Nils Jonasson recently topped the leaderboard at two major USPSA national competitions. Read on to learn more about this talented action shooter.
You’ve won back-to-back national titles at the USPSA Classic Nationals and 2-Gun Nationals, not even a month apart. How does that feel?
It feels like a huge accomplishment to not only win two national titles so close together, but to do so in two completely differently styles of shooting. Classic required controlled shooting with almost no room for mistakes, while 2-Gun Nationals was extremely fast due to the multigun scoring system.
Training for Classic Nationals and 2-Gun Nationals looks very different. What did your physical and mental preparation look like for both of these matches?
The main way I prepared for both matches was by staying focused on iron sights for several months leading up to match day. I’ve shot several USPSA Area Championships in Production division, instead of my usual Carry Optics, specifically because I knew these matches were coming up and it’s difficult to for me to make a rapid shift from one sighting system to the other and expect to perform at a level I’m happy with. In addition to that, double-checking everything making sure my gear functioned 100 percent.
You shot with friends and mentors on the super squad at Classic Nationals. How does shooting with all of them help your performance?
It’s always a treat to shoot with those guys. USPSA and competitive shooting in general seems like the only place where a regular person can compete alongside an all time great. It’s analogous to a golfer playing a round with Tiger Woods. It just doesn’t happen.
Performance wise, when your direct competitors are right there and are capable of beating your best run on any given stage, if you’re able to deal with the pressure, it can be a huge positive.
What did you like about the USPSA Classic Nationals stages this year? Do you have a favorite?
It was a straight-up shooting match. No gimmicks, no nonsense—just stand and deliver with a little running sprinkled in. Stage 10 was a turning point. After a rocky start on my first stage, I’d put together a couple of solid finishes before coming to Stage 10.
This 30-round stage gave the you tons of options with several completely different ways to approach it. Of course, I’m the first shooter and I hadn’t seen anyone complete the stage. As luck would have it, I’d set my best interpretation of this same stage up at my local USPSA match back home in Mesa, Arizona. After a slight adjustment, I shot a solid time with good points on a stage that my competition ended up struggling on, giving me the lead in the match for the first time.
The USPSA 2-Gun National Championship was held at Cameo Shooting Complex this year. What could this range facilitate for multigun that other ranges cannot?
Cameo is hands down the best most capable shooting facility in the United States. It sits on 2,000-plus acres, has 28 huge pistol bays, multiple clays shotgun courses, massive public ranges, 3D archery, a 2,000-yard rifle range and much more. This range allows for pretty much anything a stage designer could imagine.
What was the most challenging stage or part of 2-Gun Nationals for you?
Pistol Caliber Carbine—I’m barely classified master in PCC because I just haven’t put any time into it. With that said, shooting it and the transitions to and from the PCC are very similar to rifle in multigun which I do know a good deal about.
What guns and gear did you run to take both titles?
For Single Stack Nationals, I used the same McLearn Custom 40-cal. 1911 THAT I’ve won my other SS National titles with.
For 2-Gun Nationals, my PCC is actually a prize gun I won from Iron City Rifle Works that they donated to the SMM3Gun prize table two years ago. Not the most expensive PCC out there, but it shoots well and functioned 100 percent for the match. Addtionally, I use TTI plus 10 extensions on the Glock pattern magazines.
My pistol is the new Canik SFx Rival we released in January 2022. Running the factory adjustable iron sights, factory included removable magwell, factory trigger and factory holster placed on a boss hanger. It’s perfect pistol for someone that wants to compete against super expensive pistols without breaking the bank in the process.
For those that don't know about your work with Century Arms and Canik Arms, how did you help bring the Rival to life?
I’ve had the privilege of working with Canik Arms and their incredible research and development team for about two years. The design is a combination of competition inspired features, customer feedback and the desire to build a pistol that not only looks great, but shoots even better.
What was so special about seeing that gun through prototyping and launch?
It’s quickly become a highlight of my year to travel to the manufacturing facility in Samsun, Turkey, to work on plans for future products. Noting quite compares to seeing one of these new Caniks on the shelf after being involved in the process.
Do you have a lucky charm you keep on you or a ritual you do before every major match?
No lucky charms or superstition here. Leading up to a major, I try to get as comfortable as possible with whatever division or style competition I’m shooting, so I’m not “learning at the match.”
During the match, I try to stay hydrated and keep a positive attitude regardless of what’s going on. Sometimes that’s difficult, but a short breathing exercise can go a long way to calming yourself down, which allows you to focus on what’s important.
What are your next major matches this shooting season? And what are your goals for those matches?
I have USPSA Areas 5, 3 and 8 leading into USPSA Carry Optics Nationals in September. My goal is to acclimate to the red dot and shoot it as confidently as my irons, which I’m sure will require lots of work. After that, USPSA Production Nationals and likely switch back to iron sights to finish off the year. Maybe even the IPSC World Shoot—unless something else happens to shutdown the entire world.
Both USPSA Classic Nationals and USPSA 2-Gun Nationals were exciting, well-run matches and I hope everyone had as much fun shooting them as I did. Also thank you to Canik Arms and Century Arms for building amazing products and helping me compete at the highest level.
Article from the July/August 2022 issue of USPSA’s magazine.