Student Air Rifle Program

SAR Overview

Used properly, air rifles are safe, universal, and fun, making them the go-to tool to introduce youth and adults to the sport of target shooting. The Student Air Rifle Program (SAR), developed by the Missouri Youth Sport Shooting Alliance in 2013, is a 501c3 nonprofit. SAR uses school aligned units of study, teacher training, universal whistle commands, positive language, and standardized equipment to facilitate an introduction to the lifetime sport of target shooting to school-aged youth in grades 4 through 12. Target shooting is known as a lifetime sport and can be practiced for most at an early age and continue through adult hood. In addition, target shooting has the ability to foster teamwork, responsibility and focus while teaching important life lessons, which is at the core of SAR. 

Modeled after the National Archery in the Schools Program, SAR was created to be a similar program for basic air rifle shooting and firearms safety. Although there are other air rifle programs available, this program is the only one modeling the methods and structure of the popular NASP program that has proven to be effective. Safety protocols including international whistle commands, training methods and standardized equipment makes SAR a safe, in-school shooting sports program. Standardized equipment allows all participants to be on a level playing field and erodes the potential for financial background or social status to have an impact on the participation of any student. In addition, equipment is readily available; everyone is familiar with the operation of the equipment and is available at a fair price due to the mass production that is achieved. 

Why an Air Rifle Program?

Air rifles are fun, safe, and simple, making them the go-to tool to introduce youngsters and adults to the sport of target shooting. Target shooting is known as a lifetime sport and can be practiced for most at an early age through adulthood and can be practiced regardless of physical ability. Air rifle and smallbore target shooting is a sanctioned activity with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and is recognized as an Olympic sport. 

Why in School?

It is the philosophy of SAR that more kids can be introduced to target shooting and the shooting sports by incorporating the program in the school setting. Though, this presents some unique challenges, the outcome will be a higher number of youth participating in the shooting spots. Traditionally, shooting sports programs have been pursued outside of the school setting and are often attended by participants who are already in shooting sports or who have a family connection. By incorporating the program with school curriculum, a larger number of participants can be exposed as well as great non-traditional involvement. 

This program can

  • Facilitate a safe and basic introduction to firearms safety and target shooting
  • Promote positive youth development
  • Encourage teamwork
  • Help students be effective decision makers
  • Hold students accountable
  • Build integrity and honesty 

Why KDWP is committed to the Student Air Rifle Program

The program introduces shooting sports as a lifelong activity that is both safe and fun for students. In addition to gaining a healthy activity, future target shooters will provide needed funding and general support for wildlife conservation efforts and hunter education. The Pittman-Robertson Act imposes a federal excise tax on firearm equipment that directly supports hunter education efforts in Kansas through federal assistance. Many students who participate in the program go on to become shooters and shooting supports, many becoming hunters, and thus directly contributing to conservation efforts. 

SAR Website - 

Tournaments - 

Annual Reporting - 

Contact:  Joyce Ellis; joyce.ellis@KS.GOV