Brief History of Distinguished Shooting Early accounts of marksmanship cite military training activities in archery and spear throwing that were later celebrated as sport in the first Olympiad in 776 B.C. The pentathlon, for example, included javelin throwing. By the 14th century, marksmanship had become a recreational sport as depicted in popular literature with the legendary Swiss hero William Tell, famous for shooting an apple off his son’s head, and the Robin Hood tales.
Following the Civil War, a perceived lack of marksmanship skills on the part of the Union Army led to the founding of the NRA in 1871. Just 13 years later, in 1884, the U.S. War Department began recognizing the best military shooters as “Distinguished Marksmen.” Just as low marksmanship skills brought about the NRA, the same deficit among U.S. soldiers in the Spanish-American War and the 1902 loss of the International Palma Trophy Team Match led to the 1903 establishment of the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP), predecessor to today’s Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The Secretary of War approved the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge that same year.
The NBPRP created the U.S. Distinguished International Shooter Badge in 1962 in order to encourage and recognize excellence by U.S. participants in international shooting competitions. To earn this new award, a shooter had to win a medal in world-class competition—the Olympics, World Shooting Championship or the Pan American Games. Former NRA General Operations Administration Executive Director and retired CMP Director—Gary Anderson, was the first recipient of this new badge. In April 1963, two-time Olympic gold medalist Anderson was presented the first badge by President John F. Kennedy in White House ceremonies.
National Rifle Association International Distinguished Badge Program The NRA is responsible for sanctioning the U.S. teams as well as appointing the captains for the teams that represent the U.S. and the NRA in international competition. These team teams compete in World Championship events such as the famed Palma Team Match. The NRA is an active member of the International Confederation of Fullbore Rifle Associations (ICFRA). As such the NRA regularly receives invitations to participate in international rifle competitions.
Similar to the CMP program which addresses Olympic shooters the NRA International Distinguished Badge is earned in ICFRA sanctioned World Championships, the America Match or the Australia Match. A total of 30 points must be earned in these individual and team competitions. The International Distinguished Badge (IDB) is available to Target Rifle and F-Class shooters and coaches. The NRA program recognizes the importance of team shooting and participants can earn IDB points being on winning teams as well as excellence in individual competitions.
The NRA International Distinguished Badge was created to recognize achievement and to encourage more U.S. shooters and coaches into international shooting. More U.S. competitive shooters compete in World Championships events than ever before. The recently completed 2015 Long Range World Championships were held at Camp Perry, OH this past August. Over 450 competitors from twelve countries participated. Next year Canada will host the 2017 F-Class World Championships and South Africa has invited the U.S. to participate in their 81st anniversary of the establishment of their National Rifle Association. The international Australia Team Match will be a featured event. The Australia Match was first fired in 1907 and is the second oldest international team match to the prestigious Palma Team Match first shot in 1876.
The initial set of International Distinguished Badges are planned to be awarded at the U.S. National Long Range Championships held this year at Camp Perry, OH. The F-Class badges will be awarded at the 2016 F-Class National Matches held in Lodi, WI.
Sierra Bullets is the proud sponsor of the badges to be awarded this summer.