Bucket List: Bruce Piatt Makes First Trip to Camp Perry

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posted on October 26, 2016
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Bruce Piatt is one of the world’s best shooters, a five-time Bianchi Cup Champion and the 2015 NRA World Shooting Champion, among many others. An NRA Action Pistol, 3-Gun, Sportsman Team Challenge, and Industry Masters competitor, Piatt enjoys “whatever shooting game he sets his mind to.” This year, his mind was on shooting the National Pistol Championship for the very first time.

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Bruce Piatt on the firing line at the 2016 National Matches.

Says Piatt: “Camp Perry has been on my bucket list for a long time. I couldn’t make the trip in 2015. Now that I’m retired after 32 years in law enforcement, my schedule allowed it, so here I am.”

Bruce’s Precision Pistols
Bruce’s training regimen includes some precision pistol. He said, “I shoot informally at home in the winter, 25 yards indoors.”

His precision guns for the National Matches this year included a Caspian for .45 cal. that he practiced with at only 25 yards until just before the 2016 National Pistol Championship, and for .22LR he used a Caspian with a Marvel conversion that shoots one-inch groups with Lapua ammo. 

For center fire, he used an old Bianchi Cup gun―a Caspian .38 Super. Bruce said the gun was noticeable to other competitors on the firing line at Perry, “It still has the shroud and the compensator on it. People on the line gave me some funny looks―but it shoots an inch, so why not use it!” Bruce redid all his triggers to conform to NRA Precision Pistol rules.

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Scoring precision pistol targets with fellow National Matches competitors.

Piatt began practicing about two weeks before traveling to Ohio. He then discovered his Caspian .45 cal. “didn’t shoot very well” the first time he shot it at 50 yards. Afterwards, he stripped the gun apart and found the hood was short, so he welded and refit it. An old-school competitor at heart, he kept the frame-mounted scope on the gun. “It’s shooting okay―it will get me by this year.”

For the President’s 100 and Excellence-in-Competition matches, Bruce used his old .45 cal. police duty gun. He said, “I turned it into a bullseye gun because I needed an iron sight .45 cal., so I just used the one I carried back in my SWAT days. It has a short sight radius and it’s not a bullseye gun, but I’m here!”

Bruce was with the Montvale, NJ police department’s SWAT unit for over 10 years and whenever he taught classes, he brought the same .45 cal. with him because, “If I can do it with a .45 cal., my students can do it with a 9mm.”

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Sea Girt, NJ, was once the home of the National Matches.

Piatt on Shooting History
Something you might not know about Bruce is his love of shooting history. As a young man growing up in New Jersey, he read everything he could on the subject, idolizing shooting greats such as Olympic Champion Lones Wigger, National Pistol Champion Bill Blankenship, and Jim Clark Sr.

As you might expect, Bruce read the National Matches history book while at Perry, discovering that for a time before 1903, the National Matches were held at Sea Girt in New Jersey. Piatt learned he had already spent time shooting on a National Championship range. “Sea Girt is where I went to the police academy. It’s a National Guard base, I shot on the same grounds and stayed in the same barracks back in 1986. I had no idea until now,” said Piatt.

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Build a Caspian 1911 just like this at Bruce Piatt’s custom build classes.

Custom 1911 Build Classes
Bruce does all his own work on his guns, and offers custom 1911 build classes periodically throughout the year. Students come out of his classes with a better understanding of exactly how the 1911 works. The next class will be in Salt Lake City, UT, December 3-7. 

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