Many recognize the name Chris Cerino from History Channel’s "Top Shot." Competing in both Season 1 and the All-Star Season, Cerino finished in second place both times, proving it wasn’t just luck.
Although Chris competed and won many local police shooting matches around Ohio, the competition bug didn’t bite him until after "Top Shot." His first two matches were the prestigious 2011 Bianchi Cup and the NRA National Defense Match at Camp Perry. [Editor's Note: The National Defense Match at Camp Perry mentioned here is the ancestor of the NRA America's Rifle Challenge.]
Chris loves to shoot pistols and has been shooting the Smith & Wesson M&P line since they came out. All are 5-inch, 9mm long slide models. For sights he likes a high visibility front sight with a black rear sight to keep his eyes focused forward. His M&P pistols all have Apex Tactical trigger groups in them. All his pistol gear is carried with Blade-Tech belts and holsters.
As for AR-15s, his collection is rather large with a majority being the Double Star brand. He favors a lightweight, rifle length stock with a 16- or 18-inch barrel and a 15-inch thin profile hand guard. His Trijicon optics, Timney triggers, Ergo grips, and a quality muzzle brake round it all out.
When it comes to shotguns, the Benelli Vinci is his shotgun of choice for the past two years. He likes how it breaks down for traveling. Relatively light weight, and fast handling, the Benelli Vinci shoots slugs extremely well. And with the addition of an X-Rail magazine tube, getting it to hold a bunch of rounds was easy.
Cerino uses two range bags—one for 3-gun and another for pistol training and competition. His 3-gun bag by Safariland holds a lot of gear and is easy to carry. He keeps all three guns plus magazines, hearing and eye protection, slings, small tools and some first aid range relief as well in his 3-gun bag.
His other range bag is mostly for pistol matches and training classes. Since the day he got the Vertx large range bag, he was in love with it. It holds two or more pistols, magazines and holsters, enough room for ammunition for a day, as well as his ESS eyeglasses and spare lenses. Chris also carries things like sharpies, pencils, Camelbak hydration tablets, headache medicine, sunscreen, visors, Zeiss lens cleaners, business cards, spare batteries and a small amount of gun repair parts for the M&P of course.
People new to the shooting sports should keep in mind that local gun stores only carry about 10 percent of what is really out there. There are so many choices and you shouldn’t rush into any purchases. The internet has great deals on ammo, guns and all necessary gear. But buyer beware! Chris always mentions in his classes, “Buy once, cry once. Spend some money on good gear and cry about it now. If you cheap out, you’ll be crying all the way to the store after wasting your time trying to make a lesser product work or having it break. Make educated choices and buy right the first time.”
See Chris Cerino's articles featured in Shooting Sports USA here.