Well, the fourth season of History Channel's Top Shot premiered yesterday on Valentine's Day 2012, and as usual they started off with a bang... actually, a lot of bangs.
We began with a gathering of 18 contestants. You could say that all of them made it to Top Shot Season 4, but if you take heed of host Colby Donaldson's patter you'll find that the two folks who got eliminated in the first part of the show never even got to wear any Top Shot-branded clothing. For shame! They also missed out on a new facet of winning that has just been introduced for Season Four: the winner gets offered a professional shooting contract with Bass Pro Shops. Now that definitely sounds worthwhile.
Anyhow, a quick introduction made it clear that there were a lot of guys and a couple of gals. Speaking as a male, I have to say that I didn't notice the guys, except to note that there were many of them and a shortage of gals... especially after seeing Michelle Viscusi and her, um, eye-catching physique. Homina homina! But I digress...
So we have a bunch of guys and two ladies. The gals can shoot, so they're certainly more than eye candy. They proved this by handily making it past the first challenge, which came on almost immediately... shooting an M14 rifle at 200 yards in the prone position. Each shooter took one shot at the target, and the two poorest shooters had their Top Shot careers cut brutally short. Turns out, these two were Forrest McCord and Craig Buckland.
Forrest was a 21-year-old world champion pistol shooter, and according to the History Channel's info, Craig "has won at least one national championship title every year since 2007." Neither of these champs placed their shots well enough to qualify to compete, so both were sent packing.
Hey Colby, it's a Revolver
After some mostly meaningless footage of camaraderie in "the house," it was time for the first real team challenge - and it was definitely a challenge. Eight successively-smaller rows of six targets each were arranged in a grid. One member per team was assigned to each row of six - all of which had to be knocked down without a miss, or all six would be reset and that shooter would have to come back and try again. That's tough.
And this brings me to a bone of contention. Host Colby Donaldson erroneously called the gun used in the competition - a Ruger Vaquero single action revolver - a "pistol." This is inaccurate, and I would certainly like to see more accuracy in their terminology as well as marksmanship. Got that, Colby? Okay, good.
Duking it Out
Both teams struggled, but eventually it was pared down to one row per team. Red team's Chris Cheng and blue's Greg Littlejohn both had multiple misses (each of which meant starting over) before Chris finally won, ensuring that red team was the greatest, yadda yadda. Greg and Frank went to elimination for blue team.
At training, the M1 carbine was revealed as the gun of choice. If you've never handled one, the M1 carbine is a very handy little semi-automatic rifle which fires a round that's underpowered for most anything other than shooting small-to-medium game, targets, or people. As a military arm, it was of course meant for doing the latter. It was a highly successful gun and they are a lot of fun to shoot.
Frank, the self-taught offspring of gun-hating parents, did better in training than militarily-trained Greg.
Each shooter was put in a motorcycle sidecar, and given an M1 carbine with 15 rounds of ammo in it. Then the motorcycle driver drove past a series of 10 targets, and each shooter tried to hit all the targets. It looked like fun, but then again Top Shot's elimination challenges usually look a lot more fun than their team challenges.
Well, they tied. Each shooter hit 6 of the ten targets. It came down to who used the fewest rounds, and since Greg only burned up 10 rounds while Frank used up all 15, he got to stay and Frank was sent packing.
All in all, I found it to be a good first episode. We got rid of a number of folks that I hadn't had time to care about yet, kept the pretty ladies around, and there wasn't any politicking or whining when it came to elimination. Let's hope it stays that way... although I do have my doubts.
- Russ Chastain
Other Top Shot Season 4 Episode Reviews
- Season 4, Episode 2: Browning BAR and Grenade Launchers
- Season 4, Episode 3: Benelli Shotguns Galore
- Season 4, Episode 4: Crossbows, Moving Targets, and Love
- Season 4, Episode 5: Flintlocks, Unpatched Balls, and Half-Cocks
- Season 4, Episode 6: From Cannons to Atlatls - and Beyond
- Season 4, Episode 7: Trick Shots and Cocky Teammates
- Season 4, Episode 8: Old British Guns
- Season 4, Episode 9: It's all About Rifles
- Season 4, Episode 10: SWAT Stuff
- Season 4, Episode 11: Machinegunning and Memory
- Season 4, Episode 12: Season Finale