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 I forgot to blog the guns of the last episode of Top Shot. I think. Did I? Wait. I did. Forget that is. Now why was that? It’s on at 10pm EST. Grass doesn’t grow at that time of night so the lawn couldn’t have been claiming my attention. Anyway, last night’s episode featured a new AR so new that A) It was new in April when the program was filmed and B) Top Shot’s host almost removed his hands from his hips to make some sort of enthusiastic gesture. But didn’t . . .

Although the Vltor TS3’s an AR (and that’s a good thing), the curiously vowel-less rifle is not exactly a fist-pumpingly wikkid weapon. But don’t take my word for it. I asked our resident rifle rabbi Nick Leghorn for his opinion of the Vltor TS3. His reply was not the stuff that free Testing and Evaluation samples are made of.

We shouldn’t be giving this thing a second glance. The only real improvements over a “standard” AR-15 is the larger magazine release and the integrated sling attachment points.  Even then, the benefits are marginal over the normal setup. Everything else on this rifle is offered commercially already, and some may argue that the other options do it better. In short, there is nothing exciting at all about this rifle.

As I’d spoken with Top Shot’s PR flack yesterday, who promised an interview with the latest Top Shot loser (that somehow didn’t materialize), I wanted to make sure before I published, um, what I just published. So I clicked over to for their ode to TS3’s TS3.

Vltor has rethought the modern M4 weapons system. As it sits, this gun makes a perfect 3 gun competition piece with its beveled mag well, the free float upper and the long 10 inch forend compared to a standard carbine length 7 inch forend. There’s a relative cool factor that comes with anything Vltor too as it just looks slick. There’s something inherently alien about the look that these guys put into their AR products not to mention the durability of their manufacturing process. It looks like a Benelli mated with a Bushmaster. Uh oh, I went there again.

I could say something rude involving mutual masturbation here, but I won’t go there. But I did send Nick the link (as opposed to Nick the Greek) to make sure we hadn’t missed something.

The only “new” thing here is that Vltor is making a finished complete rifle. This stuff has been available as aftermarket parts for a while, even the features on the lower have been available from Olympic Arms for some time.

It’s like slapping the body of a fine sportscar on an F150 and calling it a brand new breakthrough. Nothing here is new.

So . . . how about that Corner Shot gun, then?

The advantages of the Corner Shot seem pretty obvious: you can shoot from around a corner. But there are drawbacks as well. The weapon depends entirely on a video screen and electronics (including the trigger mechanism), which are prone to effing up in battlefield conditions. Try throwing the Corner Shot onto the pavement once and see what happens. Also, the weapons system uses pistols, which have limited ammo capacity (even with a “happy stick”).

If you want to know the ergonomic downside, just click over to the company’s website, where white-on-black text makes your eyes smart for a good ten seconds after you’ve left. Video screens have come a long way since the Sony Portapack, but they’re still a bitch to see in certain light conditions. And they’re not cheap. But then, SWAT teams love toys and your tax dollars love SWAT teams.

And you love Top Shot. A new shooting buddy proudly informed me that his whole family now watches the program. With a firearms-related TV show bringing non-gun guys and gals into the ballistic fold, who am I to complain that I find it about as compelling as the old Family Circus cartoons and as historically relevant as The Flintstones? Now what about that phone interview with Colby? I want to know more about those fabulous teeth!

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  1. I kinda like the show /shrug. I couldn’t quite tell what the hoopla was on the gun, thanks for letting me know I wasn’t crazy. My 9 year old announced to me that he was ‘right handed, left eye dominant’ and he said he learned that on Top Shot so it must be kind of educational too.

  2. I’m really enjoying the show this time around. I was really rooting for the other guy during the elimination round. Can’t even remember his name! lol. Jake can shoot but is such a poor ambassador to the shooting sports. Elimination is nothing new; he really beings nothing but his shooting ability to the team. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see his attitude and lack of team spirit land him in elimination from this point on. I can’t wait to see him go.

    • “but is such a poor ambassador to the shooting sports”

      he is one the most accomplished competitor to date, aside from George and Ashely last season (USAF SF guys).

      “lack of team spirit”

      do you recall the “there is only one top shot thing?”

      • Helping your team to win decreases your odds of being sent to elimination during the team phase, which certainly is a good thing if you want to be “top shot” correct?

        Let’s face it, this show isn’t won purely on shooting ability. I’ll bet money Jake loses because he’s a douche. Watching the past 2 seasons it’s obvious that the guys who don’t make an effort to get along with their team eventually get booted no matter how good they are.

        • +1

          Just based on the preview for next weeks episode Jake has probably bought himself a permanent slot in any elimination challenges the blue team goes to. If I had to guess he’ll go out on the archery challenge. Even if he makes it to through the team portion of the show his behavior has still pretty much guaranteed that the red team survivors will vote for him as well every time elimination comes up. And sure he can shoot but I don’t see him winning many of the solo challenges just because he isn’t the best shooter in the house.

