Between The Berms: Call of Duty... Err, Competition

Jan 4, 2013
For the seventh year in a row Smith & Wesson will play host to one of the most interesting shooting competitions on any range - the annual Joint Service Academy Combat Weapons Championship (JSACWC). And shooting sports industry stalwarts Black Hills Ammunition, Brownells, LaRue Tactical, Leupold, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and XS Sight Systems are all expected to again lend their support. The JSACWC, as the name implies, brings together shooting teams from America's four service Academies: the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, the United States Military Academy at West Point and the United States Naval Academy.
To increase the stress levels of the competitors, a fun little sprint with weighted ammo cans is in order. Photo by P. Erhardt
The teams compete in a multi-stage three-gun competition, using modified IDPA rules and scoring, testing their skill and proficiency with all three firearm platforms. Of course, the Cadets and Midshipmen are less concerned about measuring firearms proficiency than they are with dominating their rival academies. It's always about bragging rights, and outgunning the opposition is just a means to that end. Adding to the drama of this year's match is the inclusion, for the first time, of a non-academy team. At the 2013 JSACWC shooters representing the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University will go head-to-head with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard teams. Besides expanding the match by inviting the Aggies, Smith & Wesson is elevating the overall event - much as it has done with it's IDPA Indoor Nationals - by holding the awards banquet at the Basketball Hall of Fame and bringing in the same caterer, giving the Cadets and Midshipmen a meal fit for officers and a far cry from an MRE. Smith & Wesson is also making this year's banquet a more formal affair by asking that attendees wear coat and tie out of respect for the Cadets and Midshipmen who will be in uniform.
Teamwork is the name of the game, especially when you're Navy looking to beat Army. Photo by P. Erhardt
Overseeing the actual competition once again will be Mike Critser who will serve as match director, scorekeeper and it's designated "hostess with the mostess." On top of planning the match and the course of fire, Critser will have to pull together a team of volunteers to run the match and serve as safety officers. In most cases, staffing an all-volunteer-run match is easier said than done. Everybody wants to shoot a match, but not everybody wants to work a match. This often leaves match directors sending out last minute email blasts begging for help and scrambling to fill staffing gaps. Yeah, not so much with the Joint Service Academy Combat Weapons Championship. "Everybody, and I do mean everybody, wants to work the Joint Service Academy match," explained Critser. "When the match goes on the calendar word spreads quickly among New England shooters accustomed to staffing matches. And before I can say 'I need your help' they are calling me and asking 'how can I help?' We'll have one of the best match staffs in the country assembled in a matter of days."
The U.S. Coast Guard Academy rocked their shotguns all day long. Photo by P. Erhardt
Last year the Midshipmen had five shooters in the top ten which helped the Naval Academy edge out West Point for the overall title. The Coast Guard Academy finished third followed by the Air Force team. With the unknown variable of the Texas A&M team, and a Coast Guard squad that has been constantly improving, it's hard to predict where each school will place this year, but one thing is for sure, the competition will be all-out. "Go (insert favorite team here)! Beat (insert least favorite team here)!" The Shooting Wire was invited to, and attended last year's match, and we'd be hard pressed to name a cooler competition just to hang out at. Besides the 70-some Cadets and Midshipmen competing, the range was crowded with proud parents who often don't get much face time with their future-officer children.
A day on the range beats almost everything else. Photo by P. Erhardt
If there is one shooting competition - outside of the Olympics - that the industry can, and should, hang it's hat on, it's this match. Nobody (and you know who we're talking about) can argue with the format, the firearms or the competitors. And nobody can find fault with an industry enthusiastically supporting this match. And enthusiastic support is what this match needs to grow. Companies not previously involved in the JSACWC should give serious consideration to joining Black Hills Ammunition, Brownells, LaRue Tactical, Leupold, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, XS Sight Systems and Smith & Wesson in making this match a major industry event. And now's the time to get involved.
Brass in the air.... We could use a little more of this and the industry support to make it happen. Photo by P. Erhardt
If your company would like to support this event and the young men and women who will be the future leaders of our military services, email Tom Yost for sponsorship opportunities and complete match information. He'll be at SHOT Show meeting with sponsors so contact him at (860) 573-0415 to set up a meeting in your booth. Your participation and support will be welcomed. - Paul Erhardt, Editor, the Outdoor Wire Digital Network Got shooting sports news? Send us an email at