Distinguished awards are the highest individual honors for excellence in the NRA’s marksmanship competitions. Since the establishment of the smallbore Distinguished award in 1965, the NRA has expanded its Distinguished program to include revolver, high power rifle, action pistol, and air gun.
Anyone can compete for these Distinguished designations by shooting in qualifying matches. Earning four steps or 30 points by finishing in the top 10 percent at designated tournaments will add you to the ranks of NRA’s Distinguished competitors.
Whether you want to begin pursuing your first award, return to competition after time away from the firing line, or be recognized in additional disciplines, your journey to Distinguished starts here.
The NRA Distinguished Revolver Badge is awarded to those competitors who earn a total of 30 points through unassisted individual competition in NRA Distinguished Revolver Matches. Each time a competitor places in the top-scoring 10% of all non-Distinguished revolver competitors firing in each of the designated tournaments, that competitor will earn points toward an NRA Distinguished Revolver Award.
The NRA Distinguished Rifleman Badge was created in 2017 to recognize excellence in rifle marksmanship. Each time a competitor places in the top-scoring 10% at a designated tournament, that competitor will earn a step toward an NRA Distinguished Rifleman Award.
Steps will be awarded to the top 10% of each firearm from the overall match scores. For example, in an Over the Course match with 37 competitors, of which 30 are using service rifles and 7 are using match rifles, there can be steps awarded to 3 service rifle competitors and 1 match rifle competitor. If you only have 34 service rifles and 3 match rifles, there will be no match rifle steps awarded, and steps will be awarded to 3 service rifle competitors.
Competitors who successfully complete the requirements for a Distinguished Rifleman Badge receive the following awards:
Distinguished Rifleman Medallion
Distinguished Rifleman Brassard
Distinguished Rifleman Lapel Pin
Distinguished Rifleman awards will be given for Over the Course, Mid-Range, Long Range, and Fullbore. A competitor may earn Distinguished awards in 11 categories. When the first bar is earned in a discipline, the badge and the bar will be issued. When future bars are earned in that discipline, only the bar will be awarded.
The NRA Action Pistol Distinguished program is similar to the other Distinguished programs. However, there is no limitation on the firearm used as long as it conforms to NRA Action Pistol shooting rules. Each time a competitor attains a minimum qualifying score in the designated tournaments, that competitor will earn points toward an NRA Action Pistol Distinguished Award.
The NRA Distinguished Smallbore Rifle Awards began in 1965 with position (which may be earned in either or both of three- or four-position competition) and prone awards. Each time a competitor places in the top-scoring 10% of the designated tournaments, that competitor will earn a step toward an NRA Distinguished Smallbore Rifleman Award.
The NRA Air Rifle Distinguished program was created in 2010 to recognize outstanding junior athletes in three-position air rifle matches. Each time a competitor places in the top scoring 10% of the designated tournaments, that competitor will earn a step toward an NRA Distinguished Air Gun Award. Competitors who earn both 3 Position Sporter Air Rifle and 3 Position Precision Air Rifle will receive a Double Distinguished pin.
NRA’s Law Enforcement Division also has a Distinguished Revolver/Pistol Program for excellence in Police Combat competition; click here to learn more.
The Competitive Shooting Division of the NRA offers a wide range of activities in all types of shooting, sanctions over 11,000 shooting tournaments and sponsors over 50 national championships each year.