I’m getting ready for my longtime favorite shooting match, The Pin Shoot in Central Lake, Michigan that began in the 1970s as the Second Chance Shoot.  It has something for everyone.

Targets are primarily bowling pins, with steel knock-downs in some of the side events.  The main match is for handguns. Semiautomatic pistols dominate: .45 is the most popular, followed by 10mm and .50 GI, but revolvers can play and there’s even a revolver-only side match, with .44, .45, and .357 Magnum most often chosen.  You need powerful bullets (heavier slugs give more momentum) because the heavy bowling pins need to be shot three feet back to clear the tables. There is, however, a separate event for 9mm pistols where the pins only have to be tipped over.

There’s an event for compact concealed carry handguns now. Most of us use small .45 autos, but the most recent event IIRC was won with a snub-nosed .357 Magnum revolver.

Shotguns are not neglected, with events for 00 or larger buckshot (bowling pins, eight per run) and/or rifled slugs (steel knockdowns at distances up to 100 yards).  Rifles?  You betcha: semiautomatic if you want to win, with AR15s predominating and pistol caliber carbines welcome.

Wanna go social? There are two-person teams for rifle and handgun alike, and three-person teams with two shotgunners and one pistolero.

It’s a spectator sport, with bleachers even.  Now, a bulls-eye pistol match is about as exciting to watch as growing grass. Even a trap or skeet event gets boring: every shot is either hit or miss. In this game, though, there are lots of exciting variables.  “Shoot” pins are mixed among “no-shoot” pins, and hitting the latter gains a heavy penalty.  Pins not hit center roll unpredictably, adding spice to the game.  While pins are being reset, host Richard Davis plays Trivia Quiz with the audience, rewarding each correct answer with a ticket for an end of match drawing.  The whole atmosphere is quite social: up to five days with like-minded people.

Camping is available on-site, and there are lots of summer rental cabins available in this beautiful lakes region. Most attendees bring family.  It’s a great time with like-minded people.  And, there are many prizes awarded for the shooting including lots of guns.  The weekend immediately afterwards I’ll be teaching a two-day lecture class, MAG-20 Classroom, on armed citizens’ use of deadly force about 50 miles away in Cadillac, MI.  The dates for the match are this coming June 14-18 (you don’t have to be there the whole time to shoot), and you can get info and sign up at www.pinshoot.com.  Info on my class can be found at http://massadayoobgroup.com.

Hope to see you at one or both!


  1. Mas, Bonnie & I are planning to be there this year. Are you up for some 3-person team again? We’ll see y’ll there!


  2. We gearing up to have pin matches at our local range, Volusia county gun club in New Smyrna beach FL.

  3. Sounds like fun!! Can’t do this year but maybe next year if I’m up that way visiting family. My money is on Team Mas!

  4. Mas, is that wacky Rich still squirting the audience with his phallus barreled water pistol?

  5. Just reviewed the growing list of fatal bear attacks this year. Let us ordain a cancel-culture, Newspeak transformation of “bear spray” in our lexicons. Henceforth it will be “Chemical Russian Roulette-Unrivaled Device,” or “CRRUD!” for short. Whenever the term “bear spray” appears I cringe, picturing the insecurity of presenting a chemical relative of Tabasco pepper sauce against attacks from aggressive bruins capable of killing likewise formidable beasts like bison, elk, and moose. Furthermore, anybody planning to defy man-eating animals one-on-one can gain practical experience regarding the generally superior stopping power of larger, heavier, faster bullets by watching a bowling pin shoot.

    • I’ll bet Chuck Norris in his younger days could easily take on any bear in hand to paw combat and beat the beast. In fact the only opponent he couldn’t defeat was Bruce Lee who could trounce Godzilla. 🙂

      • Friend Tom606, I once had a svelte Japanese Neighbor who was studying for a PhD in Economics. He said he was a Marxist, so he obviously wasn’t very smart, and he also claimed a black belt in Karate. He used to punch and kick a big tree. I never saw the tree fight back, so I don’t know if esteemed Neighbor was really a good fighter or not. I never saw even Bruce Lee wade into a wild bear bare-handed. Chuck Norris had a staged TV encounter with a trained Grizzly once, but no real fight, no way. The big money is always on the bear, folks. Inadequately prepared people usually get munched alive. Ow, ow, ow, @#$%!, you know?

      • I used to punch and kick a tree too, only not being a dumb Marxist, I wisely practiced with a Japanese Bonsai Tree. I was able to beat that little tree – occasionally.

  6. Hi Mas,

    re: concealed carry match

    It seems a lot to ask of a 3-4 in .45 to consistently knock a pin off the table. Must they be or must they simply be tipped over in this event?

    While we’re at it, what load (45) do you like for EDC in a compact?



    • Don, in the subcompact carry gun event they do have to be knocked off the table all the way, as far as three feet. It’s why the .45s are so popular for that event, along with short barrel .357s. For a carry load in a subcompact .45 I like the Winchester Ranger-T or the Federal HST 230 grain JHPs; they are engineered to open at the lower velocity from shorter barrel guns, like the Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel .45 load.

Comments are closed.