(Mansfield, TEXAS 2018/10/22) – Sightmark will attend the 2018 CATO Training Conference, scheduled for November 5 – 8, at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada. Sightmark will feature its top-of-the-line red dot and reflex sights, like the Ultra Shot M-Spec and the Wolverine, as well as other optics.
The California Association of Tactical Officers or CATO is a non-profit, non-political group based out of Los Angeles, California. CATO’s goal is to expand professionalism and knowledge of special weapons within its members across the state.
Sightmark manufactures award-winning products including riflescopes, gun sights, laser sights, night vision, flashlights, boresights and other cutting edge, premium shooting accessories. Inspired by military and law enforcement technology, Sightmark products are designed for competition, target shooting, home defense, hunting, personal safety and other tactical applications.
(MANSFIELD, TX 10/17/18) – Sightmark is set to leave its mark at the NRA’s Great American Outdoor Show. The show is scheduled February 2 – 10 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Sightmark will display new products like the likes of RAM Ultra Shot Series, Citadel Riflescopes and Accudot Boresights.
The Great American Outdoor Show celebrates outdoor traditions enjoyed by millions in the United States of America. Over 1,000 exhibitors will showcase their products, ranging from guided hunts and fishing gear to firearms and accessories, all in a 650,000 square foot exhibit hall. Apart from the trade show, GAOS will also host country concerts, fundraising dinners, speaking events and many more fun events!
For more information visit greatamericanoutdoorshow.org.
Scan any gun forum or blog about weapon-mounted tactical lights and you’ll quickly find two schools of thought—handheld vs. weapon-mounted. Like the .45 v. 9mm debate, those on either side strongly oppose the other. The handheld light folks believe that a weapon-mounted light means you’ll sweep your loved ones and possibly shoot them. The weapon-mounted fans tell those guys that they just don’t know how to handle their weapon properly. Though the handheld folks do have a valid argument against the safe use of a weapon-mounted tactical light, the pros of its use outweigh the cons. With the right light, you can even defeat the one thing weapon-mounted lights have going against them. Like many debates based on opinion, a happy middle ground can be reached between both parties.
Why do you Need a Tactical Light?
Most self-defense situations happen at night or in low-light. It is imperative to positively identify a potential threat before making the decision to raise your gun and fire. After being sure of your target, bright lights, especially on strobe mode, can disorient or distract a threat, buying you time.
The Case for a Handheld Flashlight
A handheld flashlight allows you to search the house, positively identify the potential target as a friend or foe and decide to engage without ever having to point the muzzle of your firearm at an innocent. (Remember, one of the Golden Rules of Firearms Safety is to never point a gun at something you aren’t willing to destroy.)
However, with the right weapon-mounted light, you’ll be able to either keep both hands on your rifle or leave one hand free without ever having the barrel pointed at a family member. The key is picking out a light with enough lumens to light up the room while your rifle is at low-ready (never needing to raise your barrel until you have to.)
The pros of a weapon-mounted light outweigh the cons. Here’s why:
You have the use of both hands.
Manipulating a firearm while also gripping a handheld flashlight takes extensive training and practice. A weapon-mounted light allows you the use of both hands, which might the be only way you might be able to operate your firearm after the adrenaline dump has seized your dexterity. Further, a free hand could be used to open and close doors, call the police, hold on to the dog, or push children out of harm’s way.
You aren’t wasting time fumbling for multiple things in the dark under stress.
When something goes bump in the night, the last thing I want to be doing is fumbling for multiple things on the nightstand—gun, eyeglasses, light, phone, etc. This just gives the bad guy time to know he’s woken me up. Further, you know you won’t leave it behind because its attached to your firearm.
Your focus remains on the sight picture and your situational awareness.
Trying to manipulate a gun and a flashlight takes some practiced skill. When things get crazy, will you be able to concentrate on your target while also trying to operate the gun and the flashlight at the same time? A weapon-mounted light takes away one less thing you need to worry about and allows you to focus your full attention on your surroundings.
What to Look for in a Weapon Mounted Light
Your light needs to be bright enough to stun, or at least disorient someone. For inside the home, that’s at least 100 lumens. You don’t want to burn the retinas out of your eyes in case of reflection, so don’t go too bright or you won’t have any chance of preserving your night vision and then both you and the perp are screwed.
