Steel Shooting FAQ’s

Can I shoot any handgun?

NO! But you can shoot almost any one – for competitor and spectator safety, there are some restrictions. You CAN shoot .38 special, 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, most 10mm ammunition. The most popular calibers are 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP shot from an autoloading handgun such as a 1911, Glock, M&P, etc. You CAN NOT shoot a 357 Magnum. You could shoot that handgun with .38 special rounds. You can NOT shoot any necked-down cartridges either, such as 7.62 Tokarev or .357 SIG. We recommend ammo with a Power Factor of 135 to 150. You can NOT shoot just any type of ammunition. 

What is a “Cold Range?

A cold range is one in which all firearms are unloaded and safely holstered or cased at all times. This means NO handling firearms anywhere on the grounds except at a Safe Table. If you need to look at, inspect, lubricate or otherwise handle your firearm – you may do this ONLY at a Safe Table.

“What is a “Safe Table”?

A safe table is an area where you can transfer your handgun to/from your holster. Or you can check a firearm, or perform minor maintenance, or lube it, cycle the action, etc. We currently use (2) Safe tables, one immediately adjacent to the registration table in the indoor range, the other is placed down at the range on the day of the shoot. Absolutely NO AMMO is to be on a safe table at any time. The rifle bench rests at the range are NOT safe tables. 

Can I use my holster?

Maybe and sort of. For safety reasons, only standard strong-side holsters can be used – we do not permit shoulder holsters or cross draw holsters at the shoots at all. Currently, the start position for every stage is with the handgun touching the table, so you would only use your holster to hold your UNLOADED handgun. And you are really using it as a place to store your handgun – you may NOT start the stage with the loaded gun in your holster. All our shooting is done from directly behind a table, the start position is with the handgun touching the table.

Why do I need at least 3 magazines?

First of all, we will let you shoot with just two (2) magazines. But the way our shoots are laid out, you may not get to do as much shooting as everyone else who does have at least 3. And you can’t shoot with just one magazine sorry.  

How many rounds can I fire in a stage?

Almost as many as you want. On Stages 2 and 3 you can fire as many as you want – but there is a maximum time limit. When you get to the maximum time limit, you need to stop shooting and unload and show clear. Stage 1 is our Plate Rack stage. On this stage you actually get three (3) consecutive runs, each with its own time. Here we limit you to 10 rounds per run. And if you only have 2 magazines, you will have to leave the line after you run out of pre-loaded magazines. If there is time before the next squad arrives at the stage, you may get to shoot your third run – but if we are pressed for time you may not. Participating in shooting sports like this, typically requires 3 or 4! 

“Why can I only load 10 rounds in my magazines, they hold a lot more?”] We had to draw the line somewhere and the 10 round standard is used at other local steel events and is a practical limit in other shooting sports, such as IDPA, so that is what we picked for now.  

Can’t I just reload my magazines on the firing line?

NO! You need to come up to the firing line prepared. Once instructed to do so, you can get your loaded magazines out and sit them on the table and arrange them so you are prepared to shoot. You may not touch, handle or load your handgun until you are specifically instructed to do so. For stages requiring more than 10 shots, you may only use magazines from the table or from on your belt. A magazine that falls to the ground is “dead”, you may not reach down and pick up magazines off the ground until the firearm is clear and stowed and the line is safe. 

What is “Power Factor”?”] Power factor is simply the weight of your bullet (in grains) multiplied by the velocity (in feet per second) of the bullet leaving the barrel of the gun, then divided by 1000. An example: a 200-grain bullet traveling 750 feet per second has a power factor of 150. 200gr x 750fps = 150,000/1000 = 150 Power Factor  

Can I shoot a .22 caliber cartridge?

No, sorry these matches are currently designed for centerfire cartridge handguns only..

What about a .380 or .32 caliber, can I shoot one of those?”] Technically yes, but remember this is a falling steel plate shoot. If your gun does not knock the plates and you leave them standing, you will be assessed the penalty time.

Penalty time? How is the shoot scored?

Like most action shooting, scoring is time-based. And like golf, lower is better, the faster the time the better, but all steel must fall. There is a 5-second penalty for each plate left standing. As an example, if you shoot at our plate rack with 6 targets on it and you knock them all down in 10.45 seconds, your score is 10.45. However, if you shoot the plates in 10.45 seconds and there is still one standing, your score – adjusted for the penalty is now 15.45.

Can my spouse (or kid or buddy) and I shoot the same handgun?”

Yes! But you should definitely use a case, rather than holster(s) to stow the handgun. It is much more convenient to pass a handgun from person-to-person when it is in a case. Otherwise, you will constantly be traveling back-and-forth to the safe table to transfer the gun. The Safety Officer might be able to accommodate transferring at the firing line, but this is awkward and time-consuming. And if you slip-up and pull a handgun from a holster or handle it when you are not directed to do so, you will be disqualified (DQ’d) and you are finished shooting for the day.