Private 2nd Class Amber Kingshill is the newest member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit service rifle team.
She is hungry to succeed in the sport while lending her expertise to the AMU’s mission: “Our elite marksmen stand out as the best in their craft, training their fellow Soldiers to be more effective and showcasing their abilities at shooting competitions around the world.”(goarmy.com, 2023)
Kingshill officially joined the AMU on June 6, 2023. She is well qualified for her new position, earning the Distinguished Rifleman Badge in 2020, Golden Eagle Trophy in 2022 with a score of 488-21X, and High Civilian, High Junior and High Woman for Service Rifle in 2022 at the National Matches among many other accomplishments.
Amber’s dad introduced her to the sport. It was a scheme so he could continue to shoot. He thought that if he got one of the kids involved, mom would be ok with him shooting too. The plan worked. During Amber’s first year shooting in the National Matches, she participated in the Rifle Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) where she received her first four leg points shooting on the California Grizzlies Junior Rifle Team.
“That’s what started the hunger for service rifle,” Kingshill said. She credits much of her success to Jim O’Connell, Bob Gill and Robert Taylor from her time competing with the Grizzlies junior team—they sacrificed a lot to make sure the kids could compete and learn.
At 20 years old, Kingshill returned to the 2023 National Matches to compete and coach with the AMU team and was able to instruct the Small Arms Firing School students.
“Coaching was great being able to give back to people and see their drive towards it. It was nice to be out there feeling the competitive spirit,” she said.
In 2019, while still a junior, Kingshill talked to members of the AMU to let them know she was interested. Her teammates were in full support of this, even writing on the back of their car: Amber for AMU, 2022.
“Looking back, it’s heartwarming because 2022 is when I signed the papers with the Army. Having their support really helped me get there,” she said.
After Kingshill completed basic training, she attended the CMP National Matches at Camp Perry and fired in both High Power and Long-Range matches. She earned High Service Rifle in the Long-Range Palma Match with a score of 442-13X, and placed second in the Long-Range Kerr Memorial Match with 197-10X. She is focused on tightening up groups, setting personal records for each string and working on her mental game.
Being on the AMU Service Rifle Team, Kingshill will have access to the best coaches and mentors in the world.
I asked who she looked up to on the unit. She said, “Everyone on the team, they’re amazing. Watching Staff Sergeant Cleland shoot during the cup matches was amazing. It got me hungry for the Xs.”
She is also inspired by Sergeant First Class Brandon Green’s thorough understanding of the sport, whom she grew up watching shoot at Camp Perry. She now shoots next to him as a peer. “He can look at someone and know what needs to happen. It’s just a different level of skill.”
Kingshill is already benefiting from the mentorship of the AMU members. Everyone is focused on having a positive mindset. If you’re around the AMU team, one of the first things you’ll notice besides how focused and professional they are, is how they are always encouraging their teammates and other competitors, celebrating successes, and lifting each other up when they are down.
When she’s not shooting, Amber enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, fishing and hunting. She’d also like to get back into mountain biking. It’s important to have interests outside of shooting to create balance and avoid burning out.
Private 2nd Class Amber Kingshill’s advice for new competitors to excel in marksmanship is succinct.
“Aim for the center and give good calls. If it’s not your day don’t let it bother you, there’s always another day. Focus on what’s ahead of you.”
Kingshill embraces marksmanship to her core and although it’s still very early in her career, if she takes her own advice and focuses on what’s ahead of her, there’s no telling how far she’ll go.