Marksmanship Badges (United States)

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Example of U.S. Marksmanship Competition Badges worn on a U.S. Marine Corps service uniform, as seen from left to right: Distinguished Marksman Badge, Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge, and Inter-Division Pistol Competition Badge.

A Marksmanship Badge is a U.S. Military badge or a U.S. Civilian badge which is presented to personnel upon successful completion of a weapons qualification course (known as Marksmanship Qualification Badges) or high placement in an official marksmanship competition (known as Marksmanship Competition Badges). Today, the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps are the only military services that issue Marksmanship Qualification Badges. However, Marksmanship Medals and/or Marksmanship Ribbons are issued by the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, and United States Air Force for weapons qualifications. For non-military personnel, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) issue Marksmanship Qualification Badges to U.S. Civilians and Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) members. Additionally, the National Rifle Association (NRA) also issue Marksmanship Qualification Badges to U.S. Civilians as well as those involved in U.S. Law Enforcement. All of these organizations and the U.S. National Guard awarded Marksmanship Competition Badges to the people they support who succeed in official competitions.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

The U.S. Army issues their Marksmanship Qualification Badges for a variety of weapons while the U.S. Marine Corps only issues theirs for rifle and pistol. For U.S. Civilians, the CMP issues rifle, small bore rifle, pistol, and small bore pistol Army Marksmanship Qualification Badges as well as its own air rifle badges while the NRA issues Marksmanship Qualification Badges for different types of rifles, pistols, and shotguns. For Marksmanship Competition Badges, the U.S. Military award rifle and pistol competition badges; however, the U.S. National Guard also award Marksmanship Competition Badges for machine gun. The CMP awards Marksmanship Competition Badges for air rifle, rifle, and pistol while the NRA awards them for smallbore rifle and semi-automatic and revolver pistols.[1][2][3][4][7][8][9][10][11][12]

The U.S. Military and CMP Marksmanship Qualification Badges are awarded in three grades (highest to lowest): Expert, Sharpshooter, and Marksman while their Marksmanship Competition Badges are awarded in two to three grades (highest to lowest): Silver, and Bronze for the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard; Gold, Silver, and Bronze for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps; and Silver with Wreath, Bronze with Wreath, and Bronze for the U.S. Air Force. The NRA Marksmanship Qualification Badges are awarded in five to six grades (highest to lowest): Distinguished Expert, Expert, Sharpshooter, Marksman First-Class (Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program only), Marksman, and Pro-Marksman. The NRA and the U.S. National Guard Marksmanship Competition Badges are only awarded at one grade with the exception of the NRA's Law Enforcement Distinguished Program, which awards a Silver Excellence-in-Competition Badge for those officers who earn their first points towards one of the Law Enforcement Distinguished Pistol Badges.[1][2][3][4][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

Marksmanship Qualification Badges[edit]

Starting in the late 19th century, the U.S. Army began awarding Marksmanship Qualification Badges to those soldiers that met specific weapon qualification standards. In the early 20th century, the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy began awarding Marksmanship Qualification Badges as well. The Marine Corps began by awarding Army Marksmanship Qualification Badges but eventually developed its own badge design, based on the original Army designs from the early 1900s. The Navy developed its own short lived Marksmanship Qualification Badge, known as the Sharpshooter's Badge, but retired it after only ten years in liou of awarding Marksmanship Ribbons and Medals.[14][15][16]

For U.S. Civilians, the Office of the Director of Civilian Marksmanship, now known as the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearm Safety (CPRPFS), and the National Rifle Association (NRA) began promoting civilian marksmanship in 1903. The CPRPFS's Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) awards U.S. Army Marksmanship Qualification Badges to U.S. Civilians who meet Army weapon qualification standards as well as its own badges to youth for air rifle marksmanship. The NRA began awarding its own Marksmanship Qualification Badges to U.S. Civilians in 1918 and today has two primary marksmanship proficiency programs, the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program and the NRA Law Enforcement Explorer Qualification Program.[1][8][17][18][19][20]

United States Army[edit]

U.S. Army Marksmanship Qualification Badges

The United States Army award Army Marksmanship Qualification Badges to soldiers and foreign military personnel while the CMP awards these same badges to U.S. Civilians who qualify at three different qualification levels (highest to lowest): Expert, Sharpshooter, and Marksman. Suspended from the badge are Army Weapon Qualification Clasps that indicate the type of weapon the individual has qualified to use. The following Army Weapon Qualification Clasps are currently authorized under Army Pamphlet 670-1; however, only rifle, small bore rifle, pistol, and small bore pistol are awarded to U.S. Civilians by the CMP (listed with exact inscription):[1][21][22]

RIFLE PISTOL AA ARTILLERY AUTO RIFLE
MACHINEGUN FIELD ARTILLERY TANK WEAPONS FLAMETHROWER
SUBMACHINE GUN ROCKET LAUNCHER GRENADE CARBINE
RECOILLESS RIFLE MORTAR BAYONET SMALL BORE RIFLE
SMALL BORE PISTOL MISSILE AEROWEAPONS

The level at which one qualifies is dependent on the weapon, firing range, and the course of fire. For example, to earn an Army Marksmanship Qualification Badge for Pistol at the Combat Pistol Qualification Course, one must have a combined hit count of 26 out of 30 for Expert, 21 out of 30 for Sharpshooter, and 16 out of 30 for Marksman on firing tables one through five. Regardless of the Soldier's overall score, everyone must get a hit count of three out of seven while wearing a gas mask and two out of five while shooting at night for the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) and night firing tables respectively. To earn the same qualification with the same weapon at the Alternate Pistol Qualification Course, one must have a hit count of 36 out of 40 for Expert, 29 out of 40 for Sharpshooter, and 24 out of 40 for Marksman on firing tables one through four and get a perfect hit count on the CBRN and night firing tables regardless of the Soldier's overall score. Each firing table tests the shooter on different aspects of combat shooting (shooting from a concealed position, speed loading, shooting on the move, etc.) while engaging human silhouettes at varying distances within an allotted time.[23]

Army Marksmanship Qualification Badges are not permanent awards. When a soldier re-qualifies with their weapon at a different level, the soldier replaces their qualification badge with a new badge that reflects their current level. Only three Army Marksmanship Qualification Badges are authorized for wear on Army service uniforms and each may have no more than three Army Weapon Qualification Clasps. Although these badges are awarded to both officers and enlisted soldiers alike, as a matter of Army tradition, only non-commissioned officers and enlisted soldiers wear these badges on their uniforms.[1][24]

Former U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Marksmanship Badges, retired from the Army in 1921 and from the Marine Corps in 1958.
Former U.S. Army Pistol Marksmanship badges, replaced by the Army Marksmanship Qualification Badges with Pistol Qualification Clasp in 1921.

