The History Channel has been running a show called “Top Shot,” in which shooters young and old, male and female, from disciplines ranging from old-style rifle to modern speed pistol compete in visually exciting marksmanship challenges. There’s both individual and team competition, with $100,000 cash prize for the last shooter left standing, one elimination per weekly episode. (Why a shooting show on a HISTORY channel? Because they use historical weapons.)

On the gun chat boards, shooter folk are complaining about the “reality show drama” backstories developing – yes, the format IS sort of “Survivor” with a shooting match instead of an island – and many a viewer uses Tivo and fast forward to get past the drama and watch only the shooting.

I had heard of some of the contestants before the show. The only one I personally know, modern action shooter/trainer Mike Seeklander, was eliminated in the first episode. A modern gun guy, he hadn’t been familiar with the long-range battle sight on the 1903 Springfield rifle he was issued, and couldn’t get on target. Caleb Giddings was eliminated last week: bright young kid with an informative shooting podcast I listen to. Caleb and I both shot in the Enhanced Service Revolver division at the Indiana State IDPA championships a few weeks ago, and he beat me by about half a second per stage. I kept this in mind as, like every other viewer, I asked myself how I might have done had I been one of the contestants on “Top Shots.”

I can tell you that when they shot from a speeding zip-line, the sound man would have needed to use his magic to drown out my screams and keep them from startling the viewing audience, and in the longbow event, my best chance would have been to grab the arrows from the quiver, drop the bow, do a hundred-yard dash, and stab the target.

If you don’t get The History Channel, you can download it on your computer through Hulu.

While I too might enjoy the program more without the drama, “Top Shots” seems to be drawing a healthy audience, and showing the shooting sports to the general public in a positive light, and that seems to be A Good Thing.

What’s all you guys’ and gals’ take on it?


  1. I’ve seen the first two episodes and enjoy it thus far. Except for some of the language, it’s a show I’ve also enjoyed viewing with my son. This is his first reality show. I’m not much of a reality TV show fan but if they can show the shooting sports in a positive light… it gets my support! Thanks for making us aware, Massad.

  2. Here’s an idea. The finale should be a paintball fight with the $100k in a suitcase hanging from a chain.

  3. Like everyone else, I think the voting is the problem. A better format would be taking 10 guys and running them through each event. Best shooter wins… the end. No one voted off, no politics, none of that junk. Just keep score and let the best shooter win.

    I watch it, but I’d be happier if the best shooter was going to win.

  4. I’ve been watching History Channel ‘Future Weapons’ (season 3 2008) which I stream from Netflix. Much more straightforward (no pseudo-drama) and well presented. I highly recommend.

  5. Just another crappy ‘reality’ with more emphasis on catty pseudo-conflicts than the actual competition.

    Seldom is an actual range to target even given.

  6. I watched the first episode. Too much talking. Not enough shooting. Had 4 more episodes recorded. Deleted them without watching or remorse.

  7. I like the show. Unless one were a participant or close relative, it would be pretty boring to watch a program dedicated to target shooting, even with the gimmicks. The shooting aspect drew me in but I enjoy following the reactions of the participants (the “drama” if you will). Without the interesting personalties, we might as well be watching a video game designed to capture the adoration of the prepubescent.

  8. Couldn’t stick with it because of the hokey melodrama and when I saw the voting them off the island thing, I gave up. Don’t care about the competition (though I enjoyed top sniper). I’d rather watch something educational, like G&A TV.

  9. There is another show on Spike that teaches former victims how to handle firearms and shoot accurately. I don’t know the name of the show, just caught the tail end of it today. It looked like it might have substance.

  10. Great show! Glad to see a second season is in the works. Just saw the the Caleb v Adam episode and am saddened that Adam’s immaturity has to be associated with the shooting sports. Adam asked if there was anything lower than a “rat fink” and the answer is a resounding, “YES!” A backstabber. Adam is a disgrace to the Corps with his desire to eliminate a team member so he may more easily survive.

  11. Top Shot started with Season 1 being pretty good. But even then, the seeds of decay were sown. Since then, just more and more yapping, personality conflict, and just plain idiocy, and too little shooting.
    I am handling Season 3 in the following way:

    1. Record on DVR

    2. Fast forward to introduction of weapon / practice

    3. Fast forward to Challenge.

    4. Fast forward to Elimination shoot-off.

    5. Have muted at nearly all times to shut Colby Donaldson up.

    When I do these things, it works for me!