If you are as competitive as Bill (and he is a fierce competitor), he offers some sound advice. We all have experienced plateaus in our competitive shooting where we want to just get to the next level—just 10 more total points. Bill says he wishes he could provide some magic formula to jumpstart your performance, but no, there is no secret other that practice. That’s why Bill stresses consistency: “…a consistent shooter has an advantage. I can beat someone who’s a better shooter than I am if there are enough rounds involved and I stay with that strategy; under my line with no shots out of control.”
According to Bill, “…you are better off with a gun that isn’t all that accurate and has a good trigger. You’re going to shoot it better than one that’s laser-beam accurate and has a really crappy trigger pull. In practicality, you are going to shoot the gun with a good trigger better.”
This isn’t a shooting tip, it’s a life tip. Bill knows Wilson Combat’s reputation is only as good as his products perform. There is no “good enough” at Wilson Combat, as the company strives for perfection, even if mistakes are made along the way. “That was my initial claim to fame. Make a gun that works, and make sure the customer understands that if he or she has any trouble with it, I’m going to fix it. I will take care of you, no questions asked. I’m going to make it right and do it quickly.” That philosophy permeates the company, and Bill’s son, Ryan, who is now running the day-to-day operations of Wilson Combat, is just as passionate.
Bill Wilson never rested on his laurels, hence the numerous custom options on all of Wilson Combat’s 1911s, Beretta 92s and AR-platform rifles. But I’d also consider him a visionary because he’s always looking forward. In the competition world, for example, Bill started competing with a revolver, a Colt Python, and transitioned to a 1911 since that was the pistol all competitors in the 1970s and 1980s used. He need to re-evaluate his style to better understand how to shoot a 1911-style pistol. He did pretty good, too, winning numerous titles in USPSA, IPSC and IDPA.
Bill is a dedicated handloader, which is mandatory if you shoot competitively. But Bill writes, “When I go to town, in case I need to protect myself from rabid humanoids, I’m usually carrying the Federal 147-grain HST, Remington 147-grain Golden Saber or Wilson Custom with 147-grain Hornady XTPs. What I carry on the ranch is my handloads with 147-grain Remington Golden Saber or Hornady XTP bullets because I’m usually using the gun to dispatch a wounded hog. I’ll have those loaded pretty darn hot, too. I don’t use the hunting load as a carry load because it’s harder to control because of the extra recoil.”
Bill invented the “Bill Drill,” which requires a shooter to draw and fire six shots in two seconds at 7 yards and keep them all in an IPSC target’s A-zone. This drill helps build good consistency in performance. “For my personal training I really focus on two things,” says Bill. “First, I push my personal limit of control faster and faster. Pushing the speed envelope to the point where I fire an occasional shot out of control and trying to increase the speed to where I get out of control. If you don’t practice hard stuff and push yourself out of your personal comfort zone, you will never improve The second thing I practice, ironically, is the discipline to not fire a shot out of control. As you can see, these are polar opposites. I push myself until I’m making mistakes for a portion of the shooting session, then I prove to myself that I have the discipline and control to fire every shot within my personal limitations. I like to shoot on steel silhouettes that are 15 by 12 inches with 7-inch center-of-mass circle and a 4-inch circle in the 6-inch-wide head box.”
What makes Bill Wilson unique is the fact that he’s a winning competitive shooter, an accomplished gunsmith and a successful businessman who created the firearms powerhouse called Wilson Combat. All of these things undoubtedly make him unique. But deep down, Bill is also a lot like us—he’s a gun guy at heart—and in his must-read book, “Gun Guy,” he tells his story in his own words about competitive shooting, gunsmithing and building a business from scratch.
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He’s also a real hunting enthusiast, as he’s made over 25 trips to Africa alone. In the book he also talks about his family, friends and customers, all of whom helped make Wilson Combat what it is today. And Bill has peppered every page of this book with valuable nuggets of shooting and life advice. I quickly found myself taking notes. Scroll through the photo gallery above to see just a small sampling of what I learned.
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by Personal Defense World / Jul 31, 2017