National Police Shooting Championships, one man always seems to draw the attention staff, vendors, and competitors: 10-time NPSC Champion Philip Hemphill. A true legend within the world of law enforcement and competitive shooting, Hemphill is retired from the Mississippi Highway Patrol and no longer competes at NPSC, but is back as a vendor with Rock River Arms for a second year in a row.
Hemphill shot his first National Police Shooting Championship in 1985 in Des Moines, Iowa, and competed every year until he returned to NPSC in 2008 as a referee (save 2005 when the competition in Jackson, Mississippi was canceled due to Hurricane Katrina). In 2009, he returned to the range here in Albuquerque to compete one final time to prove his abilities and capture his 10th Championship. Over the past 26 years, Hemphill has seen the National Police Shooting Championships grow and expand into what it is today.
“When I began shooting [NPSC], we shot Distinguished Revolver, 1500 Revolver, and the team match. Now it’s evolved from three matches to so many more events; the Semi-Auto matches, Shotgun Championship, and more team matches,” Hemphill said, noting that the technology of the guns and ammunition has developed over the years making the competition tougher.
“My first time competing at Nationals in Des Moines in 1985, you walked up with your revolver, they weighed the trigger and handed you 60 rounds of ammo,” said Hemphill, illustrating how things have changed.
Over the years, Hemphill has also seen the competitors and their skills improve, making for a tougher playing field.
“I think as far as actual marksmanship is concerned, the competition has really evolved. These guys don’t just have to be proficient with one gun anymore, they have to be proficient with all of them,” shared Hemphill, adding that the other types of competition offered at NPSC have more of a practical application. “The Tactical Police Competition has also helped competitors as officers since it provides them training even though it’s not about the accuracy as much as PPC competition.”
Although Hemphill has retired from competing here at NPSC, he’s still competing in the world of bullseye pistol, having won his first National Pistol Championship title earlier this year at Camp Perry. But what are his predictions for the competition here this week?
“Robert Vadasz,” said Hemphill, choosing a winner. “Simply because he’s the best shot. He out shot Enoch Smith yesterday in the 1500 revolver by 10 x’s and today in the 1500 semi-auto by 7 x’s.”