The last thing you want to do is have a bulky, hard-to-maneuver rifle. A low-profile and lightweight light gives you plenty of room to add reflex sights, scopes and other accessories.
Ease of Use
The weapon light needs to be as easy and as intuitive as possible to operate. In times of duress, you won’t be able to remember complex steps, so easy-access buttons are essential.
I forget to turn off my battery-powered optics more than not. A long battery life, automatic shut off and battery-save features are important considerations. The last thing you want during an engagement is for your light to fail because of a short run time.
Best of Both Worlds
I prefer a laser/light combo like the LoPro. I can quickly identify targets and just as quickly place an accurate shot on center mass. It has the perfect amount of light, adjustable from 5 to 300 lumens with 3 modes that operate via a knurled twist knob on the LED’s lamp head—dim, bright and strobe modes. Strobe mode disorients, helping mask your location, as well as act as a signal to others. Ambidextrous buttons on either side of the unit, as well as an included pressure pad activate the light and laser. The green Class IIIa laser has a 600-yard range at night and is also visible up to 50 yards in bright day light.
A light is an essential piece of self-defense gear. The best tactic is to employ both.
There is a happy medium!
Do you utilize a tactical light? Are you handheld or weapon-mounted? Tell us which one and why in the comment section.
(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/10/10) – Sightmark’s Core Shot A-Spec is arriving during the fourth quarter of 2018 bringing precision, accuracy and reliability for avid shooters. The Core Shot A-Spec bridges the gap between a full-sized and mini red dot sight, making them a mid-compact sized red dot perfect for AR pistols and SBRs.
Sightmark’s Core Shot A-Spec is crafted from dependable and lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum. The FMS features two separate mounts, AR riser mount and a low-profile mount, while the LQD features a quick detach mount.
These are shockproof, IP55 water-resistant, have a scratch-resistant lens coating and feature a wide lens for quick target acquisition. Other features include slotted windage and elevation adjustments, digital switch controls, eight reticle brightness levels and night vision compatibility.
For more information, please visit www.sightmark.com or email us at email@example.com.
(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/10/09) – Sightmark makes their mark by offering their redesigned LoPro family in Dark Earth finish. LoPros are a compact laser and laser-light combo attachment for your firearm, helping you with precision accuracy and rock-solid reliability while training, hunting, self-defense and in low-light shooting.
Sightmark will add three models to the line in Dark Earth; LoPro Mini Combo Green Laser and Flashlight (SM25012DE), LoPro Combo Green Laser and IR-Visible LED Flashlight (SM25013DE) and the LoPro Mini Green Laser Sight (SM25016DE). Improvements consist of a new aluminum housing, protected windage and elevation adjustments and a thread-on and rotating pressure pad.
LoPros can be easily adjusted without a tool and feature a high intensity, variable LED flashlight allowing you to see in any situation. The low-profile design securely mounts on a rail with a screw pressure pad and can sit in front of most attachments without obstructing your field of view.
Written by Jamie Trahan, 18-year Law Enforcement Officer and Sightmark Pro Staff Member
The distinct sound of glass breaking.
The thundering boom of your door getting kicked open.
For a split second, you think you’re dreaming. Then, it hits you—this is real and your body dumps adrenaline into your system. Before you can fully open your eyes, your feet hit the floor. If you opt to use an AR-15—or any other modern sporting rifle or pistol caliber carbine—you retrieve it and make it ready as you rush out of the bedroom. Your job as the protector of your family is to find the intruder intent on during harm and you want it done as quickly and safely as possible. Your shots must be precise because any stray round poses a danger to your family.
In the pursuit of helping you protect the ones you love, in addition to the myriad of sporting uses, Sightmark released the second generation of its LoPro flashlight and laser combo models. This generation, as with just about every other product on the market, is a modernized model that fixes the shortcomings of the first edition. You owe it to yourself to look at these because the first generation is no comparison to the product out now.
