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Discussion With Mike Valentine about Steel Challenge

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Mike, What are your plans/changes for steel challenge if elected? This has interest to me as I'm currently a primary SC shooter.

 

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From Mike:

 

I have participated in a handful of steel challenge matches but am by no means an expert at it.  I have had a few conversations with people like yourself that are primarily involved in steel challenge and the general consensus is that more thought needs to be given to when the championship match is and more stages need to be created.  I personally would like to see the number of clubs running matches increase and I believe that HQ can be more involved in starting those clubs and helping match directors start matches.  What are your thoughts/concerns?

 

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Me: 

 

Well I'm in the same boat as you and really didn't get into SC until last year. I started in uspsa for 3yrs and now I find I am enjoying the difficulty and speed, shooting steel challenge provides. It's simple, but can be very challenging and you can compare identical scores with any of the shooters in the sport.

 

I haven't attended a lvl 2 or 3 SC match yet, but plan to next year with the hopes of preparation to win a division. So no thoughts on the changes there as I have no experience. New stages definitely sound exciting! I would definitely be against any stages that involve movement. That is one of the main draws for steel challenge for senior shooters, disabled shooters, new shooters and people like me who just want to drag race with a gun and leave the run and gun for uspsa. In fact I would like to see the movement eliminated from the outer limits stage. It could be setup like showdown or it could possibly be shot all from one box.

 

I also advocate for the review of the PST for many divisions and removal of some to increase the skill pool in other divisions. The PST for some divisions are set too low. Take CO for example. It's nearly the same peak time as production. Polling the steel challenge member base would be a great idea in regard to changes. One I would advocate is the removal of SS. Those shooters can compete just as well in limited and have a larger playing field. I shoot a SS gun but register in limited at all my matches.

 

*Clarification*  And to clarify about the PST. The 100% times are too easy to attain and are being surpassed by many shooters.

 

It would be great to see new matches. The ATL area thankfully is great for competition shooting, but still I know of one club who runs a steel challenge match, but doesn't want to bother with affiliation... or electronic scoring. I'd like to see some push on both of those. It's 2019. I'm not sure if mandating e scoring as the primary scoring method would be possible for uspsa/SC but it wouldn't bother me one bit. In regard to uspsa I have one major complaint. Eliminate popper calibration. Score it like steel challenge. If there is a visible hit it's a scored hit. 

 

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From Mike:

 

Thank you for your insight. What you said makes a lot of sense. And best of luck in your try at the higher level matches. I am a huge advocate for shooting lvl 2 and above matches simply because they draw a deeper talent pool and give you a better reference of exact how you are doing and what to strive for. Please feel free to let me know if you think of anything else.

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END DISCUSSION

 

Not overly insightful. I'd like to hear him make some more concrete statements about steel challenge, but he appears to have an open mind.

 

My comments about the PST and divisions are worded funny. In short. Make PST times faster and thin down some of the divisions. 

 


 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I shoot SS and wouldn't have a problem being lumped into another division.  I don't have any use for a race holster, but at 73 y/o I'm competing against myself.  I do wonder  in Steel Challenge why a 1911 couldn't just be dropped into production.  Are 1911 triggers, as good as they are, really that much better in the hands of a skilled shooter than the tricked-out triggers available for plastic guns?  I don't have any competition experience with striker guns and my defensive pistols are hammer-fired HKs so I leave it to others to opine.  Would 1911s start to dominate production?  Same argument might be applied to CO

 

The good of adding stages is the flexibility provided to clubs that have range limitations.  I'm inclined to believe that clubs would settle on stages that fit their facility and were enjoyed by the shooters, but a match where shooters weren't informed of the stages in advance would be interesting, if no doubt unfair as the local club would almost certainly know which stages were to be shot.  

Edited by RickT
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On 6/28/2019 at 3:31 PM, RickT said:

I shoot SS and wouldn't have a problem being lumped into another division.  I don't have any use for a race holster, but at 73 y/o I'm competing against myself.  I do wonder  in Steel Challenge why a 1911 couldn't just be dropped into production.  Are 1911 triggers, as good as they are, really that much better in the hands of a skilled shooter than the tricked-out triggers available for plastic guns?  I don't have any competition experience with striker guns and my defensive pistols are hammer-fired HKs so I leave it to others to opine.  Would 1911s start to dominate production?  Same argument might be applied to CO

 

The good of adding stages is the flexibility provided to clubs that have range limitations.  I'm inclined to believe that clubs would settle on stages that fit their facility and were enjoyed by the shooters, but a match where shooters weren't informed of the stages in advance would be interesting, if no doubt unfair as the local club would almost certainly know which stages were to be shot.  

