2023 Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award: Bill Wilson, President/Founder Of Wilson Combat

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posted on April 7, 2023
2023 Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award: Bill Wilson, President/Founder, Wilson Combat

Created more than two decades ago as a way to publicly acknowledge those firearms and shooting accessories from the previous year’s crop of new products that exhibited the highest quality, the most value or that offered welcome innovation, the Golden Bullseye Awards have become one of the gun industry’s most coveted honors. That's why the editors of this magazine take the responsibility so seriously when we meet annually to deliberate and ultimately decide upon the recipients—and the process seemed to be even more significant than usual this time in light of American Rifleman celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

“The NRA Golden Bullseye Awards epitomize what NRA members seek in their shooting and hunting equipment—outstanding performance, innovation and value,” said Doug Hamlin, executive director of NRA Publications. “These are the best new products, truly worthy of NRA members' attention, and I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all this year’s winners.”

In addition to the product awards, each year as part of the Golden Bulleyes we also present a Pioneer Award that spotlights the exemplary achievement and cumulative body of work of an individual, or members of a family, team or partnership, that has made a profound, lasting impact on the gun community. The winners of the American Rifleman 2023 Golden Bullseye Awards are recapped briefly below, however, the full reviews for each of these items can be found at americanrifleman.org.


Bill Wilson founded Wilson Combat in 1977; since that time, the company has been an innovator and leader in the field of high-performance M1911 custom pistols, handgun accessories, AR-15-pattern rifles and countless other firearm products. The company has gone from being a modest M1911 customizer to a state-of-the-art firearm design and manufacturing facility with more than 200 employees and multiple brands under its corporate umbrella.

In addition to Wilson Combat, Wilson also owns and manages firearm-accessory maker Chip McCormick Custom, high-performance bullet manufacturer Lehigh Defense and most recently acquired the assets of Melvin Forbes’ New Ultralight Arms. Wilson also became the guiding force behind the International Defensive Pistol Ass’n (IDPA), a competitive-shooting association dedicated to the oversight of defensive-shooting competition using practical handguns that currently boasts more than 25,000 members in more than 70 countries.

Wilson’s legacy has raised the bar of high-performance, practical firearms worldwide. In his roles as competitor, hunter, author, gunsmith, manufacturer and developer, Wilson has always been a staunch advocate of the National Rifle Association.

“Our gun rights are cherished and important civil liberties,” Wilson said. “I am extremely humbled to be honored by the NRA with this award. No organization has done more for the American gun owner than the NRA, and I am proud to stand with them in their fight to preserve our right to keep and bear arms.”

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