View Full Version : Distinguished Expert level

Antoni Scott
July 16, 2013, 06:27 AM
I just received my Distinguished Expert certification. I have been target shooting most of my life (both .22 and air pistol) but just recently decided to go for the levels.

Since I am 70 years old, it is an uphill battle against steadiness and physical fitness so for any shooter that wishes to go for the levels I would recommend doing it sooner than later.

An old ex-marine friend of mine (Francis Higginson USMC) was a Camp Perry winner back in 1970 and told me several things that I thought really helped me get to my Distinguished Expert goal.

1. Air pistols are the best way to train since low pellet velocity keeps the pellet in the barrel longer making it subject to slight movement from poor trigger control follow through. I recommend a Steyr or FWB. They are no-nonsense air pistols. Spend most of your time shooting the air pistol. I happen to use an Steyr LP 50 Rapid fire air pistol which fine tuned my cadence.

2. Two thirds of your score in timed and rapid ( not slow). The nine and ten scoring rings are wider in the black. Concentrate most of your shooting on timed and rapid.

3. Forget the Bull's Eye. Concentrate on front to rear sight alignment. Since a 1/100th of an inch misalignment between the front and rear sight can be four inches at 50 yards on a six inch barrel, you can see why its important.

Don't lift weights or hold a weight with extended hand. Throw away the lead gun.

4. I use the lowest velocity ammunition I can get (CCI Target).

5. Grip. I have a S&W Mod. 41, .22 caliber. The original grips are aweful and all of the American made aftermarket grips are just as bad. Spend the $250 for Rinks or Morini grips (Steyr air pistols use Morini grips), you won't believe the difference.

Hope all that helps.

July 16, 2013, 10:22 AM


July 17, 2013, 08:08 AM
Congratulations, Old Man.
Life begins at 70.

July 17, 2013, 10:56 PM
That's an impressive accomplishment at any age. Since the program was started in the late 1800s, there have been fewer than 1600 civilian shooters who have achieved Distinguished Expert in pistol. On average that's fewer than 20 a year over the entire history of the program.


July 18, 2013, 01:30 AM

The Distinguished award from the CMP is different than the Distinguished Expert level award by the NRA.

The Winchester/NRA marksmanship qualification program has several levels, the highest of which is Distinguished Expert. Each qualification level is achieved by getting better and meeting the next level marksmanship standard multiple times. Competition can play a role, but you can also shoot the courses of fire with a witness (active NRA number required).


July 18, 2013, 09:35 PM
That is correct, in fact, years ago, I went through the marksmanship qualification program by the NRA and got to the distinguished expert level in pistol very rapidly.

It's not a remotely similar accomplishment in terms of the time investment involved, nor the skill required as compared to earning a CMP distinguished expert badge.

Given the references to Camp Perry in the OPs post, I assume he's talking about the CMP ranking, but it's entirely possible that I'm wrong...

July 19, 2013, 01:49 AM
I thought he was referrencing getting tips from a friend who shot at Perry. Then the pistol he referrenced isn't legal for service pistol needed to earn EIC points.

Normally the Win/NRA program culminates around the "expert" level for NRA competition rankings if you compare scores across (at least for shotgun, the network I'm on has all nra sights blocked :P). One of the best shots I know in the military only have an NRA ranking of "Expert" and they've worked hard to get there (true he's an F Class shooter, so the scores are higher than other disciplines between classifications).


July 20, 2013, 12:24 AM
Then the pistol he referrenced isn't legal for service pistol needed to earn EIC points.That's a good point. I think you're right. I misinterpreted his post.Normally the Win/NRA program culminates around the "expert" level for NRA competition rankings...Maybe there's a third program then... I'm sitting here actually looking at the DE badge & patch I got from the handgun qualification. I will say that some of the disciplines are definitely harder than others.

July 21, 2013, 02:23 AM
A total of 24 rounds. Possible score 240.

(Five-round handguns may do two rounds in first two, then one round in the third target in five seconds. Total of 20 rounds, possible score 200.)

Rating requirements: Three times over the course with a minimum score of 168 (140 with five-shot handgun) and three times over the course with a minimum score of 192 (160 with five-shot handgun). The number of courses do not have to be fired in succession or on the same day.

80% consistently. Considering that the course of fire does strong hand, weak hand, and two handed grip (strong and weak side forward) I think earning DE status is a pretty good indicator of someone who has a very good grasp of shooting.


Bart B.
July 21, 2013, 01:56 PM
In the beginning, when God (err....the Director of Civilian Marksmanship) created the Distinguished Rifle and Pistol badges, Excellence in Competition badges in gold (10 credit points), silver (8 points) and bronze (6 points) were issued to the top 10% of all competitors in a given match based on their scores in that percentage. As long as a competitor fired at least one shot, they qualified for the total count. When one earned 30 points, the badge was awarded. Both individual and team matches were used and everyone on a placing team got credit points.

Up through the 1950's (?), team members getting points included both the team captain and team coach; neither had to fire a shot to be eligible. Therefore, there are some Distinguished Rifle and Pistol badge holders who've never fired a shot in that discipline; service rifle nor service pistol. A lot of folks got rather upset about this as well as some services dragging out junior enlisted men from the mess hall and barracks cleanning staff just to add more shooters on the firing line to get more regular competitive shooters earning points and eventually distinguished. This got squelched in the early 1960's as well as the points for team matches.

July 21, 2013, 04:40 PM
Good for you Antoni.

I hope I am still shooting at age 70.

July 22, 2013, 03:23 PM

July 23, 2013, 05:28 PM
that's cool good job, Id be interested in some of those certifications, I guess it comes down to finding a NRA instructor in my area and find the path. cool stuff.

July 23, 2013, 11:27 PM
You don't need an instructor, in fact most of the program can be self-administered. It's only for the last level that you'll need some help. Even then it doesn't have to be an instructor, only another NRA member.


August 2, 2013, 06:01 PM
The NRA programs (more than one) are different from the CMP programs. Requirements vary quite a bit. There is a good match for everyone out there!