In an effort to start off 2020 right, I participated in the unsanctioned Steel Challenge match at the AGC range near Baltimore. I have never shot Steel Challenge before, so this was going to be an interesting experience. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t going to count towards classification, but in a way, maybe that was for the best.
I registered for two classes: “open pistol” and “PCC”. The open pistol was my Glock 17 with Brownells slide and Fastfire 3 8MOA red dot. The PCC was my AR-9. Unfortunately, the AR-9 went down almost immediately – a bullet got left in the gun when I extracted at the end of the stage, and no one had a cleaning rod for me to knock it out. DOH! I borrowed a Scorpion Evo 3 from a squad mate and ran the rest of the match with that. With the exception of losing my reload by accident during a “rogue” stage (because pocket carry is not secure!) and taking a miss on the last target, it went fine.
The match was composed of five stages. Three of them were normal Steel Challenge stages. Two of them were “rogue” courses of fire that were 24rds and involved some lateral movement.
Here are some videos:
This was the second stage. It’s my first time shooting the Scorpion. I think it’s a competent gun, but the right hand safety selector literally drew blood from me. The HS510C-GR on top was legit, and worked great. I don’t have a lot of commentary other than “I probably could have been faster”.
Stage three was fun. Pistol went well, and it was legitimately the first time I’ve run and gun with one where it felt like I was “on fire”. The PCC went OK, but I got a little overeager with it.
I was slower on my transitions than I should have been on stage 4, but I was otherwise doing OK on it. I don’t have video of the PCC portion, but it went OK.
This is probably my best performance of the entire match. Someone got 23 seconds on it right before me with a production pistol, and I basically said “great, now watch this”. PCC wasn’t spectacular, and I took a miss on the last target because of the aforementioned escaped magazine, which basically cost me a top half finish in PCC division. Ah well.
Overall, it was a very good match for me. I came in 2/18 in Open, 10/13 in PCC, and 16/64 overall. Shockingly, I came in 18/64 in my PCC persona, which is stunning given how badly that went for me. I am finally getting some speed going, and there was some real confidence building when I went fast and got success from it. I can see why Steel Challenge is so addictive – the shooting is fast, the scoring is simple, and that ping of steel is just the best.
I do need to spend a bit getting my PCC back into fighting shape. I had a few issues with it at the match:
- The extraction failure. I did some reading online, and it looks like the old PSA barrels had very tight throats, which is not what you want if you’re running reloads. I am deciding whether I want to pay a gunsmith to open the throat my PSA barrel, or if I want to just buy a new JP or TACCOM barrel. I have never been terribly impressed with the accuracy of my PSA barrel, which makes me lean in the direction of a new barrel.
- My Eotech was very dim. Unfortunately, this is the result of a nitrogen purge failure, and it means I will need a new optic. I’ve purchased a new HE510C-GR to replace it.
- Didn’t bring my 33rd mags. I didn’t fully understand that the match was going to have higher round count stages, and thus didn’t think they were required… should have done more research beforehand.