World's top pistol shooters compete for NRA national title at Camp Perry, Ohio
Port Clinton, Ohio - NRA Competitive Shooting's big event of the year, the National Matches, is finally here. Colloquially called Camp Perry for the National Guard facility that has hosted the matches for 106 years, the Remington/NRA National Rifle & Pistol Matches are considered the World Series of the shooting sports. Here you will find the top pistol, smallbore and high power rifle shooters not just in the United States, but the entire world.
The six NRA championships, Pistol, Smallbore Position, Smallbore Prone, High Power Rifle, High Power Rifle Mid-Range, and High Power Rifle Long Rangeare broken up into five legs with HP and HP MR held simultaneously.
This week's championship, Pistol, sees competitors jockeying for the coveted Harrison Trophy, the aggregate of a .22 Caliber, Centerfire, and .45 Caliber championships. The all-time winningest shooter of the National Pistol Championship, with 11 titles, is Brian "Gunny" Zins, who you may know for History Channel's Top Shot TV show. But Zins does not sit atop the leaderboard.
With yesterday's Preliminary Pistol Championship (PPC) cancelled due to a tremendous thunder storm, the first true day of competition begins today with the .22 Caliber Championship. The weather was not much kinder this morning, either. Shooters in Relay 1, where Zins is squadded, saw scores affected by winds of up to 30 miles per hour. Relays 2 and 3 were more fortunate as the gusts died down to more manageable levels by late morning.
Despite all this, Zins currently sits ninth overall with a 869-38x out of 900. Leading the way to Saturday night's award ceremony is Chad Ranton with a 879-42x. Ten points is not an insurmountable lead for Gunny Zins to overcome, but Chad and the eight shooters between the two men could easily claim the trophy for themselves. There's still plenty of shooting left to do as tomorrow ushers in the Centerfire Championship and Saturday brings the .45 Caliber Championship.
".45 is Zins' gun," Match Director Tom Hughes explained. "He'll do real well with that. He can still come back."
While scores are close and the atmosphere is pretty competitive, it's also very friendly. Many shooters have friends they only see at Camp Perry and do plenty of catching up between relays. New shooters are made right at home among the seasoned veterans and become familiar faces in no time. It's all a part of the Camp Perry experience and, if you ask anyone here, they'll tell you there's nothing else like it. And they're right.
National Pistol Championship