Rifle and Pistol Club earns national recognition

Brian Borden

Brian Borden

The SDSU Rife and Pistol Club is one of the oldest clubs on campus. The club meets every evening on the range in the basement of DePuy Military Hall.

Coach Dean Balsiger said the club is open to everyone.

“It is open to all students, faculty and employees of the university and provides firearms training in both rifle and pistol to a widely diverse population of members,” Balsiger said.

“We provide basic firearms education, safety training and experience, as well as the opportunity to participate in recreational and or competitive shooting to our members as well as the local population,” Balsiger said.

He also added that membership fluctuates from year to year, with about 35-40 paid members but only a dozen or so are active.

The club has experienced a great deal of success, Balsiger said.

Serious practice begins in October, and matches start in November and December.

“In national competition, the sport is divided into three categories, ROTC, NCAA-affiliated programs and non-NCAA programs or club sports, which is where we compete,” Balsiger said.

“For the school year 1999-2000, we placed third in the nation with one of our shooters in the top 10 individually. This past year, we finished fifth behind the likes of Texas A &M and Penn State, yet managed to have one individual in fourth place nationally and one in 12th,” Balsiger said.

Balsiger said the club typically has six or seven meets a year.

“Unfortunately, North Dakota State University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln are the only two collegiate programs anywhere close, so we tend to compete against each other three or four times a year and travel can sometimes be a problem,” Balsiger said.

He also added that they will shoot open matches in South Dakota and Minnesota and hold monthly in-house matches for the practice of competing shoulder to shoulder.

Mike Flanery, a junior manufacturing engineering technology major, said he has been involved in shooting for awhile.

“I’ve been in the club for three years now. And I have been shooting competitively for about seven years or so,” Flanery said. “We shoot .22 caliber rifles and pistols. You can join the club in the fall or spring. We generally have a night so you can try it out,” Flanery added.

“We shoot prone, standing and kneeling.There are 10 bulls on a target and each one is worth 10 points. A full target is worth 100 points. Our matches consist of four targets per position,” Flanery said.

A match is called a 1200 because that is the most points possible. Every year, the club competes in the collegiate sectionals. Brian Erra has been in the top five for the last four years Flanery said.

Flanery, the club’s treasurer, said the program has received recognition nationwide.

“We have had two shooters in the program in the Junior Olympic Rife Competitions held at the olympic training center in Colorado Springs in the last four years. One of the shooters is myself and the other is Brian Erra,” Flanery said.

“Our program is also rated in the top 10 college clubs in the nation. That means a team of four people shot a combined score high enough to place us this high in the nation,” Flanery said.