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Shot Steel Challenge today

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by 1KPerDay, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    2 degrees when it started, high of 18. Clear and mostly calm. Shooting into the sun most of the day which isn't the best with an optic and a wool beanie rather than a ball cap. Enough with the excuses. :D

    90+ shooters, lots of PCC and Open. I shot my M&P CORE 9L with RMR red dot and placed first in Carry Optics and third overall in handguns. One open guy and one open revolver guy beat me. Lots of PCC and rimfire rifle guys beat me.

    I won one stage (handguns) but generally was about third to fifth with several open shooters beating me and sometimes the local revolver guys, who are good and shoot national matches a lot.

    I lost a lot of time on the draw/first shot. I used an IDPA approved holster. The holster didn't slow me down much... I still take too much time finding the dot for the first shot. Also I haven't really practiced the swing/stop/shoot technique for steel challenge much. This was my second or third steel challenge match. Makes you want to set up smoke and hope in your back yard and practice every day.

    Lots of fun!
     
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  2. Doublehelix
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    Doublehelix Contributing Member

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    Wait. Does Steel Challenge have a Carry Optics division? I didn't know that! I just checked the rules, and sure enough!

    I just bought a CO setup for use with USPSA but for some reason thought that SCSA did not have that division. Thanks for posting, I never would have looked that up otherwise.

    Oh, and great shooting BTW!!! :)
     
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  3. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Thanks! They probably just barely added it like IDPA did.
     
  4. waktasz

    waktasz Member

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    Steel challenge has the same divisions as USPSA plus all the rimfire divisions.
     
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  5. Doublehelix
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    Doublehelix Contributing Member

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    Which makes sense of course, but for some reason I thought I remember hearing that they only had Open for centerfire with optics. I am glad I found out because that will give me some more low stress practice with the CO gun.
     
  6. egd

    egd Member

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    Low stress???? there's a BEEP involved isn't there?
     
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  7. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    Registration for the US Steel Shoot (the Steel Challenge Nationals) opened today, as of now there are only 165 slots left. This is a tier III match obviously (It's the Nationals). It is in Covington GA.

    Personally not going because this match is in April and this doesn't give me as much time to prepare as I would like. The World Speed Shoot is in Mid May, considering going to this one, it's at the CMP range in Anniston AL. I have to work out a deal with the better half on that one. I say this because steel challenge is very popular these days.

    Regardless if I make it to world shoot or not, my home club hosts the East Coast Steel Challenge Championship match in September which is a huge tier II match and also the IRC this year which is the revolver match of the year, also the NJ SCSA championship match is on the docket. So it's an addiction and a trap as it is easy to shoot several guns in a single match.

    OK enough of that.
    …………….

    That holster slowed you down a lot. Allow me to explain please don't be offended.

    I'm not a Steel Shooting honcho by any means but good enough to say that I should be classified Master in Optical Sight Revolver sometime in 2019. Those who are shooting consistent high "A" or Master scores in what they call "Main Match" which consists of center fire handguns shooting from a holster, those shooters are using in carry optics or production class a kydex offset holster for sure. Probably the most popular is the Red Hill Tactical mounted on a Ben Stoeger mount and a DAA or equivalent 2pc competition belt. IDPA holsters simply sit too close and too high to the body. You need to "scoop" the gun from the holster which is very hard to do when there is limited space between the gun and your body and the design of the holster puts the gun almost into your arm pit. Open pistol, optical and iron sight revolver all use race holsters. I personally need to get my draw a little bit faster, generally speaking right now I'm going from beep to hit on 1st target in roughly 1.4 - 1.5 seconds or thereabouts consistently in a match. I have pulled off sub 1 second draws in practice, this with a DA revolver with dot sight and a race holster.

    You will never ever ever be competitive with the rimfire and PCC guns. That is why they are outside of Main Match. For one they start in the low ready position and for the most part their guns have little recoil. Still, those that excel there practice a lot. Some of the kids like 14 year old shoot rimfire faster than I can look at the targets! That is why I shoot center fire guns! Because of the kids.

    One way to think about the draw time is this. In a sanctioned 8 stage match there will be a total of 31 strings that count for score (after the worse strings are tossed out). If you can take on average .25 seconds per string off just your draw, that improves your score by almost 8 seconds which in optical sight revolver is more than half of the time reduction needed to go from A class to Master. Take off .5 seconds per string that is 16 seconds per match! And I think that if you could improve your draw by that much then your transitions will improve by themselves even if you don't work on them.

    Here are a few training tips you might consider using. The first is finding the dot. Even the pro's miss the dot from time to time but to be respectable in this sport in carry optics you need to be draw to first target at 1.3 seconds or better 95% of the time. This means you cannot be hunting around for the dot. If you do nothing else, practice your draw. Find a place on your head, hat or muffs and always start your surrender hand position in the exact same place always. I put both hands on my muffs. Always put your holster in the exact same position on the belt, say 3:00 and with those two things, hand and holster position, do 30 or 40 draws minimum per day every day dry fire. If you do this I promise in a week you will be finding the dot most of the time, enough that you will not be thinking about it.

    At the load and make ready, before you load you gun, dry fire first your draw then the whole stage. You have 2 minutes to make ready, use that time. Once you have your eye hand coordination set, only then load and holster and assume the surrender position.

