By ORA Director of Competition, Curtis Bohlman – For each issue, ORA Director of Competitions, Curtis Bohlman, shares about the various competitions available to participate in along with updates on ORA sponsored events.

In an effort to get some of you ammunition laden gun owners off of the couch (you know who you are), the Sharpshooter will feature, in less than 750 words, an informational article describing a shooting discipline along with a couple of places in the State where you can enjoy the competition. For most of these articles, I will offer little more than a cursory look at the rules and courses of fire, but enough explanation to hopefully whet your appetite. In my 36 years of competitive shooting, I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what the shooting sports have to offer, so I’ll be relying on a little bit of interweb research and some discussions with “experts” to fill in around the edges of my inexperience. If you happen to know the presented discipline inside and out and notice only an error or two in my writing, I feel like I’ve done well enough! This issue’s discipline is “AR-Tactical”- The AR-15 has been dubbed “the most popular rifle in America,” and for good reason – it’s relatively inexpensive, inherently accurate, has light recoil, is fun the shoot, and is normally chambered in 5.56 NATO/5.56×45 – an inexpensive and accessible military cartridge.

To raise participation in the shooting sports, both the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) adopted this rifle match which bears a smaller price tag than many other disciplines. As with most of the shooting disciplines, the basic marksmanship fundamentals cross over into other shooting disciplines, so competing in AR-Tactical will improve your shooting field craft, most notably building a steady position, trigger control, follow-through, and certainly not the least of which: wind reading. It’s enlightening to see the effects of varying wind conditions on the strike of a round fired at the longer ranges. Experiencing this firsthand will certainly better prepare a hunter for a longer shot, but perhaps more importantly, give a hunter the knowledge to make a “shoot/don’t shoot” decision. AR-Tactical is shot at distances from 300-600yds at a single bullseye type target, slow fire – one shot loaded and shot at a time. The

target is pulled and marked after each shot by the pit crew or is shot on electronic targets. Competitors adjust their windage and elevation based on the feedback of seeing where the last shot landed. Most matches consist of 3 strings of fire, each string consisting of two sighting shots and twenty shots for record, normally in a time limit of 22 minutes. Easy enough, huh? Surprisingly, equipment requirements and limitations vary between the NRA and CMP.

There are other limitations, but these will give you a good start. If your setup doesn’t quite comply with these specs, ask the match director if you can shoot “out of competition.” If you decide to get more serious about AR-Tactical you may consider making a few changes. The muzzle break rule is probably non-negotiable. Equipment required: Hearing and eye protection AR-15 or AR-10, open sights or optics Bipod or backpack to use as front rifle rest Rear rest if you wish (no ‘ears’) Shooting mat, poncho, or piece of carpet (unless you don’t mind laying on the ground) 1 Magazine Ammo (most matches will be 60 shots for record and some sighting shots) The name of the game here (literally) is “Tactical,” so in that spirit, a backpack for a front rest and a green wool G.I. sock ¼ full of rice or sand is preferable to a high dollar bipod and commercial rear bag. As always, before you attend a match, please review the rules, or find a beginner’s guide. Arrive at your first match early and find an official, or the match director, and explain you’re a first timer. He or she will likely marry you up with an experienced shooter who can explain things in detail and put you under their wing for the day, which is something you’ll appreciate. I’ve never been involved in a shooting sport where there weren’t people willing, even wanting to help. You will have score keeping and perhaps pit duty responsibilities during the match, and be prepared to meet some like minded people.

ORA Affiliated Clubs that offer AR-Tactical matches or allow an AR-Tactical category to compete in their prone High Power Rifle matches are The Oklahoma City Gun Club (Arcadia), and Tulsa Red Castle Gun Club (Sand Springs). The average match fee is about $20. Did you ever play “Army” as a kid? – This discipline will scratch your G.I. Joe itch! – Now get out there and have some fun!

Curtis Bohlman Competitions Director, Oklahoma Rifle Association