The Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Program: Meaningful or Not?

Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Program
The Winchester NRA Marksmanship Program Meaningful or Not?

USA –-( Recently I ran across a discussion thread in The Firing Line online forums.

A commentator was asking if people take the awards, from the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Program seriously, or if someone showing up at the range with all the patches from various disciplines would be laughed off the range. The responses were positive, yet discussion participants indicated the program is little known.

The history of the NRA is the history of firearms accuracy and efficacy in the United States. No contemporary tactical technique developed today can be successful without relying on a strong foundation detailed in the NRA firearms curriculum. To win at three-gun, of course, you have to be physically fit and fast, but if the sights are not aligned on target with a strong shooting position trigger and breath control, your game is lost. Everything returns to the fundamentals.

I’d be willing to bet that over 50 percent of students at tactical training classes spend most of their time shooting fast, drilling mag changes and draws from the holster, and very little of their time developing accuracy. I’m willing to make the statement that it would behoove many of these shooters to reverse this trend for about 50 percent of their training.

If you are going to shoot at the range twice per month, take one excursion to focus on accuracy, and emphasize tighter shots at longer distances, then change it up for the second visit. Put the target at contact distances, ten feet or closer, and drill defensive tactics. My bet is that the mindset will carry over from one session to the other. In tactical training, you’ll get focused on speed AND accuracy. On days you emphasize accuracy you may test how soon after a shot you can get back on target and squeeze off the next shot without expanding your group.

To this end, I’m fully for the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Program. I just started a video series documenting my path from the beginning. Here is the first video in the series. Take a look and drop me a line letting me know what you think.

About Alan Murdock

Alan Murdock is a certified NRA pistol instructor and Utah Concealed Firearms instructor. Alan teaches firearms classes in Salt Lake City, Utah as The Gun Tutor. He also produces videos and writes about firearms and personal defense issues. His blog can be found at