Top Shot All-Stars Recap: Shooting Gallery

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen last night’s episode of Top Shot, don’t read this post. Also, Matt Damon dies at the end of Elysium.

I’m not going to do a run-on recap for this episode, or the finale because they deserve a full post going over the events of the show. This episode opens following the elimination from last week, and the shooters are confronted with the coolest gun of the show so far: The Browning M1919, which just so happens to featured on the cover of GunUp the Magazine this month. The shooters had to train with the M1919, and then for the challenge fire it off the back of a moving half-track at various target arrays. This was a pretty neat challenge, and presented an interesting view of the different shooter’s strategies. Phil managed to stay disciplined and in control of the gun for the most part and won the challenge; the other shooters had varying degrees of “weeeeeeee full auto” and ended up heading to the nomination range.

Image from wikipedia
Image from wikipedia

At the Proving Ground, Gary absolutely nailed a tough shot with a Colt Lightning revolver. This was following up great shots by Brian Zins and Chris Cerino, but at the end of the Proving Ground Gary was safe, and the elimination challenge shooters were Chris, Gunny, and William. Having seen previews for the episode, I knew that the elimination challenge would be the classic Shooting Gallery/HORSE game.

Sure enough, the shooters arrived at the shooting gallery. There was a nice twist…for the spectators. Gary and Phil got to enjoy a cold beer while watching their fellow shooters duke it out for a spot in the top four. As a viewer, I was hoping that this year on the shooting gallery at least one contestant would display a basic understanding of HORSE strategy, but I was disappointed. Allow me to digress for a moment and explain. When playing HORSE, the idea is that you call a shot, and if you miss it, your opponent can attempt the same shot. If they make it, you get a letter. First person to have enough letters to spell “HORSE” loses. Top Shot makes basic strategy even more important, because each shot is worth a point – if you make your called shot you get a point, and then your opponents have a change to make the same shot and earn points as well. That makes it imperative to hit your called shot otherwise your opponents will have a chance to pick up points on your. To take it back to the playground, you pick safe shots – ones you know you can make 95% of the time. Otherwise, you’re exposing yourself to more risk than is necessary.

Last night’s episode really bogged down when the competitors forgot this basic strategy and starting doing silly stuff like shooting an apple at 200 yards with the LaRue OBR. Three shooters, three misses. It was a fairly low scoring shoot-off, that finally resulted in Gunny Zins eliminating William and entering the top four.

Here are your final four that will run and gun for the title of Top Shot of Top Shots:

  • Chris Cerino
  • Brian Zins
  • Gary Quesenberry
  • Phil Morden

I’m genuinely excited for this finale. I like all of the contestants in the finale, and while I’ll be rooting for my buddy Chris, I won’t be disappointed with whoever wins the finale. Good luck to all the contestants!


  1. Caleb, I have always wondered…What does everybody have in those backpacks? I don’t recall ever seeing anyone fish anything out of them. They look like props but I’ve never noticed any kind of product placement either. Thanks

    1. On Season 1, we had them filled with stuff we’d need when the cameras weren’t rolling. Water, snacks, sunscreen, rain gear, etc. Filming one of those challenges could frequently take 4 or more hours.

  2. That makes sense. As a non-TV star, I always forget about editing. I appreciate the feedback.

  3. This episode made me think of something I’ve wondered about. The beer on the table for Gary and Phil was probably cold, but the way it was shown made it look like there was no one around and it had been sitting out for a while. The challenges always look like Colby and the contestants are out there alone, but there are obviously cameramen. How many other people are there on the set?

Comments are closed.