Bianchi Cup Champion Doug Koenig stops by the Pyramyd Air Air Gun Range at the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh on NRAblog

Look at which special guest stopped by the "Pyramyd Air" Air Gun Range this afternoon at the 2011 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits. 

Doug Koenig, the champion of the 2010 MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup, swung by the range to say hello and take a couple shots with the different air guns Pyramyd Air generously provided.

Last on his way down the line was the lane with the electronic target provided by SIUS AG. Like all the other competitors, Doug took careful aim at the target and was handed a printout upon finishing of where his shots hit.

A 10.7? Nice shooting, Doug.

The National Action Pistol Championship returns to Columbia, Missouri this spring and NRABlog will be there to follow Koenig, and hundreds of other shooters, as he defends his title.

If you're interested in throwing your hat in the ring this year, visit the 2011 MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup website for rules and information on how to register.

2011 NRA Bianchi Cup Guide on nrablog Thanks to John Parker with NRA's Competitive Shooting Division for the following news on the 2011 NRA Bianchi Cup:

New for 2011, the Bianchi Cup Information Guide is designed for view by competitors and spectators alike. Covering transportation, accommodations, event outline, 2010 Champions, and fun Bianchi Cup facts, the guide is extremely helpful for the newbie and veteran Bianchi Cup attendee. An outline of the matches that comprise the Bianchi Cup, as well as a full sponsorship list with links directly to the manufacturers web sites round out the guide. The guide is viewable online along with other NRA Competitive Shooting publications.

The new guide also includes the formal introduction of Larry Meade as the 2011 NRA Bianchi Cup Match Director. Camp Perry competitors will probably recognize Larry from his work as Deputy Match Director at the National Pistol Championships and as the winner of the very first National Police Shooting Championships where he can still be heard on the range. He is a welcome addition to the Bianchi Cup Match staff for the 32nd annual Bianchi Cup.

The 2011 NRA Bianchi Cup is a little more than two months away, scheduled for May 25-29 in Columbia, Missouri. This year, the Bianchi Cup will be bigger than ever with the addition of cash prizes for first-time shooters from MidwayUSA! Check back with NRAblog for Bianchi Cup news leading up to the famed competition and for live coverage from the event.

NRA Managers for Pistol, Women on Target and more speak with NRANews

Who out there watches NRANews.com? Do you listen to the show on Sirius/XM satellite radio too? Have you noticed anything different? It's the bumpers.

"Most people think bumpers are the same as commercials, but their not," explains NRANews Executive Producer John Popp. "Bumpers are the segments that air between the programs and the commercials. For us at NRANews, that's when we air a quick update from folks around the NRA."

More on shooting bumpers at NRA Headquarters ...

2011 NRA Bianchi Cup Logo

Larry and Brenda Potterfield of MidwayUSA announced they will again add an additional $15,000 in cash prizes for the 2011 MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup. First-time Men, Women and Junior competitors using a production firearm and achieving the highest aggregate score of all four Championship Events will be awarded $2,500 for 1st Place, $1,500 for 2nd Place, and $750 for 3rd place.

This generous addition makes MidwayUSA’s total cash contribution to the 2011 MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup $65,000, and adds substantially to the over $300,000 in cash and prizes that will awarded this year.

“The Bianchi Cup is the most prestigious pistol event today and it is critical we continue to attract new shooters to this event and to the sport. Brenda and I are excited about this opportunity to continue to help this event at the grass-roots level,” Larry Potterfield said.

“With the support of MidwayUSA and other industry sponsors, the NRA Bianchi Cup just keeps getting bigger and better year after year, and we are expecting a record attendance this year,” said Mike Krei, Director of NRA's Competitive Shooting Division.

For more information on the 2011 MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup, or the NRA Action Shooting Program, contact Tom Hughes at 703-267-1451 or bianchicup@nrahq.org. For more information on NRA Competitive Shooting Sponsorships, please visit www.nrasportsponsors.com or contact Woody Arenas in the NRA Competitive Shooting Division at 703-267-1469 or warenas@nrahq.org. MidwayUSA offers Just About EverythingSM for Shooting, Reloading, Gunsmithing and Hunting.

