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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a nice article about a great shooter and an even greater person. Not only is Johnny Brister the first ever USPSA Grandmaster in all 6 divisions (Open, Limited, Limited 10, Production, Revolver, and Singlestack), but he is the first person to ever win a Mississippi State Championship in all 6 divisions:

"Bolivar County resident takes seat on top pistol pedestal"
Johnny Brister becomes first man in the country to grand master USPSA divisions

By Michael Simmons
The Cleveland Current Editor

At age 55, Johnny Brister has achieved a goal that sets him apart from everyone else in the country.

This month, Brister became the sole grand master in all six handgun divisions of the United States Practical Shooting Association.

“I appreciate the recognition achieved, it’s more of a personal goal,” a humble Brister said while driving his tractor in the field. “It’s not what I set out to do initially. Once I got involved with the USPSA, it became another challenge.”

Brister said that shooting is a hobby, with family and his farm business coming first each day — a hobby that began 15 years ago.

“Other than hunting I didn’t do any shooting until 1995,” he explained. “Bill (Thompson, Bill’s Custom Automatics in Shelby) was a retired policeman from the Anchorage Police Department. He moved down here and put on a shooting class. I went and started shooting and Bill kind of took me under his wing and it progressed from there.”

Brister’s shooting achievements came over the years after much training and discipline. According to Robin Taylor, assistant editor for Front Sight Magazine, the house journal for the USPSA, achieving the grand master title is no easy task.

“The USPSA has competitive rankings based off of shooting at a number of classification courses,” he said. “The score is compared to a composite number. It’s a true bell curve. Brister’s average score has peaked up into the ninety-fifth or greater percentile for all six divisions. That’s no meager feat.

“It’s extremely difficult to do,” he continued. “I’ve been shooting sport 10 years and I’m a B.”

The USPSA’s ranking system is D,C,B,A, Master and then Grand Master. Brister is a GM in all six divisions — open, limited, limited 10, production, revolver and most recently single stack.

The divisions for handguns all refer to particular regulations on the gun and what can/cannot be used. Then, the most recent six scores are taken and compared to the total number of scores, thus separating shooters into percentiles.

“It’s constantly changing,” Taylor said. “There are always different amounts of competitors. There are not a lot of players in revolver, much less Grand Masters. If someone shows with a GM rating, they’ll probably finish in the top five in competition.”

Brister said that he believes that there are more people out there that could achieve similar ratings, but

they are not able to because of corporate sponsorships.

“I actually feel there’s a lot of other people more capable or as capable to achieve it,” he said. “The only problem is a lot of these guys are professional shooters, sponsored by certain individuals or corporations, and due to their guns, they don’t often get the opportunity to compete in all divisions.”

Brister is sponsored by Joe Tranum of Precision Delta in Ruleville and Bill and Tim Thompson of Bill’s Custom Automatics in Shelby. He said he hasn’t been approached by a national corporation and enjoys the way things are now.

“I’m under the radar,” he laughed. I’ve never won any national championships, mostly state or regional. I don’t look for corporate sponsors, therefore I can do what I want to. I’m fortunate and blessed enough to have the resources I do. Joe and Bill and Tim have been a real tremendous asset and they are wonderful people.”

Tim said that Brister is a first-class gentleman and a first-class shooter.

“We build all his guns,” he said. “One thing I can say about Johnnny is obviously it goes without saying — he’s highly dedicated. Johnny spent a vast amount of time perfecting his game and that’s what it takes to do what he did. One of the things that impresses me the most is that he’s not 30 years old.

“(Shooting competitions) are highly energetic,” he continued. “There’s a lot of movement involved — it’s like gun gymnastics. I’m 43 and I can’t keep up with him.”

As for his age, Brister said the most difficult thing to overcome is his eyesight.

“At 55 my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be,” he laughed. “I have to wear corrective lenses. At 55 your reflexes slow down, too.”

Up next, Brister will hone his shotgun and rifle skills — two other categories in the USPSA. Just this weekend he traveled to Little Rock for a shooting competition.

Other notable USPSA facts, courtesy of Taylor.

There are more than 19,000 current members.
Of those, 12,298 have earned one classification.
Of those, only 228 have earned a classification in all six handgun divisions.
Of those, only 14 have six ranked master or above.
Taylor added, “most of these are ‘un-earned.’ The lowest rating a Grand Master can have in any other division is ‘master’ -— no matter how badly they actually shoot. Many of them are experts with one sort of gun, but have difficulty with others. Johnny Brister is the only one with a GM rating in all six divisions, eclipsing Smith & Wesson’s pro shooter Phil Strader, who has four.”
Original article can be found here.

Here's a fact Taylor didn't provide: Of the 19,000 current USPSA members, here are the total number of GMs:
Open - 143
Limited - 126
Limited-10 - 31
Singlestack - 8
Production - 54
Revolver - 15
and Johnny is the only person that is in all of those numbers. Impressive, indeed.
If anyone sees him at the Classic, tell him congrats for me.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, Johnny has been close for a while. He literally missed it last October at the Louisiana Gator Classic by one shot on the classifier. He had something like 10 A's, 1 C, and a Miss, with a time quick enough that, had the hit been there, would have given him enough to make GM. There is not a lot of room for error, but consistently shooting well finally got him there.

From the article, he didn't start competing until age 40, and I know he got his last two GM cards, if not the last three, after age 50. Not only does he have the cards, but he won singlestack at the Florida Open and Arkansas State this year, and maybe others. Pretty cool stuff.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Shouldn't be any reason you can't. As a good friend of mine from Ohio, who also happens to be both a Limited and Production GM, likes to say, "Just pick one and practice."

You're about the same age now as I was when I started competing. Of course the younger, the better in most cases, but Johnny proves it can be done much later in life, too.

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Yeaaaah Johnny!!!!! Johnny is an awesome guy and great shooter. I have had the pleasure of shooting with him on several occations. He's awesome and definetly someone to look up too!

DBChaffin is also a GM in Limited class for those of you who did not know.
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