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Steel Challenge
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who won the first World Speed Shooting title?
A: The first Steel Challenge was won in 1981 by John Shaw from Memphis.

Q: What’s the basic format of the Challenge?
A: The simple Steel Challenge format of five big steel targets variously arranged in different stages with shooting distances from 7 to 35 yards has remained unchanged since the 1982 match.

Q: What are the eight stages shot in the Steel Challenge?
A: The eight stages of the Steel Challenge are Pendulum, Roundabout, Showdown, Five To Go, Speed Option, Smoke & Hope, Outer Limits and Accelerator.

Q: When was the eighth stage, Accelerator, introduced?

A: Accelerator was added as a new stage in 2006 and expanded the match to eight stages.

Q: When was the Pendulum stage introduced?

A: Pendulum was introduced in 2004 replacing the Flying M stage.

Q: How is the match scored?

A: Competitors are timed electronically, from their draw in reaction to the audible start signal to their last shot on each string of fire. The competitor’s fastest four times out of five attempts on each stage (three out of four on Outer Limits) are added together for an aggregate score. The lowest total score for all eight stages in each division wins.

Q: How fast do the competitors shoot?

A: The fastest times are shot by Open Division competitors, with winning times hovering around the 79 second mark. That’s a minute and 20 seconds to draw a lightened, scoped and compensated custom race gun 31 times and hit a total of 155 targets across eight different courses of fire from 7 to 35 yards. Add some extra miss-recovery shots, and the top gun racers are actually shooting more than three accurate shots per second.

Q: What is the single fastest recorded run?

A: In 2004 K.C. Eusebio ran Smoke & Hope in 1.71 seconds.

Q: Who holds the most world records?

A: K.C. Eusebio and Max Michel, both of the Army Marksmanship Unit, hold three world records. BJ Norris holds the other two. Eusebio holds world records on Pendulum, Roundabout and Smoke & Hope. Michel holds the world record on Five To Go, Speed Option and Accelerator. Norris owns the records for Showdown and Outer Limits.

Q: How many rounds are fired during the Steel Challenge?

A: At least a quarter of a million rounds will be fired during Steel Challenge Week. About 65,000 rounds will be fired by competitors in the match itself. Additionally, most shooters bring extra ammunition, typically shooting three to ten rounds on the practice range for every one they shoot for score.

Q: Is there prize money for the winners?

A: The Steel Challenge is the richest Pro-Am pistol shooting match in the world, with over $390,000 in cash and merchandise prizes awarded in 2007. The overall winner receives a check for $5,000 in addition to stage money and other prizes.

Q: How would one characterize the sport of steel shooting?

A: Think of it as gun racing against the clock, much like track and field sprints.

Q: What kind of guns are used?

A: The Steel Challenge recognizes divisions for many different types of handguns, and also hosts a shotgun event. Open Division is the fastest, like Formula One is to auto racing. Highly customized, specialized pistols with electronic sights and recoil compensators are legal in Open. Limited is analogous to NASCAR, with rules restricting modifications to production pistols. There are also divisions for modern revolvers, stock police-type pistols, .22 rimfire and even single-action Cowboy guns. If it’s a handgun, the Steel Challenge has a division for hit.

Q: What calibers are used?

A: To create a level playing field, 9mm /.38 Special is the minimum caliber permitted for all divisions except for the .22 rimfire events.

Q: How many competitors will attend the match?

A: Over 220 shooters from the United States and other countries will compete in the 2008 Steel Challenge.

Q: How popular is steel shooting nationwide?

A: Shooting sports in general are growing in popularity. As the Steel Challenge emerged as the most lucrative shooting match in the world with a purse of over $390,000 in cash and prizes, the interest in shooting steel has grown with clubs and ranges around the country adding steel targets at their facilities. Several companies specialize in steel target systems for shooting ranges providing shooters and ranges with a greater variety of products.

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