By Lars Dalseide | April 25 2012 18:26

Pennsylvania's Malekovich makes the finals of Top Shot

Top Shot Target Wall
Top Shot's wall of targets - photo courtesy of History

A police commander, a financial advisor, an IT guy, a Civil War reenactor and a cop. Those were the final five heading into Top Shot's second to last episode last night on History Channel. With only two episode left in the season, it was time to pull off something big. Pull it off they did.

Starting the show with the traditional "nailing the target of the fallen to the wall" ceremony, competitors were delighted to discovered that a Browning M1919 was making an appearance. A belt-fed .30 caliber machine gun, the 1919, saw action all the way from World War II to Vietnam. To get them in the spirit of the gun, producers mounted the belt-fed on the back of a World War II M2A1 halftrack and let 'em go.

With fifteen targets scattered anywhere from 25 to 100 feet away, shooters were set loose on the M2A1 with 100 rounds of ammunition. As each competitor took to the field, they soon found that the Browning machine was not the most maneuverable of guns. Aim had to be precise and trigger control, well, trigger control would be of the utmost importance.

Shooting a Browning M1919 from a WWII halftrack - photo courtesy of History

Gary, the reenactor, was first on the block and first to discover about trigger control. Running out of ammo before completing the course, he managed four hits out of fifteen possibles. Then it was Greg, Chris, Kyle and Augie scoring eight, six, five and five respectively. The top two were safe the bottom three (Gary, Augie and Kyle) were up for elimination.

As per usual, the pre-elimination nomination discussion was a milquetoast-fest. I can't shoot his target, I can't vote for you — nothing but love and respect for each other's performance. But that wouldn't last once the guns came out.

With a vote standing at three for Augie and one for Gary, it was up to Augie to cast the final ballot. He voted for Kyle. Worried about facing Gary? Thought Kyle deserved to go? Or maybe he was just stirring the pot. Either way, Kyle and Gary faced off for a closest to the bullseye shoot off. Gary was safe.

Augie solidifies a spot in the Top Shot finals - photo courtesy of History

Elimination was a KIM — a Keep In Mind exercise. Placed in front of Augie and Kyle was a box of ten items. At the whistle, they were given 75 seconds to open the box, memorize the contents, traverse a rope and fire at those ten items (which were mix in with thirty other objects) with a FN PS90 carbine. Each had their own approach ... Kyle was going to remember every object and Augie was going to memorize five, shoot, head back over the rope and repeat the exercise.

Turns out Augie had the better plan. Nailing five with one misstep, Sumpter was sent back to Washington and Augie earned a ticket to the finals.

Titled the "The Ultimate Prize", Littlejohn, Cheng, Shank and Malekovich will all have starring roles next week's episode as they battle for the fourth overall title of Top Shot. One will go early. Another about two-thirds through. Then we'll have the final two.

Though he was a little flighty at first, I'm guessing the crown with go to Littlejohn. He has the training, has faced the fire (three successful elimination challenges) and appears to be peaking at the right time. A close second should be California IT ace Chris Cheng. He's calm, he's quiet and he hits everything in front of him.

Do Augie and Gary have a change? Sure. But this one is Greg's to lose.


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