The first organized matches for competitive shooters were held in Creedmoor, NY in 1873. Open only to military personnel, the initial national championships were comprised of four events—200-yard standing with service rifle, 200-yard standing with "any rifle," a regimental team match and a 1000-yards standing rapid fire match.
In order to open the matches to the public, Congress helped establish what we know today as the National Matches in 1903—a continuation of the already formed NRA Annual Matches. With the event fully supported, this formation allowed the NRA to reach its desired goal of increased participation in a combined civilian and military training atmosphere.
A few years later the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice provided funding for the National Matches in the form of prizes, trophies and travel for state teams to help guarantee increased civilian participation. As numbers on the line increased, other shooting events were slowly introduced, with pistol being the second to follow high power.
In 1907, the National Matches were moved to Camp Perry, OH. In 2017, the NRA National High Power Rifle Championships moved to another military facility southwest of Camp Perry in the neighboring state of Indiana, about 4.5 hours car travel time—Camp Atterbury. At this new venue, shooters continue to enjoy the cherished American tradition of high power rifle competition. The CMP’s National Trophy Rifle Matches are still held at Camp Perry.