OSAGE BEACH, Mo. - On a day when the entire country remembered the terrible attacks of 9-11, the shooting community honored lives lost as only it can: a memorial themed match. With a match booklet full of stages that honored 10 years of combat by U.S. Armed Forces, it could only be fitting that an active duty soldier rise to the occasion once more.
Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Horner defeated Rustin Bernskoetter in the final match-up of the 3-Gun Nation Shoot-Off following the Adams Arms Ozark 3-Gun Championships here recently, winning $5,000 from Adams Arms and Samson Manufacturing.
The win was Horner's third on the 2011 FNH USA 3GN Tour, Presented by SureFire, including a payday after the Ozark match last September. That makes Horner only the second competitor to successfully defend a Shoot-Off win. Keith Garcia pulled off the feat earlier this season after winning back-to-back Shoot-Offs at Superstition Mountain in 2010 and 2011.
The win was also Horner's second consecutive 3GN Shoot-Off victory this season, running the all-time 3GN money winner's career 3GN earnings to $41,500. The next closest competitor is Dave Neth at $10,100.
Horner's run to another title began with a first-round match-up against newly-signed Colt shooter Clint Upchurch, who qualified out of Open. Upchurch, who has struggled at times in this format when switching to stock equipment, looked good against Horner in the opening round. However, Horner, who was tops in Tactical Optics as well, was simply too much for Upchurch to catch him on the final pistol arrays.
In the semi-finals, Horner faced off against Greg Jordan, out of Tactical Optics, a repeat match-up from the Shoot-Off at Rocky Mountain. And just like in Raton, Jordan gave Horner all he wanted. After both competitors raced to the first shotgun position, it was Horner who broke two shots before Jordan had fired at all. Yet by the time Jordan's eight stationary clays were broken, the two were dead even going into the rifle. From there, Horner pushed ahead and was able to hold on through the pistol plates.
In the first round, Bernskoetter, out of Tactical Optics, squared off against Tactical Iron's James Casanova in a match-up of 3GN Shoot-Off first-timers. Whether the two were nervous with their 3GN debut was quickly put in doubt after an extremely entertaining run. Both shooters looked good, and it was Bernskoetter who edged out Casanova.
Bernskoetter followed up by outlasting Stag Arms' Kalani Laker, out of Tactical Optics, in the semi-finals, setting up the final showdown with Horner.
Laker advanced to the semi-finals after a first-round victory over U.S. AMU's Tyler Payne, out of Tactical Optics. In the final first-round match-up, Jordan knocked off Noveske's Rob Romero, who topped Heavy Metal to earn his second consecutive 3GN Shoot-Off appearance.
While Horner took home $5K, Bernskoetter's second place finish earned him $1,000. For reaching the semi-finals, Jordan and Laker each picked up $500. And qualifiers Romero, Payne, Casanova and Upchurch each earned $100. All cash payouts were courtesy of Adams Arms and Samson Manufacturing.
In the 3-Gun Nation Team Event, presented by Brownells, Team Cody Leeper won by default after Team Katie Harris was disqualified for not placing a gun on safe in the staging box. The ruling proved an unfortunate twist in an extremely entertaining run that saw Stag Arms' Jesse Tischauser and Benelli's Katie Harris go heads-up on the FN SLP before Mike Cyrwus ultimately picked up the FN FNX-9 and ran down the other team for the apparent win. Each member of the winning team received a $500 check from Brownells, while the opposing team was awarded Brownells 3-Gun bags.
In the preliminary rounds, as well as the Team Event, competitors used FN SLP shotguns, Ruger SR-556 rifles with iron sights and FN FNX-9 pistols. In the final round, competitors fired an FN SCAR16 topped with a Leupold scope.
The next stop on the FNH USA 3-Gun Nation Tour, Presented by SureFire, is during the USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals in Las Vegas-the ninth of 10 qualifying events on the 2011 3GN Tour.
"3-Gun Nation" airs Mondays at 9:30 AM EST, Fridays at 10:30 AM EST and Sundays at 7:30 AM EST. Only on Versus. Also, be sure to check out the 3GN Forum, powered by AR15.com, and follow threads posted by 3GN, Stag Arms' Jesse Tischauser, Noveske's Jansen Jones and more: http://3gn.ar15.com/forums/b/13_.html