By Gary Anderson, DCM Emeritus
The annual process of reviewing and updating CMP competition rulebooks is nearing completion with this announcement and the posting of the 2022 rulebooks on the CMP website. The CMP competitions program began in 1996 with only two disciplines, Service Rifle and Service Pistol. CMP competitions have now grown to include separate disciplines for Service Rifle, Service Pistol, .22 Rimfire Pistol, Service Revolver, As-Issued Military Rifle (Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military Rifle, M1 Carbine, Modern Military Rifle, Vintage Sniper Rifle), As-Issued Pistol (M9, M1911, M&P Service Pistol) and Rimfire Sporter Rifle competitions where the CMP is the national governing body. The CMP also issues rules for Match Pistol (3-gun pistol), Long-Range and Mid-Range Rifle, Smallbore Rifle (position and prone), Air Rifle, and Air Pistol to govern events it conducts in conjunction with the National Matches, CMP Competition Games, and other match sanctioning programs.
To govern this complex array of target rifle and pistol disciplines, the CMP now publishes five different rulebooks. They are listed here together with links where the 2022 editions of these rulebooks may be downloaded:
- 1st Edition CMP Air Rifle and Air Pistol Competition Rules
- 2022 CMP Smallbore Rifle Competition Rules
- 2022 CMP Pistol Competition Rules
- 2022 CMP Highpower Rifle Competition Rules
- 2022 CMP Games Competition Rules for Rifle and Pistol
CMP rulebooks are updated annually to accommodate new program developments, clarify rules issues, and incorporate recommendations from competitors, match sponsors and CMP staff. The rule revision process starts anew each year after the National Matches and continues through the fall when the next year’s rulebooks are drafted, reviewed, and approved. The CMP rules process relies on a group of “Rules Advisors” consisting of CMP staff and outside technical experts to evaluate and recommend rule changes. The CMP Board of Directors and its Rules Committee have final authority to approve CMP rules. This Shooting News article reports changes in 2022 CMP Competition Rules.
CMP DISTINGUISHED BADGE PROGRAM
The 2022 CMP rulebooks will offer three new opportunities for competitors to earn Distinguished badges. These badges are the highest awards in marksmanship that most competitors can aspire to earn. The U. S. Army awarded the first gold Distinguished badges for excellence in military rifle competitions in 1884. That badge evolved into today’s Distinguished Rifleman Badge. Distinguished badges are especially valued by military personnel because Armed Service regulations authorize them to wear Distinguished International, Distinguished Rifleman and Distinguished Pistol Shot Badges on their uniforms.
The Distinguished Badge Program was originally administered by the Department of War and subsequently by the Department of the Army’s Office of the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (ODCM) according to policy recommendations made by the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP). Separate branches of the Armed Services also developed their own regulations for awarding Distinguished Badges to their military personnel. When Congress and the President privatized the NBPRP and ODCM in 1996, authority to administer the Distinguished Badge program was transferred to the CMP.
The Distinguished Badge Program is an especially important component of the CMP competitions program because it gives competitors incentives to develop advanced marksmanship skills and strive to produce high-ranking scores. EIC credit points that count towards the awarding of Distinguished Badges only go to the top ten percent of competitors who are eligible to earn them. Whenever possible, the CMP stages Distinguished Badge presentations during special ceremonies where other competitors can honor new Distinguished shooters.
Gold Distinguished Badges were originally awarded only for Service Rifle, Service Pistol, and International Competitions, but starting with the 22 Rimfire Pistol Distinguished Badge in 2015, the CMP has worked to expand this prestigious program so that opportunities to earn these badges are available in other CMP shooting disciplines. A Distinguished Marksman program for competitors with physical disabilities was introduced in 2019. Distinguished Badges for Smallbore Rifle Position and Prone were added in 2020. 2022 CMP Competition Rules will inaugurate three new Distinguished Badge programs:
- Distinguished Service Revolver Badge. The 2021 National Matches program included a Service Revolver Match that was the precursor to an annual National Matches Service Revolver Match and CMP-sanctioned Service Revolver EIC Matches where competitors can now earn credit points that will count towards the awarding of CMP Distinguished Service Revolver Badges. See additional details under “CMP Pistol Rule Changes.”
