Glocks are not typically seen as the best design for an Open gun, the heavy slide and full polymer frame result in a top heavy gun that is difficult to mount a scope upon. KC Eusebio set out to disprove this theory by using a Zev Open Glock to go against Max Michel, Shane Coley, Shannon Smith and a host of others all shooting the wide-bodied 1911 platform.
Eusebio opened the match with a comfortable win on Stage 15, ‘Zombie Cluster’ opening up a respectable lead on an L-shaped course that was a non-stop run and blast, consuming 32 rounds in around 17 seconds, a full second faster than anyone else.
There were six stages paired up on the next three berms and the competitors were kept ‘hot’ between each pair so there was little time to re-focus if the first stage went south, which it did for Max Michel on 16. A procedural error and a miss gave Max his worst stage of the entire match, he then walked over to Stage 17 and won it, I asked Max how is is able to refocus so quickly when bad things happen.
“That is one of the hardest things for anyone to do in any sport! Being able to completely shut out what just happened and immediately performing again is something I have just learned through experience. As you said, stage 16 was by far my worst stage in the match and then I immediately won the next stage with no rest mentally in between. To do that, I have found my own way of just putting things behind me and pulling from my experience. Over the years I have learned that I don't need to be perfect on every stage. While I would love to win every stage, I know and trust that every shooter will have an issue at some point throughout the match. Therefore, so what if my bad stage came early… I have to move on and continue to put up good stages like I always do and in the end, the best shooter of THAT match will win. In other words, everyone will make mistakes and its those who can move past them in their own way, will have better results. With all respect to my competitors, I just felt in my heart before the match started that I was the winner and I never allowed my self to feel any different at any point during the match.”, Max replied.
Two more stage wins followed on Stages 19 & 21 together helping to reduce KC’s lead but only by about ten points. Stages 18 & 20 had gone to the AMU’s Shane Coley who was off to a better start than in the Limited Division. No stage wins at all for Shannon Smith on the first day out, but solid performances on the first eight stages had him comfortably in second place.
With so many stages it was turning into a long day, I asked Max how he kept up his stamina.
“The more stages, the better for me physically and mentally. During those long days I focus on eating and drinking correctly. I always have an ice chest with me so I don't have to rely on ‘range food’. I typically eat proteins, fruit, and water on the range!” - Max Michel
As the squad moved back down to Stage 14, their last of the first day, the light was beginning to fade, many of the other squads had already finished over an hour earlier. As the sun began to sink beneath the berms it caused a lot of glare and distinct shadows across the stage. While Shannon Smith posted a respectable time on this stage, he dropped a lot of points which allowed Max Michel to close to just one point away from second place. Another Stage win by Glock’s KC Eusebio kept him in the lead but it was starting to narrow, as Smith and Michel were only down about 24-25 points, and the next day the bigger field stages beckoned.
By the time the last competitor had shot the stage it was clear that there was an issue on the Men’s Super Squad; With twelve people it was the largest squad of the match and there were some that were not keen on helping to reset the stages and this resulted in a stern warning from John Amidon at the close of the first day. If things did not improve then some competitors would be moved to another lighter squad to keep things moving. The top squad finished shooting around 6:45pm, two hours later than most of the other squads.
The following day, the Super Squad started on Sage 3, Shane Coley was the top finisher but even he could not catch Lesgar Murdock, who stormed this stage faster than anyone and only dropped two points in the process. Both KC and Max suffered a single penalty on this stage, both with similar times, but KC’s accuracy suffered, dropping a slew of points and allowing Max to narrow the gap with the match leader. That gap narrowed again with another stage win for Max on Stage 4, but KC pulled a few points back on Stage 5.
Onwards to Stage 6 which was later pulled following an arbitration by another competitor. After missing the first swinging target the competitor demanded that No-Penalty-Miss(es) be scored for the swinger as it did not present a portion of the ‘A’ zone when at rest.
After a long discussion with the Range Masters the stage was unfortunately pulled from the competition, rendering irrelevant the hard work of the stage crew over the last day and half.
Stage 7 and Max took the lead that KC had held first for twelve of the twenty stages, the margin of that lead was under a third of a point and after Stage 8 it had increased by only a fiftieth of a point. After the final stage of the day a short speed shoot on Stage 1, Max’s lead had reached the lofty heights of an eighth of a point!
By the time the Open SuperSquad reached Stage 1, the Men’s L-10 Super Squad had been finished shooting for an hour so a few of them stuck around to instruct the Open shooters in proper target taping technique.
The final day of shooting and the camera crew from Shooting USA arrived on the berms to gather footage for their annual Nationals episode. I asked Max if it was a distraction to have so many cameras on the range.
“I don't notice the cameras much. I seem them from time to time during the walk through but once the buzzer goes, I don't see them at all. I guess over the years I have just put them out of my head. In fact, I found a video online with a camera guy right on my 180! I didn't even see him while shooting. During competitions, I am so focused on the task at hand, I don't have much time to think or worry about anything else. Focusing on one target at a time helps keep me on track and aware of the important things.” - Max Michel
Max proved he could focus on the stage and not the cameras by opening up his lead on Stages 9 & 10.
On Stages 11 & 12, KC Eusebio began to narrow the lead, back to back stage wins bought him within nine points of the Sig Suaer Captain. With two 160 point stages left in the match, it was not over by a long shot. Shane Coley and Shannon Smith were battling it out for second place neither staying ahead of the other for more than two stages until Stage 13 where Shane opened up a lead that Shannon could not counter.
KC lost the match on Stage 13. Struggling to hit the poppers on the first part of the Stage he had to leave the first shooting position with a popper still standing. Max took another Stage win and KC dropped over forty-seven points. Onwards to the final Stage 8 and KC managed to claw back a few points from Max but the damage inflicted by Stage 13 was just too great to overcome.