interest.
You see, I love following detailed action plans for success. At the end of a handgun safety class in May 2009, an instructor handed me the NRA/Winchester qualification book.
I saw the step-by-step way to rise in the shooting ranks and immediately started going to the range. I was so motivated I made my pistol rating in four months.
Then I focused on rifle. I completed that rating with a stock $300 .22 caliber equipped with a $50 rear peep sight and a front blade. I qualified one target with a scope just to prove I could.
Shotgun proved to be the most difficult discipline for me. Ironically, that’s the one shooting sport in which I had experience. My dad, a retired Marine Corps officer and weapons expert, bought me a shotgun as a Christmas gift when I was 17.
In college I had very few opportunities to shoot. Then in my senior year, that shotgun was stolen. Shortly thereafter, I went bird hunting and used a friend’s 12 gauge. I dropped a 10-pound Canadian goose on the first shot. After that I went shooting only one other time in 30 years.
Now you know why I’m a huge fan of the Winchester/NRA program and urge people to get involved. It gives you focus and discipline. Both my teenage daughters shoot as does my wife, who is a native of Berkeley, CA.
And to think, this whole odyssey began simply because I wanted the NRA to teach me gun safety. So, thank you NRA and Winchester for a great program. I’ve learned it’s never too late to become a good shot. And a safe one.
Thanks again for sharing your story, Michael! For more information on the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program, visit the program's website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.