Directly from Sightmark.com:
The Sightmark LoPro Mini Combo Green Laser and Light replaces SM25004 (LoPro Combo Laser and Light) and features a more compact design, high-output white LED illumination (up to 300 lumens) and Class IIIa laser with a range of up to 600 yards at night (50 yards in daylight). Perfect for close quarters and low-light environments, the lightweight LoPro Mini Combo Laser and Light features IPX5 weather-resistant and shockproof reliability, digital switch operation, push-button or pressure-pad operation, hand-adjustable windage and elevation, and up to 23 hours of operation from a single CR123A battery (38 min. on max light and laser.) The LoPro Mini Combo is recoil rated up to .308 and mounts perfectly to Weaver and Picatinny rails.”
The model I tested was Model SM25012, which combines a 300-lumen LED white light and 520nm Class IIIa compact green aiming laser. The tactical light has three settings for low and full power along with a strobe feature. Lighting adjustments are made by rotating the bezel, which has clearly marked setting. The laser and light can be operated independently or used in conjunction with one another to blind your adversary with the white light, disorient him with the strobe, and provide a distinct aiming point. There are ambidextrous activation switches mounted on both sides of the unit and the pressure pad.
The advantages of having an aiming laser and light in one compact package are without question. In my residence, due to the floorplan, 35 feet is the farthest shot point to point that I would have to take. No doubt, there are some of you out there that could easily double that inside your home. The point is, in my opinion, while a handgun could be used to make that shot, a carbine is capable of a much more precise shot. With a properly zeroed laser, you can be practically surgical at that range.
I zeroed the LoPro laser within a handful of rounds by cheating a bit. I adjusted it to match the central red dot of my reticle prior to going to the range and then did fine-tuning from there. Several mag dumps later, the laser held zero with no issues.
Now. There’s a couple of questions I know everyone is asking.
First, 300 lumens? You’ll see the hashtag #allthelumens mentioned on social media in reference to weapon lights if you follow that type of thing online. There are several pistol lights in the 800, and now the 1000, lumen range on the market. I came up in law enforcement in the days of the old polymer Insight M3. It was a game changer compared to using handheld lights and it only had 90 lumens. This combo has 300 lumens and being LED-based, is a pure white light compared to the yellowish haze of the incandescent 90-lumen light. Is this a lightsaber? No. Does it get the job done? Without a doubt.
Second, how good is the laser? This was designed to comply with the power restrictions placed upon laser manufacturers in the United States. As with everything else, the government regulates exactly how strong the laser units can be. In any low-light situation, the green laser, at least for my eyes, dominates the red laser. Outside at night, the green laser is visible well beyond the range in which one would zero their weapon. In testing, I found the laser to be visible over a ¼ of a mile away which is well outside my range of usefulness. As with every other laser that I have used, daylight was its Achilles heel. In bright daylight, the laser was nearly washed out at approximately 7-8 yards. In its defense, I don’t think this unit, you know the one with the integrated FLASHLIGHT, was designed to be used in daylight.
All in all, especially in the price range, you cannot go wrong with this tactical light and green laser. The mount issues of the previous generation have been completely eliminated. Take a look. I think you’ll like it.
Running long-range optics like the Latitude 8-32×60 F-Class doesn’t take rocket science but it does take practice. Long-range reticles come in two focal planes, first and second, and in all manner of design from more complicated layouts with subtensions, reference grids and other etched ballistic data to simple, traditional crosshairs. The Latitude features the latter reticle on a second-focal-plane. While some precision shooters may argue the need for subtensions and/or a first-focal-plane system, this is not necessarily the case in F-class shooting and honestly, for those who know how to run an optic, the Latitude’s simpler reticle is easier to employ—set your crosshairs on center-mass and squeeze the trigger. Adjustments are made via windage and elevation turrets rather than using holdovers.
What the Latitude’s reticle system does mean, however, is that you must become proficient at making effective turret adjustments and making such manipulations does require more time; fortunately, F-class is a slow-fire game—you have plenty of time for adjustments before stages, and even during, if you know what you’re doing behind the optic. That is to say, understanding fundamental optic attributes like MOA or MRAD and first- or second-focal-plane, and how they work for or against you in a given shooting environment are vital to your shooting skill set.
Sightmark’s Surprisingly Simple F-class reticle
While many precision shooters, especially those running long-ranges on dynamic stages with varying distance targets, including scenarios where rapid distance changes are required, F-class shooting is not that game. Sure, shooting is timed but match-fire is slow. Thus, the Latitude’s basic crosshair reticle is a solid choice. Moreover, without subtensions or a reference grid, there is absolutely no need for a first-focal-plane reticle (FFP optics are generally quite a bit more expensive).
