2010 USAMU-MGM Junior Shooters Camp
Junior Shooters from across the country train with the Army's best.
By Jake Denno
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the AMU/MGM Junior Shooter Camp held at Fort Benning, Georgia for the second year in a row. This year, there were sixty junior shooters ranging in experience from seventeen-year-old Grand Master, Nicholas Neel, to eleven-year-old first-time attendee, Kyle Max. The principal sponsor for the Junior Shooter Camp was Mike Gibson Manufacturing, the maker of MGM Targets. The event was hosted by the world famous United States Army Marksmanship Unit’s Action Shooting Team, who provided most of the instruction throughout the event. Also making an appearance at the camp was Phil Strader, from Strader Solutions, as well as representatives from Team Glock and Team Smith & Wesson. There were also many other sponsors who made this amazing event possible, so to them, thank you!
The main purposes of the Junior Shooter Camp were to enhance the skills of the junior shooters and help to prepare them for competition. The AMU’s Action Shooting Team instructors were Travis Tomasie, Lee Dimaculangan, Daniel Horner, Shane Coley, and Tyler Payne, who provided daily clinics to teach advanced shooting skills.
Travis Tomasie taught us how to shoot single-handed properly and also helped us learn how to shoot well with both our strong and weak hand. The techniques we learned helped us with recoil management, which significantly improved our shooting accuracy.
Tyler Payne instructed us on how to hold a rifle properly and how to shoot it from the standing and kneeling positions while bracing the weapon on a barricade. These techniques helped teach us how to stabilize the rifle so we could get a good sight picture.
We closed out the first day by getting an introduction to the Scholastic Steel Challenge (SSC). Members from the SSC program, Team Glock, and Team Smith & Wesson introduced us to the stages, helped teach us the best way to shoot the stages, and then had us actually shoot each stage.
After a long day of shooting, we packed up and headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest and relaxation.
Just like the first day, the buses came to pick us up the second morning at 7:30 A.M. to take us to the AMU range at Fort Benning.
Our first lesson began with Shane Coley teaching us the proper way to draw our pistols and conduct speed reloads. These techniques helped us minimize the time it takes to draw properly and fire our weapons as well as the time it takes to reload.
Daniel Horner taught us how to move in and out of shooting boxes and positions properly. This was really important to me because prior to camp I had often been too aggressive when entering a shooting position and was not always bringing my gun up fast enough.
We finished out the day with Lee Dimaculangan teaching us how to shoot long-distance targets effectively. He also taught us how to get into several different shooting positions to gain more stability when engaging long-range targets.
On the third and final day of camp, we shot a five-stage match that forced us to utilize everything we had learned over the last two days. We shot a long-range accuracy stage, a rifle stage, a shoot house stage, a strong/weak-hand stage, and a running and gunning stage. As a result of shooting the five-stage match, I realized that the techniques I had learned and practiced had significantly improved my performance during competition.
After the match, Mr. and Mrs. Gibson gave away some really cool prizes that had been donated by the sponsors of the AMU/MGM Junior Shooter Camp. The prizes were awesome and included high-quality equipment that the junior shooters could definitely use for future competitions. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to another outstanding camp!
After saying our farewells to new and old friends, everybody started the long, boring, and depressing trip home. I am really looking forward to next year's camp and also to my upcoming competitions. I believe that the USAMU/MGM Junior Shooter Camp is the greatest program there is for young shooters to learn, enhance their skills, make friends, and have an all-around great time!