Seventeen time Bianchi Cup competitive shooting champ Doug Koenig, former Alburtis and now Hamburg resident, has just jumped ship. Yes, the long time Smith & Wesson sponsored professional competition shooter has left Smith & Wesson to captain Ruger Firearms sponsored first professional shooting team.
The announcement first made news earlier this week when fellow outdoor writer Jim Shepard in his Outdoor Wire/Shooting Wire columns, interviewed Koenig at the current Archery Trade Association dealer show in Indiana. His breaking news prompted a formal Ruger media announcement of Koenig joining their company.
Said Ruger President and CEO Chris Killoy, “We are very excited to introduce Team Ruger, and particularly with a shooter of Doug Koenig’s caliber at the helm. Doug is an outstanding addition to the Ruger team, bringing both a winning attitude and a true passion for growing the shooting and outdoor sports to the team.”
The media release goes on to say that besides serving as Team Ruger Captain, Doug will also represent the company as an official Brand Ambassador.
Doug, a friend and fellow Topton F&G Association member, is a lifelong hunter, world champion shooter and has an outdoors TV show on the Sportsmen’s Channel. He began shooting competitively at the age of 17, winning both regional and national competitions. Since turning pro in 1990, he has shot a consistent perfect score of 1920, an unprecedented 17 times, at the prestigious NRA Bianchi Cup. Koenig has also won more than 70 national and 10 world competitive shooting titles.
“I’m thrilled to join Team Ruger and partner with such an iconic brand in the industry. Ruger’s depth and breadth of products is a perfect fit for both my competitive shooting and hunting endeavors,” said Koenig in a prepared release.
In his interview with Shepard, Koenig said, “I’ve been with Smith & Wesson for a very long time and I want to make it really clear – they’ve always been good to me.”
In Shepard’s report, Koenig said he sensed that over the past few years the culture at S&W had shifted.
It appears this could be due to the fact S&W was taken over by American Outdoor Brands Corp., a holding company who owns several outdoors related businesses including such popular brands as Thompson Center, Crimson Trace, Bog Pod, Caldwell Shooting Supplies, Uncle Henry, Schrade Knives and more. And as typical when a holding company takes over, the atmosphere changes - not always for the good.
Koenig continued in his interview by adding, “We were going in different directions and I had already told S&W I wasn’t re-signing this year.”
Shepard, a seasoned journalist who was one of the founders of the Golf Channel, managed to press for more information since this was a shocker in the industry for which Koenig added, “Ruger products cover any type of competition, so I’ll be shooting their 1911, their polymer pistols and the Ruger Precision Rifle.”
This brings in a local connection. Randy Hollowbush, owner of The Handgunner in Topton, and a long-time close friend of Koenig who does gunsmith work for him, will be taking delivery of Koenig’s new competition firearms from Ruger, according to a phone interview with Hollowbush.
And coincidentally to Koenig’s S&W departure, is that Paul Pluff, Ruger’s Marketing Director, held the same position at S&W for many years before joining Ruger.
Ruger has come on strong in the firearms business, especially with their line of fine handguns. Koenig can only make the company’s products become more visible, and their business grow.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.