The Army began using marksmanship qualification devices in 1881 starting with the Marksman Button, which led to the Rifle Marksmanship Badges in 1897 as well as the Pistol Marksmanship Badges in 1907. Clasps were added to the Sharpshooter and Expert badges indicating each requalification date of the Soldier. In 1915, the Army changed the design of their Expert Pistol Qualification Badge by replacing the revolvers with M1911s, which lives on in today's Marine Corps Expert Pistol Qualification Badge. Additionally, the Army had a shot-lived series of Artillery Qualification Badges from 1891 through 1913. In 1921, both of these badges were combined into today's Army Marksmanship Qualification Badges through the addition of the Pistol and Field Artillery weapon qualification clasps. Prior to 1951, the names of the qualification levels for these new badges were known as (highest to lowest) Expert, Sharpshooter or First Class Gunner, and Marksman or 2d Class Gunner. Also, prior to 1972, these new badges had many different types of weapon qualification clasps. According to The Institute of Heraldry, the following is a list of previously awarded Army Weapon Qualification Clasps (listed with exact inscription):[14][22][25]

RIFLE-A RIFLE-B RIFLE-C RIFLE-D
MINE GUNNER C.A. GUNNER INF HOWITZER F.A. GUNNER
SWORD PISTOL-M PISTOL-D MACHINE RIFLE
C.W.S. WEAPONS AERIAL GUNNER AERIAL BOMBER SMALL BORE MG
ANTITANK 81MM MORTAR 60MM MORTAR TD 75MM
TD 57MM TD 3INCH MINES SUBMARINE MINES

United States Marine Corps[edit]

U.S. Marine Corps Marksmanship Qualification Badges

The United States Marine Corps award two types of Marine Corps Marksmanship Qualification Badges, one for the service rifle and one for the service pistol, to all Marines who qualify at three different qualification levels (highest to lowest): Expert, Sharpshooter, and Marksman. These qualification badges are suspended beneath a brooch which bears the name of the type of weapon (rifle or pistol) and the qualification level earned. Some of these badges are different in appearance, depending on the type of weapon and qualification level.[2]

To earn a Marine Corps Marksmanship Qualification Badge, a Marine must obtain a passing score at an annual weapons qualification event. To earn a Marine Corps Rifle Qualification Badge, a Marine must successfully complete multiple tables of fire to include Fundamental Rifle Marksmanship, Basic Combat Rifle Marksmanship, Intermediate Combat Rifle Marksmanship, and Advanced Combat Rifle Marksmanship tables. These tables require a Marine to engage human silhouettes at varying distances, positions, and scenarios within an allotted time. To earn a Marine Corps Pistol Qualification Badge, a Marine must successfully complete three phases of fire which include weapons handling, stationary target engagement, and scenario based target engagements. Similar to the rifle tables, the pistol phases require a Marine to engage human silhouettes at varying distances and scenarios within an allotted time. After qualifying, a Marine will receive a marksmanship badge commensurate with the score they obtained. For annual qualification with the service rifle, scores range from 305–350 for Expert, 280–304 for Sharpshooter, and 250–279 for Marksman. For annual qualification with the service pistol, the scores range from 345–400 for Expert, 305–344 for Sharpshooter, and 245–304 for Marksman.[26]

Marine Corps Marksmanship Qualification Badges may be worn on Marine Corps dress and service uniforms for the remainder of a Marine's military career, or until a different level of qualification (higher or lower) is achieved. Typically, all Marines qualify with the rifle on an annual basis. The most recent qualification score determines the badge that is worn. If a Marine achieves the qualification of expert multiple times, a clasp is hung between the brooch and the pendant of the appropriate badge denoting the number of subsequent awards. If that same Marine then qualifies as a sharpshooter or marksman at a later date, they will wear that respective badge until they again qualify as an expert.[26]

According to the Marine Corps History Division, the Marine Corps used to award three different styles/types of Marksmanship Qualification Badges. Starting in 1912, the Marine Corps began awarding the Army Rifle Marksmanship Badges to Marines who qualified with the service rifle. As with the Army, the Marine Corps awarded these Rifle Marksmanship Badges at three qualification levels (highest to lowest): Expert, Sharpshooter, and Marksman. Clasps were added to the Sharpshooter and Expert badges indicating each requalification date of the Marine. The Army Expert Rifle Marksmanship Badge is almost identical to the current version of the Marine Corps Expert Rifle Qualification Badge, but used crossed M1903 Springfield Rifles vs. M1 Garands with slings. In 1924, the Marine Corps replaced these badges with the Army Marksmanship Qualification Badges, which are still in use by the U.S. Army. However, the Marine Corps decided to bring back the older Army Rifle Marksmanship Badges in 1937. That same year, the Marine Corps introduced the Basic Badge for marksmanship qualifications with other weapon systems. Clasps were hung from the Basic Badge's brooch indicating the type of weapon and level of qualification. The clasps indicated the degree of proficiency by using the letters "SS" for Sharpshooter or "EX" for Expert, followed by the name of the weapon. The exception to this rule was a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve clasps for the .30 Caliber Rifle Course D ("RIFLE-D") which included "MM" for Marksman. Much like the Army Weapon Qualification Clasps, the clasps of the Basic Badge fluctuated with additions and deletions in 1949 and again in 1954. The following clasps were authorized for wear on the Basic Badge under the 1937 Marine Corps Uniform Regulation (listed with exact inscription):[14][15][27][28]

Former USMC Basic Badge with Sharpshooter Pistol Clasp
Expert Clasps Sharpshooter Clasps Marksman Clasp
EX-RIFLE-D SS-RIFLE-D MM-RIFLE-D
EX-SMALL BORE SS-SMALL BORE
EX-PISTOL SS-PISTOL
EX-AUTO-RIFLE SS-AUTO RIFLE
EX-MACH. GUN SS-MACH. GUN
EX-HOWITZER SS-HOWITZER
EX-T.S.M.G. SS-T.S.M.G.
EX-BAYONET

The Army Rifle Marksmanship Badges were replaced by the current Marine Corps Rifle Marksmanship Qualification Badges in 1958. That same year, the Marine Corps adopted the Army's 1915 design of the Army Expert Pistol Qualification Badge and created it own Marine Corps Pistol Qualification Badges, which are still in use today. The Basic Badge remained in use until 1968 when it was declared obsolete.[15][27]

United States Navy[edit]

Former U.S. Navy Sharpshooter's Badge with Qualification Year Clasp and 1911 Year Disk

For a decade, from 1910 to 1920, the United States Navy awarded a marksmanship badge called the Navy Sharpshooter's Badge or Navy Sharpshooter's Medal to Sailors and Naval Officers who qualified with the service rifle and/or service pistol. The Navy Sharpshooter's Badge was awarded at two qualification levels, Expert (highest qualification level) and Sharpshooter. Despite this, the 1913 Uniform Regulations for the United States Navy stated that the Navy Sharpshooter's Badge outranked all other marksmanship badges on the Navy uniform, including marksmanship competition badges.[16][29]

The Navy Sharpshooter's Badge was made of antique bronze with a rectangular brooch that had the word "SHARPSHOOTER" embossed in its center with circling serpent bookends. Below the brooch hung two types of clasps, an Expert Qualification Clasp and a Qualification Year Clasp. From those clasps hung the badge's pendant.[30]

The Expert Qualification Clasp is identical in design to the brooch but with the word(s) "EXPERT," for the service rifle, or "EXPERT PISTOL SHOT," for the service pistol. Each time a shooter requalified as Expert, another Expert Qualification Clasp was hung from the badge. If no Expert Qualification Clasp was suspended from the badge, then the shooter qualified as a Sharpshooter with the service rifle and/or service pistol. The Qualification Year Clasp is different in design from the brooch which incorporated three ovals along its access for the placement of Year Disks. The Year Disk was made of silver and embossed with the year the shooter qualified/requalified. On the fourth requalification year, another Qualification Year Clasp was hung from the badge with a fourth Year Disk embossed with the year of requalification. There was no limit to the number of clasps that could be hung from the badge.[29][30]

