ACCOKEEK, MD (April 26, 2013) – Tom Knapp is remembered as one of the world’s foremost professional exhibition shooters of all time, performing worldwide to entertain audiences of all ages with his amazing shooting skills. But his shows were much more than that. Tom was honored to be able to teach audiences about the importance of gun safety and was proud to educate them about the guns that he used.
Tom’s extraordinary shooting demonstrations always offered his audiences an exciting experience. Hard-core gun enthusiasts as well as folks who had never seen a shotgun close up enjoyed them. Recognized for more than 20 years as the greatest exhibition shooter of modern times, Tom presented shooting demonstrations with a flare that delighted countless audiences and spectators over the years. Performing seemingly impossible feats with shotguns throughout the United States and Europe, Tom also appeared on national television to recreate some of the extraordinary shooting feats of the great “trick shooters” of the Old West. Whether he was shooting something out of the air — his own ejected shotgun shells, a handful of eggs or fast moving clay targets — Tom Knapp always put on a show of shooting achievements you never forgot.
Tom holds several distinctive world records, including two World Records for hand-thrown clay targets – 9 clays with a Benelli M1 Super 90 in 1993 and 8 clays with a Benelli Nova Pump in 2000 — Tom set out to do it again on October 20th, 2004 and achieved the unbelievable, shooting 10 clay targets out of the air in 2.2 seconds with a Benelli M2 Field. He broke each target with a single shot. In 2007, Tom donated his Benelli M1 Super 90 to the Buffalo Bill Historic Center in Cody, Wyoming, where it appears alongside the guns of other great exhibition shooters like Herb Parsons and Annie Oakley on permanent display there.
During his time with Benelli, he mentored and later teamed up with a young exhibition shooter named Tim Bradley. They made a great team, not just because they complemented one another, but they became dear friends with a huge mutual respect for each other. In 2009 Tom and Tim were featured in a mini-show series that appeared on ESPN2 Outdoors. Each two-and-a-half minute show showcased each of their shooting talents with an array of exceptional techniques.
Steve Otway, Benelli USA's former General Manager, recognized Tom’s talents and personable nature early on and knew he would be a true asset for the Benelli brand. “We consider ourselves really fortunate for having had Tom’s shooting abilities, experience and extraordinary talent representing Benelli,” Otway remarked. “His performances showcased our shotguns in exciting ways that proved they could handle any extreme shooting challenge that Tom put them through.”
For those of us fortunate enough to have known shooting legend Tom Knapp, word of his passing leaves a huge void in our world. On behalf of the Benelli USA family, we send our deepest condolences to his family and to all those who he thrilled around the world with his incredible talent. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tom’s wife, Colleen and her family as they mourn his loss. Thank you, Tom, for being one of the finest ambassadors the American shooting sports has ever known.