By Lars Dalseide | June 1 2013 15:23

NRA regulars return to compete in TV's #1 shooting sports reality show

Sign welcome competitors to Season 5 of Top Shot All Stars - image courtesy of History Channel

More than a year has passed since the last round was fired on History Channel’s Top Shot. Fans of the show will remember Chris Cheng passing Federal Officer Gregory Littlejohn on the grenade launcher stage of the final run. Now both are back for Top Shot All Stars.

Also back are past favorites like Joe Serafini, Kelly Bachand, multiple NRA Pistol Champ Brian Zins and Bianchi Cup regular Chris Cerino. Back for their chance to earn the title of Top Shot.

"Coming to Top Shot again, a second time is like that, a second chance to win," said Season 4 favorite and NRA Certified Instructor Gabby Franco. "I don't think anyone comes to a competition to lose."

A marksman based reality program, Top Shot runs competitors through a variety of courses and obstacles constructed upon the California countryside. Past winners, Iain Harrison, Chris Reed, Dustin Ellermann and Chris Cheng, where there to lend insight and support.

The All Star competition comes with a few changes. First there are no teams. No chance to hide behind your teammates if you fail to perform. Instead, those who fall in bottom half of the individual challenges will head to the "Proving Ground". That's the second change.

The Proving Ground replaces the nomination round. Instead of being voted for elimination, the choice again returns to skill. Whatever the challenge may be, the two with the worst time or farthest away from the target are up for elimination. Now for the action.

Explosions try to knock Peter Palma off the rope during the first challenge of Top Shot All Stars - image courtesy of History Channel Up for the Top Shot title this season are are Adam Benson, Alex Charvat, Blake Miguez, Brian Zins, Chee Kwan, Chris Cerino, Gabby Franco, Gary Quesenberry, Jamie Franks, Joe Serafini, Kelly Bachand, Kyle Sumpter, Peter Palma, Phil Morden, William Bethards and Gregory Littlejohn.

The first challenge held three stages. Traverse a rope (while explosions are going off around you) to shoot a Soviet SVT-40 battle rifle, climb a pole to shoot a LaRue Tactical Optimized Battle Rifle, then crawl under barbed wire (more explosions) and mount an unstable platform and fire a FN FAL rifle. It was the last stage that sunk most.

Adrenaline pumping, heart thumping and platform swinging made the shot down range a difficult one at best.

"I was trying to miss fast," said Season 4 runner-up Gregory Littlejohn.

Though Littlejohn did miss fast, and hit fast, his time of 2:15 landed him in the bottom eight. Most in the top tear finished in less than two minutes. Others feeling the wrath of the unstable platform included Season 2 runner-up Brian Zins and Season 3's third place finisher Gary Quesenberry. Luckily for Zins, the Proving Ground provided redemption.

The decision as to who would find their way to the elimination round rested in a round fired form Colt Peacemaker from forty feet. Zins practically center punched it for a top proving finish. Quesenberry and Littlejohn were not as lucky.

"There's no place for me to get meat on this grip," said Littlejohn. "At the last second, I just sorta gripped with my hole hand instead of the trigger finger. It was a mistake."

But Littlejohn had a light at the end of that mistake tunnel, for the elimination round centered around the six-shot Milkor USA M32A1 grenade launcher. With a World Champion Grenadier title under his belt, this challenge was sure to go his way. At least that's what everyone thought.

Gregory Littlejohn misses with a Milkor Grenade Launcher during the first Top Shot All Stars elimination round - image courtesy of History Channel Though neck in neck with Quesenberry through the first two shots, Littlejohn missed on nine consecutive shots to leave the door wide open. Quesenberry, though blinded by smoke from his first two explosive hits, waited for the debris cloud to clear and fired. His success sent Littlejohn home.

Top Shot Season 5 promises to showcase even more explosions, crazier challenges and more guns than any other season. As most of the competitors made it to the final green shirt stage of their respective seasons, we don't expect to see as much drama and/or cat fighting some seasons featured … which is a good thing.

For those looking for drama aren't watching Top Shot. Those people are watching programs like The Bachelor, Survivor or Hell's Kitchen. And that's fine. There's a time and place for all of those shows. Just not now. Now it's time for Top Shot.


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