First off, what is Steel Challenge?
Steel Challenge is a speed shooting competition that consists of eight standardized stages with steel targets in three sizes; small circular, large circular, and rectangular targets. Each stage consists of 5 targets. You take five separate runs at these targets with a small break in between. Your slowest of the five runs is considered a “throwaway” and is not added to your total time. Steel Challenge is a timed event, and shooters are scored solely on their shoot times. The shooter with the fastest time after eight stages wins the match.
So to get started, you will need to pick out your gear! Many different divisions can accommodate many different firearms. The 13 categories are:
- Open (OPN)
- Limited (LTD)
- Production (PROD)
- Single Stack (SS)
- Iron Sight Revolver (ISR)
- Open Revolver (OSR)
- Carry Optics (CO)
- Rimfire Pistol Irons (RFPI)
- Rimfire Pistol Open (RFPO)
- Rimfire Rifle Irons (RFRI)
- Rimfire Rifle Open (RFRO)
- Pistol Caliber Carbine Irons (PCCI)
- Pistol Caliber Carbine Open (PCCO)
Once you find the firearm you want to compete with, you will need to get together a few other items other than your standard shooting gear.
- Holster for centerfire handguns (covers the trigger guard and isn’t a Serpa style holster)
- A proper shooting belt
- 5+ magazines
- A gun case
- A chamber flag
Next up is to find a match near you and to sign up for the match. If you want scores to be tracked, you will also need a USPSA membership number. Match registration is held through www.practiscore.com, and that is where you will fill out the registration info. Unlike other shooting disciplines, Steel Challenge doesn’t require black badge training; but instead, the match staff will test your holster and firearm proficiency before your first match.
Major Canadian Steel Challenge matches, such as the nationals, are held out of Calgary! This has given us at Canada First Ammo a chance to sponsor and support competitiors in this fast growing sport. The matches are held at the BTSA located in beautiful Kananaskis country.
Steel Challenge matches hosted at the BTSA are filled with friendly people from all backgrounds and firearm skill levels. It is a welcoming environment for anybody who wants to get themselves into the fantastic world of competitive shooting. Anybody considering coming out is strongly encouraged to give it a shot (nice…).
My strongest recommendation for a new competitive shooter is to find a firearm that runs consistently well. There is nothing worse than a good string of runs ruined by a malfunction. This stays true to any division of guns. I use a 10/22 design of rifle that has had many different types of ammo tested through it to find one that runs consistently because we all know how picky rimfires can be.
-Mitchell, SCSA Grand Master