- Distinguished Air Rifle and Air Pistol Badges. The CMP has the two best 10m air gun facilities in the country and two of the finest air gun facilities in the world, so it is appropriate for the CMP to have a program to promote Air Rifle and Air Pistol events for juniors and seniors. The CMP runs monthly matches with 60-shot Air Rifle and Air Pistol events on these ranges and several shooting clubs are already asking the CMP to sanction air gun matches that will be governed by a new 1st Edition CMP Air Rifle and Air Pistol Competition Rules. This program expansion offers new Distinguished Badges for Air Rifle and Air Pistol. Starting in 2022, Air Rifle and Air Pistol competitors will be able to earn EIC credits for these badges in 60-shot National Matches Air Gun Championships, monthly matches on CMP 10m ranges as well as in CMP sanctioned Air Rifle and Air Pistol club matches. Detailed information about this program and the new rulebook is posted at https://thecmp.org/new-cmp-air-rifle-and-air-pistol-competition-program/.
JUNIOR AND SENIOR AGE GROUP CHANGES
The ISSF recently changed its rules for determining when junior eligibility ends. This has in turn impacted shooting programs around the world, including CMP Smallbore Rifle and Airgun programs that attract competitors who also participate in USA Shooting and international (ISSF) competitions. Under previous rules, juniors could compete as juniors through the year of their 20th birthday. Under the new age rule, they may compete as juniors until the day of their 21st birthday. If a competitor’s 21st birthday is on the first day of a multi-day competition, they will be a junior for that entire competition. The practical effect of this change is to give juniors from one to 365 additional days to compete as juniors, depending upon when their birthdays occur.
To be consistent and avoid confusion, this change in how age group eligibility is determined will apply to all shooting disciplines governed by the CMP. Competitor’s birth dates, not birth years, will be used to determine eligibility for all age groups including Intermediate Junior (until the day of the 18th birthday), Sub-Junior (until the day of the 15th birthday), Senior (the day of the 60th birthday must be before the first day of a competition), and Grand Senior (the day of the 70th birthday must be before the first day of a competition).
SCORECARD COLLECTION (for Pistol and Highpower Rifle)
CMP rules previously required scorers or verifiers to turn in signed Pistol and Highpower Rifle scorecards to match personnel. The requirement that scorecards must be turned in by scorers rather than by competitors was originally adopted to counter rare cases of scorecard falsification. However, competitors have complained that scorers don’t always turn scorecards in right away. The 2022 CMP Pistol, Highpower Rifle and CMP Games rulebooks make Range Officers responsible for collecting and accounting for all scorecards for their sectors of a range.
DISTINGUISHED MARKSMAN BADGE CHANGES
Traditional Distinguished Badge regulations require all competitors who earn EIC credit points to shoot in regular firing positions and comply with all event regulations. Those requirements prevent competitors with physical disabilities who use adaptive positions, techniques, or equipment to complete an EIC course of fire from being able to qualify for Distinguished Rifleman or Distinguished Pistol Badges. The Distinguished Marksman Badge was introduced in 2020 to offer those competitors opportunities to earn Distinguished Badges that offer them challenges which are just as difficult as those faced by competitors who earn Distinguished Rifleman and Distinguished Pistol Shot Badges. Competitors with disabilities can apply to CMP Competitions for “Distinguished Marksman Authorizations” that allow them to shoot in EIC matches while using adaptive firing positions and, in some cases, adaptive techniques or equipment. A few competitors have now been approved to participate in this program, but so far no one has earned EIC credit points that would make one of them the first person to win a Distinguished Marksman Badge. There are three 2022 changes to this program that could change that:
- Competitors authorized to participate in this program will now receive six EIC credit points when they complete an EIC course of fire, and their score equals or exceeds the Minimum Credit Score (MCS) for that EIC Match. Here are two examples: If a Service Rifle competitor with a DM authorization completes a Service Rifle EIC Matches with a score 455 x 500 or higher, they will receive six EIC points. If a 22 Rimfire Pistol competitor with a DM authorization completes an EIC match with a score of 260 or higher, they will receive 6 EIC points.
- Competitors with physical disabilities may now be authorized to compete to earn EIC credit points in one of eight EIC programs now offered by the CMP. Pistol competitors can compete in Service Pistol, 22 Rimfire Pistol, Service Revolver, or the new Air Pistol program. Rifle competitors could compete in Service Rifle, Smallbore Rifle Position, Smallbore Rifle Prone or the new Air Rifle program.
- Authorized Service Rifle or Service Pistol competitors may also compete to earn Distinguished Marksman credit points in M16 or M9 Special EIC (4-point leg) Matches that are conducted during Small Arms Firing Schools or Marksmanship 101 courses. They will receive 4 credit points if they fire a score that equals or exceeds the lowest score that earns EIC credit points in a match.
