Shooting USA – Fast Draw World Championship
Thanks to Hollywood, Fast Draw competition is thriving. Now in the 60th year The Cowboy Fast Draw Association again hosts the annual shoot-out to find the Fastest Gun Alive. Plus, youngsters shooting steel. It’s organized plinking for speed as the Scholastic Pistol Program expands to more teams. And the Mannlicher 95 is now one of History’s Guns.
Fastest Gun Alive
Thanks to Hollywood, the sport of fast draw is thriving. Movie shoot-outs in the 1950s helped create the sport and fuel 60 years of competition. Since the Cowboy Fast Draw Association (CFDA) reformed the sport in 2002, the organization continues to crown the quickest gunfighter in the world at the Fastest Gun Alive Competition in Fallon, Nevada.
It’s a race between the top gunfighters in each category, men, women, and children; against a 24-inch steel plate, 21 feet away. Competitors line up side by side, listen to the commands, then draw and shoot at the signal light. Scores are measured in thousandths of a second, and each year the times get faster.
“Just like Wyatt Earp said, ‘speed is fine. Accuracy is final,’” says Cal Elrich, the Executive Director of CFDA. “Fast misses don’t mean anything here. You can be the fastest shooter here, and if you can’t hit a target, you’re not going to be in the final.”
It’s a process of elimination until the top seven competitors remain in each category. Currently the Fast Draw World Record stands at .295.
History’s Guns - 1895 Mannlicher Rifle
Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher designed the innovative straight-pull, bolt-action rifle that bears his name. The Model 1895 Mannlicher was built the year the Great War began, and was the primary service weapon for one of Germany’s allies, Austria-Hungary.
“A well-thought-of rifle. The troops enjoyed it, and they were using straight-pull in the Austrian Army all the way up through World War Two,” says Firearms Historian Garry James.
Scholastic Pistol Program Nationals
The national governing body for youth shooting sports, the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation has been known for the Scholastic Clay Target Program for more than a decade, but now kids can participate in more than just trap and skeet.
The Scholastic Pistol Program (SPP) was spearheaded by the industry to introduce kids to handguns and shooting steel targets. In its three years of existence, more than 1,100 student-athletes now participate in the sport with .22-caliber handguns. Each year, about half of them compete at the biggest junior steel competition at the National Championships in Sparta, Illinois.
“Right now we’ve got 25 states involved in the Scholastic Pistol Program and it’s growing all the time,” says Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation President Ben Berka. “You don’t have to be big, fast, tall, or strong in order to shoot well. Lots of these parents are overjoyed because they finally found something that their child could be good at and enjoys. It’s a sport for life.”
Catching up with Jim Zubiena
As practical pistol shooting was taking off in the 1970s, so was Jim Zubiena’s success in the sport, which eventually took off to Hollywood. Impressed with Zubiena’s abilities, Miami Vice director Michael Mann hired him as a firearms instructor and to portray a hit man on the television show. In one of the scenes, Zubiena pulled off a Mozambique Drill, two shots to the body and one shot to the head, from concealment, in less than two seconds.
“I have seen web posts where people say that’s the moment when everybody realized Miami Vice is the thing to watch because of the gun handling…” says Zubiena. “And it was probably, I’ve been told, the first time what you would call state-of-the-art pistol craft was brought to television.”
Shooting USA Producer John Scoutten caught up with Zubiena at the 2015 Multi-Gun Nationals in Las Vegas to recall his days on the Miami Vice set.
Smith & Wesson Bodyguard with Crimson Trace Laser
Smith & Wesson continues to evolve the M&P Bodyguard .380, now with the Crimson Trace Green Laserguard. Though the gun does arrive close to being sighted in, a tiny Allen wrench is included to make adjustments. The Laserguard is activated by the middle finger when gripping the gun. Though the trigger on the Bodyguard is heavy, it is not necessarily a drawback.
“Consider that a benefit in concealed carry, and with that adrenaline jolt, you’ll never notice in an emergency,” says Shooting USA Executive Producer Jim Scoutten. “Like all Bodyguards, you’ve got six rounds in the magazine, plus one in the chamber. Make that Hornady Critical Defense and you’ve got effective power.”
Smith & Wesson Engraved M&P Bodyguard
If you’re looking to add a little “bling” to your Bodyguard, Smith & Wesson now has a new eye-catching version. It has the same design as the original M&P Bodyguard in .380, but now the slide is finished in stainless steel and is machine-engraved. It’s also only available in limited distribution.
Smith & Wesson Engraved 1911
Smith & Wesson is out with an elegantly machine engraved 1911 that comes with a presentation case. The 1911 is fully engraved on both the slide and frame, and will easily be a winner among collectors or enthusiasts.
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