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Shooting Industry April 2013 - Page 22
Defense Personal Defense Market Selling The Guns Of The Champions Massad Ayoob T here is a certain kind of customer. You know the type. He may never win a tournament at his local course, but he will only buy the golf clubs used by the pros. He may never take his car off the highway and onto the track, but by golly, he wants to drive what the NASCAR champions drive. Every now and then, you encounter that customer in a gun shop. When he comes in wanting to buy what the “combat pistol champions use,” you want to be able to sell him exactly what he wants. But to do that, you have to know what those champions are, in fact, using. There is always the question, “Yeah, but doesn’t so-and-so shoot Brand X because he’s sponsored by that company, and paid to shoot Brand X?” Sometimes, the answer to that question is, in fact, “Yes.” But it’s amazing how often the answer is, “So-and-so was winning with Brand X before Brand X got wind of it, and that’s why Brand X chose to sponsor him (or her).” A case in point is Jerry Miculek (whose last name, by the way, is pronounced “Mish-you-lack”). Jerry showed up as an enthusiastic young Cajun at the big-money Second Chance shoots with his own long-barrel Smith & Wesson revolvers. It was only after his super dedication — and, some say, supernatural talent — brought him to national dominance in the revolver games that the executives in Springfield, Mass., wisely recruited him onto Team Smith & Wesson. One more question you may need to deal with is, “Did the product really win for them, or did they win for the product?” That answer can go either way. Dave Sevigny shot his way to world championships with Glocks. He is now sponsored by FNH USA. No one expects him to leave the winners’ circle. Champion shooter Doug Koenig is featured on Smith & Wesson’s Trading Cards, which are available for download at www.smithwesson.com. What Brands The Winners Are Shooting B eretta 92 pistols are the guns to beat at the NRA’s Distinguished and President’s Hundred championships, against the only other eligible guns, accurized 1911 .45s. Ernest Langdon won the IDPA Nationals and many more titles with a Beretta 92, and today, perennial match winner Ben Stoeger (seen on History Channel’s “Top Shot” as a resident expert), still swears by the Beretta. Colt 1911 pistols have won every centerfire and .45 award there is to win at the NRA National Pistol Championships. They’ve been used to win USPSA national and IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) and Bianchi Cup championships in the hands of such shooters as the late, great Ray Chapman and the legendary Ross Seyfried and Mickey Fowler, respectively. Today, the top Coltsponsored shooter is probably Mark Redl. CZ-USA pistols have won the IPSC world championship in the hands of Angus Hobdell, who uses a sophisticated variation of the CZ 75 design. Vance Schmid, a longtime veteran of the practical pistol APRIL 2013 shooting “pro tour,” won the 2012 Bianchi Cup Production Gun championship with a CZ Shadow. Glocks have won in all the practical shooting theaters, in the hands of such greats as Sevigny, Randi Rogers, Junior Champion Tori Nonaka and today’s “man to beat,” Bob Vogel. Heckler & Koch: Todd Lou- Maria Harbin and Jason Koon (team captain) shoot for Team is Green won the National Tac- HK as the company continues its presence at competitions. tical Conference match with his HK45 a couple of years ago. More re- the hand of Ernest Langdon when he won cently, young ace Jason Koon was named the Custom Defense Pistol championship captain of Team HK running a P30 9mm against 1911 .45s at the IDPA Nationals a pistol, like all their shooters. few years ago. Bruce Gray still wins with Ruger GP-100s often win Stock Ser- SIGs in major matches around the country. vice Revolver (SSR) matches in state and Smith & Wesson rules the NRA’s Poregional IDPA competition, and they are lice Service Revolver Championships. huge among the competitive cowboy- Open, Distinguished, Service Revolver shooting crowd. Ruger is quite proud of and Off-Duty police shooting events are Gilbert “Cisko Kid” Guerra, who has won consistently won every year with Smith multiple major championships with their & Wessons. Every national champion and Vaquero series six-shooters. world champion Stock Service Revolver SIG SAUER’s P220 was the gun in shooter in IDPA has used a 4-inch, K- 22 Subscribe to SI DIGITAL www.shootingindustry.com