Max Michel

Max Michel

"People look at shooting like it's a hobby, and it is a hobby, but it's my life, and I love it."

Staff Sgt. Max Michel Jr. is a 10-year veteran and current coach of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit's action pistol team. He's also a four-time national and two-time world champion, and he's been tapped to be the manager of competitive shooting activities for Sig Sauer, handpicking the members of its new shooting team, of which he will be captain. Not bad for someone still years shy of his 30th birthday.

"My dad was big into competitive shooting, doing man-on-man plate racks every night in New Orleans. My mother said he should take me, and I became the steel setter and paint boy, the target taper, the brass picker-upper, and I finally got tired of that and said 'Hey, I want to try it.'


"I was nine and shot man-on-man steel events for about a year. When I was 10 they let me start shooting IPSC." Max became a Grand Master-class shooter by the time he was 15.


"I noticed the Army Marksmanship Unit when I was 13, and when I saw what they were doing and what they were about, I had to do it."

Max began winning state-level matches when he was 15 and started getting noticed. When he was 16, the USAMU offered Max a slot on the team, and as soon as he graduated high school his parents went down to the recruiting station with him and signed the waiver (he was still 17).


"The perceived view of the Army Marksmanship Unit is that we shoot all day, every day. That's not the case. We're owned by the United States Army, and any day they can call us and tell us that we have a busload of 200 guys coming out, we need you and your guys to train them up today."


When he was first coming up in the sport, Max would dry-fire three to four hours per day. "I believed in that hardcore regimen, and it got me to where I am today. Nowadays I live-fire more than I dry-fire, but I still dry-fire 10 to 20 minutes each day. You can find that in your schedule, no matter how busy you are."

Max recommends dry-firing at 50 percent speed. "If you do something at 100 percent speed, you only remember two things: the beginning and the end. You don't remember anything that came in-between.

"If you're not dry-firing you're way behind the curve, because that gun has to be an extension of your body. All those techniques that got the top shooters to where they are, they didn't do it on the range all day every day. They did it in their basement, their back yard, their bedrooms."

Max has really enjoyed his 10 years in the AMU but was ready to move on, and he had no shortage of job offers. He chose Sig Sauer.

"My No. 1 goal right now is to establish a presence for Sig in the shooting sports--to show USPSA, IPSC, IDPA, the Steel Challenge, the Bianchi Cup, 3-gun what Sig can do. Nobody out there is using Sigs in competition. Why? Probably because they've never done it before. But if they see a guy like me out there using it, then maybe they'll at least try it."

Max also expects to do a lot more training courses for police at the Sigarms Academy. "I love training law enforcement because I feel most of the agencies are way behind on their training. The military is starting to pick things up, and that's because they're getting the guys in the action shooting industry showing them things that work, guys like Jerry Barnhart, Todd Jarrett, Rob Leatham and Mike Voigt. Law enforcement doesn't do that so much."

Max is grateful to be where he is today. "I got the opportunity to be a professional shooter at such a young age. Getting to move on to Sig, to be an actual sponsored professional shooter, that's something few people have ever done. I thank God every single day. I could not see myself doing anything else."

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Dealing with Subcompacts

Dealing with Subcompacts

Jim and Rich cover the benefits and the challenges presented by very small pistols.

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

All About Handgun Ammo

All About Handgun Ammo

Rich and Jim get into the nitty gritty of the FBI ammo protocol, firing into various barriers to illustrate what can happen to a bullet.

Handgun Basics

Handgun Basics

SIG Academy's Hana Bilodeau joins Rich and Jim to discuss the essential skills all handgunners should master.

Trending Articles

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhat Training

Pro Tips For Controlling Recoil

Richard Nance - April 11, 2017

Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? If you're like most, you were somewhat

In 1858 Beals invented and patented a spur-trigger, single-action, percussion revolver. The unique Revolvers

Remington Timeline: 1858 - Beals Revolver

Handguns Online Staff - September 09, 2016

In 1858 Beals invented and patented a spur-trigger, single-action, percussion revolver. The...

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a two-tone aluminum-framed model in 9mm (model # 6758). This review by James Tarr will focus on the 9mm. 1911

Ruger SR1911 Officer-Style 9mm Review

James Tarr - May 01, 2019

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a...

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit against 2nd Amendment

Judge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law

Handguns Online Staff - May 07, 2014

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit...

See More Trending Articles

More Training

Richard Nance demonstrates training techniques to improve your one-handed shooting skills. Training

Tactical Tip: One-Handed Shooting

Richard Nance - January 12, 2018

Richard Nance demonstrates training techniques to improve your one-handed shooting skills.

Nance lays out best practices for clearing malfunctions in a semiautomatic - skills that could mean the difference between life and death. Training

Handgun Malfunction - Getting Out Of A Jam

Richard Nance - January 11, 2018

Nance lays out best practices for clearing malfunctions in a semiautomatic - skills that could...

Good stance capitalizes on posture and joints to minimize the effects of recoil. Training

Shooting a Handgun - Stance Matters

Eve Flanigan - June 14, 2018

Good stance capitalizes on posture and joints to minimize the effects of recoil.

This is a simpler, more compact version of the Box Drill. Training

Handgun Training: The Box Drill

J. Scott Rupp - February 11, 2019

This is a simpler, more compact version of the Box Drill.

See More Training

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.