|Affiliation||United States Practical Shooting Association|
|Founders: Mike Dalton and Mike Fichman|
The Steel Challenge is a speed shooting competition governed by the Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA) that consists of eight standardized stages with steel targets in three sizes; small circular, large circular and rectangular targets. Competitors are scored solely by the time it takes them to complete each stage, and the match winner is the competitor with the lowest overall time.
Steel Challenge has many similarities with IPSC, but has a more TV- and spectator friendly format because of simpler rules and the stages being the same from year to year. Because of this, Steel Challenge has become a place where speed records are set and broken. The annual World Championship called the World Speed Shooting Championships (WSSC) was held in Frostproof, Florida (2012 and 2013), St. George, Utah (2014), San Luis Obispo, California (2015 - 2017), Talladega, Alabama (2018) and draws shooters from around the world. Up until 2011 the World Championship used to be held in Piru, California each year.
The competition was founded in 1981 by Mike Dalton and Mike Fichman. The Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships have grown to one of the largest professional pistol competitions in America. In 2007, more than 220 competitors from the United States and around the world competed for a portion of the $390,000 in cash and prizes - the largest purse in competitive pistol shooting.
Seventy shooters competed in the first Steel Challenge in 1981. John Shaw claimed the first ‘World’s Fastest Shooter’ title along with his share of the $20,000 in cash and prizes.
In the winter of 2007, Dalton and Fichman sold the Steel Challenge to the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) which is the US sanctioning body of IPSC. Since 2007, USPSA has been organizing US National Steel Championship every year in US.
There are 8 stages with 5 steel targets on each. Shooters get five runs on each stage. Each competitor shoots each stage five times, with their slowest run dropped, excluding the stage Outer Limits where only four runs are shot and the top three counted. The counting times are totaled for their stage score, and the eight stage scores are added together to establish the competitor's match score.
For each run, one hit per target is required, with an unlimited number of rounds. The last target to be shot is known as the "stop plate", which stops the timer. All primary target hits made after the stop plate has been struck, will be scored with a 3-second penalty each. The maximum time permitted for a run is 30 seconds and a competitor will be stopped and asked to reload if they reach the 30 second limit.
The Steel Challenge comprises eight courses of fire called 'stages.' They are:
- Five To Go (diagram)
- Showdown (diagram)
- Smoke & Hope (diagram)
- Outer Limits (diagram)
- Accelerator (diagram)
- Pendulum (diagram)
- Speed Option (diagram)
- Roundabout (diagram)
All stages have competitors fire from square boxes. In the American Steel Challenge, the boxes have side lengths of 3 ft (91.44 cm), except the stage Outer Limits where the boxes' sides are 4 ft (1.22 m). The European Steel Challenge has used boxes of 1×1 meter on all stages.
Showdown has two boxes, and requires the competitor to make the first two runs from one of the boxes, and the two following runs from the other box. On the fifth and final run the competitor can choose which box to shoot from. There is no movement, so each run is to be shot from one box only. The competitor can choose whether to make the two first runs from the left or right box.
Outer Limits has the longest shots in the match, and is also the only stage with movement. Contrary to the other stages, Outer Limits only has four runs (instead of five), which with one throwaway run makes for three counting runs in the aggregate score. In the American Steel Challenge the shooting boxes on Outer Limits are larger than those on the other stages. The stage has three boxes, and the competitor starts on their weakhand side. For example, for a right handed shooter, the procedure is to start in the leftmost box from where they are to engage the leftmost 12 in (30.48 cm) plate at 20 yd (18.29 m) and the leftmost 18×24 in plate (45.7×60.9 cm) plate at 35 yards (32 m). Thereafter the shooter is to move to the center box and engage the two similar plates on their stronghand side, before engaging the stop plate.
Every stage consists of 5 steel targets, giving a total of 40 targets for a match with all eight official World Championship stages. A World Championship will therefore consist of minimum 195 rounds to complete, since all stages are shot five times except Outer Limits which is only shot four times. The targets must be made of hardened steel. It is recommended that the targets have a completely flat front surface and a pole attachment at the rear, but targets with holes for attachment are also permitted. All targets must be painted with white color before each new shooter, but the match organizer may choose to use another single color due to weather conditions (e.g. snow). Unofficial stages at club matches may be painted in another single color. It is recommended that the target stands of the stop plates are painted in a distinct color, for instance red.
|Type and numbers||European Championship
||World Championship (USA)|
|Small round plates (9 pieces)||25 cm||25,4 cm (10")|
|Large round plates (20 pieces)||30 cm||30.48 cm (12")|
|Square plates (11 pieces)||40 x 60 cm||45.72 x 60.96 cm (18 x 24")|
- 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)
- Long guns
- Rimfire Rifle Irons (RFRI)
- Rimfire Rifle Open (RFRO)
- Pistol Caliber Carbine Irons (PCCI)
- Pistol Caliber Carbine Open (PCCO)
- "Steel Master" is awarded to the competitor with the lowest aggregate time from three completed handgun divisions.
- One has to be Rimfire Pistol (Optics or Irons)
- The other two has to be Centerfire Pistol or Revolver, but only one of them can be optically sighted.
- "Rifle Master" is awarded to the competitor with the lowest aggregate time from two completed rifle divisions.
