The Return of the World’s Greatest Shooter Competition

Asking who’s the world’s greatest anything can kick off quite a spirited discussion. It seems everyone has an opinion on that. And we all know about opinions -everyone has one (or more).

So, I ask, who’s the world’s greatest all-around shooter? Not the greatest shooter of a (your competition category here)…the best all-around shooter in all the shooting disciplines.

That’s a pretty broad net to cast. When it comes to shotguns, names like Vincent Hancock and Kim Rhode pop to the surface..along with Tim Bradley, Tom Knapp and other legendary exhibition shooters. In practical shooting, Leatham, Koenig, Michel, Eusebio, Harrison, and Miculek again pop up, along with Piatt, Horner, and Jordan. Same thing with long distance and precision rifle categories.

In other words, there are varieties of categories and a commensurate number of great shooters.

Next week, the NRA resumes a championship designed to identify the shooter who’s arguably the world’s best all-around marksman. After a long absence, the World Shooting Championship, a 12-stage, no custom gun competition designed to identify the best shooters using bone-stock factory firearms will commence.

The competition began in 2014. The first champion was Daniel Horner.

In subsequent years, Bruce Piatt, Doug Koenig, Greg Jordan (twice) and Tim Yackley all staked their claim to the “World’s Greatest” title.

The last competition was held in 2019 when young Tim Yackley claimed the title. This edition kicks off on Monday, April 1, at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, Indiana.

Volunteers, invited guests, and staff shooters will shoot the course through Wednesday. After that, it’s time for the big show as the amateurs and pros vying for the “World’s Greatest Shooter” title come to the line.

NRA World Shooting Championship
Courtesy NRA

This is decidedly not your typical shooting competition. No one will be shooting their own guns or special brand of customized ammunition. This match puts shooters on bone-stock factory guns, running standard factory ammunition.

And there’s a pretty particular definition of “amateur”…any competitor who receives more than $2,000/year in financial support in products, cash or services, is considered a pro. So too is any shooter who finished in the top five of the amateur category of any prior World Shooting Championships.

Here are the various stages being contested to identify the “world’s best” . . .

Sporting Clays
Precision Standing Air Gun
NRA Americas Rifle Challenge
NRA Precision Pistol
3 Gun
NRA Mid-Range AR-Tactical
Scholastic Action Shooting
2-Gun Plate Blast

I have no idea what some of the stages even involve. Air gun and biathlon alone virtually guarantee the winner won’t be a stereotypical OFWG. Not that those of us who fit that stereotype do very well in large competitions, anyway. The amount of standing, waiting, and moving involved in a major match turns even pistol matches into marathons.

By the way, this match is capped at 288 shooters and I’m told there is still a small number of spots available.

Tom Yost photo used with permission

Competitors will be shooting a wide variety of guns, from Tristar Raptor model shotguns in Sporting Clays to Walther LG400 Bluetec airguns, ACME Machine rifles, Kimber RAPIDE (DUSK) or TLE pistols, Weatherby Orion shotguns, Ruger AR-556s, Mossberg JM Pro shotguns, and cowboy action with Henry Big Boy rifles and Big Boy revolvers.

Tom Yost photo used with permission

Whew. That’s not including the side matches. They feature different manufacturers, too.

There’s a lot of shooting and the variety of guns will likely winnow out many of the shooters pretty quickly. It’s one thing to shoot thousands of rounds through your own competition guns. Getting a couple of sighter rounds in a stock gun, then running a competition stage with it is a different matter.

NRA World Shooting Championship
Courtesy NRA

That having been said, the professional shooters are exactly that — professionals. They’re capable of beating you with their gun or yours…or one straight out of the box.

When you’re supplying the guns and ammo for all the competitors in a major match, there’s a lot of zeroing, function testing, and mechanical work necessary. Assistant Match Director Chad Barber verified zero on this particular gun. (Tom Yost photo used with permission)

This competition is a unique opportunity to see some of the greatest contemporary shooters working to keep their fundamentals solid and their mechanics steady. And this isn’t a small match. According to NRA competition director Cole McCullough, the prize table is worth more than $325,000. And the match staff will be competing for an additional $50,000 in prizes.

I’m planning on being there for at least a part of the event. It’s a great chance to see world class shooters on what is an unusually level playing field.

And, as always, we’ll keep you posted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *