Tired of being ignored, living the single life!
- Feb 18, 2018
Hey! Like others have said, Steel Challenge is a great way to get your feet wet in competition. It's competitive, but it's fun to compete against yourself too. You generally do 5 strings at each stage, so you can try to improve each string. Once you get to know people, there is generally good natured trash talking, excuse making, alibis, and congratulating. It is absolutely free to show up and watch. Just bring eyes and ears. The steel challenge matches at AGC are not yet affiliated, so they do some extra fun stuff too.
AGC also has 3 gun (rifle, pistol, shotgun) that can also be done as 2 gun (rifle, pistol). For rifle, AR's are the standard platform there's a lot more movement in 3 gun than steel challenge. And there's generally someone willing to lend a shotgun if you are new and are trying to figure out what to buy.
York Isaac Walton League does a lot of 3 gun as well, and I'm sure there are others around. 3 gun is equipment intensive. Steel Challenge is easier to get started. You can even shoot from the low ready position instead of drawing from a holster if you'd like.
There's usually a couple other ladies at events as well. I won't be there tomorrow for steel, but my hubby will. He will be RO'ing a squad and has a really great squad of people who would love to show off their equipment and tell you all about it. Really anyone is generally happy to show off their stuff! And being a woman, so therefore a unicorn, they are even happier to.
Definitely do NOT need to be a member to come watch. Everyone is very friendly and always ready to addict new people.
Requirements aren’t so bad! Ear protection, wrap-around eye protection. A pistol (9mm is most common, rimfire is also a thing). Don’t even need a holster/rig - you can shoot from low ready, and just bag the gun between stages. Helps to have several magazines if you got ‘em. If you participate, just tell the range officer you’re one of the noobs, and you will be very well and safely taken care of, walked through everything.
from washington county, these are prob your two closest clubs that are doing steel challenge. these are below hagerstown and above winchester and about 10 minutes apart. after you have some sc under your belt, both also do "run around and shoot falling steel" matches, which are super fun. peacemaker calls it supersteel and shadowhawk calls it outlaw steel.
flower, that's funny! look up 'texas star.' once you've shot it a couple of times it isn't that hard and is actually a lot of fun. and for an even better challenge, look up 'polish plate rack' or 'propeller plate rack.'
Have a question: you mentioned wrap around eye protection. I wear prescription glasses and was under the impression that would be fine?
You are right Occam, the membership does seems complex. Do you know if you have to be a member in order to attend and watch? I wont be able to make it tomorrow as i am working but will keep an eye on the schedule for another steel challange.
That video you posted is awesome! Looks fun but it looks like a lot of requirements. Aint scared though. I would, however, be nervous. Ha!
In a perfect, budget-doesn’t-matter world, I suppose that some dedicated prescription shooting glasses would be ideal. But in the meantime, and for practically pocket change, you can get some slide-on side protectors to protect you from lateral splatter. Below is a shot of some Mrs Occam keeps in her range bag for just such occasions. I think she got six sets of them on Amazon for just a few dollars. I keep some in my bag for needy range guests.
Also pictured here: my knuckle from just yesterday at the AGC shoot. A piece of copper jacket came frisbee-ing in to bay seven from, I’m guessing bay six. Up and over the berm with enough speed to cause a bloody nick. No big deal! But it would have been, if it had slipped in behind glasses from the side and cut up a cornea. So, it’s worth the dorky add-on!
Am i that rusty and just need more practice??
Good advice right there. I know one of my problems is i sometimes anticipate the squeeze and i end up jerking. (That didnt sound good). Ive had a few people try to instruct me over the years and i have yet to find the right combo. I know one thing i need to do is cut my nails when they get too long as they tend to get in the way. Im not sure what im doing with my handgun sighting but i tend to hit low and left. Then when i try to correct i end up overcorrecting and im like "where'd it go?"Those are definitely perishable skills, and lack of practice can have you right off the rails before you know it. That said, a solid foundation from an observant coach with whom you have a good rapport: that turns it more into the ol' riding-a-bike notion. The fundamentals won't go away, they just need buffing up.
What do you observe about yourself when you do some dry-fire time? Is your grip out to lunch? Is that front site wandering around? Are you getting too much finger meat on that trigger and pulling the pistol around when you squeeze one off?
Or ... are we talking about operational issues, not accuracy? Drilling in the basement with a safe, dry gun can really help get that muscle memory back where it belongs. But if you're getting some of the fundamentals wrong, you might just be cementing bad habits (I'm the king of that!).
An objective, experienced eye watching what you're doing when you're feeling the skills missing can steer you quickly to what you need to think about and work on. Mostly: slow down! Like, way more than you think you should. Let each step of everything happen over a long, pregnant pause, and note what you have going on. Shoot more, but don't blow through expensive ammo retreading the same bad habits you're not noticing. My wife attests that a month of daily five-minute dry fire practice made a world of difference for her.
Im not sure what im doing with my handgun sighting but i tend to hit low and left. Then when i try to correct i end up overcorrecting and im like "where'd it go?"
In other words slight tremors. So i think the tremor interfere as well.
Mr Recovering Lurker aka Occam, i am a righty. So youre saying to just us the tip of my finger? I think thats what im understanding cause currently my trigger rests on the first joint of my right pointer. I do catch myself strangling a snake (again, that didnt sound good) and the anticipation. I know i sometime catch myself waiting on the mag to empty. Like anticipating that emptiness which leads to, in essence, a dry fire. Then there is the, my god this thing is heavy, and then i start to shake a bit which believe it or not is definitely different from the tremors. I take something now on a daily basis for them but i can still tell they are there. Would you be able to inquire of your friend to see what he takes, just outta curiosity?Assuming you're a righty, that's almost always you getting too much finger on the trigger, and then giving the trigger a jerk or just mashing it too hard, which curls your grip down and to the left. It's probably the single most common error, and totally normal thing to have to fight. You'll quickly correct that if you can concentrate on getting just the tip of your finger on the trigger, and pulling it back directly towards your arm bones instead of choking it like you were strangling a snake. Again, something you can really work on without a shot fired - if you can reliably do it dry firing, you'll be able to do it hot, too.
A friend has some tremors. His doc gave him something oral he can take about half an hour before he's going to shoot, and it - for about two hours - shuts those tremors down hard. Obviously not every tremor is the same or happens for the same reason, but worth a talk with your doc to see if there's a specific, even if fleeting, strategy that can help when you head to the range.
Also: get a beefier pistol! People with an unsteady grip go out and try shooting their compact polymer-framed Glock or such and see it waving around like crazy because it's so lightweight. My tremor-having friend just bought a CZ Shadow II (one of the fancier ones, just cuz he can, so why not), and that heavy steel frame is like brick. Just simple laws of physics: more mass means more inertia, and like magic the pistol is harder to jiggle around, recovers to target more quickly, and is just plain a hoot to shoot. If you haven't shot a full-sized steel frame pistol with a long slide, you need to get someone to let you try that out - it can be a total game changer if you've got the wobbles. At least at typical steel target shooting distances.
So youre saying to just us the tip of my finger? I think thats what im understanding cause currently my trigger rests on the first joint of my right pointer.
Then there is the, my god this thing is heavy, and then i start to shake a bit which believe it or not is definitely different from the tremors.
Would you be able to inquire of your friend to see what he takes, just outta curiosity?
Ya know what i need to do? Just hit me. I used to practice at a placed called blue ridge arsenal in chantilly where i could rent handguns to get a feel for what i need.