Hanging from the clasp(s) was the badge's pendant, which was the design basis for today's Navy Marksmanship Medals. The only difference between the pendant of the Navy Sharpshooter's Badge and the Navy Marksmanship Medals is the metal color (from antique bronze to gold), the deletion of the crossed rifles from behind a replica of a rifle target, and the addition of the words "EXPERT RIFLEMAN" or "EXPERT PISTOL SHOT" embossed above the rifle target.[16][30]

Starting in 1920, Navy Marksmanship Ribbons replaced the Navy Sharpshooter's Badge. There are two types of Navy Marksmanship Ribbons, one for the service rifle ( U.S. Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon ) and one for the service pistol ( U.S. Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon ). Each can be embellished with a Marksmanship Device to denote the shooter's qualification level. A silver "E" Device ( U.S. Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon with Expert Device ) is awarded to those who qualify as Experts (the highest qualification level) while a bronze "S" Device ( U.S. Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon with Sharpshooter Device ) is awarded to those who qualify as Sharpshooters (second highest qualification). If no Marksmanship Device is displayed, the shooter qualified as a Marksman (lowest qualification level). Starting in 1969, the Rifle Marksmanship Medal and Pistol Marksmanship Medal were introduced and are awarded to Sailors and Naval Officers who qualify as Expert along with the appropriate Navy Marksmanship Ribbon with "E" Device.[3][16][31][32]

Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps[edit]

Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Rifle Qualification Badges

The Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) and the CMP have established a JROTC Rifle Marksmanship Training and Award Program to increase a cadet's knowledge and skill in handling rifles safely and proficiently. JROTC cadets who participate in rifle marksmanship instruction are eligible to earn a JROTC Rifle Qualification Badge. The badges designate three qualification levels (highest to lowest): Expert, Sharpshooter, and Marksman. These badges signify that the cadets who earn them have demonstrated the knowledge and skill necessary to handle rifles safety and have mastered basic rifle marksmanship skills needed to achieve required scores in qualification firing tests.[7][33][34]

The CMP have set standards that apply to the conduct of weapon qualification events. All qualification events must be done with sporter-class air rifles, such as the Daisy M853/9753/953 pneumatic rifles or Daisy M887/888 CO2 rifles, that were issued through the military supply system. Qualification tests must be conducted at a distance of ten meters (33 feet). Qualification tests may be done on either the basic marksmanship course (BMC) targets or AR-1 competition targets. During qualification tests, a sling, glove, and kneeling roll may be used. To receive a qualification badge, cadets must attain the following scores that is supervised or observed by a qualified instructor:[7][33]

  • Expert: 220-300 (AR-1 Target), 290-300 (BMC Target)
    • 10 shots standing, 10 shots prone, and 10 shots kneeling
  • Sharpshooter: 130-200 (AR-1 Target), 188-200 (BMC Target)
    • 10 shots standing, 10 shots prone
  • Marksman: 110-129 (AR-1 Target), 175-187 (BMC Target)
    • 10 shots standing, 10 shots prone

JROTC cadets are authorized to wear JROTC Air Rifle Marksmanship Qualification Badges, as well as other CMP or NRA awarded badges, on their service uniforms. Cadets may earn more than one badge, but may only wear the highest-ranking badge earned for a given weapon.[7][33]

National Rifle Association[edit]

The National Rifle Association (NRA), in partnership with numerous other shooting organizations, has established different marksmanship qualification programs to help promote proper firearms safety and establish good marksmanship skills. The NRA's two primary qualification programs are the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program and the NRA Law Enforcement Explorer Qualification Program. Additionally, the NRA supports numerous other firearm proficiency programs throughout the United States, such as those found within various law enforcement agencies.[19][20][35]

Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Badges[edit]

Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Badges

The Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program is designed to encourage firearms safety and develop U.S. Civilian marksmanship through the awarding of NRA Marksmanship Qualification Badges. The program is also designed to help marksmanship instructors and coaches train their shooters through a published set of guidelines that apply to both juniors and adults. Despite its similarities, the NRA's marksmanship program does not compete with the Civilian Marksmanship Program. The NRA issues Marksmanship Qualification Badges for air rifle, light rifle, rifle, high-power rifle, air pistol, pistol, and shotgun. Performance is measured against established par scores and any shooters who meet or exceed those scores are entitled to a corresponding NRA Marksmanship Qualification Badge. The courses of fire in the qualification program are designed to take shooters from beginning skill levels (Pro-Marksman and Marksman) through intermediate levels (Marksman First-Class, Sharpshooter, and Expert) up to a nationally recognized skill level (Distinguished Expert). Qualification tests can be conducted anywhere and is based on the honor system. However, to earn the Distinguished Expert Badge, a NRA instructor or certified coach must witness and officially record the course of fire. Those who participate in formal competition can use the tournament results bulletin as validation for the Distinguished Expert Badge. Each skill level requires that a shooter achieve a score more than once to earn a specific Marksmanship Qualification Badge. However, they do not have to be fired consecutively or in the same session.[8][19]

When the shooter reaches Sharpshooter, depending on the weapon and course of fire, the shooter will earn thin gold rectangular clasps that represent different shooting positions or courses of fire. Small black vertical rectangles are etched onto the gold clasps and the number of black rectangles represents a specific course of fire successfully completed by the shooter. Likewise, the Distinguished Expert Badge uses thin gold rectangular weapon clasps which are suspended in the same manner as the sharpshooter clasps to identify the type of weapon for which the badge has been earned. Each weapon clasp is black with raised gold trim; in the center of the clasps are raised gold capital letters spelling rifle, shotgun, or pistol. If the shooter has earned the Distinguished Expert Badge for more than one type of weapon, multiple weapon clasps are suspended from the badge.[8][36]

The Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program was established in 1926 when the Winchester Junior Rifle Corps and the NRA Junior Marksmanship Program were combined. American youth remained the target audience focusing on firearm safety and marksmanship. The newly combined program used the original Winchester Junior Rifle Corps qualification levels until 2002 when the NRA added the Marksman 1st Class qualification, increasing the number of qualification levels to six. In the early 21st century, the pendant of the original NRA Marksmanship Qualification Badges changed from a circular wreathed pendant to a unique shield design with the words "Junior Division" removed from the pendant; the same was done with the original design of the Distinguished Expert Badge but both the brooch and pendant were completely redesigned. These changes likely occurred when the NRA revamped the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program to be more inclusive; the program now includes 11 different courses of fire for both youths and adults.[37]

NRA Law Enforcement Qualification Badges[edit]

NRA Law Enforcement Explorer Marksmanship Qualification Badges

The NRA Law Enforcement Explorer Qualification Program is designed exclusively for the Law Enforcement Exploring program and is used as a development tool to help potential law enforcement officers (called Explorers) establish safe shooting habits and increase their shooting proficiency with a handgun. Performance is measured against established par scores and any Explorer who meets or exceeds those scores can be awarded the appropriate NRA Law Enforcement Explorer Badge by the law enforcement post to which the Explorer belongs. These NRA Law Enforcement Explorer Badges are awarded in five levels (lowest to highest): Pro-Marksman, Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, and Distinguished Expert.[20]