Air Force National Trophy Team at Camp Perry circa 1966

With February coming to an end, now is your chance to check out this month’s issue of Shooting Sports USA. Whether you’re a seasoned competitors or a tyro who’s new on the range, the February issue is full of articles to interest and educate.

The sepia tone image on the cover reveals just a taste of what’s inside: a feature article on history of the United States Air Force Pistol Team. Former team member TSGT Arnold Vitarbo, USAF (Ret.) walks readers through beginnings of the Air Force Marksmanship School at Lackland Air Force Base and the pistol team that developed as a result. The article is complete with the photo above of the Air Force National Trophy winning team at Camp Perry in 1966 and another of the author in 1961 with the Hawaii Marine Pistol Team, including our very own Jim Land, NRA Secretary and famed Marine Corps shooter.

Another article of note for readers who are pistol competitors is from Editor Chip Lohman. In 2010, Lohman competed at the NRA Bianchi Cup and chronicled his experience in this month’s Editor’s Diary. From his selected firearm, to ammunition, practice, and lessons learned from the match, Lohman discusses his journey from a technical and competitive standpoint.

Readers who are more interested in competitive rifle shooting will enjoy Lohman’s article comparing the accuracy of a match-grade AR-15 using the direct gas impingement system versus a gas piston. Master gunsmith David Sams builds and runs both systems in head-to-head tests at 200 yards. This is an article for any gunsmithing or technical enthusiast, as well as the serious tactical rifle competitor.

Finally, Lohman’s article on deciphering MOA (minute of angle) is a must-read for anyone who sights-in a firearm for hunting, competitive, or recreational shooting. What can often be a confusing discussion on sight adjustment is simplified for readers in this article including helpful diagrams and formulas.

These are just a few of the highlights in the February issue, so be sure to check out the entire digital publication. You can also subscribe to receive Shooting Sports USA delivered to your inbox each month – FREE!

The NRA National Firearms Museum's Wendy Cunningham provides her unique insight to some of the new challengers for the 2011 Bianchi Cup:

May is fast approaching and excitement is building for the 2011 NRA Bianchi Cup. As of press time, 165 eager competitors have already enrolled as compared to a mere 61 at this weekend in 2010. Shooters from all over the world have caught the fever and will ascend upon Columbia, Missouri to show us just what they can do. Although I’m always excited to cheer on crowd favorites such as current champion Doug Koenig, Women's Champ Jessie Harrison, and other seasoned veterans, I’m thrilled to find several newcomers have stepped up to the challenge.

Right out of the gate, 15 year old “Top Gun” Tori Nonaka is a major contender in the Action Pistol shooting world. Bringing home just under a dozen titles in 2010, Assistant Cup Coordinator Damien Orsinger notes, “that her focus and drive is refreshing.” With her dedication to both the physical and mental aspects of shooting, this junior competitor hailing from Virginia, is one to watch.

Another newcomer to the Cup, but not to the shooting world, is Iain Harrison. Most of us watched Iain compete through ten arduous elimination challenges to come out on top as America’s first “Top Shot.” Originally from across the pond in England, Iain now calls the Pacific Northwest home. A self taught shooter, Iain has competed for over three decades. With years fo British military service behind him, there is a well rounded arsenal waiting at his fingers.

Schooled in the 3-gun matches, Iain performed particularly well at the MGM Ironman where his hand wrought firearms placed him second in Trooper Class. He also place second in the Heavy Metal division at the Inland Empire 3-Gun Match with an FAL variant he fabricated at home. I’m looking for the same ingenuity, accuracy, and competitive edge at this year’s Bianchi Cup.

Those are two names that jumped off the page when Lars asked me to write about Bianchi. There are a few more that look familiar, others that sound familiar, and even more I'm sure I've never come across before. But that's the beauty of competition's like Bianchi. You never know from where the next challenge will appear. Who will be next to claim title to Koenig's or Harrison's crown. Partial to the youth movement, my vote is going to Nonaka.

Beth from the Sass, Brass & Bullets blog was lucky enough to get ahold of Jessie Harrison, professional shooter and co-host of the Friends of NRA TV show, during her busy schedule and ask a few questions.

