The seventeenth GLOCK Annual Shoot and sixth annual Gunny Challenge was a huge success down at the South River Gun Club located outside Conyers, Georgia. The yearly shoot is put on by the GLOCK Sport Shooting Foundation who invites the top GLOCK shooters – including the champion GSSF MatchMeisters – from all over the country to compete in the weekend long, head to head shooting events.
Over two thirds of American Law Enforcement agencies use GLOCKs because of their “safe action” and tactical superiority, but any American can experience the sheer fun and sport of using the world’s best handgun in practical competition through the fast growing GLOCK Sport Shooting Foundation – the GSSF. Most impressive was the increasing number of young adults participating, especially very capable female shooters who shot very safely and accurately demonstrating amazing proficiency with their GLOCKs. Some parents brought their kids to the competition to shoot against seasoned GLOCK owners for the very first time, like Phil Alexander who watched as his daughter Brittany scored well with her GLOCK 17. When asked, the Alexanders said that they chose GLOCK because they are, “reliable, accurate, and a simple pistol to shoot.” Since Phil’s daughter was a new shooter, he chose a GLOCK 17 for her because it was very easy for her to train with and also be competitive against other shooters at the GSSF match. Eleven year old Brittany also noted that the GLOCK 17 is just, “fun to shoot!” The Alexanders were impressed with the new GLOCK Short Frame (SF) and the Gen4 pistols as excellent choices for younger shooters to accommodate just about any size of hands. Phil, a full-time law enforcement officer who carries a GLOCK 22 every day and shoots his GLOCK 34 during GSSF matches, also notes that, “the dual recoil spring helps tame the recoil which the younger shooters really like.” All that was secondary to the fun and valuable family time Phil had in coaching his daughter before and during the match. He noted that, “the most important part of the competition has been spending quality time with my daughter at the match while shooting our GLOCKs.” The pride in his eyes showed as I was witness to the enrichment of GLOCK Sport Shooting with the enjoyment of mastering an outstanding firearm was passed down to the next generation.
Compared to last year’s total entries of 560, this year’s record-breaking total of 744 GLOCK pistol shooters is possibly the most entries at any ‘action pistol’ competition anywhere. Almost the whole GLOCK line of pistols was represented by the hundreds of GLOCK shooters that used them to engage paper targets, steel plates and poppers. Alongside the incredibly accurate GLOCK 34 and 35 long slide target pistols, the competitors used their favorite 9×19, .40 and .45 GLOCKs including the easy to shoot .45 G.A.P. The shooters swapped stories, traded gear and helped each other whenever they could. The omnipresent and vigilant range safety officers did remarkable duty in keeping the competition moving while ensuring that firearm safety was always and professionally enforced. Also present at the event were Team GLOCK shooters, Captain Dave Sevigny and Randi Rogers, both pistol champions of unparalleled skill who shared their tips and experience demonstrating their skill at shooting GLOCKs for the competitors and visitors.
Part of the event was the incredibly exciting and well-attended Gunny Challenge hosted by GLOCK’s own Gunny. “The Gunny” of course is the irascible but gentle R. Lee Ermey, well known for his rough justice, patriotic and straight shooting personality that has been frequently broadcast in just about all forms of media. He has shown up in over sixty motion pictures like Francis Ford Coppola’s Full Metal Jacket, many television shows, very memorable commercials, print ads and even radio spots! Always the gentleman, “The Gunny” spent time with the throngs of well-wishers until they had no more questions and he had signed the last autograph. Servicemen and women were given complete respect by “The Gunny”, who knows firsthand from his service in the Marine Corps as a Drill Instructor, the duty and sacrifice that the young men and women has given to this nation. A lot of the well-wishers were fellow GLOCK owners and shooters and “The Gunny” spent time discussing favorite GLOCKs and exchanged tips on how to make themselves even more effective with the world’s best firearm. The “Gunny” Challenge brought all the GLOCK – shooting Match Meisters around the country together in a head-to-head showdown that spotlighted the new GLOCK 23 Gen4 pistols. The easily modified grips of the GLOCK 23 Gen4 pistols made them almost custom fitted for each shooter and the traditional GLOCK reliability was evidenced in the lack of jams and misfires so that the match was shot flawlessly. The competitive Match Meisters impressed the crowd with their accuracy, speed and good sportsmanship while shooting a timed course of steel targets that gave instant feedback for hits and misses. After a series of shoot-offs that shifted back and forth, Butch Barton won “The Gunny” Match Trophy (again) and the first ever “Jackwagon” award was presented in good fun to the first competitor eliminated in the finals.
For the down times between shooting, the ‘Games’ area drew many members looking for prizes. Shooters and their families tried their skill and tested their ability to disassemble a GLOCK Pistol, LASER Shooting a modified GLOCK, tossing a bean bag or ball for accuracy and even could try to putt a golf ball into a cup. That area saw a lot of action and many members went home with more “GLOCK Gear.”
The weekend turned out to be a great time where families spent time together as GLOCK shooters gathered to enjoy their right as Americans to bear arms for the sport of it. Both shooters and visitors alike were wowed with the prowess of Dave Sevigny and Randi Rogers’ GLOCK shooting abilities. My friend R. Lee Ermey, “The Gunny”, provided oversight of “The Gunny” Challenge while sitting in the stands jawboning with the families and friends gathered to cheer on their favorites. His words before the match focused on our country and respecting our nation’s great words embedded in the Constitution that as a Marine he risked his life to protect.
Overall, the weekend was a huge success with everybody leaving a winner. Some with prize money, trophies or goodies, some with autographs, some with stories of spending time with “The Gunny”, some with helpful shooting tips from Dave Sevigny or Randi Rogers but most of all they left knowing that their chosen handgun, the GLOCK, is clearly the finest handgun in the world.