    Different shooters do things differently so in steel challenge you need to find out what works best for you. This is a mental game as much as anything so do not ever say to yourself that you "hate" Outer Limits" or "The Pendulum" or what ever. They are all hard even Smoke and Hope is difficult in the sense that the honchos shoot that one in sub 8 seconds for the stage. Find out your best way to shoot a given stage, make notes and shoot it the same way until you know the stage well enough to make an informed decision to change it. The main concept is to keep changes in direction to a minimum. For example on "Speed Option" consider shooting targets right to left 4, 3, 2, 1 stop, this requires only 1 change of direction. You will see many shooters shoot it 4,3,1,2, stop, this requires 2 changes in direction.

    On both Speed Option and Outer Limits, the long targets are 35 yards out but shoot them the same level (elevation) as the close targets you will see a lot of shooters shoot right over the top of those targets. Same with Pendulum the smaller inside targets are lower and shooters shoot right over top of them. When you are shooting a high target then low you cannot see the low target because the gun is blocking your view. So if possible start low and move to higher targets but on Pendulum this is almost impossible so you need to practice the daylights out of this stage. On Outer Limits practice moving from the side box to the center at home without the gun, you need to make this move without looking down at your feet and you need to keep the gun held up. When I go to a steel match I first go to the safe table and do about 50 draws/sight picture, then I put the gun away and if Outer Limits is in the match I practice air gun style this stage roughly 10 times, more if no one else is doing the same.

    Personally, and this is just me, but I always bag my gun when not shooting. I usually put my ammo on the table not on the belt. When I first started SCSA I had several times when I needed to reload during Outer Limits from the center box, there you might want to have some ammo with you as it's a long way back to the table for reloads LOL! When it is my turn to shoot "Showdown" I put two moon clips (or magazines) at the right table as I shoot better from the left box and do 3 strings there but in a tier II or III match you get a penalty if you don't move and the RO does not have to tell you it's time to move. Also finally (yea) don't assume that the best place to stand in the box is as close to the targets as you can get. With each stage move around before the command to make ready and get a perspective on what the targets look like based on where you are in the box. Although the box is only 3' square move around in the box you will be surprised at how the spacing between the plates change by a step one way or the other. In Outer Limits I start from the left box at the back of the box with my right foot on the actual box, then when I'm ready to move it's not sideways it almost diagonal to the center box. There you want to be getting on the first target before you settle down in the center box. Again I'm not honcho but my classifier score in Outer Limits (which is 3 best of 4 strings) is 16.15 seconds this by a 60 year old revolver shooter.

    In April 2017 I was shooting SCSA D class at 36% right now I'm A at 80% True I shoot the hardest guns in steel challenge ISR and OSR but still I have put in umpteen hours dry fire practicing my draw and transitions, using a timer with par times and mock stages.

    A lot of info I know hopefully you find something useful in this have fun!
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
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  8. egd

    egd Member

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    Wow, thanks Thomas. LOTS of good info in that post.
     
  9. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Great stuff. Thanks!!
     
  10. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    My pleasure gentlemen!
     
  11. Doublehelix
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    Doublehelix Contributing Member

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    Agreed, that was an awesome post!


    Haha!!! I guess that is stress to some, but I consider Steel Matches to be my "practice matches" for USPSA. I guess some stress, but it is a great venue for me to practice my draw to a sight acquisition under competition conditions without much of a concern over my scores.
     
  12. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    ^^Not a bad idea at all.

    In 2018 season I did nothing but SCSA and practiced SCSA; SCSA in the morning, SCSA in the evening, SCSA at supper time.

    This year though from now until the end of March, I'm doing USPSA style dry fire drills. I only will shoot a few local SCSA matches before mid April so I will do the mentioned drills until April 1st when I will then get out the steel challenge banners and get back into it.

    One of the benefits Steel Challenge offers especially for those new to competition is that you get a lot of draws and you hear the timer beep much more than USPSA. If you are lucky a USPSA match might have 6 stages so six beeps, a 6 stage steel challenge match will have 30 timer beeps. You get used to hearing the beeps thus lowering beep stress.

    Some of the kids that are really good at steel challenge rimfire are so fast they break their first shot almost before the beep ends. That beep depending on the timer is about a half second long.
     
  13. waktasz

    waktasz Member

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    There is a 10 stage, two day, local USPSA match in PA not far from where you shoot steel.


    The beep is 3 tenths :)
     
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  14. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    I shot my first Steel Challenge match for 2019 this weekend. 6 stage match, I shot ISR and OSR.

    Didn't do very well in particular in ISR. Better times in OSR and looking at the Main Match results I actually pulled off the high score with my Optical Sight Revolver. I beat out an Open gun by .10 seconds in the overall, but only won 1 stage in the Main Match. I picked up a half second in my OSR classification but still taking a loss in % as SCSA recalculated the Peak Times for most guns, OSR by 1 second which means on January 1st I lost a second but now my deficit is only a half second.

    Anyway the weather wasn't terrible. Sun shinning most of the time but the grounds is soggy and the wind kicked up at times. Still was happy to complete the match and turned up the heat to full flumus for the drive home. I need to practice some.
     
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