Shooting USA – The US Steel Nationals
It’s drag racing with guns! Draw and shoot five steel targets for time. And it gets very fast when the top Pro Shooters step into the shooting box. But Steel Shooting has also expanded to include rimfire pistols and rifles and that’s made the sport a family-friendly experience. John and Tony have the highlights, with shot-string timing, to the championship. Plus, the first double action Colt, now one of History’s Guns. And, Max Michel organizes a party in Las Vegas to teach shooting competition.
Smith & Wesson Steel National Championships
The 2016 US Steel Championships in Daytona, Florida boast the quickest shooters in the country. It is the fastest variation of the practical pistol sports where each competitor draws and shoots five steel targets as fast as possible. In the top tier of shooters, scores comes down to hundredths of a second. It is lightning-quick bang and clang action that now welcomes rimfire rifles and pistols, making the sport more accessible to adaptive shooters and youngsters.
In the rimfire divisions, shooters start in the low-ready position, versus drawing from the hip, making the competition safe for new shooters. All competitors shoot the same eight courses of fire the match is known for including Roundabout, Speed Option and Smoke & Hope. Each stage has four steel targets and a stop plate, which must always be hit last. Targets are re-painted in between shooters to give each competitor a clean look at the targets.
Competition is divided by gun classification - Open, Limited, Production, and Revolver - with women and juniors shooting for their own championship titles.
History’s Guns - Colt Model of 1878
Five years after the Peacemaker was introduced in 1873, Colt followed the double action trend that caught fire in Europe. Though similar to the Single Action Army, it got a new name, the Frontier, but it was not nearly as successful on the frontier due to the success of the Peacemaker. In fact, the Model of 1878 was more popular overseas, especially among Her Majesty’s military officers.
“Amazingly enough, even though the Brits had much better double actions than those produced by Colt at the time, these had a little bit of a vogue in England and they were purchased in some quantities,” says Firearms Historian Garry James.
Colt Combat Unit Rail Gun
The Colt Combat Unit Rail Gun is Colt’s new fighting semi-auto with an under-barrel rail mount. Colt incorporated features to the 1911 based on input from Colt Combat Unit members Ken Hackathorn and Daryl Holland. The Rail Gun has forward cocking serrations, a Novak night sight, a five-inch National Match Barrel, and a duel spring recoil system to help manage recoil.It is available in 9mm or .45 ACP with a suggested retail of $1,499.
Colt’s new enhanced Defender in stainless steel is designed to stand up to everyday carry. It’s chambered in either 9mm or .45 ACP in its three-inch barrel. It also has a drilled aluminum trigger, upswept beaver tail grip safety, and low mount Novak three-dot carry sights over the enhanced hammer. The Defender is a series 80 action, so the firing pin block adds a degree of safety, but you won’t feel it as the trigger lifts the block before dropping the hammer. The new Defender is thoroughly upgraded to be a two-pound, full-power carry piece for $899.
Max Michel’s Pro Shooter Experience
There are few shooters in the industry who actually shoot for a living. Through the years, we’ve watched one of them climb the ranks from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Action Shooting Team to Speed Shooting World Champion. Now, Max Michel is shooting for a living, but teaching is his passion, which is why Max created a weekend-long training event with two other world champions in Las Vegas, called the Max Michel Pro Shooter Experience.
“So, the whole premise was to get three world champion shooters together that are not just world champion shooters but the kind of folks that you want to associate with, great ambassadors of the game, and really give back, and provide an opportunity for folks that don’t get to shoot for a living, that are not world champions, and an opportunity to act as if they are for the weekend,” says Max.
For three days, 18 shooters from across the world train with Max, JJ Racaza and Team Remington’s Travis Tomasie. There are one-on-one training sessions, shooting competitions, plus lots of fun. And they are organizing for another event in 2017.
2017 Pro Shooter Experience
Pro Tip: Julie – Basic Gun Safety
Gun safety must be a priority, whether you’re about to buy your first gun, or if you’ve collected a safe full of them over the years. Smith & Wesson Team Captain Julie Golob has some tips on safe gun handling that should never become casual.
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NRA Membership Offer: Jim Pays $10 when you join the NRA through the Shooting USA website.