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United States Army Marskmanship History


In the 50s, the Soviets dominated the international shooting scene. Many believed that only the U.S. Army had the personnel and facilities to develop a program that could compete with them.

The AMU quickly established itself as a world power in shooting. Between 1962 and 1978, the unit led the United States to six Olympic Gold Medals and 59 individual and team championships in international competition.

Later, the unit’s mission expanded to facilitate Army recruiting. The unit also provided marksmanship training to thousands of Soldiers, and became a leader in small-arms research and development.

From 2009 to 2012, the AMU maintained a constant presence in Afghanistan by deploying multiple marksmanship training teams in support of the Afghan National Army NATO training mission.


The unit is composed of five competitive shooting sections, each with world-class training facilities and competition grounds.

Those teams include: service rifle, action shooting, international rifle, service pistol, and shotgun.

These teams have represented the United States during every Summer Olympic Games since 1960, and have earned 24 Olympic medals since that time.

Custom Firearms Shop

The unit builds and customizes small arms and ammunition through the Custom Firearms Shop. The Army’s finest gunsmiths, machinists, range technicians and ammunition loaders staff the shop. They are known as the backbone, or “pit crew” of the marksmanship teams.

The custom firearm shop's research and development efforts have led to enhanced accuracy and reliability of the Army’s competitive weapon systems and ammunition, and have intensified the combat effectiveness of the entire Army.

For example, the M21 and M24 sniper systems, special purpose rifles and squad designated marksman rifles were developed and tested in the shop.