Expert At Last!

Back in May, I blogged that I’d shot well enough to earn an Outdoor Expert ranking.

That’s almost three years after earning the Indoor Expert ranking which sort’a shows you the difference between shooting a 22 [indoor] and both a 22 and a 45 [outdoor]. The 45 is a challenging gun and it has taken me all that time to steel myself …, no, to desensitize myself, … no, to learn how to focus every part of myself on the dot and become oblivious to the “Bang!” and, at the same time, to move that much heavier trigger “straight back without disturbing the sights.”

Boy, that’s been a real struggle.

But in May, my scores said I’d earned the step up to Outdoor Expert.

So, I started checking the NRA Classification lookup site for the change. And I started watching my mailbox for the card.

June, July and August passed.


And one day during the 110+ degree temperatures of August, I guess I quit looking. I began to rationalize that maybe my understanding of the formula must be wrong. Yes, my aggregate of 22+45 scores were good enough, but maybe they’re looking at the 45 scores separately and saying, “Nope, this guy’s not there yet.”

And so during September the phrases, “Close but no cigar” and, “Just a leetle bit more” have run back and forth through my head on those few occasions when I stepped up to the line.

(Click to enlarge)

On a lark today, I decided to check again and, wonder of wonders, I’ve been promoted!

Hooray, it’s official! (Finally.)

That’s about a four month lag between shooting the score and getting the ranking upgrade. Like the “X” ring in Slow Fire, it needed patience. Lots of it.

The promotion also means I’ve entered the vast wasteland of Expert class where many enter but few leave.

But I am there and it feels good.

For the next few days, undoubtedly I’ll be chasing down the mailman and asking him to double-check his bag when nothing from the NRA arrives other than the periodic badgering for cash donations.

“Hey NRA, where’s my card?

“Should I start warming up the lamination machine at Kinkos?

“NRA, are you there?


4 thoughts on “Expert At Last!

  1. Thanks, Tony and all.
    The nice thing about objective, skill-based ranking systems such as Conventional Pistol is embodied in the statement sometimes heard as targets are being scored, "If you want a ten, then shoot a ten."
    Master class means a shooter is scoring 95% of the available points.
    Heck, I've shot a lot of 95 or better targets. How hard can it be to just do it a little more often?
    [You may laugh now.]

  2. "Expert Purgatory" just about sums it up; I've been trying to break out of it all year. Almost did earlier this year, but scuttled it by bracketing Master-level scores with Expert-level scores — I couldn't string two Master-level 2700 scores together to get the promotion.

    Congratulations on making it here, at any rate. May your stay be brief, or else be consigned to winning the Expert class at every match =)

  3. I'm having a similar experience trying to get into Sharpshooter. My scores have been right on the edge of Marksman/Sharpshooter for quite a while. Slow Fire is what seems to be holding me up. It really is true that "Slow-fire drives shooters nuts." Congratulations on getting into Expert Purgatory!

    Greg Conlon
    Jenison, MI

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