Oscar K. Weinmeister, Sr., a Department of the Army civilian employee with the U. S. Army Marksmanship Unit has been shooting and coaching competitive handguns for the past three decades.
Weinmeister entered the Army at Atlanta, Georgia, in November 1934 and served on combat duty during World War II. For his military service he has been decorated with the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal and Army Commendation Medal. He was awarded the Distinguished Pistol Badge in 1951 for his Outstanding pistol marksmanship.
While serving 30 years active duty with the Army, Weinmeister fired competitively in National type .22 caliber, Center Fire and .45 caliber. He fired in his first match in company level competition in 1937 and became a member of the U. S. Army Infantry Pistol Team in 1940. He won the Georgia State Pistol Championship in 195i and 1953 in three-gun competition. In the same years he fired on the .22 caliber team which won the championships of the National Matches at Jacksonville. Florida, and the Kentucky State Championships where they established a .22 Caliber Team National Record. He also held the NMC National Record with Center Fire in 1953 with a score of 298, fired in Coral Gables, Florida.
Weinmeister was a member of the 1962 International Center Fire team in the Counseil du Sport Militaire (CISM) Matches held in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was a member of the Army "Blue" team in three-gun competition during the years 1951 through 1956.
Prior to his retirement from the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer W4 in 1965, Weinmeister served as Head Coach for the U. S. Army Pistol Team from 1958 through 1965. The U. S. Army Pistol Team made its first clean sweep of the National Matches in 1962. Since his retirement he returned to the Marksmanship Unit where he authored and compiled several of the Marksmanship Training Manuals. He served as Officer in Charge of the U. S. Army Pistol Team in 1969-1970. He is now serving in the USAMU as the Coordinator of Marksmanship Training for the Continental United States. His duties now include administering the Active Army, Army Reserve and National Guard Distinguished Marksmanship Award Program.
TO BECOME A CHAMPION SHOOTER
There is no substitute for knowledge and experience in becoming a shooting champion. This fact establishes the need for a marksmanship training program that will improve the shooting skill, provide increased knowledge of shooting techniques and motivate the individual and team competitor to continuously strive toward producing the winning score. Marksmanship skill of championship caliber has never been acquired quickly. The champion shooter is the result of astute coaching, possession of a commanding knowledge of how to employ the fundamentals of marksmanship, manual and mental dexterity, a consuming desire to excel and a willingness to work hard during the long hours of practice and preparation for match competition.
There are four phases in the development of a shooter to be a champion; exploring, questioning, organizing, and accomplishing his goals.
First, the new shooter finds himself becoming interested in the skill of marksmanship by association with competitive marksmen or a shooting coach. The tyro senses that he is involved in a challenging, skillful endeavor. In his limited experience, he has learned that this is a dynamic sport and embraces certain vital factors that arouse his curiosity. His continued participation is sustained by the encouragement and help he receives from his contemporaries. He has lasting interest only if he is able to improve or feels that he has the potential to become a contender.
Secondly, initial exploration is followed by inquisitive expansion of his knowledge of the fundamentals and techniques of shooting. A new shooter's learning possibilities are limited if he is left alone to ponder the multitude of factors that make up the framework of shooting skill. Beyond a certain point, if he is to gain an understanding, he must ask questions, look for the answers to his problems and devote extensive discussion to the methods of employing the fundamentals. Real conversation begins when the developing shooter does not fully grasp or accept the answers he is getting. A meeting of minds results and there ensues an exchange of ideas and information between coach and shooter. During this period the shooter may veer toward excessive self doubt or lean in the direction of overconfidence. The skillful coach however can bring him back to the middle ground of solid progress. Less and less the shooter is merely probing, he repeatedly convinces himself that he is approaching a new plateau of performance from which he will not retreat. He has now materially expanded his knowledge of marksmanship.
Thirdly, intelligent coaching then helps the shooter to hurdle the next important challenge, organization of his shooting knowledge into a technique of operation. Organization of a full grasp of the fundamentals, factors and principles of marksmanship contributes to the shooter's ability to attain control of his performance. His system of operation is peculiar to him and now he can progress on his own at a rata suitable to his capacity. There has come into being a degree of personal accomplishment that generates confidence that the goals will be achieved; winning in competition.
Fourth and last, the consummation. Personal coaching becomes a sustaining factor when the inducement to accomplishment is reached. Instruction is replaced by counseling and guidance. If the established method of operation is momentarily disrupted, the resourceful coach and the enterprising shooter will devise a corrective action to overcome the error in performance. The relentless adherence to a system that produces unswerving control will result in consistently high scores. By exercising skillful judgment, the shooter can overcome variations of the will, of the weather and of the competition. He has now developed a determination of how he will accomplish his end. The degree of accomplishment depends upon the peculiar nature of this entity he has created. The limitations, if any, lie in the ambition, force of character, completeness of knowledge, confidence, enthusiasm and his response to group incentive. Whether he will fulfill his desire to become a champion is ultimately only his business.