HALLSVILLE — Pistol-shooting enthusiasts and professionals from around the globe holstered their guns one final time in the Bianchi International Speed Event competition Saturday.
The speed event, which was delayed four hours because of thunderstorms, was the final competition of the 30th Annual National Rifle Association Bianchi Cup National Action Pistol Championship.
Top contenders in the four competition categories of junior, women’s, senior and open, went head-to-head in a single elimination test of skill and accuracy.
The speed event requires contestants to shoot out five knock-down plates in less than 20 seconds. Contestants must start with gun in holster and hands at shoulder height. A shooter can only start firing once the whistle or horn sounds, signaling the start of the timed round. The speed event concludes when there’s only one man, woman or child left standing.
Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club in Hallsville, where the event takes place every year, held matches all week for the cup. The grounds of the club were established as a training facility for law enforcement officers but also can accommodate a competition such as the pistol championship.
Doug Koenig of Alburtis, Penn., has been coming for the past 22 years and won the open championship this year, along with the speed event. In 2007, Koenig also took home the top speed event prize but did not win the overall Bianchi Cup. He said that while the speed event is typically “a lot less nerve-racking” than competition rounds, it’s not his favorite.
“I like the barricades,” Koenig said.
The barricade event requires contestants to be fully within the firing area before shooting begins. Guns must be holstered, and both palms have to be facing the barricade. A turning of the targets signals contestants to start firing. But a shooter’s body and weapon must be completely concealed behind the barricade. The event has four different stages at successively greater distances from the target.
International competitors from seven countries, including Japan, Australia and New Zealand, competed in this year’s event.