CMP HIGHPOWER RIFLE RULE CHANGES
The CMP Highpower Rifle program includes 1) traditional Service Rifle events conducted according to National Trophy Match rules (no sighters, starting rapid-fire series from standing), 2) Highpower Rifle events conducted according to CMP Cup Match rules (with sighters, starting rapid-fire in position), 3) Long-Range Rifle (prone and F-class events at 800, 900, and 1000 yards) and Mid-Range Rifle (prone and F-class events at 600 yards). The CMP program for Mid- and Long-Range competitions now includes: 1) Match Rifle Prone Long-Range, 2) Service Rifle Prone Long-Range, 2) F-Class Long-Range, 3) AR Tactical Long-Range, 4) Prone Mid-Range, F-Class Mid-Range 6) AR Tactical Mid-Range, and 7) Service Rifle Mid-Range events.
There are no major changes in the 2022 Highpower Rifle rules, but there are several technical changes that competitors and match sponsors will want to note:
- Rule H2.6.9. Residency requirements for National Trophy Team Matches were changed to allow competitors who live in states that do not enter teams to join and compete for a team from an adjoining state. Competitors who wish to take advantage of this authorization must apply to CMP Competitions for annual approvals.
- Rule H3.6.2. The rule requiring the wearing of eye and hearing protection on active Highpower Rifle ranges was clarified to also require wearing eye and hearing protection when in Highpower Rifle target pits.
- Rules H3.8.2 & H6.5. Firing times for rapid-fire series on electronic targets are clarified. To equalize firing times between pit-operated and electronic targets, 3 seconds are added to electronic target firing times to compensate for the time it takes for pit-operated targets to rise from the pits to their fully elevated positions.
- Rule H3.9.3 c). The allowance for an extra sighter when CMP Cup Matches at 600 yards are interrupted for more than 3 minutes was extended to also apply in all Long-Range events at 800, 900, and 1000 yards.
- Rule H3.10.1. A CMP sanctioned Highpower Rifle match may be fired on ranges that have both electronic and pit-operated targets if random squadding is used. A new rule clarifies that for Service Rifle EIC Matches, all Non-Distinguished competitors must fire on the same type of target.
- Rule H3.10.9. A procedure for correcting scores recorded in error was added.
- Rule H3.10.10 h). A procedure for handling shots that were inadvertently not recorded was added.
- Rule H3.10.11 b). If there is a missing shot with no evidence of a crossfire or off-target miss and it is confirmed that the competitor fired all ten shots, the competitor will be given the score of the lowest value hit for the missing shot. The previous requirement that the nine visible hits all had to be nines or tens was dropped.
- Rule H5.2.2. F-Class Mid-Range 600-yard 3×20 competitors will be allowed unlimited sighters before the first 20-shot stage.
- Rule H6.6.6 d). A procedure was added for allowing a sighter in matches where electronic targets are used for events where an additional sighter may be authorized after an interruption.
CMP PISTOL RULE CHANGES
The CMP Pistol program expanded in 2021 by adding rules for Match Pistol and Revolver events. Match Pistol rules include three-gun 22 rimfire, centerfire, and 45 caliber pistol events. The inaugural National Matches Match Pistol Championship attracted 474 competitors. 2021 CMP Pistol rules also introduced a Service Revolver Match; the 2021 National Matches Service Revolver Match attracted 172 competitors.
- The Service Revolver Distinguished Badge program is new in 2022. Service Revolver EIC Matches will use the 40-shot President’s Pistol Match course of fire and the CMP will start sanctioning Service Revolver EIC Matches in 2022. Competitors who finish in the top 10 percent in these matches will be credited with EIC credit points that count towards the 30 points required to be awarded the new badge.
- Rule P4.1.7. Service Revolver rules were modified. The minimum caliber was increased to 9mm/.38 Special. The 6.5 in. maximum barrel length will be measured from the “forward edge of the cylinder,” and the minimum single action trigger pull was changed to four (4) pounds. Ammunition allowed for these matches is “any safe, single projectile ammunition.”
- Rule P4.2.3 b). The 2.5 lb. trigger allowance for revolvers used in 45 cal. Match Pistol events was deleted; if a revolver is used in a 45 cal. Match Pistol event, it must have the same 4.0 lb. trigger pull as a semi-auto.
