From Interservice Champion to NRA National Champion in under a month

Patrick Franks of the US Army Marksmanship Unit wins NRA's 2014 National Pistol Championship

Port Clinton, Ohio - Just as the shooting community was getting use to the idea of this year's Bianchi Cup upset we have another.

This afternoon, Patrick Franks of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit walked off the Rodriguez range as NRA's National Pistol Champion. It's the first time in 14 years that someone besides Zins or Hemphill was allowed to hoist the trophy to the sky. With a final score of 2649-147x, his victory was by the slimmest of margins.

More on 2014 NRA Pistol Champion Patrick Franks ...

Title winners and past champs gather at NRA Pistol Championships for team win

Colorado's State Pistol Team

Port Clinton, Ohio - They say you're never shooting against the competition ... only against yourself. If your performance continues to improve then that's all that matters. But there are times when you are shooting for more. More than individual performance. When you're shooting for others. For teammates.

More on the Team Matches at the NRA National Pistol Championships ...

Shooters of all shapes and sizes come out for the shot at the NRA title

Centerfire shooter on the 3rd Day of NRA's National Pistol Championships in Camp Perry, Ohio

Port Clinton, Ohio - If you've never attended a match held by the National Rifle Association then you don't know what you're missing. The sights and sounds are enough to overwhelming the tamest of all firearm enthusiast, driving one to ask ... why the hell am I watching and not shooting in this thing?!!?!

More of a look around the NRA National Pistol Championships ...

First time competitive shooter arrives on the big stage at the NRA Nationals

Sgt. Lawrence Carter walks his targets back to the 50 yard line at Camp Perry, Ohio

Port Clinton, Ohio - Ending Day Three of the NRA National Pistol Championships on the third page isn't what you shoot for (no pun intended). But when you've only been worried about marksmanship for grand total of 2 1/2 months, it's not a bad place to be. Such is the case for Sgt. First Class Lawrence Carter from Alpha Company, Special Operations Recruiting Battalion out of Fort Bragg.

"Shooting is shooting, but you have to have a lot more patient when it comes to marksmanship," the Sergeant explained. "It’s very precise. Dramatically precise."

More on Sgt. Carter's first run at the NRA National Pistol Championships ...

Competitors facing chance of seizing National NRA crown from the 13-time champ

Brian Zins shoots during the NRA Centerfire Pistol Championship

Port Clinton, Ohio - Certain things in life are certain

Water is wet, frogs should never trust scorpions, and the sun will come out tomorrow. Another certainty, at least in the world of competitive shooting, is that Brian Zins will win the NRA National Pistol Championship. Well get ready for a day without sun.

Heading into the final match of the competition, Zins finds himself 8 points behind co-leaders Keith Sanderson and Nick Mowrer with a 1759-87x. 8 points behind. Not that either man's score of 1767 (we'll leave out the X count for now) is an insurmountable climb. Heck, Patrick Franks sits only 1 point behind while Lange and Henderson are each a mere 2 points away from tasting the Iron Throne.

More on the leaders of the NRA National Pistol Championship ...

Marine takes first title in NRA National Pistol competition in Ohio

Shooter lines up for NRA's Preliminary Pistol Championship at Camp Perry

Port Clinton, Ohio - The first title taken at the NRA National Pistol Championships is not part of the championships at all. Let me say that again ... the first title taken at the RNA National Pistol Championships is not part of the overall championships. That's because it's the prelim.

"They shoot the same guns, the same 900 shots, but it's more about preparing for the championships than winning them," explain Pistol Match Director Tom Hughes. "Almost a warm up."

Warm up or not, the Preliminary Pistol Championships still comes with a title, awards, and the envy of those who weren't prepared for the first bite at the apple. It means you're tested, firing true and ready to take on the aggregate charge.

More on NRA's 2014 Preliminary Pistol Championships ...

Sometimes the road to an NRA Championship is more than a road, Especially Roads In Nature

NRA welcome sign at the gates of Camp Perry during the National Rifle & Pistol Championships

Port Clinton, Ohio - Many roads will take you to the NRA National Rifle & Pistol Championships at Camp Perry.

Some are paved with natural talent. Others with years of hard work. But a few, a select few are a combination of both. This is more of the literal take on the road to Camp Perry. The actual road. A road of dirt, dust, and asphalt.

My journey down that road began early this morning. Not as early as my usual departure to NRA Headquarters, but there was a reason for that; traffic. The thought of battling Washington’s traffic on the start of a seven hour trip was a little more than intimidating. Add two hours to the seven just to break through the beltway. Using a little history along with the morning’s traffic report, an 8:45am departure was established.

So I climbed into a white Dodge Ram truck, put the A/C for low and cranked up my Sirius/XM Radio. I'm bringing the boys from my favorite New York radio show with me.

Open roads and scattered drivers were all I encountered through the first stage of my trip. Gunston Road, over to Lorton Road before jumping on Interstate 95 headed north. From there it’s 495 at the Springfield Interchange with Maryland in my sights. A breakfast bar to munch on and a Venti Mocha Frap to sip, it wasn’t until I reached Maryland’s 70 West that the problems began.

More on the road to NRA's Pistol Championships at Camp Perry ...

2014 National Matches kick off on Ohio's Lake Erie shore

Shooters lined up for the 2013 NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships in Port Clinton, Ohio

Fairfax, Virginia – With the first shot ceremony behind us, the 2014 NRA National Rifle & Pistol Championships are officially underway. Considered the top shooting sports event in the country, this year’s matches are expected to bring another summer of top level competition all with the help of title sponsor Remington. The matches, held July 7 through August 10 will be split between the legendary Camp Perry, Ohio, and Bristol, Indiana.

“Remington is one of the most trusted names in the shooting industry and has been involved with the National Rifle & Pistol Championships for a very long time. They are an excellent sponsor for our National Matches,” said Director of NRA Competitive Shooting Dennis Willing. “Their title sponsorship, which began last year, shows their commitment to the shooting sports and will allow us to help the matches become more popular than ever before.”

More 2014 NRA National Matches presented by Remington ...

Sponsor of NRA's National Centerfire Pistol Championships celebrating Bullseye

Top Shot Bethards firing a Cabot gun during the NRA Pistol Championships in Camp Perry

Cabot, Pennsylvania - So what do you know about Bullseye? I'm not talking about darts or archery or pin the tail on the donkey. We're talking about the sport of Bullseye. Bullseye shooting to be exact.

That's pistols boys and girls.

More on Cabot Guns' new Bullseye Pistol shooting website ...

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