FAQs | NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Why should I participate in the Marksmanship Qualification Program?

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.

What are the rules for the Marksmanship Qualification Program?

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.

What are the eligibility requirements?

NRA Qualification courses of fire are open to everyone—men and women, adults and youth.

Are there any pre-requisites for this program?

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.

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.

How do I administer the courses of fire?

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.

How are courses of fire scored?

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.

What are 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.

What type of targets should I use?

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.

Where can I get approved targets?

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:

What is the highest-ranking level for the Marksmanship Qualification Program?

In order to encourage completion of the 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.

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.

Where can I get qualification 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.

How can I get my Distinguished Expert recognition?

NRA Member Recognition for Distinguished Expert is a member benefit providing Distinguished Experts with the Award packet free of charge and making them eligible for the rating of Double and Triple Distinguished.

The NRA provides national recognition for all members who reach this prestigious level of accomplishment provided they:

  • Have fired the required scores
  • Have acquired awards at the lower ratings
  • Provide a current NRA member ID number

NRA members who have completed all the lower ratings and the requirements for Distinguished Expert should complete the Distinguished Expert Recognition Report Form and send it to the address provided on the form:

ATTN: Marksmanship Coordinator
11250 Waples Mill Rd.
Fairfax, VA 22030

Please allow 60 days for processing.

Nonmembers can order the Distinguished Expert awards packet from the Program Materials Center as they did for the lower-level awards.

How is this program funded?

Nonprofit organizations and associations can apply for grant funding to help start their NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program.

Friends of NRA dinner/auction fundraising events are being conducted across the United States to benefit the NRA Foundation. 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 grants back to the state where it was raised for education, training, safety and marksmanship programs.

For information and the grant application, go to www.nrafoundation.org. If you have a question, email [email protected].

Additional Resources

 Explore the additional resources available for the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program.

Download all of the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Courses of Fire here.

Download the score sheet to keep track of your scores.

Order your awards today from the NRA Program Materials Center!

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For more information about the Marksmanship Qualification Program, call (703) 267-1505 or email [email protected].