The planning for a USPSA National Championship usually starts during the match you are at and thinking about for next year. As you get closer to the event crazy ideas pop into your head, or in this case someone else’s head. Henning Wallgren reached out about having a side match during the USPSA Carry Optics Nationals in September, the fastest Bill Drill.
That is great, but we were limited on bays for the match so we needed to do some planning to make it happen. The original idea was to take the center bay that was set aside for vendors and put the chrono in it, along with the side match that Henning wanted to do. This would have every competitor have to go through the area and then they could participate in the side match at that time.
This could have caused some problems being that it was technically part of the match and if you were to have a DQ on the side match then it counted in the main match. We didn’t want to do that. As I was trying to figure out the best way to do this Beretta contacted me and wanted to release the new Beretta 92X Performance Carry Optics model at the match and wanted to know the best way to do it.
“My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention.” (If you get it you get it.) I had a plan, maybe a good one, at that point who knew. But I ran it by the others and everyone thought I was nuts, so it had to work.
We would schedule a break period for every squad while in Zone 1 where they could go through the vendor area and participate in the two side matches if they wanted to. Being a break period, the side matches were not part of the main match. Participation was up to the competitors.
The Beretta side match was a low ready start with the new gun on five pieces of steel with the fifth being a stop plate. Fastest time would win a new Beretta 92X Performance Carry Optics pistol. Everyone that participated could then be entered to win a random draw for another Beretta 92X. The Fastest Bill Drill was a pay to play with the payback going back to the competitors. Henning set it up to award class and overall fastest. There were several companies that help support the Bill Drill Challenge and put together some great prizes from GX Products, Hunters HD Gold, CODA Evolution, Stone Bridge Gun Works, Vortex Optics and Henning Group. The cash continued to pile up, raising more than $5,500 from competitors that were trying to beat the fastest time.
There were 151 competitors that gave the Bill Drill Challenge a try, seven yards from the draw with six A hits to qualify was the goal. But it became clear that Isaac Lockwood was on a mission to win this. With his impressive scoop draw, Gray Guns “Lockwood” model SIG P320, Henning Group T-1000 hanger attached to a GX Product holster, he laid down a 1.23-second run with all A hits, one was in the upper A zone (the hard way).
Next to the Bill Drill Challenge was the Beretta 92X Challenge. From the low ready with the Beretta 92X Carry Optics model, either equipped with the Vortex Razor six-MOA red-dot optic or iron sights, 226 competitors put in their all for the fastest time on the five reduced-size IPSC targets (⅓-size targets). On the buzzer, they would shoot the steel with the red painted stop plate being last. Competitors got a practice run, then a run for score for a chance to win one of two of the new Beretta 92X Performance Carry Optics pistols. Twenty-one competitors ran this in less than two seconds, but Mason Lane did it in 1.47 seconds to capture the victory.
Along with the Beretta side match, the company team was on hand with the vendor table set up with the Beretta lineup of handguns. The full selection of 92X Performance models, including the original, the Defensive and the aforementioned Carry Optics model were present. In addition, the new Beretta APX-A1 was available to shoot, along with a few custom models that the team had with them as well.
What started out as an idea from Henning Wallgren—with the support of Beretta—resulted in the vendor area staying packed throughout the match. Using the large bay and have room for the vendors and the side matches were a bonus that the CMP action pistol bays allowed. The overall feedback was extremely positive. USPSA is already working on plans for 2023.
Article from the November/December 2022 issue of USPSA’s magazine.