Regular readers of this blog know that its writer, who shot the great old Second Chance match for some 24 years until its cancellation in 1998, pined for it thereafter until it was reinstated as the Pin Shoot in 2017, and remains one of its biggest fear. It’s now known as simply The Pin Shoot.  More info at

Well, here I am in Antrim County, Michigan, shooting the 27th such event, still run by its founder Richard Davis, the inventor of the soft body armor that saved so many lives including my own in 1996.

Rich Davis still runs the match he created, playing trivia quiz with the audience during breaks. His grand-nieces, one shown, deliver the prizes to those who “get the answer.”

Our host made his reputation in life-or-death issues, and that’s a touchstone for many of us here.  

I wrote in this blog about an old, close friend, Denny Reichard, who loved this match.  His favorite and best event was The Big Push, in which a trio of bowling pins has to be blasted 14 feet back. Denny liked to shoot it with his .500 Magnum Smith & Wesson.  This year, in his honor, it was re-named the Denny Reichard Memorial Big Push.  I thank the sponsors for that.

It did my heart good to see this homage to respected shooter Denny Reichard at The Pin Shoot.

Jack Schatzel is another of us old-time pin shooters.  He can show you the exact spot on his body where the ambusher’s bullet hit him…and stopped on his Rich Davis-designed vest.  Jack returned fire, prevailed, and thus is with us today.

I got to chat with Tim Crosno, another of the old-timers. He has recently survived a battle with pancreatic cancer.  The courage to fight death ain’t just about things that go bang.


Veteran pin shooter Tim Crosno beat pancreatic cancer — which few patients do — and came back to compete at The Pin Shoot.

We’re all showing the effects of time.  Pat Higgins and his wife Deb were always two of the best combat shotgunners in the game.  Pat is having some trouble getting around now.  Undaunted, he fired the shotgun event from the chair.  These people are an inspiration to us all.

Spent 12 gauge buckshot shell flies but Pat Higgins is already back on target, despite having to shoot from a chair. Strong people who can overcome adversity are found in abundance at this event.

Weather has been on and off, either perfect shooting conditions or heavy rain.  And it ain’t over yet. More to come.  When the Evil Princess and I get to someplace with more bandwidth we’ll post some video of the shooting action.


  1. Mas, I’ve enjoyed equally both your firearms acumen and your command of the language. Both are greatly appreciated.

  2. “Weather has been on and off, either perfect shooting conditions or heavy rain”
    So Michigan weather hasn’t changed since I left 39 years (Holy $%|+!)ago.

  3. Great article, Mas! The family bonds created in shooting are so much fun to behold years later!

  4. Mas.

    Having had the pleasure of travelling from the UK in 1995 to shoot the old matches I hope I may have the opportunity to do so again.

  5. “The courage to fight death ain’t just about things that go bang.”

    To the heart of things. And expansive in it’s ideal reach.

    Dad, a private pilot from the ripe young age of 66, flew till untimely death from cancer at the 83. He was proud to be a U.F.O., a member of the United Flying Octogenarians.

    To link this tidbit of obscure history to topic, I could mention that dad was a gun guy of some significance to those he helped & inspired.

    Rather, I point out he was Blind in one eye for half of his flying years.

    “These people are an inspiration to us all.”

    Mas, you inspire us about far more than just the ‘bang’.

    Thank You, the EP and all the rest, who support and inspire you.

  6. Mas.

    What are your recommending for electronic ear protection these days? I take it that Wolf’s Ears are no longer made?


  7. Mas, thank you for this article, there are LARGE groups of shooters in Chicago who love your work and read your writings daily here.

  8. Hopefully the Pin Shoot will be around for a long time, long enough for me to make another pilgrimage up to Central Lake. My four previous trips were all back in the 1980’s
    when I had some spare change to spend. I plan to make some hot +P reloads for my compensated .25 ACP pistol to blow away those bowling pins in the Big Push.

    Mas, did you see Jon Powers there with his .44 Mag-Matic pistols? Jack Schatzel was a wizard shooting that pistol. Maybe Jon has made something more powerful by now.

    • Haven’t seen Jon in decades, dunno if he’s still around or not. Jack Schatzel was there, and shooting as well as ever.

    • Jack told me Jon is still around, but neither he nor I have heard from Jon in years. The Mag-Matic is definitely a rara avis .

      • Maybe Jon is too busy secretly making a super powerful .70 caliber pistol to win next year’s Big Push event.

  9. Mas, how you doing, sharp as ever I imagine. My brother in law Chris and I Geary Garvison from South Haven/MI are proud graduates of your institute and watched you and the Corbon crew beat everybody up for a lot of years. I have been following you all these years in your writings and can honestly say no one on this earth makes more sense about survival than you. Chris Is now a dispatch in Arizona and I am still shooting everything with a trigger, mostly at coyotes with a Zeus/thermal. My wife uses your name all the time if I do a little screwing up with my weapons around the house, she is always telling me, Mas would kick your but for that, and I use your sense of intuition in my own head doing or not doing what I was taught by you. I am going to try and make it up to the shoot next year. Ahhh the huge pile of guns on the trailers, come on down and take your pick!! Knock’em over Mas!

  10. To Mas and all the other Dads out there, Happy Father’s Day! May you continue to share your wisdom and light with us all.

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