Brian Zins

Director of Training

Brian H. Zins, GySgt USMC Ret.

Undoubtedly the most accomplished competitor in NRA Precision Pistol Competiton, Former Marine Gunnery Sergeant Brian H. Zins retired from active duty in the Marine Corps in May of 2008.  It was discovered early in his Marine Corps career he had uncanny skill with the service pistol when going through Military Police Training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas in 1988. Sgt. Gunther, Military Police School Pistol Instructor, trained Zins and discovered he possessed a unique skill.

Later that year when sent to re-qualify on the rifle range at Camp Pendleton he caught the eye of his Primary Marksmanship Instructor from Headquarters and Service Battalion, 2nd FSSG, LCpl Matt Briggs. Briggs asked if he would be interested in competing in the Western Division Matches; not really aware there was such a thing, he agreed. In 1989 he competed in his first Division Match. He fell short of placing in the pistol medal bracket by two places. This created a hunger in him that proved to be valuable when he returned the following year to take a bronze medal at the Western Division Matches and silver medal at the Marine Corps Championships at Camp Lejeune, NC.

He spent the summer of 1990 at Marine Corps Base Quantico as part of the Marine Corps Pistol Team. He was able to refine his shooting skills under the watchful eyes of Capt. Stephen Belke, MSgt Mitch Reed USMC (Ret.) and most notably MSgt Andy Moody USMC (Ret.)  This was the beginning of a long competitive shooting career for him. Later in 1991 Zins went on to earn his Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge and was told he was the first Marine Lance Corporal to do so.

Throughout his career as a Military Policeman, Marine Recruiter, Doctrine Developer for the Marksmanship Program Management Section at WTBn in Quantico, VA, competitor/instructor for the Marine Corps Shooting Team and Staff Non-commissioned Officer-in-Charge Marine Corps Pistol Team, Zins claimed copious accolades for his performance as a competitive pistol shooter.

Some of his accomplishments include the Lauchheimer winner at the 1995 Marine Corps Championship, Several State and Regional Championships, member of the 2004 US Pistol Team, Service Pistol National Champion, Presidents 100 Champion, McMillan Trophy winner at the CMP National Matches, Distinguished Rifle Badge, twelve time NRA National Pistol Champion and current holder of over 30 NRA Precision Pistol National Records.

Zins’ military awards include (6) Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, (5) Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, (1) Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal and (1) Meritorious Service Medal.

Brian was a contestant and fan favorite on History Channels reality TV Shooting Competition TOP SHOT, Season 2 and 5 “ALL-STARS”

Brian and his Wife Mary Jo have 5 children combined and their little dog, Coco.

Read about Brian in the Matthews Mint Hill Weekly Here