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Reader Comments:

Thanksfor the great stories and tips. Even old dogs can learn new tricks. This is great for keeping the CMP active.
Tim H., AZ
I just read the article on slings. Very good! Please include other "how to" items in the future.
David S.
Moxee, WA
The story of the M1 rifle that was presented to Shifty of the 101 airborne makes me proud to be part of the shooting community. Thank you for adding it to the TFS.
Mike S.
What a great article: “A Rifle for Shifty” … that has to be one of the best stories I’ve read in quite some time. Thanks for publishing it.
Alex N.
Thank You again Christine, very good articles.
Ms. Elder, just a note to say that there are few things I look forward to receiving by email, and the Shooting News publication is one of them!
It is always a high quality publication with a nice mix of text and image, about interesting things and folks.
Keep up the good work!
Phil B., Ph.D. Annapolis, MD
That was a great story! Thanks for publishing it.
Regards from Dakota,
Jim S.
PS: I forwarded it to all my shooter friends.
This story about the "Gift for Shifty" is one of the best stories I have read so far....An example of selfless appreciation for the WW2 vets that helped make this such a wonderful country...God bless our past and present troops.
Ron W.
The story "A Rifle For Shifty" really hit me. What a wonderful tribute to one of this countries nearly forgotten heroes.
Kudos to all who were involved with finding and presenting him with "his" rifle. Thanks to those of you who shared the story.
John S.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Rifle for Shifty. We owe our WW2 veterans a debt we can never repay. I wish I could provide all of them with a similar token of appreciation.
Jeff C.
Love the newsletter. Looks good and to the point. In the Navy we have a signal that signifies an excellent job. Bravo Zulu to the staff. Keep up the good work from an old retired Command Master Chief USN
I enjoy reading The First Shot... keep up the good work. Ron
Just a note to tell you that I really appreciate the CMP Shooter's News. Thanks for all your efforts in putting it out to everyone.
Best regards,
Dan S.
After thirty three years in Law Enforcement most of that in firearms and tactical training. I have retired and have the opportunity to enjoy some of the publications, that in the past I was too busy to do. Your "First Shot" magazine that I receive each month is excellent. I can see what the youth programs are doing and follow the National Matches with ease. Thank you so much for this publication, keep up the good work.
P.C. Pickett Sr.

Printable Version

Better Performance Through Proper Nutrition

By CPL Walter Craig, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit

There is one trait common to all champions, regardless of the sport they choose to compete in. This trait is an overwhelming and all consuming desire to succeed. Their desire is so great they will let nothing stand in their way. They find satisfaction in performing to the best of their ability and in mastering their body and mind like no one else has ever done. One of the first steps in helping any athlete perform their best is developing an optimal nutritional plan.

In highpower rifle shooting the nutritional demands to sustain peak physical and mental performance for extended periods are substantial. Particularly important is the tremendous amount of energy that the eyes, and indeed all parts of the body, require to function optimally. Balanced nutrition that supports the entire body is critical, allowing the body to reach top performance. To achieve consistency in shooting, nutrition is one of the most important and often neglected ingredients in the training regimen. A sound diet also allows the shooter to develop a sound mind, improving their ability to deal with the different types of stress faced on the range.

Many people tend to eat the same thing day in and day out, focusing more on satisfying their taste buds than on the real nutritional needs of their body. A proper diet should include a large variety and quantity of fruits and vegetables. Fruits, vegetables, and grains provide a variety of nutrients, as well as fiber. A low to moderate amount of animal protein helps the body to heal much faster and more completely. I do not advocate vegetarianism, especially among athletes. Some people might question equating the word “athlete” with shooters, but in order for the shooter’s body to perform optimally, shooters must live an athlete’s lifestyle that prioritizes physical and mental health.

Most athletes need more nutrient-dense foods than the general, sedentary public. These nutrients ideally should come from whole, minimally processed grains. The shooter should avoid greasy (high trans-fat content), foods like French fries or over cooked foods where vitamins are depleted. Empty foods like refined white flour and sugar should be kept to a minimum, as should the consumption of soda and coffee. We all need essential fatty acids (EFA), as opposed to trans-fatty acids, in the diet. I usually suggest one to two tablespoons of quality flaxseed oil each day. EFAs are anti-depressive, support immunity and play a role in almost all body functions, including joint flexibility and sugar regulation. EFAs are also found in fish oils as well as in evening primrose oil. In addition to meeting your nutritional needs, shooters should make getting adequate sleep and staying well hydrated a priority in preparation for the following day’s matches.

Incorporating good nutrition into a shooter’s training program is a win-win situation from several different viewpoints. If a shooter has the proper nutrition, then exercise and physical stress will be tolerated much better. The athlete will have greater energy reserves, improved stamina, and enhanced concentration, which definitely will lead to better overall performance on and off the rifle range. Many competitors have fired a standard highpower 800 aggregate match in tough conditions, and have found that by the time they reach the 600 yard stage, they are not only fatigued and frustrated, but their eyes are strained, making the job of focusing on the front sight post difficult. By improving your body’s health, you inherently improve your physical and visual health, giving you the added edge to realize your maximum potential.

It is every shooter’s dream to maximize their "natural" ability and hone raw talent into being a disciplined marksman who can consistently perform to the best of their ability. The key word is "consistently." There are many shooters that show initial promise, but fail to develop or sustain their competitive advantage. This is blamed on poor training, age, inability to recoup from injury, or not being sufficiently dedicated. It is my contention that diet plays a bigger role than is often credited. Because of the incredible stress placed on a body and mind while competing in any sport, nutrient demand is very high; much higher then most diets can supply. Because of the sustained stress the body is under physically and mentally over long training and competition periods, it is essential that shooters pay attention to the nutritional quality of their diets.

The USAMU Service Rifle Team is also answering your questions pertaining to Service Rifle Shooting including topics such as Equipment and Ammunition, Shooting Positions and Shooting Techniques and Tactics.  Go to to view the latest questions and answers.  If you have a question you would like to ask, email

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