Good D.O.P.E. – The 411 on MOA, Clicks and Adjustments
The Latitude’s turrets adjust your position of impact (POI) ¼-MOA at 100 yards, or ½-MOA at 200, 1-MOA at 400, 2-MOA at 800 and 3-MOA at 1,200 (the farthest target distance you’re likely to see in F-class shooting). To assign values to these movements in easier to understand language, MOA is 1.047 inches at 100 yards. So, at 1,200 yards, MOA would be 12.564 inches. To that end, simply consider an MOA as an inch. Extending elevation and windage math out over distance, based on load data and environmental conditions and recording that information creates your “Data On Previous Engagements,” also known as D.O.P.E. (DOPE)
The term DOPE is used pretty loosely to include real D.O.P.E. info collected over time as well as ballistic calculators; I routinely have gone the way of high-tech-redneck and now use ballistic calculators often—sure I can do the long-hand math to determine adjustments, but why, if I can the get same data from a cell phone app that actually works? Of course, even then, a calculator’s ballistic chart may be called DOPE, it’s not really… but for many of us, it does a decent job. True DOPE would actually be a collection of info from these ballistic charts, but I digress.
By and large, the key to making effective adjustments is to assess distance from Point of aim (POA) to POI. This information tells you how many clicks on the turrets you need to find your mark but since we’re often talking about ¼-MOA clicks, as is the case on the Latitude 8-32×60, it’s easier to think of MOA only, not clicks yet at all; moreover, it’s easier to begin with considering 1 MOA as 1 inch and move on from there.
If 1 MOA is effectively 1 inch at 100 yards, then 1 MOA is 10 inches at 1,000 yards. That means it’s 2 inches at 200 yards, 3 inches at 300 yards and so on. To determine the value of a click simply divide the distance value by 4. For example, at 1,000 yards, we know 1 MOA is 10.47 inches. Dividing this number by 4 tells us each click moves the POI 2.6 inches. To further simplify to say 1 MOA is 10 inches and 1 click then moves us .25 inches. Even at the extreme range of 1,000 yards, considering 1 MOA as simply 1 inch only leaves a deviation of just under 5/8-inch at 1,000 yards—an incredibly minuscule deviation.
Windage: The KISS Method to Wind Calls and Adjustments
Windage, including spindrift and wind drift, is a bit more complicated, especially since there are forces working against bullet flight at varying velocities and equally varied angles. You’re essentially lucky if you’re only dealing with the effects of consistent head, tail or crosswind. For wind, I generally use a ballistic calculator. Absent of somebody, or something, doing the math for me, as a stubborn Jarhead, I revert back to my Marine Corps training with a decent degree of success. While my instruction was 30 years ago, little to nothing, I suspect in terms of Marine Corps marksmanship training, has changed; in fact, a retired Army major, John Plaster, also summarizes this information pretty eloquently in his article at RifleShooterMag.com. The information can also be found in the publicly available Marine Corps coach’s course on wind call, published August 2008.
In a nutshell, we took distance, divided it by 100, multiplied it by the wind speed (determined by range flags or other environmental elements affected by wind) and divided it by wind constant of 15 to determine MOA of adjustment, then made those adjustments based on the same distance-to-target per-click values we already know. Of course, there are two issues, first, this is more specifically accurate (if that’s even an appropriate term when it comes to wind) to 500 yards. Maj. Plaster (and the Marine Corps) asserts that the wind constant (15 up to 500 yards) is decreased (roughly—pay attention to 700-800 yards) by value of one per 100 yards. i.e. 14 at 600, 13 at 700 and 800, 12 at 900 and 11 at 1,000 yards—many long-range shooters simply use a wind constant of 10 with the expectation of at least minute-of-man accuracy in consistent wind.
Here is an example of a 10 MPH wind at 900 yards in MOA, using a reduced constant of 11:
Distance of 900 yards / 100 = 9
Wind speed of 10 mph
9×10 = 90
90 / 11 = 8.2 MOA adjustment
If you were shooting in mils, you would divide 8.2 MOA by 3.4377 (the conversion of MOA to MIL) to arrive at 2.4 mils of adjustment
*Even using a wind constant of 10 would have resulted in 9 MOA or 2.6 mils. When you’re talking about a sub-MOA variance at that distance, which is wrong, the adjustment or the wind call? It’s hard to say.
