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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why You Should Try Steel Challenge

Ever since I was a little boy I have thoroughly enjoy shooting. I can still remember taking my pellet guy out and practicing shooing targets that I set up. I would shoot and shoot and see what I could hit. As I grew up, my father bought me my first shotgun, which I used to go trap shooting. I was by no means a great shot but still, it was a great experience going to the range and watching the clay pigeon explode after the report of my Remington 20 gauge shotgun. 

As I grew up, my proficiency with firearms increased as well. The primary reason for my increase in skill was due to Uncle Sam. After September 11th, I chose to join the Marine Corps to do my part and as you may know, the Marines teach marksmanship to every recruit. Soon I knew how to engage targets with an M-16 at ranges from 200-500 yards. My MOS (job in the Marine Corps) was as a combat photographer, which dictated that I also qualify with a pistol. 

Even though the marksmanship instructors in the Corps take every action to ensure you can competently shoot the pistol, I was a complete mess. Having never shot a pistol before, I tried my best to follow the instructions but trying to start with the weaver stance and then switch to the isosceles, really threw me off. I qualified, but just barely. 

Despite that I could barely shoot the pistol effectively, I purchased a Springfield Armory XDM .40 a while ago. I really enjoyed shooting and spent a fair amount of time in the woods and wanted something that I could shoot for fun and use for defense if I encountered a cougar who had bad intentions for me. As I shot more and more, I improved my accuracy a fair amount but am still not the best shot.

Lately, as I have found the need to pursue a hobby, I decided that I would like to participate in some shooting matches. This last Saturday, I drove up to Moxee, Washington to shoot in the local club's Steel Challenge. I can only tell you one thing: If you like to shoot, you must go try this. I guarantee you will not regret it. 

There were approximately 45 shooters at the shoot, which takes place the first Saturday of each month at Sun Valley Shooting Park. I was probably the worst shooter there and yet it was a blast. 

Steel challenge is pretty simple. At each stage, you have five steel targets that you shoot at and have 30 seconds to do so. It doesn't matter how many shots you take, once you hit all five targets, your time stops (your last target is the stop target, which is designated as such so you have to hit it last). You shoot each stage five times, except a moving one, which you shoot four times instead.

The main reason everyone is there is because they love to shoot and it was why I was there. I got to meet new people and throw lead at steel. I was one of the slowest, if not the slowest competitor there but still it was great. I met some really nice people and had a lot of fun. Some of the shooters were even nice enough to give me some pointers on how to improve my shooting. Upon implementation of their pointers, my times became a lot faster and my accuracy improved dramatically. For the cost of some ammunition, I got lessons from some of the best shooters around while having a hell of a good time. I plan on going again, and maybe, I will even not be the worst shooter there. You really need to go to one of these, you won't regret it.

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