Huelet (Joe) Benner

Hall of Fame

Date of birth:



Paragould, Arkansas

Olympic Experience:

  • 1952 Olympic Games - Gold, Slow-Fire Free Pistol
  • 1948 Olympic Games - Second Certificate, Slow-Fire Free Pistol
  • 1956 Olympic Games - Participated, Slow-Fire Free Pistol


Joe Benner was born in rural Arkansas, and developed an early love for fine guns through his grandfather, an avid sportsman. His first interest in match shooting developed after joining the U.S. Army in 1935. Benner's first major tournament was the South Atlantic Matches in Savannah, Georgia. His success bolstered the incentive to continue marksmanship.

During the years 1940-1951, Benner was the Weapons Instructor at the Armored School in Fort Knox, Kentucky. He taught marksmanship to thousands of Officer Candidates with all guns, small arms to tank size. During this time, World War II erupted and caused a halt in many of the matches. Benner went on to become the pistol coach at the U.S. Military Academy West Point.

In 1964, Benner retired as a Sgt. Major having more than 28 years of service. After retirement, he accepted the position as Director of Shooting Education with High Standard Firearms, and moved to Tampa, Florida. After this, Benner started his own business, Joe Benner Security Equipment. He sold guns, leather, and ammunition and imported some of the first international style firearms - the Sauer drilling and the Feinwerkbau air pistol.

In his personal time, Benner enjoyed hunting and participating in all shooting aspects.

Competition Highlights:

  • 1949 World Championships - Gold Medal, Slow-Fire Free Pistol
  • 1952 World Championships - Gold Medal, Rapid-Fire Pistol
  • 1954 World Championships - Participant, Rapid-Fire Pistol
  • 1950 Pan-American Games - Gold Medal, Rapid-Fire Pistol
  • 1955 Pan-American Games - Gold Medal, Individual & Team
  • 1947 National Trophy Individual Service Champion
  • Two Individual World Records and Two Team World Records
  • Six time National Pistol Match Champion - 1947, 1949, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1959