Last night’s episode consisted of a fairly straight-forward challenge, but it was more difficult—and telling—than at first glance. The challenge would be to engage two bottles at 25 and 50 feet, and an exploding target at 75 feet. The shooter who cleared his targets first, won. Without the external pressures of competition and the clock, this was not a difficult challenge, but the speed with which these targets were cleared was impressive, and highlighted some great shooting.
The competitors practiced with the Sig Sauer P229, which, judging from Chee Kwan’s poor gun control during practice, was the larger .40 caliber model, versus the 9mm. While everyone else practiced for accuracy, Jamie used some strategy, pulling his shots low, and causing the other competitors to question his accuracy. It worked.
The next day, Colby informed the competitors he would draw names, who then had to choose their opponents. I’ve noted the match-ups below, and their outcomes:
- Adam called out Kyle, but Kyle won in a very tight, quick shoot-out.
- William took Jamie’s bait and called him out, but Jamie won easily.
- Brian called out Alex as payback for the axehead challenge, and quickly schooled him.
- Peter called out Gary, whose duty weapon is the P229. Gary won. Smart, Pete.
- Joe called out Kelly, which was a great match-up, but Kelly smoked him with the fastest run of the day.
- Chris won easily after calling out Gabby, who was clearly feeling competition pressure.
- The last pair, Chee and Phil wasted the most bullets, blasting away for what seemed like 30 seconds, before Phil finally hit his third target – not a great showing either of them.
Later, the losing group head to the range for the bullseye shooting that will send two of them to the elimination round. While I think bullseye shooting is a fair test for the All-Stars, I can see another scenario where Brian may never have to face an elimination challenge, as it’s unlikely he will be one of the two furthest from the X. Last night, those two were Gabby and Chee. This is noteworthy because Chee eliminated Gabby in TS4. It was clearly a situation neither of them wanted to be in again.
The elimination challenge was clearing four rows of six plates that reduced in size with each row. A miss reset the entire row. Leading up to the challenge, Gabby seemed fragile, nerves working on her confidence, but she did well in practice with a .45 caliber 1875 Schofield, a great revolver!
The action started, and Gabby DEMOLISHED Chee! She got on her sights and methodically worked her way down each row, only having a couple of misses. Chee in the meantime, cleared his first row, then died on the second row, scoring miss after miss, each resulting in the row being reset. Chee also blew a lot of time by breaking open the Schofield after each miss, completely reloading six rounds instead of shooting the live rounds still in the cylinder before reloading. By contrast, Gabby didn’t reload until the gun was empty, and she cleared her fourth row before Chee cleared his second.
Her victory made Gabby the first and only woman in the Top Shot franchise to win an elimination round, and she did it in a decisive, impressive fashion. I was cheering by the time she finished! Hopefully, this win will help her regain her confidence, so she will continue to be a threat in this competition.
Time to start looking at the contenders. It’s still early, but Jamie, Kelly, Kyle, and Chris are all looking strong this season, with good performances in the first three episodes. There will be plenty of twists and turns before the end though, so keep watching, and follow the action with me!