Santa Margarita Gun Club

Letter from the SMGC President – 2015-10-23

Hello All Hands,

First off, as we enter into the Holiday Season we at SMGC would like to wish you all the best of Seasons with your families and friends. As the shooting season closes for FY 2015, I’d like to make you all aware of the upcoming and awaited “GSM Match and Practice Day”. We often field the question, “When will we have a practice day?” Well here’s your chance – November 1st will be a SMGC Club Practice Day. This is the day after Jeff Lovat’s GSM (Garand/ Springfield/Vintage Military) Rifle event. Check out the event information posted on our website: . We highly encourage period uniforms and the like as well! A great time for some show and tell and history revisited while exercising the old warhorses you have stashed away in those safes!

Club Memberships:
This is also the time of year when we like to remind you all to renew your Club Memberships. The funds generated by you all renewing your Annual Memberships collectively go towards the Club’s capital expenses, yearly insurance costs, trophies, lease and targetry supplies. So the importance of everyone participating in SMGC events becoming Club Members is paramount. I’d like to remind all of the folks that have been getting by as Daily Associate Members, that the intent of the program is to let people experience SMGC and then decide on continued participation before paying up for the Yearly Associate option. As such, the fees for the Daily Associate will be going up in 2016 so as to be an incentive to transition to a Yearly Associate Membership (as required by the By-laws for continued participation).

Range Safety Officer’s (RSO’s) and Medical personnel (EMT’s or Higher):
The Club is also always in need of RSO’s and Medical personnel. Currently SMGC has a policy of all Medical Personnel participating for free at our events. This has allowed us to build our pool of Medical personnel so that the Club can always have at least two Medic’s/EMT’s on hand for an SMGC Event; as required by MCB Camp Pendleton for ALL Live Fire events.

The Club is desperately in need of Range Safety Officer’s (RSO’s). We are focused on building the quantity of this required asset. For those of you interested in becoming an RSO, the process is becoming streamlined with the ability to conduct the Distance Learning (DL) portion of the process online or at the Learning Resource Center (LRC’s) aboard Base (as intended). CWO3 Jerry McDonough, USMC, who also happens to be on the Board of Director’s (BoD), is the coordinator for the RSO program. Jerry is being assisted by LCDR Eric Villarreal, USN. Please contact Jerry with requests for RSO training or further information on becoming a much needed, Club RSO.


  • Long Range (LR) Program – I would like everyone to know that the SMGC Long Range Director Gary Fowler, his assistant Mike Jones, and the rest of us managing SMGC Inc. are focusing our collective efforts on solving the problems that we experienced last season. The goal is to bring you all a more robust and reliable LR Program. Those of us that are LR aficionados were disappointed with the fact that we only produced 6 LR events last season; that will change in January (if not sooner).
  • Pistol Program – It is my pleasure to introduce the SMGC Pistol Director Steve Rohde, and his assistants: Ted Falencki, Harry Hall and Matt Kokoska (Dist. Pistol Shooter, BoD). We expect a rise in participation at Pistol events with the recent changes to Bullseye/Precision Pistol rules and the addition of two handed competition classes. With the changes reflected opening up the categories of pistol available for competition and the changes with regard to two handed use, I expect an influx of participants similar to the meteoric rise in participation at Midrange and LR events by the F-Class shooters; let’s see if I’m correct. We’re also hoping to draw participation from Law Enforcement and the Services now that the rule changes will be appealing to those groups; groups that have been dwindling in participation in recent years.
  • Mid-Range (MR) Rifle Program – I’m sure everyone knows the SMGC MR and XTC Director – Harry Harrison (BoD, VP, Dist. Rifle Shooter) and his assistants Ken Letwin and Bradley Losey; without who, those programs would bog to a slow crawl and have no results after the Matches, or Awards! I’d like to point out that these programs are the largest attractors of participants to the Club, and with the addition of F-Class, became the fastest growing class of participants entering the Club as Members.
  • Across the Course (XTC) Rifle Program – This program has major changes occurring as well that should boost it’s census. With the changes allowing use of a 4x optic in competition now, the Distinguished Rifle Award is capable of being accomplished with the current issue optics for the Armed Services; this should increase the numbers of Service Men and Women we see on the Range chasing that most worthy goal. Especially with the Marine Corps about to enter it’s Inter- murals and Inter-service competition series for this year and in preparation for Division Matches and higher competition; we should be seeing the hungry and the future representatives for the Marine Corps Shooting Team on our Ranges hunting for those points presently…. GOOD HUNTING MARINES!
  • (GSM) Garand/ Springfield/Vintage Military Rifle Program – It is also my privilege to introduce the SMGC GSM Director Jeff Lovat, Jeff is currently a single handed operation and has held a couple of very successful shoots of late; his first to be specific. He did quite well and the Matches went smoothly as reported by many of the attendees. The goal for Jeff and whomever we can enlist to support him, will be to hold a GSM event at least every quarter. Should we have enough interest, the implementation of other Courses of Fire (COF) can be added; for instance CMP Rimfire, Carbine, M1A Matches are available.

Helping Hands and Work Parties:
It also goes without saying that all Members are expected to participate in the daily setup and breakdown of the Ranges and equipment as we are a Mutual Benefit, Non-Profit, Corporation. There is an old saying: “With many hands, makes light work” (probably started by Pyramid builders). We are only as good as the folks willing to volunteer to assist those, that have chosen to volunteer as Match Directors. Most of them need Assistant Directors… ALL of them need assistance in setting up and securing the Range. We have a lot of moving parts and assets that need to be put away in an orderly fashion EVERY time. Please remember, all the targetry supplies: Target frames, spindles, scoring disks, score boards, golf tees and pasters… They all belong to all of us collectively. Conserve them and take care of them. Please ask yourself and someone who knows, “How can I help?”.

Please provide us with your helping hands at our Work Parties. We have been the most productive when we have had numerous people show up to assist us. Work parties will take place once a quarter to ensure targetry and our Conex boxes are properly situated and supplies are inventoried.

In closing and upon reflection of the past year, our wins and progress, I am proud of you all. I am also reminded of our loss of several good friends and brothers as well. I thank them for the opportunity to have participated with them and the richness of the experience they brought during their time with us. Most of all, thank you all for your support in allowing our fine Organization to continue to serve as the anchor for Advanced Marksmanships skills in the Southwest, for keeping the spirit of sportsmanship and competition alive for 62 years now… and comrades in arms forever.

Carry on,
John Hermsen President/CRSO SMGC Inc.