Leatham Wins 11th NRA Action Pistol Championship Trophy
GENESEO, IL – Springfield Armory® is pleased to announce that team captain Rob Leatham won the 2017 NRA Action Pistol Championship, Production Division. At age 56, Leatham claimed his 11th Bianchi Cup Championship title, three years after his last win at the prestigious event. The 2017 Bianchi Cup was hosted by the Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club in Hallsville, Missouri May 24 – 27, 2017.
Known as the world’s premier action shooting competition, the NRA Bianchi Cup course of fire places a premium on accuracy, so it has earned the reputation of being the most difficult competition on the circuit. With a potential perfect score of 1,920 points, each competitor must complete four challenging courses of fire: Practical, Barricade, Moving Targets, and Falling Plates. If that’s not enough, the top finishers in the qualification round must repeat the entire process in the Saturday finale to earn their place in the final standings.
“This was an unexpected win,” explained Team Springfield™ Captain Rob Leatham. “I trained very little due to the close proximity of two USPSA National Championships the weekend before, so I mostly just sighted in the gun. But to be fair, I have been practicing this match since 1982, my first year at the Bianchi Cup. I’ve attended every match since.”
Leatham completed the qualification round with a personal best aggregate score of 1,912 which included a 478 in the Practical Event, 476 for Barricade, 478 for Moving Targets, and 480 on the Falling Plate Event. Leatham almost matched his record during the final event on Saturday. For the finale, scores are erased for qualifying competitors as they shoot the event all over again to determine final placements. In the final, Leatham shot a 478 on Practical, 474 on the Barricade, 476 on Moving Targets, and a perfect 480 for the Falling Plates Event. His final winning score was 1,908 – 21 points ahead of the next Production Class contender.
Besides competing with national champions far younger, Leatham faced additional challenges. “Unable to go prone due to a neck injury, I just assumed there was no way for me to be competitive, as almost everyone uses the more stable prone position for much of the match. So, I went in with an ‘I’ll just do the best I can and clap for the winners when it is over’ attitude. Well, it turned out better than I planned. Shooting personal match bests in both the preliminary and qualification round and the finals was a complete surprise. Cleaning the plates in both events was a most satisfying personal performance, especially after struggling with that event for the last few years.”
Leatham used a Springfield Armory® XD-M® 5.25″ 9mm Competition Series pistol for the match. “I have to thank Springfield Armory for making the XDM 5.25 so accurate, and Safariland for making the ELS belt and holster system so rugged and consistent, Atlanta Arms Jason Koon for supplying me with extremely accurate ammo and my vision guys Dr. Kerry Pearson and the good folks at Decot Sport Glasses for letting me see as well as 56-year-old eyes can,” stated Leatham.
Leatham offered extra thanks to his granddaughter. “I’m especially thankful for my one-year-old granddaughter Clara, who, when I got nervous, smiled at me from my digital watch face and reminded me that there are more important things than this shooting match,” said Leatham.
Stefany Reese, Public Relations and Communications Manager
Springfield Armory, Inc.