Top Shot: History Channel

I’ve hated “reality” shows since the genre came out. For starters, the name is a misnomer… but it won out over the more applicable but longer name… “cheap to produce shit where we don’t have to pay writers or real actors and who cares about production values anyway”.

Unfortunately they’ve taken over network primetime, which makes me glad to have cable. When the regular stations are showing people voting each other off the island cause they didn’t eat bugs faster than the guys on the other team (or insert any other lame programming challenge), I still had a fallback.

No problem… I could always flip to History Channel and watch grainy shots of real contests, like the storming of the beaches on D-day or a documentary explaining why Hoods men couldn’t have flanked at Gettysburg even if Lee had agree to the tactic.

Enter the real reality of America today. A lot more people would rather watch a bug eating contest than history. History Channel had to reformat or start running PBS pledge drives between battles. “Stay tuned for more action, but first let’s watch a couple of geeks yammer pointlessly until you call or die.”

So now History Channel has Ice Road Truckers and a bunch of other stuff that I wouldn’t watch without a gun pointed at me.

If history channel was gonna corrupt their format to stay afloat, at least they found a way to keep my interest… Top Shots. The premise is simple… teams of shooters from all walks of life compete with every weapon imaginable.

Competitors include Olympic shooters, military and ex-mil, cops and SWAT guys, Cowboy action or mounted shooters, hunters, pretty much anyone that uses a firearm. The weapons vary in each competition.

They compete with every weapon imaginable from every era possible. In pistols I’ve seen Glocks, 1911s, beretta 92, Ruger revolver, S&W 38, Colt Navy, even a 22 pistol. Rifles have run the gamut of military and civilian weapons new and old… from 22 to 50 cal and all in between. They’ve fired flintlocks, slingshots, longbow, compound bow, crossbow, blowguns, and have thrown knives and axes. No matter what your specialty, they will find something you haven’t fired.

Yeah, it’s another vote em off the show format, but the guys voted off have a fighting chance. The team that loses a competition has to send TWO guys to an elimination competition, but only the one that loses in heads-up gets eliminated.

This week included timed competition taking out a target at 1000 yards (downhill no less) with a Barrett .50 cal. A military sniper instructor did it in one shot. Then there was a head-to-head shoot off using an M1 Garand firing at popup targets that disappeared after a few seconds.

Competitors have been required to fire offhanded, with guns in each hand (fired simultaneously), strapped upside down, standing, kneeling, prone, and harnessed to a pulley that was sliding down a cable from a cliff to the ground. Whoever lays out their courses has a vivid imagination.

Last week the course was a relay. First station involved shooting at 20 ft with a 1911 at the cutting edge of an axe affixed to a wall. The object was to hit the blade squarely with a bullet less than a half inch across… Splitting the bullet so that it exploded two balloons one on either side of the axe.

In case youre still reading this (guess you dont have anything to watch on TV either), one guy actually hit the axe edge squarely on his third attempt, split the bullet and took out both balloons… in a timed competition while being filmed for a national audience.

[Did I mention some of these guys are pretty good?]

That said, for those that hate firearms and would rather arm bears than bear arms… Don’t worry, you can still watch Super Nanny wrangle whiny brats or Donald Trump fire people on the major networks. Of course if you wanna see whiny brats or ill tempered guys with bad hair you could turn off the TV and go visit relatives.

Meanwhile, us benighted folks “clinging to our guns” (Yes, Mr. Obama, we still remember) will be watching Top Shots. Maybe next week they’ll take out a BMW with an anti-tank gun. Now that’s entertainment.