The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

InRangeTV Handgun Brutality 2023: Your Weakness Will Be Exposed

Most pistol competitions you go to involve a lot of people wearing jerseys and shooting race guns that vaguely resemble a 1911 designed by NASA. The name of the game is speed and efficiency while hosing down large paper targets as fast as possible.

InRangeTV’s Handgun Brutality is nothing like that. In a crazy mash-up of Crossfit, 80s action movies, and pistol challenges dialed up to 11. Handgun Brutality disregards what is “normal” at a major pistol competition.

Jerseys won’t make you cool, open-class 2011s won’t make you fast, and screaming “Two World Wars” won’t make your 1911 jam less.

In a radical test of person and gear, you will quickly find the weak links in yourself, your shooting ability, and your equipment. 

Death Star with no shoots behind it, Pistol Spinner that must be spun, a spinning Polish Plate Rack, and A Pistol Rack with no shoots in front. And you're standing on a wobble table. Shooter ready?

And through all of this, Handgun Brutality somehow remains accessible, welcoming, safe, and very, very fun.


Handgun Brutality 2023 was the first Brutality match to focus on handguns, but it isn’t the first Brutality match by far. Starting with the Desert Brutality 2018. This quickly grew into other matches like Woodland Brutality, Cornfield Brutality, Finnish Brutality (held in Finland), and even Midnight Brutality, which was held at night and required weapon lights or night vision gear to shoot.

The ethos of these matches comes from InRangeTV’s Karl Kasarda and his 2 Gun Action Challenge Match held in Tucson, Arizona, since 2009. The design is simple—make it harder. Shoot challenging targets from awkward positions while under physical duress. And just to spice it up, scoring is extremely unforgiving. Penalties of 15 seconds are the minimum, with some going as high as 60 seconds on do-or-die single shots.

For example, throw a 50 lb kettlebell 10 yards, then make a hit on a half-size torso target from a port in a V-TAC barricade. Repeat 5 times or until you par out after 3 minutes.

Sound easy? Give it a try before you claim it is. 

Brutality matches take this idea and put it on a grand scale. 10-ish stages of the trial-by-fire competition. Each match has a different focus and a different major goal, but all of them follow the same core DNA.

Handgun Brutality was my first Brutality match, but it won’t be my last.

A Special Kind Of Fun

I want to be clear, this match was fun. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had at a match. But it’s a special kind of fun, and it won’t appeal to everyone.

If you’re not willing to get your hands dirty, if you’re not okay with being sore the next day, or if you’re too proud to come in last, you might not like this. 

But for those of you who want to know exactly where you and your skills stand, see what you are actually capable of doing, test your gear by punishing it, and are willing to face challenges that leave you winded and weak – this is your cup of tea.

Competition or Training Event?

In a lot of ways, Handgun Brutality was as much a training event as it was a shooting match. Sure, there were rules, scoring, and prizes – but most of the challenge was against yourself. Learning what you could do, how to do it better, and seeing how it could be done.

Prizes weren’t given out for being the fastest or coming in first, they were given based on random drawings. This might disappoint some of the jersey folks, but it helps emphasize that winning isn’t everything.  

Divorcing prizes from ranking also allows people to try new things. Got a 10mm 1911? Shoot it, see how practical it really is. Want to try fanny pack carry for CCW? The results surprised me. Feel the need to dress up like Raylan Givens from Justified because you’re an adult who enjoys having fun? Do it.

Cosplaying as Raylan Givens while shooting the “You're Move, Creep” stage. Not making the iconic RoboCop shot was a 60-second penalty. You had one shot to make it.

Even when it isn’t entirely practical, it still serves a purpose. You still learn. And you still have fun.


Handgun Brutality 2023 had 10 stages, all shot in a single day. The event ran extremely smoothly, with most squads finishing well ahead of the scheduled time. Rarely were we waiting for a squad ahead of us to finish, and rarely was a squad behind us waiting on us. 

If you’ve been to major matches before, you’ve likely seen how badly things can go. Ask anyone who does this fairly often, and you’ll hear about how they’ve had to sit on their hands for 2 hours waiting for a squad to finish up. So for things to go this well at Handgun Brutiality is a testimonial to the stage design and the ROs for keeping things moving.

The stages were strongly based on 80s and 90s action movies and video games. From Bloodborne to RoboCop and John Woo to Clint Eastwood, the theme of the stages were outstanding. But don’t let the nostalgia fool you, they weren’t easy stages.