Of course, remembering that wind values are made up of full, half or zero, if your “clock” observation of wind direction falls into the half value, you simply cut the adjustment in half. You certainly could compensate even further, say ¼ value or ¾ value but doing can make your head explode and isn’t as friendly to work out on the fly when you’re on the range. Considering full value and half value, the half value ranges, as they relate to a clock face, are generally between 12.5 – 2.5, 3.5 – 5.5, 6.5 – 8.5 and 9.5 – 11.5. Using the example, everything equal except wind direction at half-value, the MOA adjustment would be 4 MOA rather than 8 MOA, or 1.2 mils rather than 2.3 mils.
With a grasp on elevation and windage adjustments, the only remaining manipulations to be made are to the Latitude’s variable magnification, fast-focus eyepiece (AKA: diopter), reticle illumination (0-5) and parallax (AKA: side-focus).
Adjust the magnification to your desired level. Adjust the diopter ring until your sight picture is crisp—this is often done at closer range (100-200 yards for me) and lower magnification to minimize mistaking mirage for lack of optic clarity. Thread the locking ring toward the scope tube to lock the diopter in place. Adjust the parallax (side focus) knob to closely match your target distance. Begin rocking your head up and down while continuing to hold your crosshairs on the target. At first the crosshairs may sweep across the target. As you continue to slowly adjust your parallax, the reticle will lessen its movement over the target center. Adjust the parallax until the reticle rests at center-mass even while continuing to rock your head up and down. Not only is your parallax set, you should notice your sight picture is now even more crisp. Adjust reticle illumination to off or to the lowest setting comfortable for your sight picture and identification of the reticle against the target.
Written by Brooklee Grant, Member of Pulsar’s Pro Staff
The time of year is here when we get a lot less sleep than usual and aren’t even mad about it—that’s right, it’s time to go hunting!
We’ve worked all year preparing by scouting out spots, managing food plots, running game cameras, and keeping feeders full. As the countdown begins, I find myself checking through my equipment regularly to make sure I have everything I need for opening day. I get so pumped about new hunting gear I can hardly stand it. I call my Dad the moment any box carrying new gear arrives. My most recent is a Sightmark riflescope and binoculars. The clarity is amazing and will make counting the points on bucks a breeze, but as I look over my new stuff, I think to myself, “Is all of this really necessary?” I can’t help but want top-of-the-line equipment to better my chances in the field, but I know I get too caught up in these great products when I should be taking a step back and enjoy hunting season for true meaning.
Technology and the invention of new and innovative gear make hunting easier and often vastly improves our chances at filling a tag. In the past ten years, innovative changes have flooded the hunting scene, including a wide variety of camo patterns, modernized clothing, upgraded optics, better-quality ammunition, superior scent elimination, and high-tech game cameras. However, this technology also serves as a distraction from what our focus should really be on—enjoying the adventure.
Everyone now thinks spraying down with odor eliminating spray is a must, or there’s not a chance you’ll see a deer. Or, my personal favorite, people believe if the hunter isn’t thoroughly camouflaged the deer will see him and he’ll never even get a shot off. I’ve heard stories my whole life about how my Dad and Uncle would go out in their everyday clothes, drive a few sizable nails in a tree, throw a board between the fork of the tree, climb on up, and sit for an entire afternoon. Back then and even now, my Dad doesn’t need a backpack full of gear to go bag a trophy buck. The essentials for a successful hunt are an adequately sighted-in rifle sighted and some quality ammunition. We forget about the fundamentals of hunting, the most essential and basic skills can’t be bought, like being quiet and still. A $1,500.00 scope isn’t going to do you much good if you scare the deer off by being loud or moving around too much. Hunting is about much more than our equipment. We hunters need to step back and focus on what’s important.
