Steel Yourself

Outdoor Range with handgun resting on a blue barrel

You love to shoot and have toyed with the idea of competing. The more you think about it, the more your competitive juices start to flow. Good news. The Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA) makes finding and competing in a match easier than ever.

With clubs in all 50 states and 240 clubs in total, a simple visit to scsa.org or a quick download of the Steel Challenge App is all you need to get the ball rolling. When it comes to the competition, it’s exciting and simple. How fast can you shoot five steel plates with a rimfire or centerfire firearm. Sounds cool, right? It is!

Sweet Simplicity

Most SCSA events have a total of eight stages that will be set up the same wherever you shoot a match and only one has a bit of movement. In this stage, shooters will move a total of three feet. This simplicity makes it a great way to get a whole family out shooting.

“A mom, dad and kids can all show up and share the same rimfire rifle or rimfire pistol. The pistol comes from a low-ready in the rimfire divisions, so they don’t need a holster,” says SCSA Director of Media and Events Jake Martens. “It’s just a great way to get people started into shooting. It’s not action-oriented as far as reloads and a bunch of movement. It’s static shooting, so the fear factor isn’t as big. It’s a great place to learn the fundamentals of action shooting sports before having to run-and-gun.”

Steel Challenge Shooting Association Logo

Each of the eight stages is shot five times. You keep your best four runs, and that is your stage score. Another hat-tipper is that shooters are divided up into classes and have 13 equipment divisions to choose from. There are categories for youth, ladies and seniors, and shooters can enter in more than one equipment division per competition.

Being that stages are set up the same at every match, SCSA President Mike Foley makes an unexpected comparison.

“You’re competing against others and yourself,” Foley says. “It’s a lot like drag racing. It’s not autocross where the course changes. You track your progress each run. Our app and calculator on our Steel Challenge website allow people to track their progress. They can compare times while on the field of play. As people get more familiar with the course and with their equipment, they start setting new personal bests. It gets very addicting very quick.”

Load Up

A great intro into the exciting world of shooting sports, all you need to get started is to take a firearm you already own, purchase some extra magazines, get eye and ear protection and you’re set. There is staff on hand at each event to help answer any questions and assist you in any way possible. Oh, and ammo. You’ll need lots of it.

CCI Steel Challenge Bullets Sitting on table at outdoor range

“If you’re going to a local club match that hosts all eight stages, your minimum round count is 195,” Martens says. “If you went one-for-one on each target, that’s the total amount of rounds you’d fire. You also need to consider how many divisions you plan to shoot in. That will play into how much ammo you should have on hand. For newer shooters entering into a single division, I recommend a total of 300 rounds.”

“If you’re going to a local club match that hosts all eight stages, your minimum round count is 195,” Martens says. “If you went one-for-one on each target, that’s the total amount of rounds you’d fire. You also need to consider how many divisions you plan to shoot in. That will play into how much ammo you should have on hand. For newer shooters entering into a single division, I recommend a total of 300 rounds.”

For more information and to find a match near you, visit scsa.org.