The first ever invitation only World Shooting Championship put on by the NRA and Trijicon was held at the Peacemaker National Training Center in Virginia. All of the top shooters in one location. The match used a sort of “Top Shot” format of competition where competitors showed up with nothing but eye and ear protection and the match provided all firearms and ammunition. 400 slots were open and only about 200 were filled. Due to a conflict in scheduling, the match was hosted at the same time as other national shooting events, so the turnout was low for the first year. The event eventually opened up to an Amateur class to fill up spots. Men and women from all over the world participated and the top prize was a $50,000 check. Over $100,000 total was given in all-cash prizes and the prize table awards were well over $200,000. The competition included most every discipline of shooting competition. The top shooters in the world in specific disciplines had to compete in other unfamiliar disciplines. Add the fact that no personal gear or firearms were allowed and the playing field levelled a bit, unless of course your name is Daniel Horner of the Army Marksmanship Unit.
Daniel Horner did take home the $50,000 top prize. Lena Miculek was top Lady and brought hom a $5,000 check. There was a $1,000 cash prize for the winner of each individual stage. BJ Norris won the combined side matches. It was apparent that members of the 3-Gun crowd had the top spots. The majority of stages seemed to favor that sport. There were nine stages and three side matches divided over the course of four days. The squads were scheduled for either the morning or afternoon shift each day. Each stage represented a discipline of shooting with a slight twist. There were stages from Cowboy Action, Bianchi Cup, Small Bore, F-Class, IDPA, USPSA, 3-Gun Nation, Practical Rifle, Practical Shotgun, 5-Stand, Skeet and Bullseye Pistol.
The stage designs were sort of hybrids of the actual discipline. For example, The F-Class stage had an actual F-class target set at 500 yards. But the rifle set up was not at all F-class. It was more FTR or a tactical rifle setup, which made hitting the teeny tiny X- and 10-rings pretty difficult. Also, F-Class calibers are usually a 6m or 7m something, not .308 168-grain. Small Bore would normally use a bolt action Antschutz for instance, but we were given a semi-auto Magnum Research MLR22AT. The guns of each stage were factory stock which most professional shooters would not use. The skeet shotgun stage was just all out miserable. Using the beautiful Beretta on a double wobble system, the clays came out at the same time in different directions and at speeds well beyond even international rules. If you hit them you were lucky. Or you were Daniel Horner who had an Olympic skeet shooter train him for the last three months. The match directors put a twist on all of the stages that made some more interesting and some really frustrating, but that was the game. You can watch how others approach a run and gun stage but really you either have the skills of each type of shooting or you don’t. You were able to manipulate the guns a bit before each stage, but except for bullseye sighters, you did not get any test rounds. What saved the day for me, and many other competitors, was the Mulligan Card.
In the registration packet everyone received one little ticket that could be used as a mulligan once during the four day match. You put your name on it and had it in your pocket at the ready. You could use it if the equipment had a failure or you felt your performance failed. As for equipment failure, there was a caveat. To be fair, if you claimed your mulligan on equipment failure the match director would come by and test the firearm. If he confirmed it was truly an equipment malfunction then you would get your card back for another use. If you think about it anyone can “make” a failure happen. This was the only way to be as fair as possible. I did not think many people would use it but by the end of the match most everyone did. They were not used on a stage that was unfamiliar or difficult but on a stage that favored your own shooting skills. For instance, a bulls-eye pistol shooter may not have performed as well as they expected on that stage. So they would turn in their mulligan card just after they completed their turn and before the next shooter started. It made sense to get the points where you could.
As you would expect for a “first ever” match of this kind there were some bugs and kinks that need to be worked out, but overall this match was run very well. Trijicon pulled out a miracle organizing this event that many seasoned sponsors and match directors have never even attempted. The firearms were kept running by the tireless Froglube crew that cleaned and maintained the guns at each stage. There were complaints that the match was expensive and was a bit boring and not very challenging. The stages were quite short. If you are going to maneuver 400 shooters through 12 stages you can’t get too complicated. The match fees were $500 for professionals and $250 for amateurs and juniors. Perhaps this was another reason for the smaller turnout. But the WSC was a melting pot of national and world championship shooters from everywhere. If anything it was eye opening to watch the best in their field dominating at their favorite stages.
The Guns of the WSC
All firearms were donated for use during this match and then put on to the prize table at the awards ceremony, from an $800 FNH9 pistol to a $12,000 Beretta. The guns were stock right out of the box without any fancy upgrades of triggers or accessories. It was a true test of reliability having over 200 people shooting each gun. Not to mention the thousands of dry fire strikes by the competitors before they stepped up to the stage. There were several guns throughout the three days that completely broke. One stage had to be cancelled from the match when all of the firearms shut down. The sponsor of course stepped up and offered brand new replacements for them from the prize table. Perhaps this championship should be the testing facility for all new proto-types. They will be put through their paces.
