Last weekend, I shot my first Steel Challenge. It was a lot of fun. It’s different than shooting IDPA or USPSA and I enjoyed it.
The scoring was really simple, I really like that. The scoring for USPSA can be really confusing, and IDPA is only a little better. I know, you can figure it out, but it takes some work.
The Steel Challenge was simply raw time on some stages. Just shoot all the plates. It doesn’t matter how long it takes and your score is your time. That would be stages without a stop plate. Other stages have a stop plate, and that’s simply the one you shoot last to stop your time. Again, it’s raw time, you just add 3 seconds for any plate that you didn’t hit.
So there isn’t a lot of strategy, just shoot all of the plates as fast as you can and then the stop plate. It’s really more fun than it sounds and more challenging than it sounds. All the stages I shot had plates seven yards and out with the longest shot being about 35 yards. I’d say the average was about 10 to 12 yards.
The distances make point shooting almost impossible so you have to find your sights on every shot. And that is the problem for me. I’m used to shooting other action games where I can find a couple sight pictures per stage. Most of the IDPA matches I shoot I use a flash sight picture or point shooting.
I use point shooting by bringing the firearm up to eye level while still looking at the target. I never see the sights and just press the trigger when the gun is covering the target. This technique is sometimes called “metal on meat” or, in other words, when there is target on each side of the gun you should make a hit.
A flash sight picture for me is still focusing on the target but seeing my sights are aligned in my peripheral vision. I never focus on the sights and this allows me to move faster from target to target.
In the Steel Challenge, I couldn’t do that. An eight-inch plate is really small looking at 15 yards and I had to focus on my front sight to make most of the hits. When I got sloppy, I missed.
The other thing this competition pointed out to me (actually one of the other competitors) was that most of my shots where hitting low and left. I’m a right hand shooter using an isosceles stance so all you smart people probably know what that means? It means that I’m anticipating the recoil. I’m trying to push those follow up shots so I’m pushing the gun down before the bullet exits the barrel. That’s bad, really bad. So I’ll be doing a lot of dry practice to get rid of that bad habit again.
All in all, I had a great time shooting a steel challenge. If you haven’t shot one, go find one in your area. If you are in the San Antonio area check out Texas Steel Challenge. It was a lot of fun!