Interview: Top Shot Season 3 Champion, Dustin Ellermann

We had the honor of hosting Dustin Ellermann, winner of the History Channel’s Top Shot Season 3, at 5.11 Tactical Headquarters. Not only is this guy a top shot, but also a top notch guy. After sharing his wish list of features and designs for possible future 5.11 gear, we sat down to chat with him about life as a shooter, competitor, and 5.11 Tactical enthusiast.

5.11: As a “top shot”, how much time do you spend shooting on a weekly basis?
D.E.: Not nearly enough. I generally get in about an hour or two a week. I like to do fun stuff like fast pistol or going out for long-range practice but that, of course, takes a long time to get dialed in. A lot of what I do is 22s because it’s cheap and it doesn’t bother the neighbors as much and all your fundamentals are there. I practiced for Top Shot with a 22 rifle and it worked.

5.11: What plans do you have in mind for future professional marksmanship competition?
D.E.: I haven’t had the time lately but have had lots of invites. I’m working on it and getting geared up. I’m working on getting a shotgun. What I want to do is some three gun. I’ve done some local competitions recently that I have enjoyed. In fact, I was recently invited out for a clay shoot. I’ve only done a clay shoot twice but I got an 80/100 which, I guess, is supposed to be really good so they were impressed. I did have a good coach, though.

5,11: What tips can you share to help people improve on shooting skills?
Trigger control. Also, I am big advocate of dry fire practice. You don’t have to go to a range to do it. Just do it safe and you’ll notice your groups will tighten a lot more when you have that trigger control down. Dry fire is the cheapest and easiest way to practice that.

5.11: If you had to choose one firearm, what would be your first pick?
D.E.: That’s not fair – I couldn’t pick just one. I always keep a variety to chose from when I head to the range. I have always liked ARs. It really just depends on the situation.

5.11: Have you had the chance to do any custom builds?
D.E.: I’m doing an article with Texas Fish & Game. They want to do an AR build in the near future, so we’ll play around with that a little bit more.

5.11: What would you say is your favorite gear from 5.11?
D.E.: I’ve always liked the clothing but I also really like the bags, especially the concealed carry gear. I appreciate being able to have unique accessories in a concealable platform. I’m digging the thumb drive holster, too. It’s easy to take on and off with the paddle and it works well.

5.11: Speaking of concealed carry, what is your favorite gun to carry?
D.E.: It depends on whether I need something on me or with me. In my bags, I can carry something a little bit bigger. I have always been partial to the Walther P99. That stays in my car bag – the MOAB or Side Trip. On my person I like to carry something a little slimmer and lighter like my Walther PPS. It’s a single stack and a lot slimmer.

5.11: Outside of shooting, what are your other passions in life?
We do the Camp His Way. We will host about 2,000 kids throughout the summer. We have the capacity for about 120 at a time over 11 weeks and 8 weekends of just camp. We play in the water and have water slides, splash pad, canoe, banana boats, archery and bb’s, horseback riding and we’re introducing a lot more marksmanship stuff this year plus tomahawk throwing and blow guns and even rock throwing and sling shots. We even got some new pellet guns and lots of fun stuff like that.

5.11: What’s next for you?
D.E.: I am continuing with appearances but I am trying to put together a youth marksmanship camp for the offseason. The kids have been begging for it. I’ll take about two-dozen kids at a time for the weekend and just have a blast shooting, throwing and slinging everything that we can.

We had a great time hanging out with Dustin and getting his feedback on the 5.11 collection. Since the beginning, 5.11 Tactical has worked closely in PDMs (Product Development Meetings) with the people that put our gear to work to ensure that every item specifically meets their demands. We’re looking forward to continuing to evolve the collection and always open for your suggestions. Do you have any suggestions to share? We want to hear from you.

5.11 News