The Scene: It's January 2014, and the 3GN Rumble on the Range is popping off in the Las Vegas desert during Show Show. The range is packed, the crowd is electric, and the competition had been nothing short of fantastic. And we were set up for a monumental matchup that would crown a new champion.
The Backstory: On one side, one of the most unique personalities in all the sport, the mad shredder from California, Taran Butler. Before his fame had firmly entrenched him training the Hollywood elite, Butler had built a reputation as one of the finest practical pistol and 3-Gun competitors in the world. His collection of 'Chips collected was staggering, and he already had one 3GN Shoot-Off win under his belt. We had all been waiting for Butler to make a run at a 3GN Championship. Joel Turner, Kalani Laker and Mike Voigt all fell to Butler as the famed Californian looked primed to win it all.
Jordan, meanwhile, was taking some of his biggest steps in announcing his presence as a top-tier competitor. Only a couple of years into his 3-Gun career, Jordan had been gaining ground on the sport's elite, like a rumbling freight train, winning major matches and becoming a force within 3GN. In this tournament, he run had already been legendary, knocking off BJ Norris, Burton Thompson and Daniel Horner to set up this star-studded finale under the lights.
The Payoff: An epic, best-of-three matchup that went down to the final stop plate, as a new 3GN Champion was crowned.
Check out the Original Story Posted in 2014
LAS VEGAS – Team Loudon Guns’ Greg Jordan defeated perennial champion Taran Butler to claim the title of 3-Gun Nation Champion, taking home $50,000 from Leupold Tactical Optics and NRA Sports here Jan. 15. The event culminated the 2013-2014 FNH USA 3-Gun Nation Pro Series Tour, presented by Federal Premium, where more than 50 of country’s top 3-gunners battled for cash and series points, before the top 30 earned a coveted slot in the Rumble on the Range, presented by Cheaper Than Dirt!
Jordan completed what was arguably the most impressive 3GN Shoot-Off run to date, eliminating two past 3GN Shoot-Off winners, including the 2010 3GN Champion, a world champion Steel Challenge shooter, and a multi-time national handgun and 3-gun champion. Jordan navigated a minefield of talent—BJ Norris, Burton Thompson, Daniel Horner and Taran Butler—to become the fourth competitor to earn the title of 3GN Champion.
Jordan, the fourth overall seed in the tournament, earned a first-round bye; after waiting several hours during the morning session preliminary rounds, he finally stepped to the line for his opening match-up against Norris. In what Jordan called his most nerve-wrecking matchup of the day, he knocked off Norris in two successive bouts, eliminating one of the hotter competitors from the opening round.
With his second-round win, Jordan advanced to the night session, the 3GN Rumble on the Range, presented by Cheaper Than Dirt! There, where more than a thousand spectators and a full complement of 3GN cameras and numerous other media awaited the Final 8 Shoot-Off competitors, the scene was extremely electric.
As for the competitors, it was an All-Star cast, with Jordan squaring off against Burton Thompson, while the opposing bracket featured an all-AMU matchup in Daniel Horner versus Tyler Payne. The bottom half of the bracket featured legends Mike Voigt and Jerry Miculek, while Taran Butler faced Kalani Laker in the opposing bracket.
The quarterfinals were single-elimination, meaning one single run would decide who would advance to the semi-finals. In the opening matchup, it was Daniel Horner that came out hot with the rifle, laying down a beautiful all-around run to advance over Payne. Meanwhile, Jordan was equally impressive, knocking off Burton Thompson, who has become one of the toughest outs in the 3GN Shoot-Off.
In the morning session, Jerry Miculek was absolutely untouchable in wins over MGM Targets’ Travis Gibson and defending 3GN Champion Keith Garcia. However, in the final eight, Micuelk and Voigt both struggled a bit on the rifle rack, with Miculek leaving one plate standing. An exciting finish saw both shooters mow through shotgun and pistol, before Miculek finished first with a fault, enabling Voigt to advance—yet another classic duel between the two Open division legends.
In the final quarterfinal matchup, Taran Butler outlasted Stag Arms’ Kalani Laker, an exciting matchup that gave the first hint this might just be Butler’s night to win it all. Butler was first off the rifle rack, then a step ahead to both the shotgun and the pistol. Though Laker gave good chase, Butler was simply too tough in this matchup.
But with the semi-finals underway, all attention quickly turned toward Horner versus Jordan—each shooter on everybody’s short list as a favorite to take home the title. In this best-out-of-three bouts matchup, it was Horner that struck first, laying down a brilliant rifle run, solid shotgun and an impressive pistol volley to win the first bout. But Jordan turned it around during the second run, going six-for-six on the rifle and cruising to the finish for the win. In the third and deciding bout, it was Jordan that was again hot with the rifle, explosive to each firing position, and solid throughout shotgun and pistol. Horner, who needed a few extra shots on rifle, turned up the pace through shotgun and pistol, but Jordan was unrelenting, advancing to the finals.
The final semi-final matchup featured two heavyweight veterans—Mike Voigt and Taran Butler. In the opening bout, it was Butler off the rifle first, a lead he extended further coming out of shotgun before holding on to win with the pistol. The second bout was incredibly exciting, as the competitors were nearly shot-for-shot throughout the rifle, completely in cadence during the shotgun, then each laid down a blistering pace through the pistol before Voigt got to the stop plate first to even it at one bout apiece. Then in the third and deciding bout, the competitors went seemingly shot for shot throughout the entire run, before Butler sent a volley of several shots to drive his stop plate to the ground ahead of Voigt’s, an absolutely thrilling matchup.