- Rule P2.6.9. Residency requirements for National Trophy Team Matches were changed to allow competitors who live in states that do not enter teams to join and compete for a team from an adjoining state. Competitors who wish to take advantage of this authorization must apply to CMP Competitions for annual approvals.
- Rule P3.12.3. Pistol Achievement Award cut scores were upgraded based on 2021 National Match scores.
- Rule P4.3.3. Specific procedures for weighing triggers were added.
- Rule P5.1.7 b). An additional clarification for allowable and non-allowable malfunctions was added. If a malfunction is claimed and a Range Officer inspection confirms that there was no round in the chamber, that will be a non-allowable malfunction. Competitors are responsible for loading their first rounds.
- Rule P7.4.6. The National Matches Service Revolver Match, which debuted in 2021, has its course of fire changed to the 40-shot President’s Match course. In 2022, this event will become an EIC Match where the top ten percent of competitors receive Service Revolver EIC credit points.
- Rule P10.3. The list of National Record events and categories was expanded.
CMP GAMES RULE CHANGES
CMP Games Competition Rules for Rifle and Pistol govern Vintage Military Rifle, As-Issued Pistol and Rimfire Sporter events. There are no major rule changes in the 9th 2022 edition of this rulebook but there are some technical changes that competitors and match sponsors who use this rulebook will want to note:
Rules for the Springfield M1A Match, a National Matches event sponsored by Springfield Armory, were moved from the Highpower Rifle rulebook to the CMP Games rulebook. This match is a metallic-sight only event, but since CMP Highpower Rifle rules for M14/M1A Service Rifles allow optical sights, the rules for the Springfield M1A Match were moved to this rulebook to distinguish this event from Service Rifle events that allow the use of M14/M1A rifles with 4.5X optical sights. The Springfield M1A Match celebrates the role this unique military rifle played in the history of American small arms. The CMP encourages local shooting clubs to consider sponsoring their own Springfield M1A Matches that can be sanctioned by the CMP. See Rules G5.2.8, G5.6.6 and Table 7.
- Rule 3.1.2. The rule requiring the wearing of eye and hearing protection when on Highpower Rifle ranges was clarified to also require wearing eye and hearing protection when in Highpower Rifle target pits.
- Rule G3.7.7. Procedures for handling insufficient hits and unrecorded shots were clarified or added.
- Rule G3.7.9. Firing times for rapid-fire series on electronic targets are clarified. To equalize firing times between pit-operated targets and electronic targets, 3 seconds are added to electronic target firing times to compensate for the time it takes for pit-operated targets to rise from the pits to their fully elevated positions.
- Rule G3.8.6. Special scoring rules for Pistol were added. These include rules for scoring keyhole or skid shots, non-visible hits in close groups and excessive shots.
- Rule G3.8.11. A procedure for correcting scores recorded in error was added.
- Rule G3.9. Cut Scores for Achievement Medals and Pins (in Annex G) were updated after considering 2021 National Match results. Most went down one or two points; a few went up.
- Rule G6.2.1, Table 8. Warner & Swazey M1908 or M1913 6X scopes on M1903 Springfield rifles were authorized for use in the Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match.
- Rule G6.5.1. Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match rules were clarified to reconfirm that the 5-minute sighting times at 300 and 600 yards apply for both team members, not for each team member separately. One or both team members may fire sighting shots during their one 5-minute sighting period at each range.
- Rule G9.6.3 g). A missing shot in an electronic target rapid-fire series where there is no evidence of a crossfire or off-target miss will be scored according to the lowest scoring shot regardless of its value, if the competitor fired all 10 shots.
RIMFIRE SPORTER RULE ENFORCEMENT
There are no 2022 Rimfire Sporter rule changes of any significance, but there are a couple of rule enforcement issues that need emphasis. The rules for loading state that semi-auto rifle bolts must be closed on empty chambers before inserting or loading magazines and that bolts on bolt action rifles must remain open after inserting or loading magazines. For slow-fire stages, competitors are not authorized to chamber their first rounds until after the START command is given (Rule G8.4.4. c). For rapid-fire stages, competitors are not authorized to chamber their first rounds until the START command is given and competitors are in their firing positions (Rule G8.5.3 b). Many new competitors apparently are not aware of this safety rule and illegally chamber their first rounds immediately after the LOAD command. Anyone who serves as a Range Officer in Rimfire Sporter matches is urged to be sure their competitors are aware of this rule and follow it.
