By Sgt. 1st Class Raymond J. Piper
USAMU Public Affairs
FORT BENNING, Ga. –-(Ammoland.com)- Soldiers from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit made a memorable debut at the 2015 U.S. Midway and National Rifle Association Bianchi Cup.
Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Franks won first place in the metallic division with a total score of 1902-140x. Sgt. 1st Class Adam Sokolowski won fourth in the production division with a total score of 1862-110x. Staff Sgt. Lawrence Cleveland took sixth place in the metallic division with a total score of 1859-124x. The x-count is the number of times the competitor hit inside the center ring of the target through each of the matches and is used to break ties.
The annual competition is the NRA’s national championship for action shooting and was in Columbia, Mo., May 19 to 22 2015.
Franks, the 2014 NRA National Pistol champion and six-time competitor at the NRA National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, said this match was unlike any of the previous competitions he has fired in.
“’I’ve never felt the level of pressure that you do here,” Franks said.
“You have to be able to compartmentalize things in your head, stay true to your mental game and be very confident in your abilities. If you don’t, you’ll catch yourself trying to make your shots too perfect and run out of time or trying to make time and be less accurate.”
The Team spent the eight months following their victories at the NRA National Pistol Matches in Camp Perry, Ohio, learning the in an outs of the events that make up the Bianchi Cup.
The courses of fire are falling plates, moving target, the barricade event and practical event. All but the falling plates use the same scoring and targets as bull’s-eye target shooting.
“Because there are only four events, you are able to practice these four specific events throughout the year and figure out what works best for you and what doesn’t,” Franks said
The Service Pistol Team is known for their excellence in bull’s-eye pistol competition, so this was new ground for the shooters, but ground they were sure they could cover.
“I think that in itself with the specific training and competitive experience that we have on the Bull’s-eye Service Pistol Team … transfers over to NRA action shooting … very easily, but the speeds (between the two) do differ,” Franks said. “You have to acquire and transition from targets quicker, but at the same time, you have to be as accurate as you can.”
The Army Team’s performance in their first year cemented their place among the top competitors in NRA action shooting.
Franks said, “The things I have learned from this experience are very valuable for our team because we are going to be able to share those experiences and (use them to) prepare for next year.”
USAMU is part of the U.S. Army Accessions Brigade, Army Marketing and Research Group and is tasked with enhancing the Army’s recruiting effort, raising the standard of Army marksmanship and furthering small arms research and development to enhance the Army’s overall combat readiness.
The USAMU enhances the Army's recruiting effort, raises the standard of the Army's marksmanship proficiency, and supports the Army's small arms research and development initiatives in order to raise the Army's overall combat readiness. For more information on the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, contact the Public Affairs Office at (706) 545-5436, [email protected] or www.USAMU.com.