Prior to participating in NRA's Law Enforcement Explorer Qualification Program, Explorer's are required to complete an eight-hour firearm safety course. Only a law enforcement service handgun, authorized by the sponsoring law enforcement agency, is to be used against standard NRA B-8 targets. The courses of fire are conducted from either a benchrest or standing position, from ranges of 5 to 20 yards, with 20 to 30 shots, and has 2 or 3 phases of fire (slow fire, timed fire, and rapid fire). A course of fire must be completed in the same session and must be witnessed by the range supervisor or the officer-in-charge of the Law Enforcement Explorer Post in order to qualify. The following courses of fire must be achieved to be awarded the corresponding NRA Law Enforcement Explorer Badge:[20]

  • Pro-Marksman: From a benchrest, achieve a 50% hit count in slow fire against five and seven yard targets
  • Marksman: From a standing position, achieve a 60% hit count in slow fire and 50% hit count in timed fire against a seven yard target
  • Sharpshooter: From a standing position, achieve a 75% hit count in slow fire, 65% hit count in timed fire, and 50% hit count in rapid fire against a 15 yard target
  • Expert: From a standing position, achieve a 85% hit count in slow fire, 75% hit count in timed fire, and 65% hit count in rapid fire against a 20 yard target
  • Distinguished Expert: Aggregate course of fire shot five times with a score of 201/300 or better in each aggregate.

These NRA Law Enforcement Explorer Badges/Bars are authorized for wear on the Law Enforcement Explorer uniform.[20]

NRA Law Enforcement Marksmanship Qualification Badges

The NRA also offers Law Enforcement Marksmanship Qualification Badges that are to be used by law enforcement agencies to denote an officer’s level of marksmanship competency on any recognized law enforcement qualification course for pistol, shotgun, or rifle. These badges are offered to law enforcement at four levels (from lowest to highest): Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, and Distinguished Expert. These badges feature blue enamel with either gold or antique silver highlights (agency's choice). Although it is up to each law enforcement agency to determine its scoring criteria, the NRA recommends that officers achieve scores reflective of 75% to 84% of the maximum allotted to be awarded the Marksman Badge, 85% to 94% for the Sharpshooter Badge, and 95% to 100% for the Expert Badge. The Distinguished Expert Badge is usually awarded to those who have qualified for the Expert Badge numerous times, demonstrating their ability to consistently achieve a high-level of marksmanship excellence.[35][38]

Marksmanship Competition Badges[edit]

The 1996 U.S. federal law established the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearm Safety with the authority to promote practice and safety in the use of firearms through the conduct of competitions and the awarding of prizes, trophies, badges, and other insignia to high performing competitors, which it carries out through its Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). This authorization carries with it the responsibility to administer the Distinguished Marksmanship program. The CMP maintains records of points earned by shooters and presents appropriate prizes to those who earn them while the U.S. Armed Forces award service specific Competition Marksmanship Badges to serviceman based on the CMP's records for points earned.[39][40]

In conjunction with the U.S. Armed Forces, the CMP has a point system that U.S. competitors use to work their way towards "distinguished status." Depending on the service, U.S. competitors must earn between one to six credit points, referred to as leg points, when competing in the authorized excellence category of competition to be awarded their first Excellence-in-Competition Badge. Everyone must earn at least 30 leg points to reach distinguished status and be awarded a Distinguished Marksmanship Badge. Leg points are awarded on the basis of an individual's placement among the top ten percent of competitors in an authorized match. Typically, the first one-sixth are awarded ten leg points, the next one-third get eight and the remaining competitors earn six. Leg points accumulate throughout a competitor's lifetime until distinguished status is attained. Thus, leg points earned as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces will transfer toward distinguished status as a civilian, and vice versa.[40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47]

Similarly, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has an almost identical Distinguished Marksmanship Program using the same point system that focuses on areas not covered by the CMP.[10]

In addition to the CMP's leg point driven system of marksmanship awards, the U.S. Military, and certain states award marksmanship tabs, brassards, and badges for high placement in official marksmanship competitions, such as the U.S. Armed Force's Interservice Competitions, U.S. Marine Corps trophy matches, the President's Pistol and Rifle Matches, the National Guard Small Arms Championships, and state marksmanship competitions, just to name a few.[2][12][48][49][50][51]

Excellence-in-Competition Badges[edit]

Examples of the U.S. Armed Force's Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Rifle Badges

The U.S. Armed Forces awarded Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Badges to their members based on the CMP's records of leg points earned at a rifle and/or pistol match and in accordance with that member's service regulation(s). For example, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps awards their Bronze EIC Badge when a Sailor/Marine earns six leg points when competing in an authorized excellence category of competition, their Silver EIC Badge when eight leg points have been earned, and their Gold EIC Badge when ten leg points are earned. The U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard award their Bronze EIC Badge when a Soldier/Coast Guardsman earns their first leg points when competing in an authorized excellence category of competition. However, the Army and Coast Guard Silver EIC Badges are awarded differently; the Army will award their Silver EIC Badge when 20 leg points have been earned and the Coast Guard will award their Silver EIC Badge when a Coast Guardsman has earned the second set of leg points, regardless of the number of points earned. The U.S. Air Force awards a Bronze EIC Badge (without wreath) that is awarded when Airman earn 4 leg points when completing in Air Force, Army, or U.S. National Guard competitions; these competitions do not have to be CMP sanctioned for the leg points to count towards this award. The Air Force's Bronze EIC Badges with Wreath is awarded when six leg points have been earned in an authorized excellence category of competition and their Silver EIC Badge with Wreath when 20 leg points have been earned.[42][43][44][45][46][47]

Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Civilian Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Rifle Badges
Civilian EIC Rifle Badges (Bronze and Silver)
Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Junior Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Air Rifle Badges
Junior EIC Air Rifle Badges (Bronze & Silver)

The CMP's U.S. Civilian EIC Badges are awarded to adult civilian competitors who achieve sufficient points in a CMP authorized excellence category of rifle and/or pistol competition. The CMP's Bronze Civilian EIC Badge is awarded with six leg points have been earned and their Silver Civilian EIC Badge when 20 leg points are achieved. The CMP's Junior Air Rifle Program is identical to the CMP's rifle and pistol leg point system; however the CMP will award their Bronze Junior Air Rifle Badge when junior competitors earn three leg points when competing in an authorized excellence category of competition and their Silver Junior Air Rifle Badge when 15 leg points have been earned.[42][52]

There are three levels of EIC competition, installation or unit level competitions (level 1), region or command level competitions (level 2), and service, interservice, or national competitions (level 3). All five of the military services have uniquely designed EIC Badges that are awarded to their members. EIC Badges awarded at these different levels of competition are the same with a few exceptions. For EIC Badges awarded at national competitions, the Navy and Coast Guard emboss the word "NATIONAL" at the top or bottom of their EIC Badges respectively to distinguish them from other Navy and Coast Guard EIC Badges. Also, the Navy and Marine Corps award slightly modify service EIC Badges to those who have earned sufficient points at a Navy Fleet or Marine Corps Division (level 1) EIC match. The Navy emboss the word "FLEET" at the top of the Navy EIC Badge while the eagle, globe, and anchor on the Marine Corps EIC Badge is replaced with the word "DIVISION."[1][2][3][4][9][44][45][46][47]

With the exception of the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Armed Forces award EIC Badges at three levels; gold, silver, and bronze for the maritime services, and silver with wreath, bronze with wreath, and bronze for the Air Force. For the Army and Coast Guard, their service EIC Badges are awarded in silver and bronze.[1][2][3][4][9][45][46][47]

