Mike Hughes
 Personal information



Maple Falls, WA[1]

  • Firearms Training Equipment Company founder[1]
  • Competitive Pistol Shooter[3]
 Competition information

Season Three



Episode eliminated
"My whole life I've always felt like I had something to prove."
―Mike Hughes[src]

Mike Hughes, often called Big Mike, was a contestant of Top Shot Season Three. He was originally a member of the Blue Team, but after making it to the final seven, he joined the Green Team.

Mike was originally eliminated during Week Nine, after losing an Elimination Challenge against Gary Quesenberry. However, after the resignation of Jake Zweig in the following episode, he was brought back to the competition. He eventually reached the Season 3 Finale where he lost to Dustin Ellermann.

Personal lifeEdit

"I'm very competitive—I will win or die trying, but I am always a good sport."
―Mike Hughes[src]

Mike is the founder and president of a Firearms Training Equipment Company in Maple Falls, Washington. He is also a competitive pistol shooter in the United States Practical Shooting Association, and ranked the seventh-place title in the Nationals. He had invented his own training pistol, which he calls the SIRT. Mike played football in college. When not shooting, Mike can be found lifting weights, sprinting, hiking, or being with his family.[1]

Top ShotEdit

Week OneEdit

Cliff vs Mike

Mike shooting against Cliff Walsh.

"Ironically, I think the key to winning Top Shot is not being concerned about winning Top Shot. When you're focused too much on that end goal, it takes you away from your peak performance."
―Mike Hughes[src]

Mike arrived for Top Shot along with the other fifteen contestants. Here, the host of the competition, Colby Donaldson, stated that placement of each of the competitors would be determined by a Preliminary Challenge. In pairs, the contestants would shoot head-to-head with the Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum at three targets. Whichever of the two could hit all of their targets before the other would be victorious and join the Blue Team, while the loser joined the Red Team.

Mike Hughes

Mike with the Blue Team uniform

The first pair consisted of Mike and fellow professional shooter, Cliff Walsh. Mike hit the first target slightly before his opponent. On his second shot, Mike also hit his target, but Cliff had missed, giving Mike enough time to destroy his final target and complete the course in only seconds. This resulted in Mike's victory and spot on the Blue Team. After the remaining seven pairs had competed, Colby allowed the contestants to head to the house they would be staying in during the competition. However, the Red Team arrived here first, claiming all of the bottom bunks of the beds, giving the Blue Team a very limited choice on where they would sleep.

Mike Hughes 1st TC

Mike with the Larue.

The following day, the contestants headed to the Shooting Range to participate in the first Team Challenge. Here, they instantly noticed a number of platforms set up with targets in the distance. After all of the contestants had gotten situated, Colby explained that for the challenge, two contestants would be assigned to one of the four platforms for their team. Once on these, each contestant would shoot the Larue Tactical OBR at a target before going to the next station. He then stated that to get onto the platforms, they would not climb the ladders built on, but use a sixteen foot pole which would have to be carried to each station. The team that finished first would be victorious. Before the teams engaged in the challenge, they were given a few minutes to decide the shooting order, with the Blue Team choosing Mike and Alex Charvat for the final station. The Blue Team started with a lead, but after the third station, their lead had slightly diminished. However, due to struggles on the Red Team with hitting the targets, Blue Team finally managed to catch back up. After Mike and Alex got up the pole, the former lifted the Larue, but was informed by his teammate that he forgot to load it. After Mike loaded the weapon, he hit his target on the second shot. He then passed the Larue to Alex, who after a few shots was able to hit Blue Team's final target, resulting in the team's victory.

When the contestants returned to the house, the Red Team held a team meeting while the Blue Team met in the kitchen. Here, Dustin Ellermann read some encouraging verses from the bible. He then concluded by saying that, when he read these verses, he was thinking, "sucks to be Red", which was considered humorous to some members of the Blue Team. The Red Team left later that day to go to the Nomination Range and vote two people into the Elimination Challenge. When they returned, it was announced to Blue Team that Amanda Hardin and Mark Schneider were sent to this challenge. The following day, the Red Team left again to witness the Elimination Challenge. They returned later with Mark, who nailed a red target bearing Amanda's name to the wall, in tribute.

Week TwoEdit

After Amanda's elimination, the contestants were given a night of rest. The following morning, the Blue Team got up to prepare for the next challenge by pretending to shoot a firearm and work on sighting. Later that day, the contestants arrived at the Shooting Range to attend a Practice Session. Here, Colby announced that the contestants would be shooting the AK-47 under guidance by expert, Craig Sawyer. Here, Mike did well with the weapon, and the Blue Team walked away, confident they would win the upcoming challenge.

Mike and Paul 2nd TC

Mike (back) in the second Team Challenge.

The following day, the contestants arrived at the Shooting Range again to participate in the second Team Challenge. Here, four obstacles and stations were set up. The first obstacle was a pipe that needed to be crawled through. Second was a pit of water, which was followed by crawling through mud and then sand under barbed wire. Two contestants would be assigned to a station, with an exception of the last one, and have to endure the obstacles standing in their way. At the stations, the contestants would destroy the two corresponding targets using the AK-47. Whichever team finished first would be victorious. Before participating in the challenge, the Red Team had to decide who to sit out on Blue Team, choosing Jarrett Grimes. Then both teams decided on their shooting orders, with the Blue Team deciding on Mike and Paul Marinaccio to shoot at the third station. On the second station, Blue Team fell slightly behind, but at the water pit, was able to catch up. Mike arrived at the third station first, and began firing. After he hit his target, Paul commenced firing at his target, and after a few shots, was able to destroy it. After the Blue Team had made their shots at the third station, they were already behind. Jake, who was assigned to the last station, was not able to shoot at the last two targets before Chris Collins of Red Team was finished, resulting in Blue Team's first loss.

When the Blue Team returned to the house, they held their first team meeting. It was very hard for many of the contestants to make a decision, but many stated they would vote for Sara Ahrens. Later, they arrived at the Nomination Range to vote two people into the Elimination Challenge by shooting a target with the contestant's name. Mike was the first to vote, choosing Dustin Ellermann because he didn't think he had as much experience than the other contestants due to his age. In the end, it was Dustin and Sara that would have to compete for their spot in the competition. The following day, the Blue Team arrived at the Shooting Range to witness the second Elimination Challenge. Here, using the Smith & Wesson M&P .45, the contestants would shoot at red foe targets on a rotating cylinder while trying to avoid hitting the blue friend targets. Whichever of the contestants could hit more targets in one minute would be safe from Elimination and receive a $2000 gift card. In the end, Dustin was victorious, having ended up with 23 points in comparison to Sara's 11 points. The Blue Team returned to the house later that day, where Dustin nailed a blue target bearing Sara's name to the wall, in tribute to her.

Mike Hughes green

Mike with the Green Team uniform

After Top ShotEdit

Mike Hughes Founded NextLevel Training LLC ( an innovative design and manufacturing entity that produces firearm training equipment, namely the SIRT (Shot Indicating Reseting Trigger) pistol and rifle tools.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Mike Hughes. (2011). The History Channel website. Retrieved 8:49, July 19, 2011, from
  2. Note: This is a user-made calculation.
  3. Top Shot: Behind the Bullet

External linksEdit

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