Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program

Click here to download the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program guidebook, or click here to order Qualification Awards.

Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program
Marksmanship Qualification Program patches

From a young shooter's first BB gun to sophisticated air rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, pistols, and rifles, the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program offers family fun and enjoyment that can last a lifetime.

Qualification shooting is an informal, year-round recreational shooting activity that provides incentive awards for developing and improving marksmanship skills. It's a drill. We set the standards; you meet the challenge! Progression is self-paced and scores are challenging but attainable. Performance is measured against established par scores and any shooter who meets or exceeds those scores is entitled to the corresponding recognition awards for that rating. It's an honor system!

Shooters acquire the large discipline patch at the onset of the program and as each rating is earned, they are entitled to all of the corresponding awards for the rating. Each rating level has a skill rocker, medal, and certificate award that recognizes and highlights the achievement.

The courses of fire in the qualification program are designed to take shooters from beginning skill levels (Pro-Marksman, Marksman) through intermediate levels (Marksman 1st Class, Sharpshooter, Expert) up to a nationally recognized skill level -- Distinguished Expert -- the pinnacle of the program. By the time a shooter completes the Distinguished Expert rating, he or she has attained a proficiency level paralleling that of a competitively classified Sharpshooter.

Qualification shooting can be conducted anywhere -- on public ranges, at your favorite club range, even on your own home range. BB and pellet gun shooters will find air gun qualification courses especially suited for informal home air gun ranges and family learning environments. Parents can shoot side by side with their children or start a neighborhood air gun shooting sports program for their children and their friends.

Click here to download the Marksmanship Qualification Program booklet
Click here to download the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program book and courses of fire.

The following information applies to the overall qualification program -- all disciplines, all courses of fire.

  • Eligibility
    NRA Qualification courses of fire are open to everyone -- men and women, adults and youth.
  • Administration
    Qualification shooting can be a self-administered activity on the honor system, or it can be administered by parents, club leaders, coaches, or instructors as part of a family, club, or group program.
  • Awards
    All awards, Pro-Marksman through Distinguished Expert, can be ordered directly from the NRA Program Materials Center by the shooter or the program administrator. Awards should be ordered in advance so they are available as soon as the rating is earned -- instant recognition. Ordering in advance also saves additional shipping fees.
  • Safety
    When firing for qualification ratings, always follow the NRA gun safety rules.
  • Rules
    Discipline-specific standards are listed with each course of fire. If specific exceptions are not made, official NRA Rules apply. Shooters who are not familiar with shooting terms, targets, equipment, positions, scoring procedures, etc., should obtain a copy of the appropriate rule book for a greater understanding of the discipline before firing for qualification. Rule books are available in the NRA Program Materials Center.
  • Targets
    Target designations are listed under each discipline. Targets with "TQ" designations are training and qualification targets. TQ targets usually have larger bullseyes and scoring areas than competition targets. Alpha series targets such as "A" (smallbore rifle), "B" (pistol), and "AR" (air rifle) are official competition targets. Alpha series targets are used for most all other formal shooting activities -- postal matches, leagues, and competition. Any number appearing after a "../../../" in any target designation (AR-5/10, TQ-1/1), indicates the number of bullseyes that are contained on the target paper.
  • Target Manufacturers
    Targets are available at most sporting goods stores. If you cannot find them locally, contact one of NRA's licensed manufacturers. The following manufacturers sell a fairly full line of targets and offer quantity and/or NRA instructor discounts:
    • Alco Target Company, California
      (888) 258-4814
    • National Target Company, Maryland
      (800) 827-7060
    • U.S. Target Company, Michigan
      (800) 746-6836
  • Ratings
    Ratings in the qualification program must be earned in sequence from the beginning. While beginning ratings may be relatively easy for some shooters to obtain, these ratings and the recognition the shooters receive, keep interest high and help sustain shooters when ratings become much more difficult to obtain. NRA does not track earned ratings.
  • Scores
    In all cases, scores fired for qualification must be applied to the rating the shooter is currently working on. Scores may not be held and used for higher ratings. The required number of times a score must be obtained do not have to be fired consecutively or in the same session. Scores fired in practice sessions, leagues, or matches may all be applied toward qualification ratings.
  • Records
    A record of the date when each rating was achieved and the awards that were acquired should be kept by the shooter or the program administrator.
  • Basic Practical Rating
    The Basic Practical rating is recommended for all participants, but is not a required rating in the qualification program. This rating is obtained by completing the practical exercise conducted during an NRA basic course of instruction. The Basic Practical skill rocker is included in all basic course student packets and is awarded by the NRA instructor upon successful completion of the course.
  • Basic Courses
    New shooters are encouraged to contact a local NRA instructor to enroll in the next available course. Basic firearms training courses are fun, interesting, and provide a good foundation of knowledge that can be applied to all shooting activities. To obtain a list of instructors that offer basic firearms training courses in your area, call the automated telephone help line (703) 267-1430, option #2. If you can't attend a course, read the course handbooks (see price list on page 28). They contain a wealth of information that will help improve your shooting.
  • Distinguished Expert Rating
    In order to encourage completion of the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program through the highest rating, shooters have the option of qualifying for the Distinguished Expert rating by participating in formal competition using a lower score requirement, or outside of formal competition using a higher score requirement.
  • Witness Requirement
    All firing for the Distinguished Expert rating must be witnessed by an NRA member (with current ID number), or an NRA instructor or coach (with current ID number). Exception: shooters who fire scores in formal competition use the tournament results bulletins from the required number of matches as validation. Shotgun shooters save their shoot receipt and score record from each shoot required.
  • NRA Member Benefit
    NRA members who have completed all the lower ratings and the requirements for Distinguished Expert should contact the National Rifle Association. The NRA provides national recognition for all members who reach this prestigious level of accomplishment provided they:
    • have fired the required scores
    • have acquired the awards for all the lower ratings
    • provide a current ID number
    • request recognition within 60 days of the accomplishment
    Paid membership applications may be submitted with the Distinguished Expert report form. As soon as requirements for the Distinguished Expert rating have been completed, fill out and mail in the Distinguished Expert Report Form.
  • NRA Staff
    NRA staff is available to answer any questions you may have. Call the NRA Qualification Coordinator at (703) 267-1505 or email marksmanship@nrahq.org.
Friends of NRA Funding

Need funding to help start your NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program?

NRA Foundation dinner/auction fundraisers are being conducted across the United States by Friends of NRA. 100% of the monies raised in each state (over expenses) go to the NRA Foundation. In turn, 50% of those monies are earmarked by The NRA Foundation for disbursement back into the state where it was raised for education, training, safety, and development programs.

Each state establishes a fund community usually made up of one appointee from each dinner/auction. This committee, lead by the state NRA Field Representative, reviews grant applications and recommends awards.

Grant applications should be submitted directly to the state NRA Field Representative. Since each state has its own committee date(s) and its own grant submission deadline date(s), it is a good idea to get in touch with your NRA Field Representative as soon as possible.

To request a grant application, call the NRA Grants Department at (800) 554-9498.