The following is a list of current EIC badges that are awarded by the CMP to U.S. Civilians and by the U.S. Armed Forces to service members; these EIC Badges are listed in order of precedence by service:[1][2][3][4][9][45][46][52][47]

US Excellence in Competition Badges.png
  • U.S. Civilian EIC Badges
    • Civilian Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Silver)
    • Civilian Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Silver)
    • Civilian Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Bronze)
    • Civilian Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Bronze)
    • Junior Excellence-in-Competition Air Rifle Badge (Silver)
    • Junior Excellence-in-Competition Air Rifle Badge (Bronze)
  • U.S. Army EIC Badges
    • Army Excellence In Rifle Competition Badge (Silver)
    • Army Excellence In Pistol Shot Competition Badge (Silver)
    • Army Excellence In Rifle Competition Badge (Bronze)
    • Army Excellence In Pistol Shot Competition Badge (Bronze)
  • U.S. Marine Corps EIC Badges
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Rifle Competition Badge (Gold)
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Pistol Competition Badge (Gold)
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Rifle Competition Badge (Silver)
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Pistol Competition Badge (Silver)
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Rifle Competition Badge (Bronze)
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Pistol Competition Badge (Bronze)
    • Division Rifle Competition Badge (Gold)
    • Division Pistol Competition Badge (Gold)
    • Division Rifle Competition Badge (Silver)
    • Division Pistol Competition Badge (Silver)
    • Division Rifle Competition Badge (Bronze)
    • Division Pistol Competition Badge (Bronze)
  • U.S. Air Force EIC Badges
    • Air Force Silver Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge with Wreath
    • Air Force Silver Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge with Wreath
    • Air Force Bronze Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge with Wreath
    • Air Force Bronze Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge with Wreath
    • Air Force Bronze Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge
    • Air Force Bronze Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge
  • U.S. Coast Guard EIC Badges
    • National Rifleman Excellence-in-Competition Badge (Silver)
    • National Pistol Shot Excellence-in-Competition Badge (Silver)
    • National Rifleman Excellence-in-Competition Badge (Bronze)
    • National Pistol Shot Excellence-in-Competition Badge (Bronze)
    • Coast Guard Rifleman Excellence-in-Competition Badge (Silver)
    • Coast Guard Pistol Shot Excellence-in-Competition Badge (Silver)
    • Coast Guard Rifleman Excellence-in-Competition Badge (Bronze)
    • Coast Guard Pistol Shot Excellence-in-Competition Badge (Bronze)
  • U.S. Navy EIC Badges
    • National Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Gold)
    • National Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Gold)
    • Interservice/Navy Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Gold)
    • Interservice/Navy Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Gold)
    • Fleet Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Gold)
    • Fleet Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Gold)
    • National Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Silver)
    • National Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Silver)
    • Interservice/Navy Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Silver)
    • Interservice/Navy Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Silver)
    • Fleet Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Silver)
    • Fleet Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Silver)
    • National Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Bronze)
    • National Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Bronze)
    • Interservice/Navy Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Bronze)
    • Interservice/Navy Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Bronze)
    • Fleet Excellence-in-Competition Rifle Badge (Bronze)
    • Fleet Excellence-in-Competition Pistol Badge (Bronze)
NRA's Law Enforcement EIC Badge

These badges are onetime decorations and the military EIC Badges may be worn on Armed Forces' service uniforms for the remainder of an individual’s career. These badges may be worn simultaneously with the U.S. Army's and U.S. Marine Corps's Marksmanship Qualification Badges and other authorized Marksmanship Competition Badges on service uniforms not to exceed a total of three badges. The Navy and Marine Corps authorize the wearing of up to two EIC Badges for a given weapon while the other U.S. Armed Forces authorize the wearing of only the highest ranking EIC Badge for a given weapon on their service uniforms. Subdued versions of these badges are not authorized. With the exception of the U.S. Coast Guard, miniature versions of these badges are also not authorized. Unlike the other uniform services, the Coast Guard has authorized the wear of special Marksmanship Devices on top of their Marksmanship Ribbons ( U.S. Coast Guard Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon with Silver Rifleman Excellence-in-Competition Device U.S. Coast Guard Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon with Silver Pistol Shot Excellence-in-Competition Device U.S. Coast Guard Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon with Bronze Rifleman Excellence-in-Competition Device U.S. Coast Guard Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon with Bronze Pistol Shot Excellence-in-Competition Device ) to denote the awarding of an EIC Badge and is used when wearing the badge is not desired.[1][2][3][4][6]

Just like the CMP, the NRA has an EIC Badge which is awarded to Law Enforcement Officers that have earned their first leg point(s) toward NRA's distinguished status with the revolver or semi-automatic pistol. Only one silver EIC badge is awarded by the NRA until such time as an officer achieves distinguished status.[13]

Changes in EIC Badge Design[edit]

From 1903-1958, the U.S. Army EIC Badges were known as Team Marksmanship Badges. Prior to that, the Army awarded a variety of large unique Marksmanship Prize Badges that went by a variety of names from 1880-1903. The original Team Marksmanship Badges were awarded in gold, silver, and bronze consisting of oval pendants with enameled targets in the center that were superimposed over crossed rifles with bayonets, crossed carbines with slings, a heavy machine gun, or placed between two revolvers. Above the enameled target was the letters "U.S."; but for a short time, the word "INFANTRY" or "CAVALRY" (unit dependent) appeared above the target while the letters U.S. were embossed beneath the target. The pendant hung from two different brooch designs. From 1903-1906 the brooch had rounded arrowhead ends (sean today in the U.S. Marine Corps's EIC Badges) bearing the name "ARMY," "DEPARTMENT," or “DIVISION” reflecting the level of competition for which the badge was earned. In 1906 the brooch was redesigned with swallow-tail ends bearing the name of the Army Corps Marksmanship Team flanked by the words “ARMY,” on the left, and “TEAM,” on the right. In 1923, the Army updated the Team Marksmanship Badges with a new three piece design which was awarded in three grades; gold, silver, and bronze for pistol, rifle, and automatic rifle. There were four components to this new badge; the brooch, clasp, Team Disk, and pendant. A plain brooch with a circular center device was used to identify an Army Corps or Department level award. A wreath laden brooch was used to identify a National or Army level award. A gold, silver, or bronze (score dependent) replica of either crossed Flintlock Pistols, Muskets, or M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles (BARs) hung from the brooch which supported the badge's bronze pendant. The pendant had a bow with two crossed arrows at its center surrounded by a ring of 13 stars which was encircled by an oak wreath. For National and Army level awards, an enameled ring, known as the Team Disk, was placed behind the pendant's ring of 13 stars and was colored to match the Branch of Service color of the awarded team. Today's Army EIC Badges, which began in 1958, is almost identical to the Team Marksmanship Badges with the following exceptions: only one version of the brooch exists and bears the name "U.S. ARMY;" the crossed BARs, Team Disks, and gold version of the crossed weapons have been deleted. Also, the entire EIC Badge is now cast in either bronze or silver, vise having just the crossed weapons being cast in the medal earned by the shooter.[40][53][54][55][56][57]

