Umarex Boys Club

Jef Lock­yer and Adrian Web­ster ex­plain the Umarex Boys Club’s Marks­man Award Scheme

Airgun World - - Contents -

UBC mem­bers ex­plain the Marks­man­ship Award Scheme, and how to en­ter

As well as the monthly on-line com­pe­ti­tions, the club runs the UBC Marks­man Award Scheme, a per­sonal skill de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme that en­ables par­tic­i­pants to progress through a se­ries of six lev­els to im­prove their pis­tol shoot­ing skills.

The scheme is loosely based on the US NRA scheme adapted to suit our needs, such as shoot­ing at home and us­ing com­monly avail­able multi-shot replica air/CO2 pis­tols. The scheme en­ables a to­tal novice to de­velop his or her skills through a struc­tured se­ries of ex­er­cises, each build­ing on the for­mer to ad­vance their shoot­ing abil­ity. Even ex­pe­ri­enced shoot­ers have re­ported finding ben­e­fits in fol­low­ing the scheme to its con­clu­sion. The first two stages utilise the no. 1 tar­get and seem fairly sim­ple at first. How­ever, they do start to de­velop the dis­ci­pline nec­es­sary for con­sis­tent shoot­ing. The stages then be­come more chal­leng­ing us­ing the no. 2 tar­get, which is more dif­fi­cult to hit, hav­ing smaller scor­ing zones, and in stage four the added el­e­ment of a time limit starts to in­crease the pres­sure on the stu­dent. By the fi­nal stage, there are four 10-sec­ond groups to be shot, and a cer­tain amount of prac­tice is nec­es­sary to ‘get into the swing’ and post con­sis­tent scores.


Only the two dif­fer­ent targets are needed to cover the en­tire scheme and these are avail­able for down­load from the com­pe­ti­tion web­site. Each suc­cess­fully com­pleted level earns the shooter a cer­tifi­cate which is emailed for print­ing at home, if de­sired. The club also main­tains a data­base of par­tic­i­pant’s achieve­ments that can also be viewed on the com­pe­ti­tion web­site. Cer­tifi­cates are emailed out to ev­ery­one.

Like the monthly com­pe­ti­tions, the scheme runs on a trust ba­sis with no need to sub­mit targets for check­ing – after all, if you cheat, who are you cheat­ing? It’s a per­sonal de­vel­op­ment scheme, not a com­pe­ti­tion, you are only chal­leng­ing your­self to im­prove.

To en­cour­age a struc­tured ap­proach only one level can be sub­mit­ted in any month and a score­card is avail­able for down­load, so the scheme can be com­pleted in as lit­tle as six months. How­ever, the ob­ject of the scheme is per­sonal de­vel­op­ment and if more time is re­quired for a par­tic­u­lar level, that is fine, there are no dead­lines and no penal­ties. Par­tic­i­pants are en­cour­aged to progress at their own pace and, above all, to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence.

All the in­for­ma­tion nec­es­sary to en­ter can be found on the scheme page of the com­pe­ti­tion web­site at http://www. ubc­marks­man­award­


With the com­ing of the re­vamped UBC lay­out, as well as the new and im­proved web­site por­tal, I found my­self delv­ing into parts of the site that I hadn’t vis­ited for quite some time. One such part was the Marks­man­ship Awards Scheme, or MAS for short.

Fun­nily enough, I dis­tinctly re­mem­ber shoot­ing the first cou­ple of lev­els with my wife, Goong, in the front gar­den of our house in Thai­land – we re­fer to it as the ‘front gar­den’ be­cause it faces a canal; I like to imag­ine a bit like Jim Thomp­son’s House in Bangkok.

I re­called us­ing my Tokyo Marui 1911A1 and so, after only a very lim­ited amount of time spent rum­mag­ing around in old fold­ers, I soon lo­cated our cer­tifi­cates which showed that Goong had used another Tokyo Marui pis­tol, her Glock 17. What sur­prised me was how long ago we had com­pleted Level 2, since they were dated 17th Septem­ber 2011! My lit­tle green ‘Pro-Marks­man’ pin brooch was even eas­ier to find be­cause it was on dis­play with my mod­est col­lec­tion of other UBC badges and pins in a glass cup­board. Quite why I hadn’t con­tin­ued with the scheme I’m not sure, pre­oc­cu­pied with other com­pe­ti­tions, per­haps, but I felt it was time to make amends.


I re­mem­ber that, whilst the first cou­ple of lev­els were rel­a­tively easy, fea­tur­ing a large, cir­cu­lar tar­get fill­ing most of a sheet of A4, Level 3 would be more of a chal­lenge as it switched to the ‘Tomb­stone’ tar­get with its three cen­tralised roundels.