Friends of NRA TV show host Jessie Harrison on NRAblogBeth: How did Outdoor Channel come to pick you for the Friends of the NRA TV Show? I don’t know about the rest of America, but that seems like a sweet job to me!

Jessie: The idea of the show came about between Friends of NRA and Warm Springs Productions. Warm Springs had seen my website and a few of my shooting videos, and actually sent me an email through FB asking if I would be interested in co-hosting the show!

Beth: How did they decide to pair you up with Duff? Did they think the “Buck Commander” and “Jasmine Jessie” would be a good team?

Jessie: Warm Springs was already producing another show with Matt, Buck Commander, and asked him if he was interested. When they saw some of my videos online and my website, they asked if I would like to be a part of it as well. They had no idea if Matt and I would get along, or work well together on camera!!

Beth: You guys travel all over the United States in this show. Where was your favorite place that you went so far and what made that stop so special?

Jessie: That’s a hard question to answer! Each place we have visited has had it’s own special attraction for the show! I think two of my favorites, are the Brady Creek Ranch and our trip to Whiteman Airforce Base (you haven’t seen this episode yet!). I took a young lady, Bre Lincoski, hunting in Brady, TX, and was able to experience hunting on a completely new level! I was just as excited for her to get two monster bucks, as if it were me!! And the Whiteman Airforce Base trip is going to be extremely COOL, but I can’t give away the episode!!!

Finish reading the rest of the interview at the Sass, Brass & Bullets blog here.

Beth is a member of the Mid-Missouri Friends of NRA, an employee at MidwayUSA and has volunteered at the MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup the past couple years. NRAblog will be seeing her and everyone else again at the 2011 Championships this May.

If you haven't booked your plans yet, you'd best get on it. The date will sneak up quicker than you think. Entry forms can be found on the MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup page here.

NRA Competitive Shooting Division logo NRA's Competitive Shooting Department is constantly working to update and improve their ability to make things easier for those who participate in our matches. Part of that work means making more material available in an online magazine format — which can be viewed right now on www.issuu.com/compshoot.

"We were looking for a more interactive way to distribute our material," said Competitive Shooting Director Mike Krei. "Issuu has a tremendous digital publishing platform that we believe enhances our competitor's viewing experience. Now they don't have to remember where they put the material, they can just call it up online."

Online issues currently available on Issuu are:

And they're not stopping there. One Competitive Shooting source (okay, it's John Parker) tells us that soon all existing and future materials will be available in this online magazine format.

"It's actually pretty cool," said Parker. "It flips like a regular magazine, you can click on the links and they'll open pages in a new browser, you can zoom in and out depending on how large you want the text. This will make things a lot easier for a lot of competitors out there."

You meet a lot of interesting people on the floor of SHOT Show here in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to sit down with Matt Duff and Jessie Harrison of the new Friends of NRA television Show while they were signing photos, t-shirts, and hats for the crowd.

So how did the show get off the ground?

“I got a call from my Buck Commander production team,” explained Duff. “They asked if I’d be interested in hosting a show for the NRA and I said absolutely.”

First on the agenda was to find a co-host – someone to play off of Duff’s all around hunting persona. They found such a person in eight time world champion shooter Jessie Harrison. “We messed up with that choice,” quipped Duff. “I keep coming in second with all our shooting challenges. She makes me look bad.”

The show travels around the country as Matt and Jessie take park in a variety of Friends events. A recent episode was shot in Florida along side two-time National Police Shooting Champion Robert Vadasz.

“I knew Robert from Bianchi Cup,” said Harrison. “While I was shooting a practice session at Bianchi, Matt struck up a conversation with Robert … just to say thanks for all the hard work the Border Patrol does. Next thing you know, Robert invited us to Florida and we thought what the heck … that’d be a great for the show.”

Their few days in Florida were spent tarpon fishing, hog hunting, and having an all around good time. And that’s what every show seems to focus on, have a good time with the folks from the NRA.

“We’re through shooting season one, so all the episodes are in the can,” said Duff. “What we’re doing here at SHOT Show will appear somewhere in season two. And that’s the great thing about it. Our episodes can be shot at any time. They don’t have to be centered around hunting season or the competitive shooting calendar. As long as there’s a Friends event, we can shoot 365 days a year.”

Just imagine the size of that DVD collection.

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