Joe Montegna M4 Rifle
Joe Montegna M4 Rifle

Firing Back: Joe Mantegna

To millions of TV viewers he’s David Rossi on Criminal…

To millions of TV viewers he’s David Rossi on Criminal Minds. To fans of the silver screen he’s the star of the gangster epics Bugsy and Godfather: Part III, the David Mamet drama Things Change and comedies like The Three Amigos. To my kids he’s the dad on Joan of Arcadia and the voice of “Fat Tony” on The Simpsons. He’s even got a star with his name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

But on top of being one of America’s most versatile and talented actors, Joe Mantegna is also a shooter, and he produces of two of the best shooting shows out there, Midway USA’s Gun Stories and Shooting Gallery on the Outdoor channel. We caught up with Joe after the SHOT Show in Las Vegas where he received the Golden Moose award for his work on Gun Stories.

MY FIRST GUN: A Remington 1100, which I still own. I was about 19 years old living in Chicago, and I used to ride my bike along Lake Michigan. Back then there was a gun club located right on the lakefront, and I’d stop there on my bike and watch the men and women shoot skeet over the lake. The club had been there for many years, and it was such a thrill to be in such a beautiful setting and watch the club members engage in their majestic sport of clay shooting. One day one of the members noticed me by the fence and asked if I was going to shoot. I said I had never shot a gun in my life, but I enjoyed watching them in their sport. He encouraged me to join him, and at that moment he took an extra shotgun out of his trunk, bought me shells and two rounds of skeet and gave me as complete and skilled a lesson in skeet shooting as any novice could hope for. After that second round, I was hooked. He instructed me where and what to buy as my first shotgun, and I haven’t looked back from the shooting sports since. I discovered that particular gentleman was the president of the gun club, and now over 40 years later, I think often of his kindness and patience in introducing a young man to the shooting sports, in the style and manner as it should be.

IF I COULD ONLY OWN ONE: One rifle, a Ruger Ranch in .223. One pistol, a single-action Browning-designed .45 ACP semi-auto (right now one made by Cabot Arms gets my attention). For a shotgun, most anything made by Beretta, Perazzi or various other Italians. Hey, I’m prejudiced!

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