Newly restarted shooting team is on target

The Norwich University Shooting Team is comparatively new, only being founded this past April, but it is gaining in enthusiasm and skills and hopes to do well in competitions.

Matthew Latter, 23, a senior studies of war and peace major from Bradley, Mass., and vice president of the team, says a lot of new eager shooters have joined up.

“The (people) who are going to start shooting really well, and we’ll see that in the next month or two, are the people who haven’t shot before,” he said, He attributes the growth in skills of these young shooters to the great teaching they have received.

The Cadet-laden team has seen a recent growth in participation from civilian students at Norwich, and now boasts a membership total of about 50. The shooting range is where they interact most frequently and get a chance to build camaraderie as a team.

“We definitely have some close friendships forming,” Latter said. The talented mixture of cadets and civilians practice three times a week at the Barrofio shooting range in Northfield. Josiah Caputo, 22, a senior majoring in Criminal Justice from Bristol, N.H., said the Barrofio shooting range was built using equipment from Norwich, and is run by community members.

Aaron Schott, 20, a junior criminal justice major from Newport Beach, Cal., said. “We did really good, we went to a steel target match and overall we had one guy get second place. We all scored in the top 20 for mens, and for women’s, we scored in the top 10.” Norwich’s best shooters are those who have had experience prior to joining the team.

After taking second place in the Men’s Junior Competition at their most recent competition in Jericho, Vt., the team is hoping to travel to shooting competitions throughout New England. “If you want to be part of the competition, show us you want to be part of the competition. Show us that you’re willing to come (to practice) and train and shoot.” Caputo said.

According to Schott, the team currently has paper targets which allow participants to “check your groupings, and see how close your groupings are.”

“Groupings” refer to the proximity in which bullets hit the target: the closer the better.

The shooting team takes a similar tack when it comes to intrasquad friendships, Schott notes, adding “we’re all pretty close-knit, we all hang out and shoot the s–t.”

Norwich’s shooting team uses a wide variety of guns including the Ruger Mark III, SIG Sauer GSR, .22 rifle, and Glock, but uses strictly .22 caliber bullets while practicing. “The short-stub Mark III Ruger’s would be my favorite gun, they’re just fun to shoot.” Caputo said. In accordance with school policies, the shooting team stores its firearms in the security office under lock and key.

Caputo has been shooting for most of his life, and is well-versed in shooting the M-16, courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps., and hopes that his experiences with the Norwich shooting team will help to increase his rifle qualification score.

According to Schott, the team plans on introducing “big-boy rifles” in the upcoming semester which will expand the team’s knowledge. Ammo is one of the more expensive aspects of shooting recreationally or for sport, and justifies a $40 fee associated with being part of the Norwich team, which also covers membership fees for the Vermont State Rifle and Pistol Association.

The shooting team requires no previous experience with competition shooting, and is capable of providing a safe learning environment. In addition to the ammo and firearms, participant are required to wear both eye and ear protection, which are both provided by the team.

“Competition shooting is much different than defensive shooting,” said Latter, who also works as a security guard near his hometown. “It’s just like lacrosse, playing offense and defense, there’s two skill packages you’re practicing at once, and I sort of play a midfield type of position.”

Norwich has had several shooting clubs in the past, but seemingly always found difficulty getting off the ground. Thanks to new leadership, direction, and renewed determination, the team appears on target for a bright future.

“I’m hoping to get (the team) back as a NCAA sport; as we had it at one time,” Caputo said.


  1. Jerry Dennig says:

    I am a member of the class of 67′ ( 50 th reunion this year !)
    I fired on the rifle team my freshman year. Competition with other
    civilian and military colleges, was ongoing and popular . My fellow cadets were 4 year team members. Freshman and upperclassman teams were strong.
    It seems incredible that all U.S. military colleges( Army,Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine), The Citadel, VMI, Texas A&M,
    Georgia Military College………ALL have rifle teams that compete in position
    .22 rifle events.
    It very disheartening to see Norwich………….the oldest private military college, and the founder of R.O.T.C. , to not have an active rifle team. Why ?

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