        • With his attitude I’m sure they’ll keep throwing him up on the chopping block until he doesn’t come back. Kinda like Jay from last season, he had a lot of talent but couldn’t get along with the people who had the power to vote him into elimination…

  3. Top Shot exposes the masses to firearms, and turns it from a mystical death ray to be avoided at all costs, into an object/subject of interest.

    More power to them. We need all the help we can get.

    It’s not like Top Shot is the Jersey Shore of “reality shooting”.

  4. On Top Shot they said the Cornershot used a Glock 18. I didnt notice a fire selector on the slide. Was it really a Glock 18 or did they get the models confused simply because it had the extra large magazine?

    • Matt, I was thinking the same thing through the whole episode. Glock 18’s have the selector switch on the left rear of the slide it and it was not present on the cornershot setup. I kept watching and it most certainly was not there.

  5. Umm, who made Mr Leghorn an AR “Expert”?

    Because even a modicum of knowledge about the AR platform would tell him that Vltor is a company that has (for years) made some very good and innovative AR components. They started by making small machined components (gas blocks and the like) that were typically much higher quality than the no-brand “commercial” junk. Soon, they offered the ModStock, an improved take on the SOPMOD stock (and a better stock, frankly). They were also one of the first companies to introduce a monolithic upper receiver (the VIS). In fact, when you go buy a boutique rifle from someone like Wes Grant or John Noveske, you’ll often be getting yourself a rifle built with an upper receiver made by Vltor.

    Now they are building their own rifle. Just from the picture, I see some nice bits and pieces- Mid length gas system (much improved over carbine length gas systems). QD sockets on the rear of the receiver. The VIS rail. Quality flip up sights. Reading the specs, it comes with a Noveske barrel! As an AR “Expert” Mr Leghorn is aware of the fact that Mr Noveske’s barrels happen to be just about the best in the industry… right?

    The point is, the Vltor is clearly a top tier rifle. Unless Vltor really pooches screwing this thing together, there is not a single low-quality or untested component they are using. This rifle looks to be right up there with the best available today (Colt, Noveske, Bravo Company, MSTN) and Vltor is a brand that has done enough innovative stuff that you can’t really throw them into the same class as “commercial” AR component makers.

    How about you all save the fangs for when the mass media or TV shows yank out truly junky ARs and present them like they are what the Delta Force uses? I always find it awful when I see Bushmasters, Olympic Arms or DMPS rifles spoken about as if they are anything less than trash.

    Personally, I am not a big Vltor fan (I like BCM and Noveske rifles myself). Even so, they do deserve a lot more respect than this post is giving them.

      • The post didn’t mention that, just that it was not a “fist-pumpingly wikked weapon.” Mr Leghorn’s reply never mentioned that it is also one of the top-tier ARs available.

        Is it a new, cutting edge blaster? On the fact that it is not, we agree. Even so, how are all those cutting edge new blasters doing right now? The SCAR is great, but not supported well by FN and the military dropped the 5.56mm variant. The ACR has been a dud due to weight, cost and spec changes (the 1:9 twist barrel), none of which have been helped by Magpul’s former CEO calling it a piece of junk. The HK416/MR556 is heavy and very expensive. The Robarms XCR is a dud made by a company with some serious reputation problems (and too incompetent to read the SCAR competition rules to enter their weapon).

        Until someone gets the next generation carbine/rifle right, I fear that top-quality, well built AR-15s just MIGHT be the cutting edge for now. This is sad, but it is the truth.

    • My competition rifle uses a VLTOR upper and a Noveske barrel. I know that the components of this rifle are quality stock. Heck, even the charging handle is fantastic.

      The issue I have is that this is not the “giant leap forward” in technology that Colby and the marketing department claims it to be. It’s a mass of parts that have been on the market for some time with one or two minor new features. I could have gone out and built a rifle with these exact features and the vast majority of these same parts a month ago.

      Show me a rifle that legitimately has something new to offer and I’ll get excited.

      On the other hand, the comments I made were written on my cell phone in the middle of a lecture and not really intended for publication. I stand by the content of my statements, but if I had the chance to write the post myself I would have changed the tone a bit.

  6. Jake’s a JERK, and I hope he gets the boot ASAP. I want the Christian camp director to win because he seems like a really nice person and he can shoot.

  7. I have watched Top Shot & Sons of Guns and although there is a lot of TV crap in both they both get GUNS in front of the MASSES. In this day & age of the evil gun, Fast & Furious, and other stuff anything that demystifies guns is good. One thing about Top Shot is the variety of guns used illustrates how different guns are use. I have a friend who could be called “anti gun” who watches Top Shot and isn’t as vehement about gun issues as he was. Is that because of a tv program? Who knows but if maybe it works for him maybe it will work for others…..and that’s good.
    Rob Drummond
    Hillsboro, NH

  8. Wait a second. The TS3 description on the vltor webpage says the rifle is a middie, but the guns they were shooting on Top Shots are clearly carbine gas systems? So I wonder what gun the were shooting on Top Shots, he vltor Bait and Switch?


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