1989 Texas Challenge USPSA match

I started shooting USPSA competition back in June 1988, with the Hill Country Practical Pistol Club. Since the early 1980’s they had run a statewide match called the “Texas Challenge”. The 1989 match was the 8th annual, and the club ran the match every year into the mid-1990’s. Unfortunately I don’t have any pics from the match to share.

This was back in the days of single stack 1911 pistols with single port compensators, like this old gun of mine. I had a stainless steel hook welded onto the frame, because during this time, it was popular to shoot with the index finger of the support hand wrapped around the trigger guard – something local shooter (and two time World Speed Shooting Champion) Chip McCormick did.

By modern standards this state level match was pretty small, with only 5 stages, lower round counts, and longer shots. The “Moving Softly” stage was similar to the mover at Bianchi Cup.

Here’s video of John Pride shooting the mover at the Bianchi Cup in 2011. Pride was a top shooter back in the late 1980’s when I got started, and his book “The Pride Method” was one of the earliest books on mental training for pistol shooting.

The “Full House” stage was a shoot house stage. Note that some targets were to be engaged with one round, others with two rounds.

“Eagle Eyes” was the signature stage of the match. Back in the early days of USPSA (and practical shooting generally), every major match had at least one stage that tested 50 yard shooting. Most of those stages were timed fire standards. This course was a stretched-out stand and shoot with some falling steel. The 60 second time limit had to be added to address the problem of some shooters running out of ammo on the firing line after many attempts to hit the 40 yard stop plate. By the end of the 1990’s, major matches rarely included stages with shots past 25 yards.

This was the stage I designed for the match. I had taken the USPSA range officer class in fall 1988, and had been designing and running stages at club matches. Instead of using full targets that had been painted with hard cover, we used actual “partial targets” that had been cut. (If I recall correctly the rulebook was changed in the 1990s to prohibit this, requiring painted hard cover instead.) This was a harder stage than I intended it to be (youth and inexperience) with a lot of 15-25 yard shots.

Alan Tillman was one of the club’s top shooters (and gunsmith for most of the local competitors). His stage was a move and shoot steel stage using a mix of stationary and falling steel. Counting some smaller plates as 10 points (instead of the normal 5) was another common practice from that era that faded away (or was

Here’s video from 1989 USPSA Nationals, to give you more perspective on guns, gear and stages from that era. (I still have one of those yellow RO shirts.)

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