If you attended the Annual Meetings and Exhibits earlier this year in Indianapolis, you may have caught wind of the new plans to open a new NRA National Marksmanship Competition Center at Camp Atterbury—the active National Guard base that has been the home of the NRA National High Power Rifle Championships since 2017. If you weren’t in Indy this year, maybe you were hit with this monumental news while perusing the usual news and events of the day. Either way, one thing is certain—starting in 2020, the NRA National Smallbore Championships and the National Precision Pistol Championships will be conducted at Camp Atterbury, joining the NRA High Power Rifle Championships, which have been held there since 2017.
“Since our inception, the NRA’s roots have been in our competitive shooting programs,” says NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, adding, “We look forward to having our National Matches at Camp Atterbury, IN, and to offer competitive shooters a centralized location to compete while protecting our Second Amendment freedoms.”
A 35,000 acre-base, Camp Atterbury is located near Edinburgh, which is about 25 miles south of Indianapolis.
As part of a 10-year agreement, the NRA will lease space at Camp Atterbury, and the state of Indiana plans to upgrade the shooting ranges. There are also plans to expand the current Camp Atterbury Museum to develop a new NRA Military Heritage Museum.
Additionally, the NRA Competitive Shooting Division also plans to bring national and regional matches to Camp Atterbury, which will be complemented by firearms training and safety instruction.
“Camp Atterbury will serve as an exceptional venue for marksmanship championships that promote education and responsibility,” says Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.
One thing this is not meant to do is erase history. As a matter of fact, both NRA and CMP were in close consultation in the weeks and months before coming to a decision.
According to a CMP press release that was released the day before NRA’s big Camp Atterbury announcement, “CMP and NRA are not at odds. Both organizations look forward to partnering in future competitions serving all competitors.” The CMP characterized the NRA’s move as [a] business decision, which is sort of true in the sense that the new facility at Camp Atterbury provides the world’s oldest civil rights organization with a huge platform to help further secure Second Amendment rights.
If anything, the new venue is meant to complement other organizations and associated matches. Cole McCulloch, NRA director of competitive shooting is adamant about this fact.
“We appreciate all the years at Camp Perry,” says McCulloch. “Its certainly not to be lost, but this is a great opportunity to establish a state-of-the-art facility at Camp Atterbury in cooperation with the Indiana National Guard and developed in the same way that Camp Perry was many years ago.”
State-of-the-art facility is an understatement. For example, the pistol range will feature a mind-boggling 300 individual points of fire, all of them covered. Even betterl, shooters won’t have to change position while they are shooting. Camp Atterbury facilities will be upgraded to meet the needs of the NRA, as well as the military.
There will be two 1000-yard high-power rifle ranges, which will include the proper pit/target systems and parking that will operate on one area of the base. Pistol and smallbore will be located on a totally separate part of the base, meaning they won’t have to split range time. This provides more flexibility for scheduling matches.
The current Camp Atterbury welcome center will be jointly leased by the NRA and the Indiana National Guard, and is slated to become a training facility. People can learn about different kinds of firearms, also housing multiple training simulators that will be open to the public.
Working with the state of Indiana, the new NRA National Marksmanship Competition Center will feature many different types of competition, in addition to the traditional NRA disciplines. Camp Atterbury provides the NRA with a national platform for training and hosting new, modern events such as the Precision Rifle Series, 3-Gun, America’s Rifle Challenge and more. Use your imagination—the possibilities are nearly limitless. (Learn more about America’s Rifle Challenge at this link.)
“We are grateful to the state of Indiana to want us in this way,” says McCulloch, adding, “It’s a remarkable time in our history. The roots of competitive shooting are in the DNA of the NRA ... I’m honored to be part of that.”
“Camp Atterbury has been great, and we are just thrilled to be there,” concluded McCulloch. “Big things are coming.”
In addition, the new NRA National Marksmanship Competition Center at Camp Atterbury will include a new Military Heritage Museum, which will showcase the history of the National Guard—along with the NRA’s contributions through the shooting sports and training with the different branches of the military. The current plan is for the museum to have a degree of interactivity. More details should emerge in the coming months. In the meantime, stay tuned.