Facing off against a field of approximately 200 competitive shooters—many of whose accomplishments are well-known throughout the shooting world—would be a daunting task for many contenders. But for Eric Mich, the 2015 NRA World Shooting Championship was an opportunity to prove to himself that last year wasn’t a fluke.
Mich was the top amateur shooter during the 2014 competition, and he traveled all the way to West Virginia’s eastern panhandle from Wixom, Mich., this week to see if this time he could run with the big dogs—competing this year in the professional division.
“Last year … I was expecting to come, shoot, pick up my last-place trophy and go home. Then when I got here and started shooting, I realized, ‘Hey, this is a lot of fun and I’m doing pretty well,’” Mich said. “I came back wanting to prove to myself that last year wasn’t just a one-hit-wonder. I don’t worry about trying to beat my fellow competitors; I just want to feel that I did my best.”
A mechanical engineer for Trijicon’s research and development department, Mich said he’s “had guns in his blood” since he was a toddler. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, the goal in the back of his mind was always to land a job in the shooting industry. His time at Trijicon has been a dream come true for him.
“I feel really blessed to work for such a great company that makes great products. At work they often need to validate a new product or durability test an existing one, so they’ll send us to the range to do some testing, and I always jump at the chance to do that,” Mich said.
After being introduced to the shooting sports by a high school friend, Mich started shooting competitively about a decade ago, but solely in High Power Rifle matches. He said that this event for the last two years has been his only experience with competitive pistol and shotgun shooting.
Mich said he is a big fan of the format of the NRA World Shooting Championship—which features three days of shooting in 12 different stages, all using sponsor-supplied firearms and ammunition. The event was designed to encompass virtually every discipline inherent to the realm of shooting sports, in an effort to see who the best all-around shooters in the world are.
“This competition is fairly unique in that, by providing all the equipment, I think it kind of levels the playing field in a way,” he said. “By having all of us shooting the same guns, I really think it’s a great way of evaluating someone’s shooting ability—not just their familiarity with their own firearms.”
He said another advantage of the format is that it allows participants to take part in a sport for which they may not have all the necessary equipment. Mich said that while he really enjoys the 3-Gun stage at the NRA championship, he doesn’t have all the kit he would need in order to participate in the matches on his own—yet, at least.
Even before learning his results in the 2015 competition, Mich said he was determined to be back next year. And even though his eventual final score of 2401 points left him a little shy of the podium and the big money, it also landed him in the top quarter of the professional division’s competitors.
“Peacemaker is a great location for this event, with beautiful scenery and really good facilities. If I lived closer I’d come and shoot here all the time,” Mich said. “I love shooting. I love guns. This is a great competition, and I am definitely coming back in the future.”
Results of the 2015 NRA World Shooting Championship are:
1st Place —Bruce Piatt - 2631 2nd Place—Daniel Horner – 2628 3rd Place—Greg Jordan – 2600