Former USMC Gold Rifle Marksmanship Competition Badge

When the Marine Corps authorized their first Marine Corps Marksmanship Competition Badges in 1908, they use the pendant of the Army’s 1907 design for its Team Marksmanship Badges but used a unique brooch that had the name "MARINE CORPS" etch within it to help set it apart from the Army. Slowly, the Marine Corps's Marksmanship Competition badges took on their own distinctive characteristics. Between 1910 and 1930, the pendants started to be modified with the word "DIVISION" or the Marine Corps's eagle, globe, and anchor replacing the letters "U.S." to signify winners of unit or service/national level competitions. These Marksmanship Competition Badges live on as the Marine Corps's Excellence-in-Competition Badges.[58]

The U.S. Air Force use to award Silver and Gold EIC Badges (without wreath) and Gold EIC Badges with Wreath to Air Force competition shooters. The EIC Badges without wreaths were known as EIC Non-National Badges while those with wreaths were known as EIC National Badges. With changes in Air Force Instructions (AFI), the term Non-National was replaced with Elementary. In today's AFI, the EIC Elementary Badges are formally known as Bronze EIC Badges while the EIC National Badges are formally known as either Bronze or Silver EIC Badges with Wreath. However, Air Force competitors still refer to these badges using there old designations (Elementary and National).[9][59][60]

Distinguished Marksmanship Badges[edit]

Civilian Marksmanship Program[edit]

The Civilian Marksmanship Program's (CMP) Distinguished International Shooter Badge (left) is awarded to civilian and military personnel alike, as is the Distinguished Rifleman Badge (left of center) and the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge (right of center); however these two badges are hung from service unique brooches (civilian brooches pictured above) and the sea services call their rifle badge the "Distinguished Marksman Badge." The CMP's Junior Distinguished Badge (right) is awarded to civilian youth for excellence in air rifle competition.

In 1887, the United States Secretary of War authorized the first Distinguished Marksman Badge which was awarded to shooters who achieved distinguished status using the rifle, carbine, revolver, or any combination of the three. This continued until the establishment of the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge in 1903 and the Distinguished Rifleman Badge in 1959. However, the Distinguished Marksman Badge is still awarded to distinguished rifle shooters of the sea services (U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard). These two badges were the U.S. Armed Forces' highest awards for rifle and pistol marksmanship until 1962 when the CMP established the Distinguished International Shooter Badge. Today, the Distinguished International Shooter Badge is the highest award for marksmanship within the U.S. followed by the Distinguished Rifleman/Marksman Badge, the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge, and the Junior Distinguished Badge (established in 2001).[11][40][41][49]

Distinguished Marksmanship Badges may be either a U.S. Military award or a U.S. Civilian award. These badges are intended to recognize competitors who have obtained an exceptional score at multiple official marksmanship competitions against a field of their peers. Distinguished Marksmanship Badges can only be earned after a competitor has been awarded 30 leg points when competing in the authorized excellence category of competition.[40][41][42][43][44][45]

Each of the U.S. Armed Force's and CMP's Distinguished Marksmanship Badges hangs from a service specific brooch. The U.S. Civilian brooch incorporates a modified shield from the Great Seal of the United States that's embossed with the letters "US." Like the U.S. Civilian brooch, the U.S. Army's brooch also incorporates this modified shield but has it perched above the words "U.S. ARMY." The other military services have a plain rectangular brooch embossed with the name of their service. The rifle badge pendant of the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Civilians is a gold shield 1 1/2 inches in height and 1 13/32 inches in width, in the center of which is an enameled replica of a rifle target. Around the target are the words "DISTINGUISHED" and "RIFLEMAN," which is arched above and stretched below the target respectively. The sea service's pendant displays the word “MARKSMAN” vs. RIFLEMAN underneath the target. The pistol badge pendant is similar in design to the rifle pendant but is 1 1/4 inches in height and 1 3/64 inches in width and has the words "PISTOL SHOT" stretched below an enameled replica of a pistol target. The exception to this rule is the Air Force Distinguished Pistol Shot pendant, which is identical to the rifle badge pendant but with the words "PISTOL SHOT" stretched under the enameled replica of a rifle target. This larger pistol pendant was also awarded to U.S. Coast Guard shooters between 1993 and 1996, but was rescinded in favor of the more traditional pistol pendant.[22][40][41]

These badges are onetime decorations and may be worn on military service uniforms for the remainder of an individual’s career. These badges may be worn simultaneously with the U.S. Army's and U.S. Marine Corps's Marksmanship Qualification Badges as well as other authorized Marksmanship Competition Badges not to exceed a total of three badges. However, with the exception of the Distinguished International Shooter Badge, once a Distinguished Marksmanship Badge for a given weapon has been awarded, the EIC Badge for that weapon can no longer be worn on military service uniforms. Subdued versions of these badges are not authorized. With the exception of the U.S. Coast Guard, miniature versions of these badges are also not authorized. Unlike the other uniform services, the Coast Guard has authorized the wear of special Marksmanship Devices on top of their Marksmanship Ribbons ( U.S. Coast Guard Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon with Distinguished Marksman Device U.S. Coast Guard Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon with Distinguished Pistol Shot Device ) to denote the awarding of a Distinguished Marksmanship Badge and is used when wearing the badge is not desired.[1][2][3][4][6]

National Rifle Association[edit]

The NRA's Distinguished Smallbore Rifleman Badges
The NRA's Distinguished Pistol Badges

The NRA has seven equivalent badges to the CMP's Distinguished Marksmanship Badges, three for smallbore rifle competitions, two for law enforcement handgun competitions, and two for civilian handgun competitions. The NRA's Distinguished Smallbore Rifleman Badge (Prone), Distinguished Smallbore Rifleman Badge (Position), and Double Distinguished Smallbore Rifleman Badge were established in 1965 and are considered more difficult to earn than the CMP's equivalent badge. This is due to the fact that shooters who have already achieved NRA's distinguished status are allowed to compete agents those that have not yet achieve the award, thus raising the bar for the would-be NRA Smallbore Distinguished Rifleman. The NRA established the Law Enforcement Distinguished Marksmanship Program in 1973 with the introduction of the Law Enforcement Distinguished Revolver Badge. In 1990, the NRA amended the program by introducing the Law Enforcement Distinguished Semi-Automatic Pistol Badge. The Distinguished Action Pistol Badge and Conventional Pistol Distinguished Badge were established for U.S. Civilian competitors in 1985 and 2005 respectively. Just like the CMP, a 30 leg point system is used to earn these NRA Distinguished Marksmanship Badges and similar rules apply for how leg points are earned.[10][13][61][62]

Former Distinguished Marksmanship Badges[edit]

Drawing of former US Navy Expert Team Rifleman Badge
Former U.S. Navy Expert Team Rifleman Badge
Drawing of former US Army Distinguished Automatic Rifleman Badge
Former U.S. Army Distinguished Automatic Rifleman Badge

According to articles from American Rifleman magazine and the U.S. Navy's Firing Regulations for Small Arms from the early 1900s, the U.S. Navy use to award an Expert Team Rifleman Badge to Navy and Marine Corps personnel who qualified as Expert Rifleman numerous times and excelled in official rifle marksmanship competitions. The badge was designed "to encourage team competitions and to distinguish a class of officers and men who have shown superior skill in team competitions." To earn the Expert Team Rifleman Badge, a shooter must have qualified as expert with the service rifle four times and have high placement at three official rifle marksmanship competitions. In the U.S. Marine Corps's Uniform Regulation of 1922, the Navy's Expert Team Rifleman Badge ranked between the Distinguished Marksman Badge and the Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge in precedence. It is not know when this badge was retired, but the badge did appear in the October 1943 addition of National Geographic, suggesting it was still an authorized decoration during World War II.[30][63][64][65]

