AMU’s Horner Wins 3GN Championship, $25,000
LAS VEGAS, NV –-(Ammoland.com)- The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Daniel Horner defeated Bruce Piatt in the finals of the FNH USA 3-Gun Nation Championship Shoot-Off, Presented by SureFire, winning an unprecedented $25,000, courtesy of Leupold , here Sept. 13.
The final event of the ground-breaking 2010 3-Gun Nation Tour, the 3GN Championship Shoot-Off pitted 16 of the top 3-gunners in the world in a single-elimination, man-on-man drag race through a course of MGM steel targets. But to get there, competitors had to post one of 16 top scores out of field of more than 50 top practical shooters. And in Horner’s case, he had to do a little more.
Horner’s incredible run actually began three days earlier when he set out to defend his USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals title, and with a top performance there earn a Wild Card berth into the 3GN Championship. Unlike many top pros who had already qualified for the match based on series points, Horner spent much of 2010 deployed with his unit to Afghanistan in support of combat operations.
The Army staff sergeant did that and more, picking up another Nationals victory en route to a Wild Card slot, before posting the top score after four stages of fire during the 3GN Championship match, thereby earning the top seed going into the Shoot-Off. Horner then proceeded to switch gears, and looked solid with comfortable wins over Kerry Dematos and Tony Holmes, setting up a semi-finals match-up with FNH USA’s Dave Neth, who owns a Shoot-Off victory following MGM Ironman.
Meanwhile, Neth was equally impressive in his first two runs, knocking out Ty Gentry and SureFire’s Barry Dueck, seemingly recapturing the same rhythm and pace he set in Parma to win $5,000 in June.
As the two competitors stepped to the line, one could feel a shift in the atmosphere, as the crowd seemed to sense what was coming. Two confident, athletic shooters who were both clearly in the “zone” were about to square off. However, no one could predict they were about to see arguably the most exciting run of the 2010 3GN Tour.
At the horn, each man exploded out of the start box, reaching the rifle barricade in step, and each dropping into a reverse-kneeling position. Horner’s trigger broke first, instantly followed by Neth’s, a literal “pop-pop” cadence that continued throughout the rifle plates as each fired their SCARs to knock down the 100-yard targets in turn.
“I got into the rifle position and shot the best I’ve shot so far and thought I was ahead, and I looked up and he was already finished and I thought I better go faster,” Horner said. “It’s a blast out here competing with people. Guys like Dave, you can’t ask for better … this is a blast.”
Horner’s half-count of a lead evaporated at the shotgun position as they simultaneously grabbed their SLP shotguns and ripped through the five poppers and two clays before grounding the shotgun and sprinting to the pistol rack.
Here again, as each competitor hammered away with an FNX 9, they went shot-for-shot through the pistol rack, as the crowd rose to its feet just as Horner accelerated through the cross-over stop plate, sending it down an instant before Neth’s fell in turn. It was quite simply an amazing run by both competitors.
“My run was good—even perfect—I wouldn’t take it back,” Neth said. “I can’t feel bad losing to Daniel Horner.”
The other semi-final matchup featured two 3-gun veterans and shoot-off specialists in Jerry Miculek and Bruce Piatt. Miculek advanced to the semis with a first-round win over Kalani Laker before knocking out the AMU’s young Tyler Payne, who is poised to be one of the next stars of the sport.
Conversely, Piatt was forced to work his way through a figurative “Murderer’s Row” of heavy hitters. After taking out veteran 3-gunner Kurt Miller in the first round, Piatt next faced Taran Butler, currently one of the best in the world, and coming off a monster season. But Piatt stayed measured during the rifle position, got his hits, and held on as Butler got fast on the trigger and tried to run him down.
“I knew I was leaving the rifle ahead of him; I heard him still shooting,” Piatt said. “I went faster than I wanted to on the shotgun, and I kept missing a plate on the pistol, which put me in panic mode. I had to settle back down and was able to pull through.”
After losing their semi-finals matchups, Miculek and Neth regrouped and toed the line to square off once more in the consolation round, with $5,000 on the line from Timney Triggers. Neth maintained much of the speed he showcased against Horner, cruising to the win and marking Neth as the first repeat winner on the 3GN Tour.
“I got what I earned,” Miculek said, congratulating Neth. “Dave shot a good one.”
“We at Timney Triggers are honored to be a part of such a great shooting competition,” said Timney’s Chris Ellis during the check presentation. “We just want to congratulate Dave on an outstanding performance.”
Piatt’s run through the 3GN Championship Shoot-Off marked one of consistency, as the veteran shoot-off competitor was deliberate on the rifle, fast on the shotgun and smooth on the pistol. With consecutive wins over Miller, Butler and Miculek, Piatt proved to be a giant killer. But on this day, Horner, regarded as America’s best 3-gunner, was too much. For his second place finish, Piatt earned a $10,000 check from US P.A.L.M.
Ultimately, the night belonged to Horner. Upon defeating Piatt, the often reserved, cool competitor thrust his fists skyward, followed by a smile that lit up the Nevada desert.
“Sixteen shooters for $25,000, if that doesn’t get you fired up, I don’t know what will,” said Kevin Trepa, Vice President Tactical Sales & Marketing, Leupold Tactical, during the check presentation. “We are real proud to be a part of this, and we hope that this becomes something that is an annual fixture.”
“I’d like to thank all the sponsors and staff that made this event happen, and to the Army for letting me be here,” said Horner.
While Horner, Piatt and Neth took home the big prizes, every competitor walked away happy with a prize bag that included a SureFire Muzzle Brake for every participant, while stage sponsors Safariland and Warne Scope Mounts each contributed 25 $100 gift certificates. Brownells provided $2,500 worth of gear as well, with every competitor receiving Brownells AR magazines and more. FMG Publications, with sponsored shooter Scott McGregor in the field of 50, also sponsored a stage, and Bushnell provided a catered lunch for everyone onsite during the 3GN Championship.
The next stop on the FNH USA 3-Gun Nation Tour, Presented by SureFire, is at the 2010 Adams Arms Ozark 3-Gun Championship, Sept. 24-26, at Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. While Ozark is not an official series match, the event will be filmed for Versus and will culminate with the 3GN Shoot-Off and a $5,000 check from Adams Arms and Samson Manufacturing.
Multi-gun, or 3-gun, is a unique sport within the discipline known as practical shooting. Considered the fastest growing segment within the shooting sports, 3-gun challenges competitors with rifle, pistol and shotgun, maneuvering through unique stages of fire as fast as their skill will allow.
The National 3-Gun Association, through media properties “3-Gun Nation Television” and 3GunNation.com, was formed with one mission: to promote practical shooting by shining a light on amateur and professional shooters alike, as well as the guns, gear and lifestyle that define the high-octane sport of 3-gun competition. Bringing never-before-seen cash payouts to the table, 3-Gun Nation is quite simply changing the game. 3 Guns. One Champion.
For more information, visit www.3GunNation.com.