Shooting USA – U.S. Steel Nationals
It’s drag racing with guns! How fast can you draw and shoot five steel targets? The answer is very fast indeed when the Pros compete in the Smith & Wesson Steel Nationals in Florida. Plus, the enemy pistol of World War Two, the Japanese Nambu Type 94 now one of History’s Guns. And 500 bowhunters compete in 3D Archery in the IBO Winter Nationals.
U.S. Steel Nationals
The 2015 Smith & Wesson Nationals draws the fastest shooters in the country to ring steel at the Volusia County Gun and Hunt Club in Florida. When five shots on steel become five clean hits, the sound is unmistakable. It’s what makes this three-day match fun and competitive for the best in the sport. Each shooter is challenged through eight courses of fire, with the quickest and most accurate shooter given the championship title.
Competition begins with the rimfire match. No holster is required, which is a big draw for junior shooters. Of the many father-son pairs participating in the Steel Nationals, Dwight Level says he brought his son to build self-confidence, and to preserve the future of the sport.
“I think it's very important that we have young shooters in these matches to keep it going because they are the generation that is next,” says Level.
Meanwhile, there’s a race for the “Steel Master” title. Dave Sevigney, Max Michel, and KC Eusebio are on the prowl for the win. So, who will nab the victory?
U.S. Steel Nationals
History’s Guns - Nambu Type 94
If you mark time by the Imperial calendar, the Japanese Army adopted the Nambu Type 94 in the year 2594 – that’s 1934 for the rest of us. World War Two was still seven years away, but Japan wanted a small pistol to handle an eight-millimeter cartridge. So, the government settled on a design by a former Imperial Officer, General Kijiro Nambu, and produced 71,000 of the Nambus.
“It’s a bottleneck cartridge, not ‘ballistically’ particularly inspiring. At close range, it will do the job,” says Firearms Historian Garry James. “Maybe one of the ugliest auto pistols ever made, and it has a design flaw or two in it, but generally speaking, it’s a pretty serviceable little pistol.”
3D Archery: IBO Winter Nationals
What began as practice for hunting, quickly turned into an international organization for competition. It’s 3D archery, and at the forefront of the sport is the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO). For the past three decades, the IBO has united like-minded bowhunters to promote wildlife conservation and hunting, while creating challenges for bowhunters to enjoy good competition with life-size animals as targets.
“A lot of people who don’t understand 3D archery see targets in the woods, and we’ve had reports, ‘oh there’s a bear in the woods,’ or ‘we see a white animal in the woods.’ It just creates interest for the sport,” says IBO President Bryan Marcum.
There’s so much interest in the sport, the IBO Winter Nationals at the Rockcastle Shooting Center in Kentucky draws 500 archers from across the country. Bowhunters shoot 40 stages worth 440 possible points, and they must judge the distance of each target, which can be 50 yards away. Plus, the IBO Winter National Championship title is on the line.
Sig Sauer 1911 Stainless Super Target
Sig Sauer is out with the 1911 Stainless Super Target, with design tips from Pro Shooter Max Michel. It’s a full size, five-inch 1911, chambered in .45 with extended wood grips that create a mag-well for quick reloads. Plus, it has a beefy external extractor, a skeletonized lightened hammer and trigger, with a click adjustable target rear sight leading to a fiber optic insert front blade. Suggested retail is $1,690, and it includes two eight-round magazines.
Tactical Solutions 10/22 Rifle
John shot the Tactical Solutions 10/22 rifle at the U.S. Steel Nationals, which was both ideal for travel and competition due to its light weight and accuracy. It has a takedown action that separates the barrel and forend from the stock and action; a one in sixteen twist; and a fiber optic green front sight, which is visible in all conditions. The barrel is also drilled and tapped for an accessory rail, should you want to add a flashlight. Plus, there’s the Hogue Take down stock, built from over-molded material. It’s comfortable, lightweight and grippy even when wet, available in all colors. The stock-and-barrel combination from Tactical Solutions retails for $349.
BLACKHAWK! ARC Holster
BLACKHAWK! is out with a new Appendix Reversible Carry (ARC) inside-the-waste band holster. It’s built with functionality and comfort in mind, which comes from the injection-molded material that’s flexible due to the gussets. It’s a passive retention design, adjustable with a screw, and an ideal choice for deep concealment. BLACKHAWK! offers fitments for the M&P Shield and Glocks, starting at just $23.
Pro Tip: Training for a Hunt
The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit is a world-class shooting team with dozens of national and international championships. Sergeant First Class Jeff Holguin is most recently back with a gold-medal from the World Cup in Mexico, but when he’s not training for a match on the skeet field, he’s training for his next bird hunt. And, he’ll tell you how practicing on the skeet field can help you bag more birds.
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NRA Membership Offer: Jim Pays $10 when you join the NRA through the Shooting USA website.