August 07, 2013 - Men wielding AR-15s, M1As, and other rifles lined up for competition last week.
Riflemen line up for a Military Rifle Match. Photo by Andrea Beaudoin (click for larger version)
Participants at the Oakland County Sportsmen's Club Military Rifle Match said they like the sport for different reasons.
Randy Thompson said he does it to stay sharp and engaged, and thinks civilian marksmanship programs are good because it helps people prepare if they need to defend their county.
"It also promotes friendly sportsmanship," he said.
Arthur Miracle visits the club about three times a week to practice shooting.
Miracle said the whole idea behind civilian marksmanship groups came back in World War II when the programs were developed to teach people how to shoot guns.
"Young people couldn't shoot then," he said.
The club's Junior Rifle firearm instruction class starts in September, and is taught through April to ages 10-17, Mondays and Wednesdays.
Each year, about 35-40 kids take the class, said Ed Kretsch, President of D.R Wison Pistol Club President.
"Young people are taught and how to handle a gun," said Kretsch.
Many of the classes are sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and taught by certified NRA instructors.
Classes are two hours long. The first 15-20 minutes is spent on safety issues. Every student has a coach and no student is every unsupervised.
"We always make sure everyone is adhering to safety standards," he said. "We teach them what can go wrong and how to handle a pistol. All our classes are always taught with the assumption that no one knows anything."
Students learn the various parts of a pistol and how they work and function, and shooting positions like prone, kneeling and offhand.
"They have a variety of steps to go through to qualify for each position," said Kretsch. "The class also teaches people to respect guns."
If a student does not have a gun, one of the instructors can loan them one, he said.
The class can be taught as a prelude to Olympic Rifle Competition.
Similar classes are taught to adults, and the range is often open to the public. Events and competitions throughout the year also include Police Pistol Combat, Conventional Pistol, Mid Winter Bullseye Match, Fall Hunters Sight In, and .22 Fun Shoot.
The club has 25-, 50- and 100-yard outdoor ranges as well as a 50 yard indoor range. Shooters can use pistols, rifles and shotguns on the ranges.
In addition to shooting, the Oakland County Sportsman's Club offers many activities and training in sports like archery, camping, a banquet hall and a full bar.
Gun ranges are open to visors from 10 a.m. until dusk daily. Oakland County Sportsman's Club is located at 4470 Waterford Road in Clarkston. Call 248-623-0444.