Even ex­pe­ri­enced shoot­ers have re­ported finding ben­e­fits in fol­low­ing the scheme

“pleas­ant sur­prise was to see how many peo­ple have taken part in the scheme”

At first glance, I thought, ‘Oh, dear (or some­thing like that) be­cause I mis­tak­enly as­sumed that it would be nec­es­sary to hit the bull to score a ten, and the ‘A’ roundel an eight. How­ever, this was not the case; the ‘A’ ring scored a 10, the ‘B’ ring an eight, and any­where else in the tar­get a five.

Whilst my TM 1911A1 is still in very much in ser­vice­able con­di­tion, I have placed it for sale in a friend’s shop. More­over, my col­lec­tion has grown con­sid­er­ably in the last six years and so I thought I would use my rel­a­tively new Schofield CO2-pow­ered 6mm cal­i­bre re­volver.

Fea­tur­ing a sin­gle-ac­tion mech­a­nism com­bined with a seven-inch bar­rel, this is one of the most ac­cu­rate repli­cas I own, and I hoped, more than up to the task even if I wasn’t! With the tar­get in place in my ‘in­door’ range – fewer mos­qui­tos, more light – I in­serted a cap­sule of CO2 and fired my first five shots. My con­fi­dence in the Schofield had not been mis­placed; four out of five shots landed in the black. A fifth landed in the ‘A’ ring, but as ex­plained above, this would still mean 10 points. A gen­er­ous three min­utes are al­lo­cated for five shots.


The next stage was when it be­came more in­ter­est­ing be­cause the rules re­quired that the ‘weak’ hand be used to con­trol the gun. Even though a two-handed grip is al­lowed, it is quite awkward pulling the trig­ger us­ing your left-hand if you are right-handed like me, par­tic­u­larly at first.

I’d never re­ally tried this be­fore, and after a fair bit of faffing around – with the gun un­loaded, of course – I de­cided upon the fol­low­ing: Rather than com­pletely swap over hands like a mir­ror-im­age, I would sim­ply ex­change trig­ger fingers, the grip oth­er­wise re­main­ing sim­i­lar, al­beit with my left thumb slightly higher up over my right.

I felt that this gave max­i­mum con­trol of the gun whilst al­low­ing me to re­tain an op­ti­mum sight pic­ture; both eyes open, my right eye be­ing the dom­i­nant one, and it worked!

Al­though re­sult­ing in a slightly wider spread than us­ing my nor­mal hold, it was more than sat­is­fac­tory score-wise and I man­aged 100/100 on my first cou­ple of targets. This then de­creased to 96, be­fore re­turn­ing again to 100 and 96 for targets four and five, re­spec­tively.

I then called it a day since it’s al­ways a shame to rush these things, and it stip­u­lates in the rules that any level may be spread over the course of a month, just so long as each pair of targets are com­pleted in a sin­gle ses­sion, com­pris­ing two sets of five shots in three min­utes us­ing strong and weak, two-handed grips, re­spec­tively. Am I con­fi­dent on pass­ing this level? Well, thanks to the Schofield, I am, and then it will be on to Lev­els 4, 5 and 6.


Well I am happy to say that I man­aged to com­plete Level 3. My scores of 50s and 48s (right- and left-hand, re­spec­tively) con­tin­ued un­til the ninth tar­get when the CO2 ap­peared to drop off a tad, re­sult­ing in a pair of 46s. I pushed it un­til the tenth tar­get, but power drops off abruptly with the Schofield, and a fresh cap­sule was re­quired. My last tar­get was a 50/ 48.

I must ad­mit I was very pleased with these scores, but not sur­prised be­cause I of­ten use this re­volver to shoot in our 10m com­pe­ti­tion. In my opinion, it goes to show just how ac­cu­rate and well-made some of these repli­cas can be, even in 6mm. One thing which was a most pleas­ant sur­prise was to see just how many peo­ple have taken part in the scheme over the years – 108 pis­tol en­thu­si­asts, UBC founder Paddy in­forms me – and I would thor­oughly rec­om­mend it to ev­ery­one.

With­out a doubt, the Marks­man­ship Awards Scheme is ex­tremely well thought out, and ide­ally suited to air/air­soft pis­tols, shot over our tra­di­tional six yards. Fur­ther­more, it rep­re­sents yet another ex­am­ple of how replica pis­tol shoot­ing as a sport can be both chal­leng­ing and re­ward­ing for all those wish­ing to take part. I

The Schofield, the tar­get, the per­fect match!

Jef Lock­yer, our MAS Man­ager.

Adrian with his lefted grip, to com­plete his stage.

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