A Fist Full Of Dollars had us dragging a 70-plus-pound sled full of “gold” while shooting targets, Aliens required you to squeeze off a make-it-or-break-it shot with an HK VP70 before diving into the “air ducts” to slay your way through face huggers and aliens. 

A Hunter Should Hunt Beasts based on the Bloodborne video game had us downing a boatload of targets while narrowly avoiding no-shoot targets. Hitting a no-shoot was a 15-second penalty, but you had one chance per no-shoot to avoid the penalty if you made a particularly difficult hit on a small steel plate in the corner of the bay. 

Out of 106 shooters, only 19 managed to shoot the stage without incurring a time penalty. 

Lucky And Wild was shot while driving a UTV! Try getting your local pistol match to let you do that.


Every stage was different, every stage was hard in a slightly different flavor, and every stage quickly exposed what could go wrong with your skills or your gear. 

All 10 stages were shot on a single day, but the match ran for three days giving people the opportunity to shoot multiple times. I shot all three days with three different setups.

  • Compact Carry division P320 using a Franklin Armory CA320 FCU, L2D Combat X-Compact grip module, SIG Armory carry trigger, ShaloTek slide, SIG 3.6-inch barrel, and a Bushnell RXU-200 Ultra Compact red dot. Carried with a 5.11 Fanny Pack.
  • PCC division P320 using an L2D Combat slide, Second Amendment Zone P320 FCU, Swampfox green dot, and a Strike Industries SMC chassis with a Strike Industries dual folding brace.
  • Full-Size division P320 with the same FA CA320 FCU, Agency Arms barrel, Tyrant CNC T-Comp, Zaffiri Precision slide, Swampfox green dot, SIG Armory carry trigger, and a SIG TXG grip module that was laser stippled by Gray Guns.

There is a big difference between using gear casually and putting it through the crucible, like in a Brutality match.

That is just one of the many great things about this kind of match. Everyone and everything is tested. 

And sometimes, it’s the little things that get you, even if you’re experienced. Like forgetting to lube up your slide. 


Most shooting sports attract a slightly different crowd. PRS matches have a different vibe than USPSA, skeet shooting and 3-Gun shooting both involve shotguns but often have very different people shooting them, even NRL22 and Small Bore Silhouette, while so similar in idea, normally don’t have a lot of crossover in shooters. 

Of all the styles and flavors of shooting competition that I’ve tried, PRS, NRL: Hunter, USPSA, Steel Challenge, NRL22/X, and others – none have been so diverse or more accepting as Handgun Brutality. 

From shooters that have never been to a competition before (respect for those noobs who jumped head first into the deep end!) to SWAT officers from small towns back east to minorities serious about self-defense, almost every kind of shooter could be found at this match.

ROs Can Make Or Break An Event

Good ROs are harder to find than match-grade ammo during a pandemic. But Brutality has found a group that not only loves the match but is also just good at being ROs.

From safety to keeping their spirits up for four days of hard work to striking a balance between correcting a mistake and punishing an error, every RO I shot with was on point. 

Joe, the lead RO with his .357 Magnum Rhino and a bucket full of moon clips

Russel Phagan, also known as Sinistral Rifleman and a VP at KE Arms, is another big part of the Brutality puzzle. The match director for the event, Russel is one of the big brains that make the entire match happen.

A big thanks to all of them!

The Next Brutality

Woodland Brutality 2023 is May 5th in West Virginia, but the match is already full. More Brutality events are coming soon – at least two that I know of – but they haven’t been officially announced except for people on the InRangeTV Patreon

If you want early access and an easier time signing up, take a look at Patreon. Otherwise, the Brutality website will keep you updated about upcoming events.

If you’re on the fence about attending, I would highly recommend it.

Enter Your E-Mail to Receieve a Free 50-Target Pack from RECOIL!

NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOIL

For years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included).

Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. We'll send you weekly updates on guns, gear, industry news, and special offers from leading manufacturers - your guide to the firearms lifestyle.

You want this. Trust Us.

1 Comment

  • Joe says:

    David shot in my squad on the staff day, it was awesome having him here. I appreciate the kind words and the sweet photo of me reloading moon clips. Hopefully we see him again.

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

View Comments

  • David shot in my squad on the staff day, it was awesome having him here. I appreciate the kind words and the sweet photo of me reloading moon clips. Hopefully we see him again.

Subscribe to the Free