1911s in production makes zero sense to me because of the DA/SA trigger difference. One might even argue that an iron sight centerfire and optic centerfire division is enough for steel challenge. In addition to the rimfire and PCC divisons of course.

 

However, what do most people shoot in limited? 2011s, or other metal framed guns with single action triggers, a few glocks here and there. And does a race holster make enough of a difference to have an entirely different division? No. For USPSA a SS division makes sense due to mag capacity/reloads/stage planning, but for steel challenge no.

 

 

I think adding a few stages would be nice. I don't think there would be much if any competitive change as the stage diagrams would be available. It's only 5 plates you know. I personally enjoy the continuity of steel challenge stages and trying to increase times. It wouldn't take many stages to freshen things up. maybe 2 or 4 stages. Then clubs could host an 8- 12 stage major match if they desired. 

 

 

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On 6/30/2019 at 2:53 AM, Ming the Merciless said:

Why do people that admit little to no experience with something want to make changes?

Asking me or Mike?

 

I've been shooting for USPSA/SC all together for 5 years with a 1yr hiatus where I attended about 2-3 matches the entire year due to other life situations. This past year and the year before I have focused only on steel. I wouldn't call that no or little experience. I've seen good and bad changes in the sport overall. Does increasing the difficulty i.e. CHALLENGE of steel challenge strike you as a poor idea? A deeper pool of competitors at all level of matches and a few fresh stages sounds like a promising aspect to me. But again that's just my opinion... which is why I recommended Mike to poll the membership.

 

If you are asking why Mike would want to make changes I'd wager that he doesn't want to give a non answer for the sake of his campaign platform.  

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On ‎6‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 2:53 AM, Ming the Merciless said:

Why do people that admit little to no experience with something want to make changes?

 

Kinda like being a politician? Mike Foley has grown Steel Challenge significantly... and, at my age I am primarily  SC shooter. ...I have limited experience but could see some changes... doesn't get my vote. Mike Foley already has.

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1 hour ago, ezra650 said:

1911s in production makes zero sense to me because of the DA/SA trigger difference. ..... 

 

 

Look, I might buy a well-done 2 lb. 1911 trigger being better than a 2lb. Glock trigger, but notwithstanding the ATF classification of the Glock as DAO, there appear to be members of the community that consider that a stretch versus true DA/SA handguns.  If 1911s stock save for trigger work and sights would have a competitive advantage of production race guns then I'd agree that they (1911s) don't belong in production.

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56 minutes ago, GOF said:

 

Kinda like being a politician? Mike Foley has grown Steel Challenge significantly... and, at my age I am primarily  SC shooter. ...I have limited experience but could see some changes... doesn't get my vote. Mike Foley already has.

Slight point of order... Zack has grown Steel Challenge.  I think Mike has mostly stayed out of the way and let him do it... :)

 

Now if they could update the web site...

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I shot the Area 5 SC in Indiana this past weekend.  I arrived for registration to find they had added a few shooters to our squad, one being Mike Foley.  I had the opportunity to shoot all 8 stages of SC with Mike on Saturday morning.  I stated in my thread about the Area 5 shoot that I was really impressed with Mike both as a shooter and as President of USPSA.  He did not dodge any questions or criticism that came from anyone he encountered.  He seems to have a sincere dedication to both USPSA and SC.  He informed us that the new SC App is going to be a game changer and is due for release very soon.  From what I could tell it seemed as though he had a prototype he was using during our match.  He also stated the SC website will be revamped as well.  My vote for President was cast yesterday and I think you can tell from my experience on Saturday which way I went.  No disrespect to those who support the other candidate, that's why they are called elections, everyone has a right to vote how they want.  

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I'll only weigh in on the division stuff. I've been shooting steel challenge locally for 6-7 years now. I've used a production gun (cz 75b), limited gun (atlas titan, sti edge), and a variety of 1911's in 9mm in 45. There appears to be no measurable difference in my times. Perhaps at the elite level that is not true, but at least for me, I think all iron sight centerfire divisions are the same, and I always sign up for limited regardless.

