This year’s MGM Junior Shooter’s Camp was the best yet. I’ll say that right now. I’ll also apologize for the lack of photos in this post, but I was kinda busy shooting! Most of the photos here were stolen from Molly Smith’s blog.
Unfortunately, the Army Marksmanship Unit wasn’t able to host the camp this year, so this year’s camp wasn’t held at Fort Benning, but in Parma, Idaho. And the instructors weren’t AMU team members, but a collection of excellent shooters and instructors from outside the Army.
- Max Michel, Team Captain for Sig Sauer and former AMU team member (and World Speed Shooting Champion)
- Manny Bragg, Instructor for the Universal Shooting Academy and holder of many USPSA Area titles
- Matt Burkett, 7-Time MGM Ironman Champion, 3-Time World 3-Gun Champion, and Rifle Instructor Extraordinaire
- Randi Rogers, Team Glock member, numerous National and World titles in USPSA, IDPA, and Cowboy Action Shooting (SASS)
- Phil Strader, Team S&W member and wielder of the Rod of Justice (his beatin’ stick).
- BJ Norris, Team S&W member, Steel Challenge World Record Holder and USPSA National Champion
Obviously the instructors this year are just as decorated as the Army instructors. And this year, I think that the instruction was a little more advanced, covering everything from the right way to shoot a swinger (I was doing it wrong!) to BJ Norris’ class on draws (his fastest of the camp was .62 of a second!). Matt Burkett gave an awesome class on rifle shooting, with ammo generously provided by Hornady (12,000 rounds of Steel Match ammo!).
The class that I think will help me the most in the future was Phil’s class on entering shooting positions (ports, boxes, etc.). I have a tendency to get into a position and then bring my gun up to shoot. Phil taught us to bring the gun up and pick an index point (on a wall, target, whatever) and keep it there while moving. Deviations from this were quickly addressed with his beatin’ stick:
Photo stolen from the Molly Minute
Phil’s class will help me the most in a match, but the class where I actually learned the most was Matt’s rifle class. I don’t practice shooting the AR at longer ranges (or at any range, really…), so when I shoot the occasional 3-gun match, that’s usually where I’m behind. Matt taught us ”Approach Shooting”. Basically, you swing the rifle into the target and press the trigger. We ended on Matt’s station on the first day, which meant that we had time for a few Shoot-Off’s amongst the squad! I did fairly well, placing second. Thanks to Hornady for the ammo, PWS, Matt Burkett, and the Gibson family for supplying the rifles!
Molly Smith shooting Matt’s Tactical Optics AR.
Manny Bragg also taught an excellent class on swingers. I learned to shoot swingers by catching them at their apex and whacking two shots at them before they take off again. Manny taught us to shoot by tracking them with the gun. It makes it as easy to shoot as any other stationary target. I also won the Shoot-Off here, with the most A-zone hits on a swinger, earning me a nice Universal Shooting Academy hat signed by all the instructors.
I learned the most at Phil’s, Matt’s, and Manny’s classes, but I learned something at every station. Max Michel taught shooting around barricades, BJ Norris taught me a new draw that brought my average time (of three draws) down to .95 of a second, and Randi Rogers fixed my reloads (I was holding my gun too far from my face).
This year, my squad went with Max Michel, who guided us through the stages. We shot some of the stages of the MGM Grand Nationals as well as two field courses set up for the camp. I didn’t do very well, for some reason I kept missing poppers! Maybe it was because I was shooting my Dad’s gun (mine’s still non-functional after the slide broke at Area 1.
I did manage to take 3rd overall, congratulations to two of my squadmates, Hayden Hixson (winner) and Jacob Hetherington (2nd). The rest of the squad did pretty well with Kolby Hunter finishing 5th, Danny Rice taking 6th (with a single-stack), Keith Neher taking 9th and Dontae Gardner finishing 12th out of 45 shooters.
Thank you Mike and Rhonda Gibson for all the time, effort, and financial support they’ve put into the camp from Day One.
Thanks to all the instructors and sponsors, especially Remington (who gave each junior 500 rounds for the camp!) and Hornady (for supplying rifle ammo).