Where Did The National Matches Originate?

by
posted on October 31, 2017
creedmri1.jpg (1)
“Did you ever stop to think that without the work done between 1871 and 1902 by the N.R.A. that there would be no such [National] matches?”
—Excerpt from the 1924 National Match Program

The NRA conducted its first match at the range in Creedmoor, NY, in 1873. At the time, the only competition was high power, offered in four events—200 yards standing with the military rifle, 200 yards standing with “any rifle,” a regimental team match and a 100-yard standing rapid fire match. This competition was open only to military personnel.

The NRA organized its first annual match later that year, which ultimately became the National Matches. While the first interest of the organization was long range and military shooting, it was soon realized there was much more interest in the sport, so the NRA added Schuetzen matches and permitted civilian entries in 1895.

The NRA was relatively dormant during the mid-to-late 1890s. By 1900, New Jersey’s Sea Girt Range was flourishing and its success, coupled with the embarrassment caused by weak U.S. marksmanship in the Spanish-American War two years earlier, played critical roles in revealing the need for a national shooting organization. Efforts to create a new national shooting organization were set aside in order to revamp the NRA into the model of national representation it was destined to become.

One of the founders of the NRA, Gen. George W. Wingate reminded those involved in the opposition movement, led by future NRA Secretary Albert S. Jones, that the NRA’s history was that of competitive shooting and military training in the United States. Wingate urged the reorganization of the inactive NRA. He also emphasized that the NRA created the blueprint for annual matches, which, among other things, profiled a system of marksmanship qualifications used by both civilian and military shooters. Wingate’s successful appeal was grounded in his conviction that the Association’s revival was indisputable, logical and necessary.

Officially, the first National Matches were fired at Sea Girt in 1903 when they were mandated by Congress the year before through the Army Appropriations Bill. It would be remiss, however, to understate the innovative and resourceful role the National Rifle Association played in marksmanship development which ultimately led to this outcome. Simply put, the NRA’s program to improve marksmanship laid the groundwork and provided the infrastructure for the National Matches.

Looking for more articles on the history of the National Matches? We’ve got you covered.

Latest

Kc Eusebio Usspa Area1 1
Kc Eusebio Usspa Area1 1

USPSA Area 1 Championship: KC Eusebio Takes High Overall, Open Titles

Team Bushnell and Team Taurus shooter KC Eusebio scores big at 2022 USPSA Area 1 Championship

New: Holosun SCS-MOS Reflex Sight

Holosun’s new SCS-MOS optic is equipped with a solar panel to recharge its internal battery

Our Guide To Avoiding A First Plate Miss In Steel Challenge

Mastering first plate hits is one of the fastest ways to improve your scores in Steel Challenge competition

James Fox Wins Washington State High Power Rifle Championship

Team Berger’s James Fox overcame a huge setback on his way to victory at the 2022 Washington State High Power Championship

New: GATORZ Laser Defender Lenses

New laser defender technology from GATORZ shields eyes from harmuful laser wavelengths

NRA Announces Opposition To Senate Gun Control Legislation

NRA opposes legislation that can be abused to restrict lawful firearm purchases and infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans

Interests



Get the best of Shooting Sports USA delivered to your inbox.