Q&A with 15-Time Bianchi Cup Champion
15 Questions with 15-Time Bianchi Cup Champion and Team S&W® Member Doug Koenig
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Smith & Wesson Corp. announced that Team Smith & Wesson® member Doug Koenig was named the winner of the 2013 NRA Bianchi Cup National Championship. Shooting a Smith & Wesson 1911DK pistol, Koenig posted a final score of 1920-183X and set an all-time match record by recording his 15th Bianchi Cup title. Koenig has won 11 of the last 13 Bianchi Cup matches and he shares the honor of being one of only two people who have won the match in the last 16 years.
Smith & Wesson was able to sit down with Koenig for a few minutes as he reflected on his latest victory:
S&W: Doug, congratulations on your 15th Bianchi Cup title. After capturing your first cup in 1990, did you ever imagine that you would win the trophy another 14 times?
DK: I can honestly say I never did. Even when I won for the first time, I’m not sure I was quite ready to win. It was a very pleasant surprise then as it is now, but it’s just one of those things that you’re not quite sure will be possible. There are some really outstanding shooters competing and the race is always going to be tight.
S&W: With your strong track record at the Bianchi Cup, it’s hard not to think you and this match were made for one another. Why does this event sync so well with your style of shooting?
DK: I think my success at Bianchi comes down to several things. First, my training both mentally and physically mixes well with the course of fire. I also really enjoy the unique challenge it brings. At Bianchi, you are given a specific problem or an obstacle to overcome along with a pre-set time to accomplish it. I feel I’m at my best in those types of scenarios, because when the pressure builds I can go back to my training and stay focused on the task at hand.
S&W: Over the last 24 Bianchi Cup matches, only twice have the overall winners not shot a perfect score. How do you think this influences competitors and what, if anything, has changed to make shooting a perfect score more achievable for the winner?
DK: I think the ability to shoot a perfect score at Bianchi can be attributed to several things. For one, the equipment has become more consistent. I’m fortunate to have a great group of sponsors and each piece of gear I use, like my Smith & Wesson 1911DK pistol, is utterly reliable. Having the upmost confidence in your equipment is an important piece of the puzzle that can’t be overlooked. Another factor is that over the history of the Cup, the courses of fire haven’t changed that much. This has allowed competitors the ability to practice at home as local ranges can now offer all the essentials needed. One of the things that I’ve found even more interesting is that very few different competitors have shot a perfect score in the same year. I can’t recall more than three ever doing it in the same match and most times, it’s only the winner. So, while we are certainly seeing more winners post perfect scores, I think it’s also a testament to how difficult this match actually is.
S&W: How much skill vs. luck would you say comes into play on shooting a perfect score at Bianchi or at any other match for that matter?
DK: For me personally, I think the luck factor comes into play for all those variables that you can’t control. Things like weather, your physical health, and exterior circumstances are all difficult to predict. Likewise, it’s hard to make your preparation, training, and focus, all peak at the same time. In my shooting I don’t ever like to think luck is a major variable because I know if I’ve done everything in my power to prepare properly, I should have a good chance to win.
S&W: Let’s talk equipment for a few seconds. Your Open gun for Bianchi is a Smith & Wesson 1911 in .38 Super. Obviously for this competition you’ve made some upgrades to the base model. Why did you select this particular model and what benefit do you feel the .38 Super cartridge provides?
DK: I think in a lot of ways, it all comes down to familiarity. I’ve been using .38 Super and the 1911 platform for almost my entire career. The versatility of the .38 Super makes it a great setup for USPSA, Steel Challenge, Bianchi or any of the other matches I shoot. The beauty of the cartridge is that you can download it to a .380 equivalent with a 90gr bullet going 1,000 feet per second or you can bring it up to a .357 level with a 125-grain bullet going 1,400 feet per second. As for the 1911 style, I’ve been shooting this type of pistol for over 26 years. When I first started in the sport, it was the platform everyone was using and it stuck with me. With the SW1911DK, I like the all-steel setup, grip angle and high performance features. While it’s true that I’ve made some alterations for Bianchi, in other events like the Metallic, I’m basically running the stock gun. It’s certainly race-ready right out of the box.
S&W: Consider for us the Practical, Barricade, Falling Plates and Moving Target events. It always seems that one of these causes a shooter to smile, while another makes them cringe. How would you rank them?
DK: Going from my least favorite to favorite, I would rank them Falling Plates, Barricade, Practical and then Moving Target.
To continue reading the full transcript of Blue Heron’s interview with Smith & Wesson Champion Doug Koenig please click on the link below:
About Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC) is a U.S.-based leader in firearm manufacturing and design, delivering a broad portfolio of quality firearms, related products and training to the global military, law enforcement, and consumer markets. The company’s brands include Smith & Wesson®, M&P® and Thompson/Center Arms™. Smith & Wesson facilities are located in Massachusetts and Maine. For more information on Smith & Wesson, call (800) 331-0852 or log on to www.smith-wesson.com