 

I'm not entirely sure the trigger is as big a deal as people think, as long as it doesn't totally suck. It takes a controlled trigger press even with a great trigger to hit the more difficult shots. Mrs moto just made GM with a cz scorpion that is entirely stock except for a $10 spring kit.

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On 6/30/2019 at 2:53 AM, Ming the Merciless said:

Why do people that admit little to no experience with something want to make changes?

You can tell his answers aren't that of a politician. But he could at least make those answers sound a little better. 

 

I'm not sure how he is expecting to get SC shooters to vote for him when he says hes never shot a Lvl 2 or 3 but wants to. 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/1/2019 at 12:42 PM, ezra650 said:

... One might even argue that an iron sight centerfire and optic centerfire division is enough for steel challenge. In addition to the rimfire and PCC divisons of course.

 

However, what do most people shoot in limited? 2011s, or other metal framed guns with single action triggers, a few glocks here and there. And does a race holster make enough of a difference to have an entirely different division? No. For USPSA a SS division makes sense due to mag capacity/reloads/stage planning, but for steel challenge no.

 

11 hours ago, motosapiens said:

... at least for me, I think all iron sight centerfire divisions are the same, and I always sign up for limited regardless.

 

I'm not entirely sure the trigger is as big a deal as people think, as long as it doesn't totally suck...

 

First, I have to admit I don't shoot Steel Challenge. I plan to pick it up next year as a less sophisticated gun-handling sport to do with my SO.

One of the attributes of SC that makes it less attractive to me coming from USPSA matches is the number of different divisions. With no PF requirement, I'd much prefer a division breakdown of based on irons/optics, center/rim fire cartridges, hanguns/rifles. That's nine divisions compared to the current 13? Maybe revolver guys need their own with DA every shot, I'm not sure. Anyways, it's a low-value perspective, but I think I'd like the consolidation of divisions.
 

eta: @lstange has been producing some very interesting graphs comparing major/minor and divisions based on USPSA data. I wonder if he could provide some insight into how different SC divisions actually are based on high-level match results.

Edited by belus

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LOL!   After you have some real experience shooting Steel Challenge (a couple of matches is NOT real experience) you may find your uninformed opinions were incorrect.....or not.  Why consolidate divisions?  Dilution of Prize Tables?  If you compete based on Prize Tables you're in the wrong sport.  

 

At the higher levels there may not be a large difference in overall times between divisions such as Limited and Production, but there is a considerable difference in the mechanics of shooting (grip, trigger manipulation, transitions). 

 

Nolan

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First, nobody get too excited or bent out of shape here, just asking a question. What is the benefit of consolidating divisions? What is gained? Just trying to understand a potential upside. During a lvl2 I enjoy being able to shoot 6 different divisions over 3 days. If you go to a centerfire optics division, as a whole would carry optics be at a disadvantage to open? Some guys wouldn't I know, but honestly, would it be a completely level playing field? 

 

As far as adding / changing stages, IMHO a lot of what makes SC what it is is the consistency & nostalgia. In USPSA we are tasked with solving a problem in the most efficient manner. Different stage every time. In SC there are no surprises. If the next stage is Roundabout you know what it's going to look like. SC comes down primarily to execution without the stage planning aspect. And if you add stages to lvl 2 & 3's there goes an AM/PM format. 

 

Just my humble $0.02. Please feel free to correct me and everyone enjoy their 4th of July. Happy holiday everyone. 

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On ‎7‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 3:31 PM, KelsonAK said:

Slight point of order... Zack has grown Steel Challenge.  I think Mike has mostly stayed out of the way and let him do it... :)

 

Now if they could update the web site...

That Mike has stayed out of the way and let Zack grow Steel Challenge shows me that Mike is a very good CEO. Delegate responsibility to those who do it well. The SC growth has shown that Zack has done it well. That's one reason I voted for Mike.

GOF A55647

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I hope whoever is nominated understands SC attracts a much wider audience than USPSA and is a wonderful way introducing the shooting sports to families, juniors, women, & elderly individuals.... It isn't associated with defensive firearm use and more of a sport like skeet or trap. I started shooting IPSC in 1980 and I'm grateful SC has let me continue.... I think it may ultimately gain an even larger membership.

