I recently participated in the NRA America’s Rifle Challenge presented by Daniel Defense. This match was like no other in which I’ve competed. As I am primarily a 3-Gun Competitor, I am very accustomed to competing with 3 very different firearms in every match I shoot. Being that this was a rifle only match, it challenged my skillset in this one particular discipline without having to worry about a handgun or shotgun.
All too often at the matches I compete in, competitors don’t have the opportunity to really test the capabilities of their rifles and long range shooting abilities. I think that we can all agree that rifles are meant to be shot at great distances and not just at paper targets that are 25 yards away or closer. The America’s Rifle Challenge gave everyone plenty of opportunities to test their long range shooting abilities and the capabilities of their rifles, optics, and ammunition. The extended ranges at which we engaged targets, paired with the brisk cross winds and sometimes cumbersome shooting positions, certainly made the event more challenging. Everyone really needed to have a firm understanding of their point of aim/point of impact of their rifles from distances that ranged from danger close to well in excess of 500 yards. Those who didn’t had a hard time getting their hits, but at the end of the day everyone stepped off the firing line with a smile on their face.
The match was challenging and each stage presented its own unique obstacles to overcome. The incorporation of a lot of movement, shooting multiple up-close paper targets, as well as engaging long range steel targets out to 576 yard made the match challenging for even the experienced shooter. However, the complexity of the stages weren’t so daunting that it would prevent new shooters from doing well and having a great time in the process.
My rifle for the match was my DDM4 V11 Pro Series equipped with a Vortex Razor HD 1-6x optic. The soft recoil impulse of the 18” rifle length gas system barrel paired with the DD Muzzle Climb Mitigator allowed me to make quick and accurate shots. This really shined when I had to engage a plate rack at 75 yards off hand. The rifle stayed extremely flat and I was able to breeze through the plates with ease. My optic has a BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) Reticle so I knew exactly what my holds were for target 200 yards and beyond. On the long range targets, making my hits was simple enough once I figured out the wind. I can say without a doubt that my rifle is the most accurate AR15 Platform that I’ve ever shot.
While it’s always my goal to win the matches I compete in, I came up a little bit short with a 3rd Place finish at this match. Not all is lost, though. I got to spend time with good friends, help out some new shooters, and do what I love to do. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. This is the only sport where professionals and amateurs alike can share the same field. That’s why I love it so much.