Saturday, September 8th started out raining and cold, but that did not stop members of the Antwerp Conservation Club, Gary Mabis and Aaron Kohler,  from traveling to Harlan, Indiana to compete in the John Garand match at  Ft. Wayne Rifle & Revolver. A total of 10 competitors shot the match, with one coming from Michigan to shoot the match.

John Garand was a long time employee of the Springfield Armory and inventor of the M1 Garand rifle, and to memorialize him the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) holds a rifle match in his name. The John Garand match is by far the most popular match the CMP has, as any domestic or foreign service rifle may be used, and the course of fire is only 30 shots.

After registration and a mandatory safety briefing, we were squaded in to 2 groups of 5 people , and our group was sent to the target pits for the first half of the match. In the target pits you are behind an earthen berm and under the targets. After each competitor takes a shot on their target, you pull the target down (target is suspended on a sliding target frame) Mark the shot with a marker where the shot hit the target, and a large orange circle in certain areas to help the guy scoring see what value ring was hit. 

After pit duty it was a 200 yard walk to the firing line, where Gary Mabis shot and I scored for him. On goes your shooting coat, a very heavy stiff canvas coat with pads, grab your rifle, on goes the sling, out come your ammo, ear protection on. Things are about to “get real” as the range master calls out “ready on the left…ready on the right…all ready on the firing line”

 First you fire slow prone, 10 shots in 10 mins. Second you fire rapid prone 10 shots in 80 seconds starting from standing, with a magazine change out. This is not as hard as it may seem, most competitors can do this in about 60 seconds. Third and final is the hardest part of the match, 10 shots in 10 mins, offhand, that is standing unsupported. 

After all competitors fired the match, we gathered in the club house to check our scores and see if any of us shot a score high enough to earn a medal. As Gary and I looked over the list, Larry Beardsley, of FWRR came up to us and shook my hand offering congrats as he handed me a bronze medal. As I was handed my bronze medal, Larry announced “In modern military, with a score of 275-5x, Aaron Kohler has earned himself a bronze medal.”

With many thanks to the staff of FWRR for another great match, we can’t wait un til another rifle match to try our skills at.

We at the Antwerp Conservation Club ( offer rifle and pistol matches every month and hope you come out and try compilation shooting.

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