Experience Real-life Training from the Experts at CMP’s Marksmanship 101 Courses

CMP’s Marksmanship 101 courses are led by certified instructors and members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.

Have you ever been interested in learning how to shoot a firearm but didn’t know where to start? Or, have you thought about formal training to improve your game on the firing line and didn’t know where to turn?

The Civilian Marksmanship Program has created a program with your needs in mind.

The Marksmanship 101 courses, offered for both rifle and pistol, are excellent gateways for adults and juniors alike to learn more about the fundamentals of firearm use in a safe and comfortable environment. The program is simply another outlet the CMP has prepared to continue its mission of providing marksmanship training and firearm safety to U.S. citizens, including youth.

“Safety and understanding proper use of firearms is huge,” said Steve Cooper, CMP’s training and education manager. “What’s very important for people to understand is marksmanship is a science, not just an opportunity to make a gun go ‘bang.’ It’s a skill that carries over to other parts of life – learning patience, performing under stress and discovering ways to improve – in a safe manner.”

The Marksmanship 101 courses are a mix of indoor classroom learning and outdoor experiences on the range. Individuals who have participated in the Marksmanship 101 courses in the past have originated from a wide range of backgrounds – from youngsters who are just getting started to more mature adults who have always wanted to learn but haven’t had the opportunity – and everything in between.

“I think it’s pretty safe to say that everyone can pick up some new information from our course,” Cooper said, proudly. “There are new shooters, experienced shooters wanting to improve and even families looking for some bonding time.”

“We frequently hear, ‘I’ve taken this class before, but I’m taking it again to pick up new tips and techniques,’” he went on. “Some of our older students come from a broad spectrum of knowledge, so we sometimes learn things from them that we incorporate in following classes.” 

Held at CMP Games matches and at various CMP Affiliated Clubs around the nation, the courses are led by certified CMP Master Instructors and talented members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. The course curriculum is based off of the Small Arms Firing Schools (SAFS) offered at the annual National Rifle and Pistol Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, which have been attended by countless individuals since 1918.

Instructors are able to work one-on-one with students on the firing line to answer questions and ensure safety.

“Outreach is a big part of what CMP does when we’re not hosting the National Matches at Camp Perry or air gun events at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center,” Cooper explained. “We know there are many people across the country who simply don’t have the time or means to travel to Ohio for the Small Arms Firing Schools during the National Matches, so, we decided to take the same basic curriculum and training on the road and customized the name.”

Areas covered during the course include firearm safety, essential firing practices and handling, positioning and other competition skills, along with live firing on the range. Each course ends with applying everything learned to a true Excellence-In-Competition match on the range.

“We always start our 101 events in a classroom environment, where we explain and demonstrate everything we’re going to do, very thoroughly,” Cooper said. “We complete our training with encouragement and a watchful eye and finish by recognizing those who performed well while also encouraging everyone else to stay in the sport and continue to learn.”

Of course, following one of CMP’s most important objectives, safety is a paramount lesson from instructors both on and off the firing line.

“Participants in our Marksmanship 101 program learn very quickly that safety is our first priority,” Cooper said. “We use a human-business-human model, treating everyone with care and respect.”

Since the CMP’s Marksmanship 101 learning opportunities are designed to fit even those new to the marksmanship world, no previous firearm experience is required to attend. Rifles (AR-15), pistols (M9) and ammo will be provided by the CMP at each location.

Participants are required to bring hearing and eye protection for the live-fire portion of the course. Individuals should also dress according to weather conditions and may also bring any other desired competitive shooting equipment they would like to use on the range.

Both the rifle and pistol Marksmanship 101 courses include a true Excellence-In-Competition match.

Upcoming Rifle Marksmanship 101 Classes:

  • New England Games, Sept. 19, 2021, Jericho, Vermont
  • Oklahoma Games, Oct. 17, 2021, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Talladega 600, Nov. 16, 2021, CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park, Talladega, Alabama

Upcoming Pistol Marksmanship 101 Classes:

  • New England Games, September 19, 2021, Jericho, Vermont
  • Oklahoma Games, October 17, 2021, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

To learn more, visit the CMP website at https://thecmp.org/training-tech/marksmanship-101/. For questions, contact Amy Cantu at acantu@thecmp.org or 419-635-2141 ext. 602. 

–By Ashley Brugnone, CMP Staff Writer

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.