 

edyan

A646

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On 7/3/2019 at 5:41 PM, Nolan said:

LOL!   After you have some real experience shooting Steel Challenge (a couple of matches is NOT real experience) you may find your uninformed opinions were incorrect.....or not.  Why consolidate divisions?  Dilution of Prize Tables?  If you compete based on Prize Tables you're in the wrong sport.  

 

At the higher levels there may not be a large difference in overall times between divisions such as Limited and Production, but there is a considerable difference in the mechanics of shooting (grip, trigger manipulation, transitions). 

 

Nolan

I have shot many more than a couple of matches. Are you confusing my opinion with Valentine's? 

 

Division Consolidation: Nobody wants to show up to major match or local match for that matter and only have a handful of people to shoot against, because everyone has their own little pet division they want to shoot and beat the other 5 people in. More competitors in a division increases the competitiveness of the sport and pushes shooters to increase their skill. 

 

I never said anything about prize tables and could give 2 flips about them. Yeah they are cool, but my main concern is my match fee being used to facilitate a well executed match that I can enjoy and participate in.

 

I never mentioned merging limited and production. Some anecdotal evidence I have observed is many production USPSA shooters will register in limited. I saw a handful here shoot 1 or 2 matches in production. Next match shooting the same rigs, they registered in limited... hmmm wonder why. 

 

Your assertion about limited and production being "considerably" different is interesting. Could you provide some clarification on how transitions and grip are different between limited and production eligible guns? I can see valid points about trigger manipulation, especially when requiring DA on first shot, but beyond that you've lost me.

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On 7/4/2019 at 8:43 AM, Part_time_redneck said:

First, nobody get too excited or bent out of shape here, just asking a question. What is the benefit of consolidating divisions? What is gained? Just trying to understand a potential upside. During a lvl2 I enjoy being able to shoot 6 different divisions over 3 days. If you go to a centerfire optics division, as a whole would carry optics be at a disadvantage to open? Some guys wouldn't I know, but honestly, would it be a completely level playing field? 

 

As far as adding / changing stages, IMHO a lot of what makes SC what it is is the consistency & nostalgia. In USPSA we are tasked with solving a problem in the most efficient manner. Different stage every time. In SC there are no surprises. If the next stage is Roundabout you know what it's going to look like. SC comes down primarily to execution without the stage planning aspect. And if you add stages to lvl 2 & 3's there goes an AM/PM format. 

 

Just my humble $0.02. Please feel free to correct me and everyone enjoy their 4th of July. Happy holiday everyone. 

See my previous reply about divisions. Fair questions about the slide mounted vs frame mounted. I believe the main disadvantage between the 2 is the lack of a comp in CO. Combining those 2 very well could keep USPSA CO shooters from competing.

 

Genuinely curious. You show up and shoot 6 different firearms at a match? Or do you shoot some of the same guns twice?

 

And I'm not getting hung up on an arbitrary number of divisions, but the nuances between some beg the question of why we have so many and wouldn't the sport be better served with more competitors going head to head.

 

 

Valid points about adding stages. Except I don't see why nostalgia has anything to do with it?? Agreed though that the consistency is nice. However, how does adding 1-3 stages take that consistency away? Once the stage is learned you know it. One option might be dropping a stage off of the current roster and replacing it. Lord knows I'd be fine with not having to shoot pendulum ever again :lol:.  Who says that a lvl 2 or lvl 3 match has to use all the stages?  One advantage is it could allow clubs to fit more stages on their bays, whereas now some clubs can't shoot/host a major match because not all stages will fit. I agree the AM/PM format is awesome and the way to go for matches. 

 

 

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If asked to consolidate divisions, I would propose a "Centerfire Iron Sight Handgun (CISH)" division in Steel Challenge.  This would collapse Limited, Production, Single Stack, and Iron Sight Revolver into one division.  You might say, wait, you can't have a revolver competing with a 2011.  I'd ask, why not?  I know there are 2011s that shoot incredibly sweet, but since there are no power factor requirements, we are all free to get our guns shooting very flat through load and spring tuning.  Mag capacity is not an advantage in Steel Challenge.  If you are missing so much that you need a 20-round magazine to clean any Steel Challenge stage, you won't be competitive.

