The Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA) is the governing body of the sport of Speed Shooting and organizer of the Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships and the Scholastic Steel Challenge (SSC).

The Scholastic Steel Challenge is a national team-oriented youth shooting program developed by the Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA) and funded in part by a grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The program is open to young men and women ages 12 to 20 and offers them the opportunity to compete as a four person team for a national title in the action pistol discipline of speed shooting.

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 200 of the world’s fastest shooters competing for over $350,000 in cash and prizes in 2009, it has found a permanent place on the shooting schedules of every major competitive shooter.

Founded in 1981, the first Steel Challenge saw just 70 shooters step into the shooting boxes of its now famous all steel stages. It was John Shaw who claimed the first title of ‘World’s Fastest Shooter’ along with his share of the $20,000 in cash and prizes. Since those early days the number of shooters has grown and the firearms industry has taken notice. Every major manufacturer participates in the Steel Challenge and the key to the success of the match can be found in the philosophy of its creators.

The match design features simple stages, or courses of fire, made up of just five steel plates. The steel plates would be of differing sizes and placed at various distances and angles to create a variety of challenges. The shooter would assume his or her position in the shooting box and, upon the beep of the timer, draw their pistol and shoot each plate with the fifth being a stop plate synchronized to the timer.

Each shooter would shoot the stage five times with the slowest time dropped. The score would be the combined time of the best four runs and that time added to the combined times of the other stages for a final match score.

Over the years the match has seen its fair share of drama as great champions have risen and fallen from one year to the next. It is not unusual to see world records set only to be broken moments later by another shooter.

It is the tremendous sense of possibility that draws so many shooters every August to Piru, California, the home of the Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships. Every shooter knows that this could be their year and despite falling short, they return the following year with renewed optimism.