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?