MARINE AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, California -- The shooter raises the muzzle of his rifle into the air and takes in a deep breath. As he lowers his sights onto the target he, slowly exhales. The sights line-up on the silhouette, he pulls the trigger, marking the start of the 3rd Annual Nation Rifle Association Rifle Silhouette Smallbore and Air Rifle Competition.
The Marksmanship Training Unit Shooting Team held the competition at Range 3 A, Feb. 21. This was an opportunity for families in the community to go out and have some fun.
“This is a great way to get kids into shooting,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Hardiesty, staff non-commissioned officer in charge, MTU, native of Londonderry, Ohio. “The guns don’t have a lot of recoil and ammunition is also inexpensive.”
The competition is a small tournament where participants shoot at animal-shaped silhouettes. There are four shapes the shooters fire at: chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams. Competitors shoot at five of each of the targets at varying distances from 40 to 100 yards.
“The targets of the tournament are shaped like animals and fall when they are hit, which is more entertaining than shooting paper,” Hardiesty said.
Some of the challenges the shooters face include aiming at small targets and only being allowed to shoot while standing.
“You think going up there that it going to be easy,” said Cpl. James Marker, MTU shooting team, native of Wild Rose, Wis. “When you start shooting, you realize it is actually pretty hard. It is fun and something different.”
According to Hardeisty, the shooting team hopes to put on this event twice a year and they encourage future participation.