When I saw a few weeks ago that Tom Knapp had died, I thought, “Do I know him? That name sounds awfully familiar. He was a shooter...” Upon checking his obituary, I instantly recognized his picture, and the past came into focus. “Yes, he’s the famous shotgunner who was showing off for Nancy Bittle.”
In the 90’s, there was an IPSC match called the AWARE Invitational that several groups in turn ran as a fund raiser for AWARE. Early on, one of those matches was held in New Jersey at a range in a place called the Pine Barrens. The match had tents for companies and sellers of stuff to set up their services and wares for all the kinds of things an IPSC shooter might want to buy.
Benelli, the shotgun company, was one of those vendors, and Tom Knapp was their rep there. Nancy Bittle (the founder of AWARE) and I were there. I didn’t know know of Tom Knapp was, but she did. Knapp was an exhibition shooter whose name could easily be put together with the likes of Annie Oakley. Nancy was almost as excited at meeting Knapp as she would have been if she had had a chance to meet Oakley. Knapp was a consummate performer who shot professionally for most of his life. He held a number of world records, and liked nothing more than shooting incredibly difficult targets, such as tiny aspirin....