Shooting Sports USA | The Basics of Collegiate Air Gun Competition
The variety of shooting sports practiced by hundreds of thousands of Americans each year is vast. This article focuses on two common ones found at the college level: air rifle and air pistol. Each is challenging and has specific rules and requirements for equipment and range facilities. Read our guide below.
Air rifle and air pistol
Intercollegiate pistols are growing in popularity and require less starting equipment than Small bore rifle– a plus for a campus style shooting program. Smallbore pistol events on the college circuit include the free pistol, standard pistol, and sport pistol. The event that has been shot the longest is the standard pistol. Many ROTC units have the standard pistol available to their cadets for training and qualification for marksmanship awards. (To find a school with a college shooting sports program, check out this one NRA Collegiate Shooting Sports Directory.)
The pistol, relatively light and compact, is more suitable for a wide variety of students. Few adjustments are required to fit a person to a pistol as almost any person can use the most commonly available weapons. The basic equipment required for pistol shooting consists of pistol, ammunition, safety equipment and targets. Multiple accessories or a complex set-up are not required, at least as a beginner.
The same firing principles apply to pistols, which apply to all shooting events. Safe weapon handling is of the utmost importance. The principles of fire the shot Do not switch from one shooting discipline to another. In fact, jumping from one shooting class curriculum to another is pretty easy. Shooters in one program may want to try a different shooting discipline in the following semester. It is through this process that college competitive shooters – and shooting programs in general – grow.
For many years the NRA has recognized the shooting of air rifles as a legitimate shooting discipline. In the college ranks, the competitors compete for various awards, such as the selection of the NRA All-American Team, and for titles at various college shooting championships, like the NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championship, NRA Rifle Club Championship and the NCAA Rifle Championship.
The 2019 NCAA Rifle Championship at West Virginia University.
The air rifle and air pistol programs introduce more people to shooting than any other type of program. Air rifles are a supplement to shooting sports and not a substitute for firearms. With this understanding more Trainer, Clubs and instructors are starting to use these air rifle shooting disciplines in their classes.
The air rifle competition is ideal for schools with limited or no range. The challenge for the competitors is comparable to any other shooting sport – only the range and the equipment requirements differ. A suitable air rifle area can be placed in almost any empty classroom or meeting room. The elaborate backstops made of hardened steel, which are required for firearms areas, are not required for air rifles. Additionally, air rifles are quiet compared to rifles and small bore pistols – which makes them good neighbors when in a building with other activities. The need for equipment can also be reduced, as the quiet sound of the compressed air guns makes hearing protection optional in some cases.
Air rifle and air pistol equipment
The two inter-collegial air rifle events – air rifle and air pistol – are fired over the same distance of 10 meters. The same ammunition is required for both events – .177 caliber pellets of match-grade quality.
A competition air rifle or pistol with an adjustable sight is a must for the serious competition shooter. The air rifle is only fired from the standing position for international competitions. Additionally, the air rifle can be used to teach that Position shooting basics when a small bore rifle is not available. In cases where the air rifle is used to teach positional shooting, a kneeling roll and mat are used. Air rifle shooters should have a shooting jacket, glove and spotting scope.
Air pistol shooting is the easiest, most affordable shooting event that can be implemented in a college program. It is too often overlooked to introduce student-athletes – and colleges – to the sport of shooting.
Air rifles are very affordable and readily available for anyone looking to start a college shooting program. Information on the specific regulations for the individual types of air rifle, items of equipment, targets and courses of fire can be found in the rules of the discipline.
Notes: New: Eley Precision Club online competition