Umarex Boys Club
Jef Lockyer and Adrian Webster explain the Umarex Boys Club’s Marksman Award Scheme
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. ubcmarksmanawardscheme.btck.co.uk/
MAS TO LEVEL 3
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.