Shooting Sports "Park" Opens in Alabama

Shooting Sports "Park" Opens in Alabama
Congressman Mike Rogers fires an M-1 Garand at the first competition held at the new Civilian Marksmanship Park in Talladega, Alabama.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program has opened its premier outdoor firing range in Talladega, Alabama, and it's pretty high tech.

The 500-acre, state-of-the-art facility dubbed Civilian Marksmanship Park, has several ranges for all kinds of firearms, from pistols to rifles, and was constructed at just under the $20 million mark, according to this story from the local ABC affiliate.

Congressman Mike Rogers and his son, Evan, were on hand to shoot guns in the first "competition" at the facility, where participants got one shot each at targets 200 yards away using WWII-era M1 Garand rifles. The winner got their own M1 Garand. The rifle didn't go to the shooter who hit closest to the center of their targets, but to the shooter who hit closest to a secret location on the target.

The facility's Norwegian-made targets have microphones which detect the sound of a bullet going through paper. Multiple microphones record the sound of the same round and can triangulate the bullet's hit position, which is then displayed on a screen.

"This is an enormous investment and this is going to be a destination point for people around the world, not just the country, but from around the world who want to come and shoot at a competitive range like this," Rogers said.

But you might want to stay away on race weekends, as the facility is set to be closed to the public when NASCAR is in town.

"We will be open to NASCAR drivers and their families," said the Park's COO Mark Johnson.

The Park held its first major competition on June 6, in which all competitors also used M1 Garands in honor of the 71st anniversary of D-Day.

Chartered by the federal government, the Civilian Marksmanship Program promotes firearms safety training and rifle practice for all qualified U.S. citizens with special emphasis on youth. Any U.S. citizen who is not legally prohibited from owning a firearm may purchase a military surplus rifle from the CMP, as long as they are a member of a CMP-affiliated club. The CMP operates through a network of affiliated shooting clubs and state associations.