We already know that Top Shot isn’t “real.” The bullets you see hitting the targets are not fired by the competitors. The competitors’ strings are edited to remove malfunctions (which may or may not be mechanical). But TTAG’s heard from courageous sources—production workers bound by NDAs so punitive their reproductive organs are at risk—that there have been safety issues on the set. As I value both my balls and my business (and I promised confidentiality to my sources) I can’t tell you everything I’ve heard. However . . .
I searched the net and found this: a video of firearms expert Ryan Cleckner shooting a Top Shot exploding target with a Barrett .50 caliber rifle from what looks to be 30 yards. He seems to be blown backwards. And have a look at that berm . . .
There isn’t one. Apparently, Top Shot is shot in the middle of a desert. Even so, I’m not sure that a sloping hillside is the best backstop for a .50 caliber bullet.
There’s a proper backstop in the episode featuring the .50 cal. Rumor has it the berm was constructed after complaints. What firearms “expert” wouldn’t have figured that out beforehand?
We also hear there’ve been safety-related personnel changes behind the scenes. As in people who decided not to participate due to safety concerns.
Top Shot is the most prominent shooting program on TV. It promotes shooting as a fun, safe and challenging activity. It would be a genuine tragedy if negligence brought Top Shot and thus shooting sports into disrepute.
[Note: we’ve scraped a copy of the video in case it suddenly goes down the memory hole.]