Steel Challenge Speed Shooting

(Known in NZ as “Speed Shooting” until recent times)

Steel Challenge started in the USA in 1981 and over the next few years migrated to NZ the first NZ Nationals are recorded as being held  in 1987.

Rotorua Pistol Club was the first club to hold the Speed Nationals in NZ.


The USA Steel Challenge … Where it all started

The Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships are one of the crown jewels of the shooting circuit and the premier professional pistol competition in America.

With more than 500 of the world’s fastest shooters compete from year to year, it has found a permanent place on the shooting schedules.

Every major competitive shooter in the USA and from around the world now shoot this match regularly.


Steel Challenge in New Zealand

In recent times Pistol NZ approved the same Courses of Fire as that used in the USA Steel Challenge matches.

This was a good move, as now NZ shooters can compare themselves with times that are being shot in the USA and from around the world.

There are eight (8) matches that are the Official Courses of Fire for Steel Challenge.

The format is very simple and the same for all eight courses of fire.

There are 5 plates on each range, plates differ from 10″ to 12″ discs and 24″ x 18″ rectangle plates.

All plates are in different positions and distances, you shot the plates as five different strings, drop you highest string time.

You add the remaining 4 strings for a total score for that particular course of fire.

There is one course of fire you only shoot 4 times and drop the worse so you only total 3 strings.

Sounds easy doesn’t it?

Sorry forgot to mention, that for every plate you miss or any penalties you receive you add 3 seconds, max time allowed on a single string is 30 seconds.

Boy it’s a lot of fun.


Courses of Fire

(See course designs diagrams on this page)

  • Pendulum
  • Outer Limits
  • Speed Option
  • Smoke and Hope
  • Showdown
  • Five to Go
  • Roundabout
  • Accelerator


NZ Steel Challenge Speed Nationals

The sport is currently on a huge upswing of popularity.

Originally there was only the overall winner.

Now with the advent of Divisions, Categories and Grades, there are many scopes for individual to win a medal at a NZ National event.

In the Divisions, there are multiple titles contested every year, Junior, Senior, Super Senior & Ladies.

In Categories you have Open, Iron Sight, Pistol Carbine & 22 Pistol & 22 Rifle.

In Grades you have Master, A, B, C, D & Rookie.

There is a place for everyone, even Shot-Gunners, as often organizers run Man on Man Shotgun matches.


The Future

Speed Shooting is a formidable challenge for all shooters.

The Sport has many new shooters participating and the future looks bright, Junior shooters are a big part of the future, without them the sport will fade out.


Speed Shooting Sites of Interest

Pistol NZ Speed Section Website 

Steel Challenge Website

Handgun Speed Shooting Tips

The 8 Stages

Remember, if you’re waiting to see that you hit the plate…it’s too late, keep your sight picture and move on.

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