Starting in 1926, the U.S. Army Air Corps began awarding Distinguished Aerial Badges. The Air Corps held three gunnery matches; one for pursuit pilots, one for observation and attack pilots, and one for observers. They also held two bombing matches, one for heavier than air craft and one for balloons. Winners of these matches received either the Distinguished Aerial Gunner Badge or the Distinguished Aerial Bomber Badge. These matches were suspended in 1932; thus, it's assumed that these badges were retired sometime after that date.[66]

From 1930 through the late 1940s, the U.S. Army awarded the Distinguished Automatic Rifleman Badge to those who had earned the Army's Team Marksmanship Badge for BAR with sufficient points to qualify for distinguished status. When marksmanship competitions resumed after World War II, the Army limited competitions to the Rifle and Pistol. Thus, the Distinguished Automatic Rifleman Badge was retired, along with the Army's Team Marksmanship Badge for the BAR.[56]

From 1942 through 1959, the U.S. Navy awarded Distinguished Marksmanship Ribbons alongside their Distinguished Marksmanship Badges. In 1942, the Navy created the Distinguished Marksman and Pistol Shot Ribbon ( Former U.S. Navy Distinguished Marksman and Pistol Shot Ribbon ) that was used when wearing of a Distinguished Marksmanship Badge was not desired. In 1952, the Secretary of the Navy ordered that the Distinguished Marksman and Pistol Shot Ribbon be divided into two new decorations, the Distinguished Marksman Ribbon ( Former U.S. Navy Distinguished Marksmanship Ribbon ) and the Distinguished Pistol Shot Ribbon ( Former U.S. Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot Ribbon ). In 1960, both of these Distinguished Marksmanship Ribbons were declared obsolete making the Distinguished Marksmanship Badges the only version of these awards authorized for wear on Navy service uniforms.[3][40]

Interservice Competition Badge[edit]

Graphic of the U.S. Military's Interservice Competition Badge

Unlike the other marksmanship competition badges, the unique Interservice Competition Badge is awarded to U.S. Military competitors and teams that place in the top three positions of an interservice match. These badges are separate awards from the CMP's EIC program, where a competitor earns leg points towards distinguished status. This pentagon shaped multicolored badge incorporates the emblems of the five military services which surround a modified shield from the Great Seal of the United States. The badge hangs from an elaborate brooch which bears the name of the event, the name of the match, and the competitor's or team's ranking at that match.[1][48][67]

The Interservice Competition Badge is a onetime decoration and may be worn on U.S. Army service uniforms for the remainder of a Soldier’s military career. --None of the other military services have authorized the wear of this badge.-- These badges may be worn simultaneously with the U.S. Army's Marksmanship Qualification Badges as well as other authorized Marksmanship Competition Badges not to exceed a total of three badges. Subdued and miniature versions are not authorized.[1][2][3][4][6]

In a similar vein, the 57th U.S. Congress created the National Marksmanship Competition Matches in 1903, which provided for the creation of the National Match Team (Dogs of War) Trophy. Winners of the National Match Team (Dogs of War) Trophy from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. National Guard marksmanship teams, including the top 15% of those competing, were awarded an antique bronze National Match Team (Dogs of War) Badge. The badge's shield replicated the bronze shield of the national trophy which had the names of the four military services (at that time) embossed on small rectangles below a small replica of the Great Seal of the United States on the right side of the badge's shield. To the left of this was a prominent design of an ancient warrior with four dogs on a leash (the dogs of war). To the left of the warrior was an engraving of the following phrase: "National Trophy Presented by the Congress of the United States for Excellence in Team Marksmanship." As with today's Interservice Competition Badge, the awarding of the National Match Team (Dogs of War) Trophy Badge was separate from the leg point system used towered distinguished status, but was used toward the number of awards required to achieve distinguished status. In 1919, this badge gave way to bronze, silver, and gold National Match Team (Dogs of War) Medals. Today, teams that win this prestigious trophy are presented with a National Match Team (Dogs of War) Plaque.[56][68][69][70]

President's Hundred Tab/Brassard[edit]

U.S. Army's President's Hundred Tab
Drawing of metal replica of U.S. Army President's 100 Tab
U.S. Coast Guard's President's Hundred Tab
Drawing of USCG President's 100 Tab
U.S. Navy's & Civilian's President's Hundred Brassard
Drawing of President's 100 Brassard

The President's 100 award is presented to the 100 top-scoring U.S. Military and U.S. Civilian shooters at the President's Pistol and President's Rifle Matches. The President's 100 award started in 1878 at the American Military Rifle Championship Match, which was patterned after an event for British Volunteers called the Queen's Match. All U.S. Military and U.S. Civilian personnel who earn this award are presented with a bronze President's 100 Brassard. However, only the U.S. Navy has authorized the wearing of this metallic brassard by Sailors who have earned them; the brassard is worn on the upper-left sleeve of service uniforms as a permanent award. A cloth tab, with the words "President's Hundred," is worn by U.S. Army Soldiers and enlisted U.S. Coast Guardsman who have earned the brassard. An olive-drab version of the tab is worn on the upper-left sleeve of the Army Combat Uniform while a black and white version of the tab is worn on the upper-left sleeve of the Coast Guard Enlisted Service Dress Blue Uniform as a permanent award. Also, a smaller gold metal replica of the Army tab, with green lettering, is worn on the left breast of the Army Service Uniform.[1][3][4][21][49][71][72]

Marine Corps Marksmanship Competition Badges[edit]

Examples of U.S. Marine Corps Marksmanship Competition Badges

When the U.S. Marine Corps began its marksmanship qualification program in the early 20th Century, it also establish a marksmanship competition program to help further advance the skills of its expert shooters. In the summer of 1908, the Marine Corps instituted the Distinguished Marksman Badge to recognition winners at the national marksmanship matches. That same year, the Commandant of the Marine Corps authorized the first real Marine Corps wide match by providing for four division matches. As a result of these early matches, the Marine Corps began to award numerous different Marksmanship Competition Badges. Today, these badges are awarded alongside trophies and other prizes that are presented to the top performing Marines at Marine Corps competitions. The following Marksmanship Competition Badges are authorized for wear on Marine Corps service uniforms and are listed in order of precedence:[2][47][58]

  • Distinguished International Shooter Badge
  • Distinguished Marksman Badge
  • Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge
  • Lauchheimer Trophy Badge (Gold, Silver, and Bronze)
  • Marine Corps Rifle Championship Badge (McDougal Trophy)
  • Marine Corps Pistol Championship Badge (Walsh Trophy)
  • Service level Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) Badges
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Rifle Competition Badge (Gold)
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Pistol Competition Badge (Gold)
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Rifle Competition Badge (Silver)
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Pistol Competition Badge (Silver)
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Rifle Competition Badge (Bronze)
    • National/Interservice/Marine Corps Pistol Competition Badge (Bronze)
  • Inter-Division Rifle Competition Badge
  • Inter-Division Pistol Competition Badge
  • Fleet Marine Force (FMF) Combat Infantry Trophy Match Badge
  • Annual Rifle Squad Combat Practice Competition Badge (Gold, Silver, and Bronze)
  • Unit level EIC Badges
    • Division Rifle Competition Badge (Gold)
    • Division Pistol Competition Badge (Gold)
    • Division Rifle Competition Badge (Silver)
    • Division Pistol Competition Badge (Silver)
    • Division Rifle Competition Badge (Bronze)
    • Division Pistol Competition Badge (Bronze)
  • San Diego/Wharton/Elliott/Wirgman/Lloyd/Smith Trophy Rifle Team Match Badges
  • Holcomb/Edson/Shively/Pacific Trophy Pistol Team Match Badges