FNH FNS9 Competition
Used in the USPSA, NRA Bianchi Cup, 3-Gun Nation and IDPA stages the FNS9 was the prominent pistol. The competition model of the FNS9 has a 5-inch slide and upgraded sights. The frame is of polymer construction and has an all-stainless slide with external loaded chamber indicator. There were a mixture of matte black and matte silver slides. The FNS9 has an ambidextrous slide-stop lever and magazine release. The trigger guard is serrated and the frame has an MIL-STD 1913 accessory mounting rail.
The Colt Gold Cup Trophy 45ACP
A beautiful Colt 1911 was used for the NRA Bullseye pistol stage. The stage required slow fire and rapid fire sequences at 25 yards strong arm only. The first Colt Gold Cup pistol was introduced in the late 1950s to give competitive shooters a gun to take directly from the dealer’s showcase to the firing line. Colt Gold Cup pistols have been used to compete in local club matches through the National Matches at Camp Perry. It features an adjustable wide trigger, National Match® barrel, adjustable target sights and the models we used had checkered walnut grips with a gold medallion.
Alexander Arms Ulfberht .338 Rifle
Not a fan of the traditional kick of a .338, I was apprehensive to shoot this rifle. I was thrilled to learn it had no more of a kick than my .308 rifle. This semi-auto .338 was amazing. We had to hit three steel targets at 700 to 800 yards out in the quickest time. I hardly felt any recoil and transitioned between targets easily. Mechanically, the rifle is extremely simple, having only 48 individual parts and only ten moving parts that need to be maintained. Its mechanism is based on the Russian DP 28 machine gun. The simplistic, but reliable gas piston operating system of the DP 28 machine gun has been inverted and refined in Ulfberht to feature magazine feeding. An adjustable gas system allows users to operate the weapon in a variety of environments and situations, including extreme heat, extreme cold, and suppressed for all standard .338 Lapua Magnum loads of ammunition. The optic used with it was the Vortex Razor 4.5-27×56.
Beretta DT-11 12 Gauge
The only good thing about shooting Stage 8 with the Double Wobbles (it was an extremely difficult stage) was using the beautiful Beretta DT-11. The DT-11 is an upgrade from the DT-10. The overall 3mm increase in the width of the receiver went toward enhancing the wall thickness, so that the gun is not only more durable, but also offers more stability and better balance. The top lever improves the grip, reduces stress and provides more comfort for both right- and left-handed shooters. Also, the shape of the safety selector has been redesigned for a better grip and smoother operation. The DT-11’s Steelium Pro barrels offer extreme durability and superior ballistic performance. The long, 480mm forcing cone keeps shot patterns consistently accurate while minimizing recoil and muzzle rise. This particular shotgun price tag is around $12,000; a top of the line product for top of the line competitors.
The Optics of the WSC
1-6×24 powered rifle scope with an LED illuminated first focal plane BDC reticle. Used on several rifles during the match, the Armalite Pro Series and the LMT SLK8-DMR, the ACOG has adjustable brightness settings. The magnification range accommodates CQB (close quarter battles) and long distance marksmanship. The VCOG is a MIL-spec grade optic.
Trijicon 5-20×50 Accupoint
The Trijicon AccuPoint is a variable powered sporting riflescope featuring a battery-free illuminated reticle. This second focal plane reticle scope was used on the FNH 308 rifle in the F-Class Stage shooting out at 500 yards. The AccuPoint maintains the refinement needed for precise
windage and elevation adjustments. The multi-layer coated lenses provide superior light
transmission, while the illuminated reticle aids in quick target engagement. The AccuPoint
provides a quick focus eyepiece and long eye relief.
The FNH Scar 16 and the Daniel Defense rifles sported the ACOG optic in the 3-Gun Nation and Practical Rifle stages. The Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) is a fixed power, compact riflescope with an illuminated reticle pattern for use in bright to low/no light. Many fixed power models to choose from. Great for CQB speed, many variants include a bullet drop compensated (BDC) reticle.
Vortex Razor 4.5-27×56
The one non-Trijicon optic of the match was found on the Alexander Arms Ulfberht .338. We were shooting three steel targets between 700 and 800 yards. The Gen II Razors feature a 6x zoom range, a 34 mm single-piece aircraft-grade aluminum tube and the L-Tec turret system. It had a front focal plane and illuminated reticle and superior glass quality. Even with the dark conditions and faded targets I was able to clearly see the steel and hit dead center shots.
By Anette Wachter. Originally published in the November 2014 issue of GunUp the Magazine.