KR Training was a sponsor of the 2021 Area 4 Steel Challenge Championship, held July 23-25 at the CCC Shooting Complex south of College Station, Texas. Karl Rehn and Roy Stedman represented KR Training, competing in multiple divisions in the match. Karl finished 2nd in the Single Stack division (1911 9mm) and was Top Senior out of all centerfire pistol shooters. Roy was 2nd in both Open and Limited divisions, third overall out of all centerfire pistol divisions.
What is Steel Challenge competition? Here’s the official USPSA promo video. Even if you are an experienced competitor, it’s worth watching for the cool camera angles and great runs.
On Friday, Karl taught a junior shooter clinic.
Steel Challenge has 13 different divisions. For centerfire pistol (9mm) you can shoot in the standard USPSA divisions of Open, Limited (LTD), Single Stack (SS), Production, and Carry Optics (CO). Centerfire pistol caliber carbines have both iron sight and optic divisions (PCCI, PCCO). Rimfire pistols have iron and optic divisions (RFPI, RFPO). Revolvers have iron and optic divisions (ISR, OSR). Rimfire rifles have iron and optic divisions (RFRI, RFRO).
Open, PCCO, RFPO, RFRI, RFRO Grant “Super Human” Kunkel
– Grant is the current World Champion in Steel Challenge, and won five of the 13 divisions in the Area 4 match. Learn more about Grant in this Shooting Sports USA article.
CO – Cameron Templin
SS – Anthony Veith
PCCI – Bridget Cunningham
RFPI – Trinity Lambiase
Production – Jason Tielke
LTD – Jason Tielke
ISR – Mike Dines
OSR – Mike Dines
Title Sponsor: CCI Ammunition
Youth Aggregate Team Award – Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation
RO Prize Table and CO-Match Director – Axl Adv / Matt Hawes
Youth Clinic Instructors – Travis Gibson and KR Training / Karl Rehn
Showdown – SureFire, LLC
Outer Limits – Hunters HD Gold
Pendulum – JP Enterprises
Accelerator – Ben Stoeger Pro Shop
Smoke and Hope – MGM Targets
Speed Option – Hodgdon Powder
Roundabout – Tandemkross
5 to Go – CZ-USA
Carry Optics – Vortex Optics
RFPO – Vortex Optics
ISR – Ruger OSR – Ruger RFPI – Ruger RFRI – Ruger PCCI – JP Enterprises
PCCO – JP Enterprises Open – The Blue Bullets
RFRO – Volquartsen Custom Production – Hoppe’s
Limited – Hoppes
Single Stack – EGW Inc.
Match Sponsors: Steel Target Paint, Starline Brass, Steelshootbanners.com
Full match results can be viewed on Practiscore here
The Steel Challenge format was created in 1981 by Mike Fichman and Mike Dalton. The match was intended to push shooters’ speed with centerfire pistols to the limits of human performance, in a format that could attract more mainstream sponsors and TV coverage, since it used round and square steel targets instead of humanoid paper targets. The clanging of the steel had more spectator appeal, and the big match ended with a top 32 shootoff on falling steel. The match had one of the biggest prize tables and cash payouts of any pistol event.
I got started shooting pistols in competition in 1988 – the same year local top shooter Chip McCormick won the Steel Challenge World Championships for the second time. (Chip was the first to win the match more than once.) Chip had a full set of regulation targets at the range where our USPSA club ran its matches, and by 1991 I was running local steel matches and training with Chip for the 1991 World Championship match. During the 1990’s the popularity of the Steel Challenge format grew, with many local Texas clubs running steel matches.
In 2004, the last (for awhile) Area 4 Steel Challenge championship was held. Team KR Training (Roy, Karl, Penny and a few others) were there. Roy won the match. Karl finished top Open, and Penny was top B class.
In 2004, a bunch of shooters from Texas made the trip to Piru to shoot the World Championship match. Some pics and video from that trip are still online in the KR Training Archive.
The Brazosland Pistoleros is one of the oldest USPSA clubs in Texas, going back to the late 1970s and the earliest days of IPSC as an organized pistol sport. The club has grown considerably in the past decade, expanding from one USPSA match per month to running Steel Challenge and .22 matches, and hosting special events like the regional Scholastic Action Shooting Program matches. The Texas A&M Corps of Cadets supported the creation of an action pistol team (Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Marksmanship Unit) that has won multiple SASP national titles and continues to be one of the nation’s top collegiate teams.
There hadn’t been an Area 4 Steel Challenge Championship since 2004. Since then, Steel Challenge was purchased by USPSA and the sport expanded to include more than centerfire pistols. As a result, the 2021 match looked a lot different than the 2004 match, with only 67 centerfire pistol entries out of a total of 286 total guns in the match. Over 160 of the entries shot rimfire guns (pistols and rifles).
The rimfire guns and PCC’s can be shot faster. The first centerfire gun (an Open pistol shot by the current World Champion) shows up in 67th place, behind 66 rimfire and pistol caliber carbines. Grant shot a total time of 53.83 with a rimfire rifle with optic, but shot a time of 89.81 with an open-class centerfire pistol.
After that, the next centerfire pistol shows up at 103rd place (single stack winner Anthony Veith at 98.79) and then Roy Stedman at 117th overall with another open gun with 103.01.
The game has changed a lot in 17 years. More juniors, more different guns, much faster shooting times. Change is good. With simple scoring (time only) and many divisions and categories (pre-teen and junior, senior, super senior, military and law), it’s a match format that’s accessible to a very wide range of shooters that’s fast and fun.
KR Training will be back supporting the 2022 Area 4 Steel Challenge, already scheduled for the first weekend of April. If you’ve never shot a steel match, there are matches every month all over the Central Texas corridor (for my local readers) and all over the US.