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1 hour ago, GunBugBit said:

If asked to consolidate divisions, I would propose a "Centerfire Iron Sight Handgun (CISH)" division in Steel Challenge.  This would collapse Limited, Production, Single Stack, and Iron Sight Revolver into one division.  You might say, wait, you can't have a revolver competing with a 2011.  I'd ask, why not?  I know there are 2011s that shoot incredibly sweet, but since there are no power factor requirements, we are all free to get our guns shooting very flat through load and spring tuning.  Mag capacity is not an advantage in Steel Challenge.  If you are missing so much that you need a 20-round magazine to clean any Steel Challenge stage, you won't be competitive.

I can dig it.👍🏼

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4 hours ago, GunBugBit said:

If asked to consolidate divisions, I would propose a "Centerfire Iron Sight Handgun (CISH)" division in Steel Challenge.  This would collapse Limited, Production, Single Stack, and Iron Sight Revolver into one division.  You might say, wait, you can't have a revolver competing with a 2011.  I'd ask, why not?  I know there are 2011s that shoot incredibly sweet, but since there are no power factor requirements, we are all free to get our guns shooting very flat through load and spring tuning.  Mag capacity is not an advantage in Steel Challenge.  If you are missing so much that you need a 20-round magazine to clean any Steel Challenge stage, you won't be competitive.

How would you go about consolidating the peak times in this division?  For example, there is an 8 second difference between peak times in SS and Limited with all stages combined.  It seems that someone who shoots low C in SS would be at a pretty big disadvantage to someone who shoots high C in Limited. I know that there is probably not much difference with those shooters in M or GM, but to the everyday shooter who is just average it seems like it could hurt.

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10 hours ago, nso123 said:

How would you go about consolidating the peak times in this division?  For example, there is an 8 second difference between peak times in SS and Limited with all stages combined.  It seems that someone who shoots low C in SS would be at a pretty big disadvantage to someone who shoots high C in Limited. I know that there is probably not much difference with those shooters in M or GM, but to the everyday shooter who is just average it seems like it could hurt.

Not GunBugBit, but technically this is easy. Take all historical times by stage, look at the median and 10th percentile, extrapolate down (assuming normal distribution, this is ok for the left tail) to get 0.5th percentile. Something like p50 - qnorm(.005)*(p50 - p10)/qnorm(.1).

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11 hours ago, nso123 said:

How would you go about consolidating the peak times in this division?  For example, there is an 8 second difference between peak times in SS and Limited with all stages combined.  It seems that someone who shoots low C in SS would be at a pretty big disadvantage to someone who shoots high C in Limited. I know that there is probably not much difference with those shooters in M or GM, but to the everyday shooter who is just average it seems like it could hurt.

 

Wouldn't you just take the best time?

 

Think about the difference between Limited and SS, it's capacity, weight, and holster. Capacity doesn't matter in this game, and heavy isn't better in a game with no PF. I run the same holster set up for SS and Limited so clearly I don't put much stock in fancy holsters. So why would SS not already have the same time as Limited? The fact that the peak time for SS is currently wrong doesn't mean it should stay that way.

 

For those hypothetical shooters, in time that high C will improve and be a low B. And that low C will work his way up to high C and get to beat up the newer low C's coming in. It's the circle of life.

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My wife and I are typical near-newcomers except, perhaps, for our ages (super seniors).  When we start 4+ years ago we took a liking to the 1911 platform.  SS was/is the appropriate division.  I'm fine with consolidation and if, for example, I had gotten everything possible out of my ability and needed some tenths to make "A" or whatever, I' tweak the gun within the rules for LTD.  But I'm nowhere near that level and I'm just happy to improve.  Frankly, I've done the one thing to the gun that at my level has mad the biggest difference: reload very soft rounds.  Yes, our guns have 3 lb. triggers, but at my level I'd be in the same place with a good 5 lb. trigger.  I wouldn't do anything to the holster even rules permitting as I prefer to keep the mechanics reasonably close to my carry gun safety aside.

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On 7/4/2019 at 8:43 AM, Part_time_redneck said:

What is the benefit of consolidating divisions? What is gained? Just trying to understand a potential upside. During a lvl2 I enjoy being able to shoot 6 different divisions over 3 days.

 

How about this as a example, SC has 13 divisions and 6 classifications. That's 78 potential matches with in any one main match. At the club level that is potentially more then you will have shooters. And even at big matches where you have 500 guns, you really only have 100 shooters shooting 5 times. It gets to point where none of it really matters. Just like inflation, you print more dollars they are worth less, the more awards you hand out the less they are worth.

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