Prior to the finals, the third place bout featured Daniel Horner and Michael Voigt. Horner jumped out to a big lead on the rifle, then cruised through the shotgun and pistol arrays for an easy win. For his third place finish, Horner received a $5,000 check, courtesy of Timney Triggers.
In fourth place, Mike Voigt took home a new DPMS G2 Recon .308 rifle. In fifth, it was Kalani Laker taking home a Barnes Precision Machine 3-gun carbine. For his sixth place finish, Tyler Payne received a Bushmaster 3-Gun rifle. In seventh place, Burton Thompson received a Remington Versa Max shotgun. And for his eighth place finish, Jerry Miculek took home a Para USA Custom 9 mm pistol. Laker, Payne, Thompson and Miculek were all knocked out in the quarter finals, with placement being awarded on the basis of tournament seeding.
With awards given out, the stage was finally set. On the left side, Greg Jordan; on the right, Taran Butler-each man a past 3GN Shoot-Off winner. In Jordan, you have one of the fastest rising competitors in all of 3-gun over the last few years. But his opponent, Taran Butler, is an absolute titan of practical shooting, with numerous national and world championships in both pistol and 3-gun on his resume. The crowd buzzed with anticipation for this championship matchup.
In the first bout, Jordan exploded out of the starting box, first to the rifle before laying down a nearly perfect run. Jordan maintained a slight lead through shotgun, then arrived at the final pistol position with a slight lead—never enough against the amazing pistol skills of Butler. Amazingly, Jordan was on fire with the pistol, laying down a run faster than even the great Butler, first to the stop plate to take the opening bout.
The second run was full of high drama. Butler laid down a brilliant run, off the rifle first, smokes the shotgun array, and then powerful through the pistol—only to leave a popper standing on the pistol array, seemingly giving the championship to Jordan. However, after further review, the ROs examined the steel and found a full-caliber impact strike within the calibration zone. 3GN Director of Competition Rob Romero ruled it a range equipment failure, and called for a re-shoot.
In the ensuing run, it was all Butler. Jordan struggled heavily on the rifle rack, while Butler laid down his second consecutive blistering performance. After appearing to have won the title, only to have a reshoot issued, and then another sensational run by Butler, one had to question if Jordan would be able to weather the emotional storm of the moment.
With the championship matchup tied at one, with $50,000 on the line, Jordan did that and more. The two were essentially tied coming off rifle, even again coming out of absolute furious shotgun arrays, then even going into the final pistol position. Again blistering pistol shooting by both competitors—a couple of misses by Jordan; a couple of misses by Butler. Finally, it was Jordan to the stop plate first for the win.
For his second place finish, Butler received a check for $10,000, courtesy of Comp-Tac. Butler’s tournament included wins over Joel Turner, Kalani Laker and Mike Voigt—an impressive run through the sport’s toughest event.
But the night belonged to Jordan. 3GN cameras rolled, cameras flashed all around, and after an amazing display of accuracy and athleticism, Jordan hoisted his big check high before a raucous SHOT Show crowd. The new 3GN Champion had just won $50,000 from Luepold Tactical Optics and NRA Sports.
In first-round action, West Chandler defeated Stag Arms’ Jesse Tischauser two bouts to none. Bruce Piatt knocked off James Cassanova. Tyler Payne was impressive in straight bouts over Chris Andersen. BJ Norris laid down one of the most impressive runs of the morning session during his win over Tony Holmes, two bouts to one. Burton Thompson took down FNH USA’s Larry Houck to kick off his final eight run.
In the lower bracket, Jerry Miculek was on fire in his win over MGM Targets’ Travis Gibson. Samson’s Bryan Ray was impressive in his two-bout win over Bushmaster’s Ravin Perry. SureFire’s Mike Voigt looked sharp in his opening win over Predator Tactical’s Matt Burkett. Joel Turner was solid during his win over fellow 3GN rookie John Mouret. Former 3GN Champ Tommy Thacker looked dialed in during his win over Bushmaster’s Rob Tate. Tate’s teammate, Aaron Reed, jumped out to a big lead over Stag Arms’ Kalani Laker during their first bout, only to see Laker impressively run him down during the pistol arrays. Laker won the ensuring bout to advance.
Second-round action saw Horner cruise against Chandler, while AMU teammate Tyler Payne was equally solid in his win over Piatt, setting up the all-AMU quarterfinal. Jordan used a strong rifle performance to build leads in his two-bout win over BJ Norris—as no one wanted to go into the final pistol array even close to even with Norris, as his pistol shooting was impressive. Burton Thompson knocked off Clint Upchurch, using a blistering pistol array to advance during their second run. Mike Voigt took down Bryan Ray in straight bouts, the veteran 3-gunner just a bit more solid both runs.
The action picked up when Taran Butler faced Joel Turner in the second round. After Butler won the first bout easily, Turner answered with a dominating run of his own, setting up the tie-breaking third bout. There, Turner seemingly won an exciting race to the stop plate, however he inadvertently left one pistol popper, and Butler advanced.
In the final matchup of the second round, Kalani Laker outlasted Tommy Thacker in exciting fashion, two bouts to one. Laker had to come from behind twice to survive and advance.
Look for more complete coverage in the next issue of 3GN Magazine.