A second point of concern is Rule G3.4.5 that explicitly permits new shooters to be coached during Rimfire Sporter preparation and sighter stages. This rule allows new and inexperienced competitors to have coaching assistance during preparation and sighter stages to help them get into position or zero their rifles. Experienced shooters, however, are not allowed to have coaching assistance during any stage of fire. In Rimfire Sporter, it’s OK to allow new and inexperienced shooters to have coaching assistance.
SMALLBORE RIFLE COMPETITION RULES
The first CMP Smallbore Rifle Competition rulebook was released in 2018. These rules were used to conduct National Matches Smallbore Rifle Position and Prone Championships in 2018, 2019 and 2021 (The 2020 Championship was cancelled due to covid.). One of the most encouraging 2021 National Matches developments was an increase in competitors in the National Matches Smallbore Rifle Position Championship and the high percentage of those competitors who were juniors. Entries were up 44%, with 137 competitors. An impressive 88% of those competitors were juniors!
There are no significant Smallbore Rifle rule changes for 2022, but there are a couple of program developments to note:
- Smallbore Rifle Distinguished Badges. Smallbore Distinguished Badges were introduced in 2020, but covid cancellations prevented this new award opportunity from getting off the ground. That should change in 2022. The CMP has moved its Camp Perry Open Championship from January to May so a Smallbore Position event could be included in that popular championship. With a new Camp Perry Open Smallbore Rifle event in May, the National Matches Smallbore Championship in July, and the expectation that there will be sanctioned Smallbore EIC Matches in 2022, the first presentation of Smallbore Distinguished Badges could occur in the coming year.
- Smallbore Position Course of Fire. The CMP Smallbore Rifle rulebook mandates that Smallbore Rifle Position EIC Matches be 3×40 120-shot courses of fire, but if the pending ISSF change to 3×20 three-position events is finalized, CMP Smallbore Position EIC Matches likely will be changed to recognize 3×20 courses of fire as EIC Matches later in 2022.
- Junior Age Limit Change. Since the Smallbore Rifle matches attract a high percentage of juniors, the age group rule change that extends junior eligibility to the day of a competitor’s 21st birthday, intermediate junior eligibility to the 18th birthday and sub-junior eligibility to the 15th birthday will impact many juniors who compete in these matches.
INTERNATIONAL DISTINGUISHED BADGE REGULATION REVISIONS
The International Distinguished Badge is arguably the most difficult Distinguished Badge to earn because anyone who earns this badge must first qualify for a USA National Team selected by USA Shooting to represent our country in international competitions governed by the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) or WSPS (World Shooting Para Sport). Earning the badge then requires medal winning performances in competitions like the Olympic or Paralympic Games, World Championships, Pan American or Parapan American Games or World Cups. The Distinguished International Shooter Badge was established by the U. S. Department of Defense in 1963 and the first badge (serial #1) was presented by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. To date, USA athletes have been awarded 538 of these prestigious badges.
Regulations for the award of these badges have been moved from the CMP Highpower Rifle and Pistol rulebooks to the CMP Smallbore Rifle and Air Rifle/Air Pistol rulebooks because of the closer affinity that the latter rulebooks have with ISSF and WSPS events where athletes can earn these badges. The ISSF has made several recent rule changes that make it necessary to revise the regulations governing these badges. Changes included in the International Distinguished Badge regulations that are published in the CMP Smallbore Rifle and Air Rifle/Air Pistol rulebooks include:
- The Para Pan American Games are added to the championships where para-athletes can earn credit points.
- The Olympic/Paralympic priority is strengthened. Any athlete who wins a gold, silver, or bronze medal in the Olympic or Paralympic Games receives the full 30 credit points required to win the badge.
- With the addition of separate ISSF World Championships for rifle and pistol and a proliferation of team events, the credit points table was changed: Olympic events have a priority over non-Olympic events; Olympic mixed team events still earn points, but many non-Olympic and team events do not.
- The recent International Olympic Committee decision to postpone approval of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games shooting program has left some ISSF rules in a state of flux. As final versions of these rules are worked out, further adjustments in the International Distinguished Badge regulations may be required.
If anyone has questions about any 2022 CMP Competitions Rulebooks, please contact the CMP Competitions Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or (419) 635-2141, ext. 714 or 729. For Smallbore Rule questions, please contact (419) 635-2141, ext. 730 or email@example.com. For Air Rifle/Air Pistol questions, please contact (419) 635-2141, ext. 702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.