Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak Pro Staffer 45-year-old Doug Koenig of Hamburg, Pennsylvania, has a tremendous platform to give tips on hunting and shooting anywhere he goes and on his TV show, “Doug Koenig’s Championship Season” because he’s one of the most-well-recognized competitive handgun shooters in the world. “Most of my competition is handgun shooting, but I also shoot 3-gun tournaments (shotgun, handgun and rifle) and the Sportsman’s Team Challenge 3-gun tournaments,” Koenig explains. “My sponsors are Mossy Oak, Smith & Wesson, Leupold, Hornady, Safariland, Gamo, TenPoint Crossbow Technologies, Starline Brass, Otis Technology and Bass Pro Shop. I’ve been competitive shooting for 26 years.” Koenig has won the NRA’s Bianchi Cup 15 times, which is one of the most-prestigious handgun championships in the world, the NRA World Action Pistol Championship six times, the World Speed Shooting Championship three times, the Sportsman's Team Challenge Championships 16 times and the Masters International 20 times. “When I’m hunting and shooting, I’ll wear some type of Mossy Oak clothing in both sports,” Koenig says. “On my competition shooting uniform, I also have some Mossy Oak camo incorporated into my competition shooting uniform.”
What makes Doug Koenig so unique is that he’s not only one of the world’s greatest competitive handgun shooters, he also has deep roots as a hunter. In his TV shows, you’ll see Koenig covers vertical bow hunting, crossbow hunting, rifle hunting and muzzleloader hunting. According to Koenig, “I try and utilize my background as a competitive shooter and my lifelong hunting experience into each show. I really want to show the advantages associated with being both a competitive shooter and a deer hunter. I wish more hunters would participate in competition shooting, and more competition shooters would get into the hunting sports. I’d also like to see more youngsters and families involved in both sports.”
This is the same type of program that the archery industry has promoted for many years. Many competitive archers started out as bowhunters, and archers proficient in target shooting then crossed over into hunting. Both groups have learned that by combining competition shooting and hunting they’ve become better at both.
Koenig took his shooting skills and adapted them to a wide variety of hunting equipment. “I started shooting handguns when I was 17 and had hunted all my life before that. But I really enjoyed shooting. So, my dad and I went to the local gun shop and purchased a handgun together. The people at the gun shop were into competitive shooting, and they were modifying their personal handguns for competitive shooting. We ordered our handgun. Every day after school, I’d stop by the gun shop to see if our handgun had arrived, and the men at the gun shop would talk to me about competitive shooting. When my gun finally came in, I went to the store to pick it up. The serviceman at the store told me, ‘We’re having a handgun shoot this weekend. Why don’t you come and compete, just to see if you like it?’
“After that first shoot, I was hooked. I thought that shooting a handgun in competition was the most fun thing I’d ever done, but I soon realized that I had to shoot a lot and work very hard to have a chance to place well. Almost every weekend, I’d go to a match and shoot. There were a lot of contests within an hour’s drive of my home, and I enjoyed these competitions so much. As I began to do better in the competitions, I began to attract sponsors.”
Two of Koenig’s sponsors include Hornaday and Smith & Wesson. Neal Emery, Communications Manager for Hornady, says, “Doug is a phenomenal shooter in many disciplines. His physical ability coupled with his mental toughness give him the winning edge when perfect scores and high X counts are required. We’re proud to have Doug as a member of the Hornady team.”
Mario Pasantes, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Smith & Wesson, says, “Smith & Wesson is extremely fortunate to have some of the top competitors in the history of professional shooting currently competing under its company’s banner. During his time with Team Smith & Wesson, Doug’s passion and remarkable skill set have made him a valuable team leader as well as a great ambassador for our company and the shooting sports. Anyone who has watched Doug perform quickly understands what a unique talent he truly possesses and that regardless of the competition, he always seems to be just one shot away from making history.”