A Brief Shooting Biography…

I was born and raised in and around Park Layne, Ohio. Several factors, including my job, the poor shooting environment, and just the itch to move, propelled me to Arizona in the summer of 1978. I moved in with a friend, who left Ohio for similar reasons, got a job at the Arizona State Prison, and transferred into the Armory after I had a year seniority.

A new recruit asked if I’d ever shot in competition. “I hadn’t thought of it,” I replied. Within a week, I was at my first Police Practical Combat (PPC) match. I shot a 4″ Smith Model 19 with the front sight painted bright red. I was hooked. Soon I had a bull-barreled .38 special (with black sights!) and was training for the State PPC Championships. Unfortunately, I got sick of the job and quit before I could shoot the match.

Even though my PPC career was over before it started, I still wanted to compete in something that involved shooting. IPSC looked fun, so my wife bought me a .45 ACP for Christmas in 1979. Although I knew IPSC shooters could shoot quickly, I didn’t think they could shoot precisely—I had a few lessons to learn.

loading with the lyman

At my first Practical match, which was held in a big hole in the ground in the middle of the desert called “the Pit,” I met Rob Leatham—we formed a bond that would last a lifetime. Our days consisted of discussing techniques, practice and more practice, and loading ammo on single stage presses. We battled each other on our way to the top of the local scene. For years, Rob or I claimed every State title.

Looking back, one of my strengths was that I was not afraid to ask anybody about anything. If I thought I could learn something, whether from a beginner or a master, I would “stick in the I.V.” I still do this today.

In March of 1981, I hit the “national scene” when I drove to California, in my 1969 Datsun 510 4-door, to compete in the Cota de Caza tournament. (I was on a real tight budget – I slept in my sleeping bag next to my car at the range. Those were the good ol’ days.) At the match, I learned about the first Steel Challenge competition, to be held in April, from practical pistol legend Mike Dalton. I returned to California the next month and finished fifth at my first national competition.

For my first couple years of training, I just focused on hitting the targets. At my second Steel Challenge in 1982, John Shaw told me, “Boy, your draw sucks, but you shoot pretty fast once you get that thing out of the holster.” I went home and practiced (and practiced) my draw. Ten years later, I won the side match at the Steel Challenge—Blast for Cash—with a .98 second time for Double Trouble. I think it was then I realized that responding well to criticism is a good thing.

Although I considered myself an IPSC shooter at heart, IPSC matches, with their surprise format and emphasis on speed, proved difficult to master. I usually finished best when I could practice a specific course of fire before competing. Later, I realized my Temperament Type favored the “Carnival Matches” such as the Bianchi Cup, The Masters, or the Sportsman’s Team Challenge.

be and bigJoni

For the next ten years, I trained like a man possessed. My practice regimen included not only shooting an incredible number of rounds, but also thousands of hours of dry training at home. If I was not working on my gun or loading ammo, I was dry firing. My cross-training included running, weight training, martial arts, yoga, meditation, and constant reading of anything I thought might help.

Over the next ten years, I won the Bianchi Cup in 1983 and ’84, the Masters in1989, and was a 5-time member of the Sportsman’s Team Challenge national championship team. I’ve qualified for the United States IPSC Gold Team every year since 1983, and twice finished second at the Steel Challenge, SOF, and the IPSC US Open Nationals.

By the late ’80s, I was losing interest in the Carnival Matches. After five or six years of grinding out their specific practice routines, they just became boring. Again, I realized this was due to my temperament—I enjoy solving problems, but once solved I look for a new challenge.

After seven years of sponsorship from Dillon Precision, Springfield Armory, and Smith and Wesson, I retired from the Carnival Match and sponsorship routine in 1991. Not only was I sick of Carnival Matches, I was annoyed with the new trend of IPSC guns, and what I had allowed shooting to become in my life.

Coincidentally, in 1991, coinciding with the new USPSA division for Limited Class (in response to the evolution of what used to be a Stock gun, into the current Open gun), European American Armory wanted a shooter to campaign their Limited guns. Luckily for me, they signed me up. I was happy to be shooting a stock gun again.

Shooting for EAA and Strayer-Voigt, I won quite a few USPSA Area Limited Championships and two Steel Challenge Limited Class National Championships over the next eight years. I retired from active competition in 2000.

With encouragement from friends, I compiled ten years of notes into a book, Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals, which was published in 1990. [Editors note: Brian Enos Inc. is now the publisher of Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals.]

I started building this website in 2000. At that time, although I could barely tell a file from a folder, I thought it would be a snap to build a website. Again, I had a lot to learn (and still do).

Surprisingly, the site is generating more activity than anticipated. Activities I initially thought I would dread, like talking on the phone or processing orders, I found I actually enjoyed. In fact, I enjoy every aspect of building and maintaining the site; it has proved to be an incredible method by which to share and communicate. I plan to expand it indefinitely.
Brian Enos