History of the Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration (CAFSAC)

Backgrounder / September 1, 2017 / Project number: ncr-bk-cafsac

August 31, 2017 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

In 1868, the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association (DCRA) was founded as a response to the potential threat to Canada from outside forces. The matter was compounded by the imminent departure of the British Garrisons (which eventually took place in 1871) and repeated raids like those mounted in 1866 by the Fenians, members of a 19th-century Irish revolutionary nationalist organization based in the US and Ireland. This immediate threat to national security was met with the rapid formation of numerous rifle clubs across Canada.

The federal government of the day felt that since the rifle was the primary weapon of the infantry and given that any Canadian response to invasion would be met with militiamen raised from the civil population, an organization with the mandate to “promote and encourage the training of marksmanship throughout Canada” should be supported.

As a result, the DCRA brought together 33 independent rifle associations from a number of provinces under one umbrella organization. Such was deemed the importance of shooting that the DCRA was later incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1900 and later reinforced by the Militia Act of 1904.

The Militia Act stipulated that, in return for the government’s support (in the form of free ammunition and access to military ranges), the DCRA had a legal obligation to the defence of Canada and those members of rifle clubs supported by the government were required to serve in the Militia in the case of emergency.

Annual matches were conducted by the DCRA. In 1968, the military introduced the Service Rifle Competition (now Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration (CAFSAC)). Initially this competition was run by the DCRA but in the mid-1970s, the military decided to take over the conduct of the competition. This arrangement lasted for about four years until the Department of National Defence approached the DCRA to again take responsibility for the conduct of the Service Rifle matches.

The DCRA ran both their matches and those of the military concurrently until the late 1980s when the Army staff again took control of the running of the service rifle competition. For many years, the CAFSAC and the DCRA National Service Arms Competition (NSAC) were conducted conjointly. Until 2001 either one or the other of the organizations was responsible to conduct the matches.

In 2007, CAFSAC was re-established, having been discontinued during the war in Afghanistan. CAFSAC is now run by Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Center Headquarters on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff. The DCRA continues to hold its annual National Service Conditions Championship (NSCC) immediately prior to CAFSAC. Many of the Division teams shoot the NSCC matches in preparation for CAFSAC.

Related Links

CAFSAC Webpage
CAFSAC Facebook
The 150th anniversary of the Fenian Raids: the militia roots of today’s Army are planted
Queen’s Medal for Champion Shot

Associated Links  

Canadian Army Website
Canadian Army Facebook
Canadian Army Twitter
Canadian Army YouTube
Canadian Army Flickr
Canadian Army Instagram



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