Ever since the United States formed, there has been a pride of having some of the best “shooters” in the world. Rifle marksmanship has always been a prime directive in the United States Armed Forces. Along with that, many civilians are also avid shooters. Hunting is a popular sport among many, and being a “good shot” is the focus for those raised in hunting and shooting families. But there were days when the focus of being a marksman declined.
In today’s post, we are going to provide an overview of the Distinguished International Shooter Badge. We will look at the history that led to the creation of this badge. We will explain the prominence of this badge, and what humans need to do to earn this badge.
As the frontiers of the United States were tamed, many humans put their guns down and picked up farming equipment. During the Civil War and Spanish-American War, it was obvious that many of the soldiers did not have the shooting abilities they needed. Because of this serious problem, organizations and the Federal Government began to promote more shooting competitions. In 1903, the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP) was created. They held national matches.
United States shooters began an upsurge of winning huge matches. In the 1920’s they won the majority of World Shooting Championships and many Olympic Medals. They continued to dominate up to the 1950’s, but the winning seemed to slip away. Russia became a powerful force in shooting matches, and this frustrated the United States terribly. How could we allow Communists to outdo us in shooting matches?
President Eisenhower signed an Executive Order creating a United States Army Marksmanship Unit with the primary mission of training soldiers to win World shooting competitions. While this did help create a more competitive shooting spirit, the NBPRP created the Distinguished International Shooter Badge in 1962. The goal with this measure was to create a desire for United States shooters to enter International shooting competitions. The NBPRP ended up merging into the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program).
The Distinguished International Shooter Badge then became a great honor in that it would be one of the most difficult badges to attain.
The first recipient of the Distinguished International Shooter Badge
The top marksmen from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Georgia, along with several civilians traveled to Cairo, Egypt for the 38th World Shooting Championship. While the U.S. still came in a close 2nd to Russian shooters, excitement was blazing because of the new badge.
A young United States shooter by the name of Gary Anderson showed the world his talents with a firearm. He set 3 World Records and won 4 World Championships. His mastery gained him a trip to the White House where President John F. Kennedy awarded Gary the first Distinguished International Shooter Badge. Gary became the President of the CMP and showed others they could also win this magnificent award.
At that stage, the Distinguished International Shooter Badge would be awarded to any U.S. shooter who won a gold, silver or bronze medal in the Olympics, Pan American Games or World Championships. Retroactive awards were given to anyone who had achieved any of those medals. This format of awarding the Distinguished International Shooter Badge would be used until 1998.
The Distinguished International Shooter Badge has a top gold bar that has United States inscribed in it. On top of that bar is a small shield with stars and stripes with oak leaves around it. The bar is hooked to a round pendant of gold color. The pendant has the Western Hemisphere embossed in it and a set of laurel leaves have the inscription: Distinguished International Shooter around the globe.
The number of winners
The Distinguished International Shooter Badge is not a simple award to attain. Since Gary Anderson won the first award in 1963, only 478 other shooters have gained this great badge. Of that 432 shooters, 105 have been women.
Point system in affect
The CMP became a non-government entity and became private. In 1998, the system to win a Distinguished International Shooter Badge was changed. It added other competitions that were not available before. When a shooter receives 30 points, they can be awarded the badge. These are the competitions and the points that can be won:
The Olympics: 1-30, 2-30, 3-30, 4-20, 5-20, 6-20, 7-20, 8-20
The World Championships: 1-30, 2-30, 3-30, 4-15, 5-15, 6-15, 7-15, 8-15 and in team competition: 1-20, 2-15, 3-10
The World Clay Target Championships: 1-30, 2-20, 3-20, 4-10, 5-10, 6-10, 7-10, 8-10 and in team competition: 1-15, 2-10, 3-5
The World Cups: 1-20, 2-10, 3-10
The World Cup Finals: 1-30, 2-20, 3-20, 4-10, 5-10, 6-10, 7-10, 8-10
The Pan American Games: 1-20, 2-10, 3-5 and in team competition: 1-10, 2-5, 3-5
The Championships of America: 1-20, 2-10, 3-5 and in team competition: 1-10, 2-5, 3-5
The World Junior Championship: 1-10, 2-5, 3-5 and in team competition: 1-5, 2-5, 3-5
America’s Junior Championship: 1-5, 2-5, 3-5 and in team competition: 1-5
If you would like to see the list of winners of this award, just visit this link.
I have always been a good shot, but I am nowhere near the caliber of these men and women. It would be wonderful if someone who has won the Distinguished International Shooter Badge would come here and tell us more. If you have won this award, please tell us your practice methods, and any other tips a shooter would need to move towards winning this honorable badge.
If you are entering competitions in the hope of winning this badge, we wish you good luck. I am now off to practice my shooting skills.