Central Oregon event is annual highlight for Wilsonville manufacturer

by: CRIMSON TRACE - A competitor at the Crimson Trace 3-Gun Invitational lets loose with a burst of rounds from a 5.56mm rifle. All shooting was done at night on nine different courses created for the event. Crimson Trace has carved out a stellar reputation over the years among firearm enthusiasts who trust their lives to the Wilsonville company’s laser sighting systems.

And recently, some of the best shooters in the country gathered in Central Oregon for the annual Crimson Trace Midnight Three-Gun Invitational. The event pits competitors against the clock as they navigate a host of different obstacle courses, gunning down “threats” along the way using a handgun, shotgun and rifle in different situations. Oh, and it’s completely dark. Only laser sights and tactical flashlights are allowed for illumination.

“There are nine different courses,” said Crimson Trace Media Relations Director Mike Faw. “They’re laid out a little different every year, and especially since it’s at night it requires a lot of planning, a lot of thinking and a lot of looking before you fire the first shot.”

The winner for the second year in a row was Daniel Horner of of the Army Marksmanship Unit, who earned an additional $10,000 prize for using Crimson Trace products on all his firearms during the competition.

“It’s one of the best three-gun competitions in the country,” said Horner, who topped a field of more than 150 shooters from around the country.

“Essentially we look for the top media members and shooters, three-gunners in the U.S.,” said Faw. “That’s who got invited; a couple of them were sponsored teams, there was a TV crew from Connecticut, there was a shooter from California and, of course people from Washington and Oregon state.”

Shooters had to run, shoot, hit and topple or punch holes in more than 70 metallic targets, more than 50 clay shotgun targets and more than 80 paper silhouette targets. The distance of the course was approximately 500 yards, all over uneven and rocky ground.

Other winners were Lena Miculek, High Lady; Wyatt Gibson, High Junior; and Nick Leghorn, First Place Media.

On average, competitors shot 145 rounds of 9mm handgun ammunition and more than 100 rounds each of 5.56mm rifle and 12-gauge shotgun rounds.

“Sometime they would start with shotguns, others with handguns, and for one they had a loaner machine gun they could shoot,” said Faw. “It’s just a mix. They also do rifles in there, too.”

A range safety officer ran the course along with shooters to be certain all shots were safely fired — lest competitors face disqualification, which did happen to several individuals.

Adding to the challenge was fatigue; shooting started each night around 9:30 p.m. and did not finish until 5 a.m.

Sponsors included companies from around the country, including Wilsonville-based FLIR, as well as Beaverton company Leupold & Stevens.

Crimson Trace is an industry leader in laser sighting systems and tactical lights for firearms. The company’s Lasergrip, Laserguard and Lightguard systems all have garnered a popular following. Along with the Defender series and Rail Master platforms, these products are all designed and manufactured at Crimson Trace headquarters in Wilsonville.

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