“Fall in!” a bellow from the Sergeant Major had the men double-timing into position on the Parade Ground of the Atlantis Military Shooting Range for the opening of the Annual WP Combat Rifle Association shoot on the 25th and 26th of April.
As the men came to attention, the murmurs among the ranks were that the weather looked great, a perfect day for a long distance shoot with no wind or cloud cover. All that was to change later, as Cape Town is well known for its “Four-seasons-in-one-day” type of weather!
Combat Rifle is a world renowned sport where the emphasis falls on skills development for Force Preparation. This is one of the toughest and most challenging events in the Combat Rifle fraternity.
The aim of the shoot is to perform esprit de Corps between all members of other Forces (SANDF, Police and Correctional Services) competing against and to increase the numbers of all “Developed”/aspirant shottists. Importantly, the WPCR Association is committed to the transformation process and the development of its previously disadvantaged members. Some of these members have already been taken up in the WP team event and in the individual category. Shooting on the day was LCprl. Viti who GI Combat Supplies sponsored shooting gear to previously as well as a new batch of up and coming young shottists.
The two days of shooting comprised of Individual, Unit Team, Mix Team as well as Test matches between the different Armed Forces. (SANDF, SAPS, RESERVE FORCE, AIR FORCE, NAVY and CORRECTIONAL SERVICES)
The team competition consists of 4 shottists in the unit team’s category and in the Inter-Forces team (between Defence Force, Police Services and Correctional Services) category, the team consists of 10 members. In the individual category the prizes were awarded for excellence in distance (100 to 400 metre). The Championship consists of 11 matches for the period, and the actual prizes added up to 80 medals for the three different categories (Developed members, shottist with open sights on rifles and shottists who shoot with scopes on their rifles.)
GI Combat Supplies was honoured to be able to supply a selection of Condor Shooting gear and equipment including a shooting mat and fleece jacket that will come in handy for those times when the shottists are subjected to a cold, hard ground. Also included was Peltor ballistic shooting glasses and hearing protection. Peltor is fast becoming a common sight at these shoots with more and more riflemen switching to this great brand.
The first day was the individual shooting matches with shottists starting at 100m and working back to 300m. The second day gave a chance to combined teams to shoot it out at the 300m mark. Shooting, spotting, co-ordination and team spirit are what combine to create a truly great team event.
When one considers all the exterior factors that can affect a .223 (5.56mm) diameter bullet including: Heat rising from the ground, winds travelling across the range at multiple angles, ballistic trajectory, fatigue, concentration and a hot or cold barrel shot, it is truly amazing that that little round can travel the distance and hit inside the x-ring of a target that is less than 5cm in diameter. Yet the South African’s were doing it all day. It was said during the Anglo-Boer War that the English feared “That boer that fights with a bible in one hand and a Mauser in the other”. The tradition of superb marksmanship is a noble South African rite that is passed down from generation to generation. Current shooters who were previously disadvantaged have been quick to pick up on the excellent instruction given by those grizzly old instructors and are leading the way in representing our country and services in future matches. We wait in anticipation for the results!
Civilian Combat Rifle:
Another plus was that for the first time, a civilian compliment was allowed to shoot against the military teams. This was a trial run and the success of the endeavour means that is a first of many to come. Civilian Combat Rifle is growing in South Africa and has direct links to similar Civilian Marksmanship Programs in other countries. See the American link here: http://www.thecmp.org/. These groups are in turn similar to the Civilian Swiss Rifle Clubs and other countries’ civilian programs.
Here in the Cape, we are represented by the Western Province Civilian Combat Rifle Association, but our northern neighbours are the Central Private Combat Rifle Club.
These shooters undergo the same rigorous safety instruction and on-the-range training as military shottists. With Dedicated Sport Status, members may apply for rifles that are current South African issue .223 semi-autos, but in a civilian configuration, (No select-fire option), in the form of LM4, 5 and 6 rifles. Members are required to wear a set uniform and obey the range commands, parades and drills. Many of these civilian shooters already come from a previous military background and can now use their skill-set to compete against current serving members.
The WPCCRA is sponsored by GI Combat Supplies with Tru-Spec All Terrain Tiger uniforms and SSV Battle Vests (jackets) and Peltor Hearing protectors.
GI Combat Supplies encourages all forms of safe shooting sports and we would like to take the opportunity to thank LtCol Kriel and his staff for allowing us to again play a part in the successful event that was the 38th WP Combat Rifle Shoot.
Civilian Combat Rifle Association can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Central Private Combat Rifle Club can be contacted on: email@example.com
Please do not hesitate to contact us on 021 555 3858 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or queries.
At your service,
The GICS Team