People will hit the woods and fields this fall across the United States for various reasons. Some just enjoy taking in the great outdoors. Many love the challenge and thrill of the hunt, and others use it as an opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family. Many people go out solely to get meat, provide for their family, and put food on the table. We often use hunting as an escape from the hectic world we live in and the stressors that go with it. We all get preoccupied trying to have the best rifle and scope, or the best place to hunt and consume ourselves with insignificant things like matching camo from head to toe. The extra bells and whistles make hunting easier and often improve our chances at filling a tag, but also might serve as a distraction from our primary focus. Whatever your reason for getting out in the field may be, it’s imperative to get out, enjoy yourself and honor tradition.
It’s not always a competition about who bags the biggest buck of the year. Hunting is an amazing and wonderful gift we take for granted. It brings people together regardless of income, age, where you’re from, or experience level. We won’t always agree on what weapon to use or on someone else’s hunting practices; but as long as the law is being followed, don’t bash someone because they choose to hunt differently than you. We hunters must stick together because those who are anti-hunting create enough backlash and negative commentary. Celebrate with other hunters when they bag a deer and don’t pass judgment just because their harvest doesn’t fit your definition of a trophy. Check your attitude, show respect and stop trying to act better than someone else. Go encourage others and stay positive. Buck or doe, six point or twelve, the meat all looks the same in the freezer.
When you hop out of your truck this fall and grab your gear, remember where you came from and why you’re there. Reflect on stories and memories from the past. Don’t forget to cherish this special time spent in nature. Savor the thrill of the hunt. I challenge you to live in the present and put down your cell phone. Immerse yourself into the outdoors and watch the woods awaken and come alive around you. Let your senses intensify.
Hunting helps us build a deeper connection and respect for the land and animals, as well as their wellbeing. We need to get back to our roots and involve others in the hunting traditions and values that established this passion in us. Share with others what has kept us coming back year after year. Respect the land, honor the game, be conscious of your actions, never compromise your integrity as a hunter, and make sure you’re ethical in everything you do. You don’t have to have the fanciest equipment. Use what gives you confidence and gets you excited. Go out this season and take a breath of the refreshing fall air, our favorite time of year is finally here. Most importantly, go out and have a good time and give thanks for this extraordinary experience God has given us.
How do you rid yourself of distraction while in the field? Leave your tips and advice in the comment section.
Like many Southern girls, Brooklee Grant’s father and brother taught her how to appreciate the great American tradition of hunting and fishing, and how to safely operate and respect firearms at a very young age. Though she still enjoys bonding with her father and brother while deer hunting, target shooting and building rifles together, her love and passion for hunting, fishing and the shooting sports now stands up on its own right. Brooklee was born and raised and still hunts in Nacogdoches County, Texas. She strongly believes in educating others on the importance of firearms, responsible hunting, and conservation. She says, “I think educating others and getting them involved is key to helping ensure that hunting and shooting sports are around for years to come.” She’s a member of several outdoor-related organizations including the National Rifle Association, Texas Wildlife Association, B.A.S.S., Texas Trophy Hunters Association, Quality Deer Management Association, Member, Texas Hog Hunters Association, American Daughters of Conservation, and Pro Staff for Pulsar, Prym 1 Camo, Raptorazor, and FroggToggs, and Field Staff for Whitetail Grounds. If you are looking for her, you’ll most likely have to leave a message, because when she’s not studying for her bachelor’s degree in business, she’s in the field hunting deer, hogs and predators or on the water fishing for bass.
(Mansfield, Texas 2018/09/26) – Sightmark is set to attend Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous, scheduled for October 1 – 5, at the Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana. Sightmark will display their top-of-the-line optics such as the Pinnacle and Latitude riflescope series.
Athlon attendees will get the opportunity to experience Sightmark products during range time, as well as throughout the day at their table.
Sightmark manufactures award-winning products including riflescopes, laser sights, night vision, flashlights, boresights and other cutting edge, premium shooting accessories. Inspired by military and law enforcement technology, Sightmark products are designed for competition, target shooting, home defense, hunting, personal safety and other tactical applications.
Athlon will host over 20 top editors, writers, photographers and videographers at this year’s Rendezvous. Attendees will have the opportunity to test and evaluate all products throughout three range days, giving them the opportunity to generate editorial content.
The legacy of long-range precision competition shooting began in 1903 when a government advisory board called the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearm Safety, Inc. developed the National Matches to encourage national defense preparedness and improve our military’s marksmanship.
