By Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
CAMP PERRY, OH
The 2014 National Trophy Pistol Match Season began with a little stretching of the mind and loosening of the competitive muscles as the Pistol Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) and Service Pistol Warm-Up Matches readied competitors for the week ahead.
SAFS was held on July 7 to a class of 305 new and experienced shooters. During the school, participants receive basic instruction on firing practices, competition skills, range firing and safety. The Department of Defense first conducted SAFS as part of the National Matches at Camp Perry in 1918, and the course has been a staple ever since.
Members of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine and Navy Active, as well as the National Guard and Reserve shooting teams assist students during the course. Their attention to detail, knowledge and experience make them some of the most qualified instructors in the country.
“These instructors are way better than what I had 30, 40 years ago in the Army,” said Jack Turner, 72, of Sebastian, FL. “My instructor here knew so much. He could talk your ear off with everything he knew. It was really excellent.”
At the conclusion of classroom training, students made their ways out to the range for live firing practice. All participants then have the opportunity to follow a true Course of Fire in an M9 Pistol Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) Match. Marksmen participate in EIC Matches in order to earn leg points towards becoming named a Distinguished Pistol shooter.
Stephen Monroe, 45, of Janesville, WI, was the overall winner in the M9 Pistol EIC Match, with a score of 258-4x. Monroe, new to pistol shooting, is now on his way to earning his Distinguished Badge – earning 4 leg points with his win. The Top 10 percent of finishers also received their introductory leg points.
Monroe showed outstanding perseverance during the match, continuing to fire while also battling terrible stomach pain. Crumpled over between shots, he was able to find the strength to straighten his back, aim and fire accurately during each sequence.
“I would have rather lost than feel like that,” he said, jokingly. “But I somehow managed to finish alright.”
Just behind Monroe in second place was 1st Lt. Zane Jones, USMCR, 33, of Columbus, OH, with a score of 257-3x. Jacob Tuomi, 19, of Chassell, MI, rounded out the top three with a score of 247-2x for third.
The Service Pistol Warm-Up Match on July 8 is meant to give competitors the opportunity to practice using their own pistols in a major competition. The event was slightly interrupted this year when rain poured down onto the competitors, causing a short delay. Relay 1 watched the black skies move in over the lake but managed to finish their sequences, while Relay 2 was forced to evacuate the range until the storm passed.
Once the clouds moved out of the area and all relays fired, it was SFC James Henderson, 47, of Midland, GA, who earned the top spot with his score of 388-11x. Henderson is the current record holder for the event, having fired a 392-15x back in 2009.
SSgt. Jonathan Shue, 32, of Stafford, VA, claimed the second place position with a score of 382-16x, while SGT Greg Markowski, 40, of Columbus, GA, trailed closely behind with 381-12x to land in third place.
Though all competitors in the Warm-Up Match received a commemorative coin, the Top 10 percent of the 277 competitors who fired in the event was given exclusive Gold Coins.
For a complete list of results in the M9 and Warm-Up Pistol Matches, visit https://ct.thecmp.org/app/v1/index.php?do=match&task=edit&match=11023.
Photos of the events are available for free download at http://cmp1.zenfolio.com/.