When the United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) was established in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Action Shooting was yet to be born. The International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) was officially founded at the International Pistol Conference held in Columbia, Missouri, in May 1976.

The promotion of accuracy, power, and speed as three equal elements was the prime objective of the Conference along with procedures and rules for safe gun handling.

The Action/ Combat Team currently has 6 shooters and one NCOIC slot and maintains a list of well qualified civilian and military shooters to maintain 100% strength.

In 1984, the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) was incorporated as the governing body for the US Region of IPSC. In 1992 the Action Shooting Team was created as a part of the Service Pistol Section.In 2004 the Action Shooting team was reorganized as a separate team and re-designated the Action Shooting and Combat training Team.

Practical Shooting attempts to measure the ability to shoot rapidly and accurately with a full power handgun rifle and or shotgun. Those 3 elements – Speed, Accuracy, and Power - form the three sides of the Practical shooting triangle. By design each match will measure shooters ability in all three areas, to do this, shooters take on obstacle laden shooting courses (called stages) requiring anywhere from six to thirty plus shots to complete. The scoring system measures points scored per second, then weights the score to compensate for the number of shots fired. If the shooter misses a target, or shoots inaccurately, points are deducted, lowering that all important points-per-second score.

If shooting has an “Extreme” sport then Action Shooting is it. Competitors move negotiate obstacles, run, speed-reload, and drive there guns through each of several courses as fast as there skill will allow. In our sport, just as in combat both speed and accuracy are equally important. A fast run with poor hits or misses is likely to cost you the match just as perfect shots and a slow time will not win. The key to success is a balance of speed and accuracy, just like a gun fight.
The Service Pistol Team’s missions are to raise the standard of marksmanship and combat readiness throughout the Army and to enhance the Army’s recruiting effort. The team accomplishes the first element of its missions by conducting multiple Train the Trainer courses both at home and abroad. The flagship of their training mission is the Close Quarters Marksmanship Course. The team also conducts Primary Pistol Marksmanship Instruction.

The Service Pistol Team enhances the Army’s recruiting effort by interacting with the public at the Small Arms Firing School (SAFS). SAFS is conducted in conjunction with the National Matches. Begun in 1903, and mandated by US Code, SAFS is a program of instruction designed to instruct civilians in the use of the current Service Rifle (M16A2) and Service Pistol (M9). SAFS consists of a period of classroom instruction, by the instructors of the Service Pistol Team, followed by hands-on range firing.

The Service Pistol Team conducts its unique outreach mission through planning and conducting various pistol matches. The team runs the Pistol phase of the US Army Small Arms Championships (also referred to as the “All Army”). Service Pistol members provide marksmanship instruction prior to firing, and carefully mentor the competitors throughout the matches. During these Championships, Soldiers compete with issue weapons and full combat equipment in a variety of events, emphasizing both precision marksmanship and physical fitness.

The team competes with a variety of pistols. Shooters participate in slow-fire (at 50 yards), timed-fire and rapid-fire matches (both at 25 yards), which make up the National Match Course and aggregate competitions using .22-caliber, center-fire and .45-caliber pistols as well as a highly accurized version of the M9 pistol.

Ultimately, competing in and winning the Interservice and National Championship Matches, as well as numerous Local, State, and Regional Championships enables the Service Pistol Team to share the knowledge gained from these competitions with the broader Army in an effort to increase the Army’s combat readiness. These competitions also enable the team to connect America’s people with America’s Army in unique ways that may support the overall Army accessions mission and subsequently raise the Army’s combat readiness as well.

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