It’s interesting to talk to other gun owners, and it’s one of the real joys of my job. One thing that I find interesting is that many shooters tend to self-identify.

“I’m a revolver guy.”

“I’m a trap shooter.”

“I’m an IDPA shooter.”

“I’m a rifleman.”

Prior to May 3rd, I probably would have come closest to identifying myself as a rifleman. That was before I saw very talented two-person teams of shooters take on Woody’s Designated Marksman Match (DMM). While I can hit targets from prone out to 500 yards and I’ve made shots from a bench out to 960 yards, I don’t think I have the field skills to call myself a rifleman… not after watching these people shoot.

A DMM is a field shooting sport where two-man teams of competitors go through a number of stages, engaging targets at distances out to 650 yards.

I camped out at Stage 5, the last stage of this match. Here’s the scenario.

Stage # 5 RIVER BOAT/ RIVER BANK ATTACK Rifle ( Par Time 300 seconds )
Both shooters start behind start line. One shooter shoots from river bank barricade and one shoots from the boat. 1st shooter shoots from barricade with rifle loaded hot pointed down range. After 1st shooter is done and rifle is cleared then 2nd shooter can move into position on the boat. 2nd shooters rifle can be placed anywhere forward of both shooters before the buzzer. The 2nd shooters Rifle can be handed to 2nd shooter by the 1st shooter. 2nd shooter “Can not” charge rifle till in prone position on boat.

The targets ranged in size from 4″-6″.

stage 5

Yes, there are  six targets in front of these shooting positions, they’re just too small and far away to see them in this photo. The “river bank” is the black barricade on the right. Competitors could shoot off any part of the barricade, or prone through the gap in the base. While I was there, everyone chose to shoot through the opening at the base. This was the “easy” part of the stage in this team shoot.

When the first shooter had successfully engaged all targets (or ran out of ammunition) and made his weapon safe, the second shooter then mounted the “boat” and got into a prone position, at which point shooter 1 would pass him his or her rifle.

The “boat” is a metal frame suspended at the corners by chains. As the shooters shifted from target to target, the boat would buck, twist shimmy and shake. While the first shooter could use his body to help brace the “boat,” it was never a solid shooting platform.

All of the shooters were very skilled, and it was interesting to see the way each chose to tackle the stage.

stage 5

Some shooters (firing from position”XX” in the image above) chose to engage the targets from the nearest to the farthest, starting with the plate in the center of the target cluster at 150 yards, shifting over to the target in the ally between two sets of trees at 225 yards on the far right, before shifting back the the obscured target at 256 yards hiding behind a “hostage,” “no shoot” target. If you shot the hostage, you had a minute added to your score.

The shooters then took on the target at 334 yards that they could see through a gap in a stand of young ditch-bank pines, before engaging a target in the open field at 368 yards. They finished off on the long-range target at the treeline, 412 yards out.

Did I mention that the targets were only 4-6 inches in size, because in a “real world” scenario, a designated marksman will likely be shooting at an enemy hiding behind cover, providing only the smallest parts of his body for a target?