There were a few suggestions on the last story that I should give up Motorcycle riding and Pistol Match combinations. Well I got that message too and started to drive to the pistol matches. But when bad luck is riding you it has it's spurs sunk in deep. In this story I was nowhere near a motorcycle. As a matter of fact we flew into this match. That is a story by itself which I will get down on paper at a later post. This time we flew Commercial (United Airlines) to Little Rock, Arkansas to participate in the National Matches. Our Colorado team had placed in the top ten at the Reginals and was the Forscom Champions. Camp Robinson, Arkansas is situated on a hill North of Little Rock and has some of the finest shooting ranges in the country. The firing line can accomodate 100 shooters all in a line and the range personel and Range Masters are the best in the USA. (Many are from Camp Perry) This particular Championship we (Colorado State Pistol Team) were competing in, was a Combat Match. No stand up, NRA shoot with one hand, and all the neat shooting jacket type match. This was a down and dirty Combat match. Targets were silhouette black targets and the scoring rings were not visable from the firing line. But before we even got to look at the targets we had to complete a Combat running course. This consisted of a series of obstacle courses from Drill Instructor from Hell. The end of the course was a 2 mile run carrying all and any gear we planned on having at the firing line. No guns or even magazines that hadn't completed the run could be on the firing line. Our team had been practicing this run at 5,280 ft Elevation so we figured at 500 ft El. we would have it made. All went well and the whole team and two alternates and the team coach all crossed the line in good time. (the whole run was timed) When the last competitor crossed the line your team moved out at double time to the firing line and you had 3 min. to prepare you self, load magazines, clean dust from the run off guns and get ready for the targets to turn. There was no whistle or buzzer, When the targets turned you started firing. So the Team Coach had a stop watch and he kept track of the time. We were ready and comfident. The targets turned. You just can not believe what a thunderous roar 100 Colt 1911 45acp guns all going off at once does to shatter the silence.(and with 230 gr. hard ball of course) The first match was three magazines,(21 rounds) at 25 yards and you had 1 second per round to get them all off. And that included changing magazines. My first shot was right down the groove but when the trigger broke a stabbing pain hit me in the middle of the forehead. I dropped my gun and grabbed my head. My team coach was spotting for me and he looked over at me, then at my gun on the bench and grabbed his legal (he had carried it on the run) 45 out of the holster and stuck it in my hand. He hollered at me to "KEEP SHOOTING" I blinked the blood out of my eyes and went into blind training response. I had shot this course over a hundred times and my muscles had the memory ingrained in to them. It was just line up the sights, squeeze trigger, line up sights squeeze trigger, over and over again until the gun ran dry. Drop magazine with the thumb, while the left hand was grabbing the next magazine from the bench. Slap the magazine in, drop the slide and go through it all again. While I was shooting my coach was frantically trying to get the first magazine out of my destroyed gun. We were issued the ammo and you could not carry any extra ammo or you were disqualified. He had his jackknife out and managed to pry it out. Switched the rounds to a good magazine and layed it down for me to grab. When it was all over and the targets turned away I had shot 20 times. And they were all in the 5 ring. The highest scoring ring on the combat target we were using. How I did it I will never know. It was just a blur. The last (21st) round was jammed in my broken gun and the coach could not get it out. Funny thing, when the team next to us scored our targets they found 21 holes in my target. I have a feeling that one of those holes was a part of my pistol. We accepted the score as they scored it. My Team Captain was aware that there had been an accident and he hurried over and walked me off the line holding a bandage to my head to stop the bleeding. A following investigation showed that the barrel bushing had fatigue cracks from all the hard ball I shot through it. (over 15,000 rounds of practice a year) and on my first shot it broke and the gun was a complete blowback at that time. The slide hit the frame and bent up 3/4 inch, the front sight flew off and back and was imbeded in my forehead. The frame was cracked and the gun was completely destroyed. The Captain told me that was all the shooting for me for the week. I said "NO!" I came here to shoot in a Combat Match, not go on sick call in the middle of combat. They bandaged me up and put me back on the line. I shot better than I had a right to expect but it was a high pucker factor as I had a splitting head ache and my hand was sore as can be expected when a gun blows up in your paw. Thank goodness I am ambidexturous as I shot the rest of the match left handed. What a Match, what a experience. When I look back at my Army career I feel like all soldiers do. I wouldn't go back in the Army for all the money in the world but you couldn't buy those experiences with any kind of money. Sarge the pistol shooter.