By Kyle Jillson | June 7 2010 08:03

Doug Koenig of Team Smith & Wesson claimed his 12th Bianchi Cup championship over Memorial Day Weekend at the 2010 MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup in Columbia, Missouri.

No one else in the history of the Bianchi Cup has dominated it quite like Doug. The next closest shooter, Caspian Arms' Bruce Piatt, ranks in with five titles. An impressive feat itself.

Doug's first appearence in the Bianchi Cup was in 1987 as a youth.

"I remember standing up on stage with my youth award next to John Pride, who had won that year," Doug said. "And I thought to myself 'just maybe.'"

Three years later, at the 1990 Bianchi Cup, Doug took the stage to accept his very first championship.

The Bianchi Cup is a unique shooting competition that mixes speed with accuracy to push the world's best shooters to their limit. Doug, like all shooters, has become very familiar with the close margins that separate a championship and second place.

Koenig's aggregate of 1920-179x held through to the end, but Bruce Piatt almost took home the trophy instead. Both competitors finished the competition by shooting the Moving Target Event; Koenig followed by Piatt. In the end, one shot determined the outcome. Piatt scored a hit in the 8-ring, which gave him a final score of 1918. Had he shot a ten, Piatt's 183x would have beat Koenig's 179x and given him the title.

The fast-paced style is not only challenging for shooters, as evidenced by this year's finish, but exciting to watch for spectators. It is no wonder why Action Pistol is the fastest growing discipline in all of the shooting sports.

The community among the competitors in Action Pistol is tightly knit. Many of the shooters have known each other for years and can be seen hanging out and joking around with one another in between events.

"It can be a roller coaster out there," Koenig said, "and it's comforting to see a familiar face."

Although very close, the shooters do not close themselves off from newcomers. Everyone is approachable and friendly, willing to give advice when asked and lend a helping hand when possible.

As for his advice to the young shooters out there, "Keep practicing," Koenig says. "Anything can happen."

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