This past weekend, both Pat Kelley and I shot the Washington State Steel Challenge match. For those that have never shot it before, Steel Challenge in its traditional format consists of the same 8 stages at every “official” match. The best way to practice for Steel Challenge is to do just that – set up the stages and shoot them over and over and again until you develop a serious index and are able to shoot every stage as fast as possible. At the top of the game, guys like Dave Sevigny and JJ Racaza are shooting the match in less than 100 seconds aggregate time with iron sighted guns. It is the purest display of speed in the shooting sports – either you hit the steel faster than the other guy or you don’t, no ambiguity whatsoever. With that in mind I headed to “lovely” Ephrata, Washington to shoot the State Championship. This was a last minute decision on my part, as I wanted to get some trigger time in for giggle, and I had done absolutely zero preperation for the match. I hauled my steel gun, a ParaUS LTC 9mm that was worked over by Todd Jarrett out of mothballs the night before to verify that it runs on my 115 grain BVAC 9mm. My pair of Sig P250s were having their sights adjusted, but we’ll be getting Siggy with it again this week, don’t worry Sig fans!
What I wasn’t prepared for at the match was the weather.
Unlike my home area of Western Washington where it rains 400 days out of the year, Eastern Washington is generally warmer and sunnier than my home turf.
So when I showed up and it was pouring rain and 40 degrees, I was really glad I had thrown my new Woolrich Elite Series Concealed Carry Jacket in the car “just in case”.
Without that jacket I definitely would have just packed it in and went home.
With the jacket wrapped around me when I wasn’t shooting, I kept plenty warm during the match.
In addition to the jacket, I was wearing Woolrich Elite Series Tactical Pants; while they’re not marketed as waterproof, they are teflon coated which meant they kept my legs nice and dry, despite the cold morning rain.
As the day went on, the weather dried up and my times improved. My gear performed flawlessly, with the BVAC 9mm running my Para without problems. For a match that started in the pouring rain, the day ended nicely enough for me. I posted a stage win on 5 to Go with a personal best of 16.21 aggregate time, and finished 5th in Limited Division. For zero practice time for the match, I’ll take that.
I actually had a great time at the match, despite the weather. Fellow Team CTD member Pat Kelley puts on a great match, with quite possibly the best lunch I’ve ever had at a major match. Major kudos to him for putting on a great match, and also for taking home the win in Limited Division.
I also got to play with some cool new products from Lone Wolf, which you’re going to be seeing for sale here on CTD and that might just show up in my hands at some upcoming matches in the future. Next week I’m on the road in Missouri for 10 days for Missouri Pro-Am Challenge and then the grandaddy of all action shooting matches: The 32nd Annual NRA Bianchi Cup. And you’ll get all the updates here on the Shooter’s Log!