Of these 16 Marksmanship Competition Badges, seven are part of the CMP while the remaining nine are awarded for high placement at Marine Corps specific competitions. Of these nine Marksmanship Competition Badges, one is truly unique as it is not focused on marksmanship but on a Marine rifle squad's proficiency by demonstrating their capability for employment in combat. The Annual Rifle Squad Combat Practice Competition Badge is awarded to the top performing Marine rifle squads within each Marine infantry regiment or division. Each rifle squad is evaluated on their offensive tactics, defensive tactics, patrolling, marksmanship, and physical fitness. Each rifle squad can be accompanied by a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman, making this badge awardable to Navy personnel.[2][3][47][73]

These badges are onetime decorations and may be worn on service uniforms for the remainder of a Marine's military career. These badges may be worn simultaneously with Marine Corps Marksmanship Qualification Badges as well as other authorized Marksmanship Competition Badges not to exceed a total of three badges. Marines are authorized the wear up to two Marksmanship Competition Badges for a given weapon. However, with the exception of the Distinguished International Shooter Badge, once a Distinguished Marksmanship Badge for a given weapon has been awarded, the EIC Badges for that weapon can no longer be worn. Subdued and miniature versions are not authorized.[2]

National Guard/State Marksmanship Competition Badges[edit]

Chief's Fifty Marksmanship Badge[edit]

The National Guard Bureau's Chief's 50 Marksmanship Badge

Once a year, thousands of Army and Air National Guard shooters (champion marksmanship teams from each state) compete against each other at the Winston P. Wilson Rifle and Pistol Championships (a.k.a. the National Guard Small Arms Championships or the WPW Matches), held at the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas. Guardsman compete as teams and/or individuals with combat rifles, combat pistols, machine guns, and sniper rifles for top honors within the National Guard. At the conclusion of the WPW Matchs, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau awards the Chief's 50 Marksmanship Badge to the top 35 combat rifle, top ten combat pistol, top three machine gunners, and top two sniper competitors.[12][51][74][75]

The Chief's 50 Marksmanship Badge is a gold-plated circular medal, 1 1/8th inches in diameter suspended from a gold-plated multi-tiered rectangular brooch embossed with the words "NATIONAL GUARD." The medal is embossed with the words "Winston P. Wilson Rifle and Pistol Championships" and has both the National Guard Bureau emblem and the Minuteman stamped on its face. At the base of the medal is a gold-plated ribbon embossed with the words "CHIEF"S 50." The Chief's 50 Marksmanship Badge was made official in 1978 and made retroactive to 1971.[51]

Guardsmen are authorized to wear the Chief's 50 Marksmanship Badge as a permanent decoration on service dress uniforms, to the left of federal marksmanship badges and awards, when operating under Title 32 (state control) status. When federalized (Title 10), Guardsman cannot wear the badge on Army or Air Force uniforms until they return to Title 32 status.[1][51]

Governor's Twenty Tab/Badge[edit]

Governor's 20 Tab
State of Maryland's Law Enforcement Governor's 20 Badge

The Governor's 20 Tab is a state-level National Guard award, created in the late 1960s or early 1970s, that is usually awarded to the top 20 shooters in a state. However, award criteria vary from state-to-state. For example, within the Texas Military Forces, only eight Guardsmen are presented this award for rifle, eight for pistol, two for sniper, and two for machine gun each year. Texas Guardsmen compete against other National Guard Soldiers and Airmen who have already received the award; thus, there may be one or two new recipients of this award each year. In the Missouri National Guard, the top 12 Guardsmans selected to represent the Missouri National Guard at the Winston P. Wilson matches are awarded the tab. This tab is worn on the upper-left sleeve of the Army Combat Uniform below individual tabs and above unit and honor guard tabs. The Missouri National Guard also award a Governor's 20 Ribbon ( Missouri National Guard Governor's 20 Ribbon ) that accompanies the tab which is worn on dress uniforms; any Guardsman who earns the award more than once wear Hawthorn Cluster Devices on top of the ribbon. Because this award is a state-level award, Soldiers and Airman in the National Guard under federal status (Title 10) are not authorized to wear the award.[1][12][76][77][78][79][80]

Just like the National Guard's Governor's 20 Tab, the National Rifle Association sponsors a Law Enforcement Governor's 20 Badge which is designed to recognize the top 20 Law Enforcement Officers from each state for excellence in police combat pistol competition. Each state's program is administered by their respective league or association. Typically, the top three scores of each Officer is averaged and the top 20 Officers are recognized with the Governor's 20 Badge. Although sponsored by the NRA, each state's badge has it own unique design.[50][61][81]

Adjutant General's Twenty Combat Badge[edit]

Missouri Adjutant General's 20 Combat Badge

Some states have marksmanship badges that are awarded by their State Adjutant General, such as the Missouri National Guard Adjutant General's 20 Combat Badge. This circular badge is awarded to those Guardsmen who place in the top 20 competitors at the state's annual combat matches for the rifle/pistol championships. Some 100 shooters compete in the annual state matches and participants compete against other Guardsman who have already received the award; thus there might only be one or two new recipients of the badge each year.[12]

The Missouri Adjutant General's 20 Combat Badge was created in the 1980s to recognize the top eight rifle, eight pistol, two machine gun, and two sniper shooters at the state's annual combat matches. As those matches changed, the award shifted to the top 20 competitors at the state's rifle/pistol championships.[12]

The badge is worn centered on the right breast pocket of the Army Combat Uniform and Airman Battle Uniform. Also, recipients of this badge are awarded the Missouri Adjutant General's 20 Ribbon ( Missouri National Guard Adjutant General's 20 Ribbon ) for wear on Army and Air Force Service Dress Uniforms. Just like the Chief's 50 and Governor's 20 awards, the Adjutant General's 20 Combat Badge and Ribbon are state-level awards and can only be worn on Army and Air Force uniforms when operating under Title 32 of the U.S. Code.[1][12][82][83][84]

Similarly, the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs awards the Alaska Adjutant General's Marksmanship Proficiency Medals, one for rifle and one for pistol, to the top ten guardsman with the highest aggregate scores at the Alaska National Guard Adjutant General’s Match. The winners of these awards are selected to join the State Marksmanship Team that represents the state at the Winston P. Wilson Rifle and Pistol Championships for a chance to win the Chief's 50 Marksmanship Badge. A red, white, and blue ribbon is used to represent both medals ( Alaska National Guard Adjutant General's Marksmanship Proficiency Medal ); however the actual rifle and pistol medals suspended by this ribbon are distinct. As with the Missouri Adjutant General's 20 Ribbon, this marksmanship competition award can only be worn on Army and Air Force service uniforms when operating under the control of the state.[1][85]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r U.S. Army Pamphlet 670–1: Uniform and Insignia, Guide to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, Department of the Army Publications and Forms, dated 31 March 2014, last accessed 23 June 2014
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