Often called CMP/NRA High Power, these shooting competitions have developed substantially over the years. Traditionally, NRA High Power rifle competitions were conducted using only iron sights; however, in 2016, the association started allowing optics. There are also quite a few different divisions so, depending on skill level and devotion, most shooters can find a competition that appeals to them. One of those is F-Class.
F-Class is a long-range rifle shooting competition which measures your marksman’s skills from distances 300 to 1,200 yards. A Full-Bore competition shooter from Canada, George Farquharson started F-Class in the 1990s in his elder years when his eyes aged to where he could not shoot accurately using iron sights. In 2005, it was officially recognized by the NRA.
From the prone position, F-Class shooters fire usually 3 relays in sets of 15 to 20 rounds at a six square foot bullseye target at either various distances or one fixed distance. Divided into two classes, competitors have the choice to shoot Open Class or Target Rifle Class.
Open class allows any rifle .35 caliber and above that weighs less than 22 pounds—including bipod and optic. Open Class participants can use front and rear rests. Target Rifle Class is reserved to unmodified rifles chambered in .223 Remington or .308 Winchester only and aren’t allowed to weigh less than 18.18 pounds including accessories. The only equipment allowed on Target Rifle Class rifles is a bipod or sling and optic. Target Rifle Class competitors can only use a rear rest. Muzzle devices are not allowed in either Class.
F-Class competition shooting doesn’t have many rules, that is why it is such a growing shooting sport. It is easy to learn, fun, challenging and affordable!
Here are the two major things you need to know before joining an F-Class competition.
For both classes, you want an accurate rifle, a clear optic with at least 20x magnification, a rear shooting bag or rest, bipod and high-quality match-grade ammo.
Most successful F-Class shooters use a bolt-action rifle. There are plenty of affordable, good factory rifles that achieve sub-MOA accuracy. Check out the Remington 700, Savage Model 10 or 12, and Ruger M77, just to name a few. Popular F-class calibers include 6.5 Creedmoor, .243 Winchester, and .284 Winchester. Just don’t go too big, because recoil can affect your follow up shots. A 24-inch target barrel is ideal.
Most experienced F-Class competitors reload their own ammo, but for the beginner F-Class shooter, using pre-loaded match-grade ammo is acceptable. You want a bullet with a higher ballistic coefficient of at least .450 to .500 or better with a minimum velocity of 2,650 feet per second. Hollow point boat tail is recommended.
The lack of a quality scope can ruin you in F-Class. However, there is no need to drop thousands on your first long-range scope. All you need is clear, crisp glass, a 30mm or larger tube, at least 40 MOA target turrets, a useable reticle and at least 20x magnification.
The Sightmark Latitude 8-32x60mm F-Class riflescope is quite substantial with its extreme magnification range of 8x up to a staggering 32x; oversized 60mm objective lens; large, tactile, distinct-click turrets; single-piece 32mm tube, perfect ¼ MOA-per-click adjustability and an overall elevation range of 110 MOA—the windage range of adjustability also does not slouch at 70 MOA. For razor-sharp clarity, the nitrogen-purged Latitude boasts premium, fully multi-coated, anti-reflective glass and a fine-etched red/green illuminated, second-focal-plane F-Class reticle with five brightness settings.
An accurate precision rifle and clear scope certainly help increase your scores, but a lot of it comes down to you—the shooter. The key to high scores is knowing how to compensate for bullet drop so you can make your adjustments accordingly. Before competing, you will want to practice using a spotting scope, ballistic calculator, and wind meter. Begin by boresighting and zeroing your rifle and scope. Then, experiment with different types of ammo to find the best one for your rifle. Keep a shooter’s log of all your shots during practice so you can always refer to the proper adjustments. When you practice, focus on breath and trigger control, aim and overall rifle handling.
To get started in F-Class Shooting Competitions, you will need the following equipment:
Comfortable shooting mat
Shooting rest—front and rear or just rear for Target Class
Marksman’s data book
F-Class competition long-range shooting allows you to challenge yourself and push your equipment to its limits. There is a short learning curve and once you understand how to compensate for bullet drop, is a very rewarding sport.
Janet Raab, former manager of the NRA’s High-Power Rifle says, “F-Class is the fastest-growing type of high-power competition because it offers the challenge of long-range shooting in a format that is fun and easy to learn.”