As I navigate through a new industry and career, I have been meeting a lot of fantastic people. Many of the folks I’ve met are humble, caring, and excited to help their fellow shooters. An example of this humility- while I was waiting my turn on a stage, a gentleman approached me and addressed me by name to ask me how I was enjoying the shoot. I told him how much I was enjoying it, and over the course of a few minutes I learned that he worked for Crimson Trace. When I asked him what he did for them, he said “Oh, strategy and product development” in a nonchalant manner. So I asked him “Oh, are you a product manager?” and he said “No, I have this CEO title and try to keep the company running.” I had no idea who Crimson Trace CEO Lew Danielson was until I met him, and I loved his low-key style.
So, let’s get to the guns! The Crimson Trace 3-gun shoot had one class: Open. What shotgun did I use? A Remington 870 Tactical pump shotgun with an 18.5” barrel. I was totally outgunned.
My sponsor, Bass Pro Shops, is helping me upgrade my equipment, but of course these things take time. I am planning to get a Benelli M2 and look forward to getting a review up once it’s all ready.
My 870 has an extension tube bringing my capacity to 6+1. I’ve got a Tactical Mesa side saddle, a Speedfeed IV-S pistol grip, and a Surefire 318LMG forend WeaponLight. I love my 870 which is designed for fun and home-defense in mind, but its heavy weight and pump-action in Open class (where semi-auto is standard) put me at a distinct disadvantage. Some folks had 23-round XRAIL systems to truly leverage the creativity Open class allows.
The brutal part was a few stages had 8 shotgun targets lined up in a row, and so even if I made 7 perfect shots with my max capacity, I’d still have to burn a few seconds reloading a single round. Here’s one stage example (note that clays C1-C8 have to be engaged with a shotgun). But as I mentioned in an earlier post, even though there wasn’t a ton of pressure to win, there’s something inside of me that just hates losing, and I at least wanted to put on a decent showing.
In the third post in this series, coming soon, I’ll talk about the night vision and IR gear plus the two fully automatic machine guns we fired.
Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career. He shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. www.TopShotChris.com.