- One has to be Rimfire Rifle (Optics or Irons)
- The other has to be Pistol Caliber Carbine (Optics or Irons)
To be considered a world record, the run must come during the annual World Speed Shooting Championship.
|Match Record||74.84 s||Max Michel||2016|
|88.62 s||Jessie Harrison||2018|
|1. Five To Go||8.73 s||KC Eusebio||2.18 s||2018|
|11.94 s||Jessie Duff||2.98 s||2014|
|2. Showdown||7.59 s||BJ Norris||1.90 s||2019|
|10.27 s||Jessie Duff||2.57 s||2010|
|3. Smoke & Hope||6.81 s||Max Michel||1.70 s||2018|
|9.05 s||Kaci Cochran||2.26 s||2013|
|4. Outer Limits||10.95 s||Max Michel||3.65 s||2016|
|13.26 s||Kaci Cochran||4.42 s||2013|
|5. Accelerator||8.70 s||Max Michel||2.18 s||2013|
|11.19 s||Jessie Duff||2.80 s||2009|
|6. Pendulum||9.56 s||BJ Norris||2.39 s||2016|
|11.75 s||Jessie Duff||2.94 s||2013|
|7. Speed Option||9.09 s||Max Michel||2.27 s||2013|
|11.65 s||Jessie Duff||2.91 s||2013|
|8. Roundabout||7.17 s||Max Michel||1.79 s||2019|
|9.41 s||Jessie Duff||2.35 s||2009|
Current and past world champions
|Year||Top Men||Top Woman|
|1981||John Shaw||Melba Pruitt|
|1982||J. Michael Plaxco||Pamela Morris|
|1983||Mickey Fowler||Linda Zubiena|
|1984||Nick Pruitt||Lee Cole|
|1985||Rob Leatham||Lee Cole|
|1986||Chip McCormick||Jo Anne Hall|
|1987||Jerry Barnhart||Michelle Griggs|
|1988||Chip McCormick||Suzan Cooper|
|1989||Angelo Spagnoli||Shirley Hamilton|
|1990||Jethro Dionisio||Judy Woolley|
|1991||Jerry Barnhart||Judy Woolley|
|1992||Jethro Dionisio||Valerie Levanza|
|1993||Jethro Dionisio||Valerie Levanza|
|1994||(No championship held)|
|1997||Ross Newell||Kay Clark-Miculek|
|1998||Jerry Barnhart||Cathy Levanza|
|1999||Doug Koenig||Julie Goloski|
|2000||Doug Koenig||Kay Clark-Miculek|
|2001||Doug Koenig||Kay Clark-Miculek|
|2002||Rob Leatham||Athena Lee|
|2003||KC Eusebio||Athena Lee|
|2004||Tatsuya Sakai||Kay Clark-Miculek|
|2005||Max Michel||Kay Clark-Miculek|
|2006||JJ Racaza||Kay Clark-Miculek|
|2007||Max Michel||Jessie Duff|
|2008||KC Eusebio||Kay Clark-Miculek|
|2009||Max Michel||Jessie Duff|
|2010||KC Eusebio||Jessie Duff|
|2011||BJ Norris||Jessie Duff|
|2012||KC Eusebio||Jessie Duff|
|2013||Max Michel||Jessie Duff|
|2014||Max Michel||Jessie Duff|
|2015||Max Michel||Jessie Duff|
|2016||Max Michel||Jessie Duff|
|2017||BJ Norris||Jessie Harrison|
|2018||KC Eusebio||Jessie Harrison|
|2019||BJ Norris||Jessie Harrison|
US National Steel Champions
|2007||KC Eusebio||Todd Jarrett||Max Michel|
|2008||Max Michel||BJ Norris||KC Eusebio|
|2009||Max Michel||BJ Norris||Dave Sevigny|
|2010||KC Eusebio||Max Michel||Dave Sevigny|
|2011||Max Michel||KC Eusebio||BJ Norris|
|2012||KC Eusebio||BJ Norris||Max Michel|
|2013||KC Eusebio||Max Michel||Muneki Samejima|
|2014||Max Michel||Jerry Barnhart||Doug Koenig|
|2015||KC Eusebio||Max Michel||BJ Norris|
|2016||KC Eusebio||BJ Norris||Max Michel|
|2017||Max Michel||KC Eusebio||BJ Norris|
|2018||Max Michel||BJ Norris||KC Eusebio|
|2019||Max Michel||KC Eusebio||BJ Norris|
Since at least 2003, the Shooting Gallery show on the nationally syndicated Outdoor Channel has covered each Steel Challenge championship. It has also been covered in other press, including notable articles in American Handgunner, GunWeek, and Outdoor Life.
- "Steel Challenge Club Information - Steel Challenge Shooting Association Home Page - US Practical Shooting Association". Retrieved June 28, 2020.
- "May 2003 issue of American Handgunner magazine". Retrieved June 28, 2020.
- January 2000 issue of American Hangunner http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_144_24/ai_57886948
- About Us http://steelchallenge.com/about/
- "USPSA press release". Archived from the original on 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- Steel Challenge Stages https://uspsa.org/viewer/2019_SCSA_Rulebook.pdf
- "IPSC: European Steel Challenge 2014 in the Netherlands". all4shooters. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
- "SCSA Rule Book - February 2018 Edition" (PDF). Retrieved June 28, 2020.
- "2017 WSSC Match Book FINAL.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved June 28, 2020.
- "PDF.js viewer" (PDF). uspsa.org. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
- American Handgunner January 2000
- "American Handgunner May 2003". Retrieved June 28, 2020.
- "GunWeek July 2001". Retrieved June 28, 2020.
- "Outdoor Life 2003". Retrieved June 28, 2020.