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Last weekend I shot my first real action shooting competition. In the past, I’ve shot trap and skeet, as well as a relic of the late ’90s and early 2000s bowling pin shooting. However, I’ve never shot anything that really involved moving and shooting or multiple and odd positions. My small town has this weirdly high presence of defense industry companies. One is a company that specializes in training LEO and military trainging called Asymmetric Solutions.

Not only was this my first competitive shoot, but it was also the first time Asymmetric Solutions hosted a competitive shoot. I saw an ad on a local community page and jumped on the opportunity. The sport of choice being Action Steel.

I rushed to sign up when I saw there was a local competition. We don’t have those things in my area and I was free that weekend. The shoot called for either a handgun or a PCC, and I’m currently reviewing a CMMG MkGs, so I grabbed it, my eyes, ears, and a beanie and headed out into the frigid Florida morning. Seriously it was like 42 degrees.

I was also pretty nervous. When you see people like Rob Leatham shoot, you feel small in comparison and while I can hit a target, I was still nervous. I had a little anxiety, but a whole lot of excitement. I wasn’t aiming to win, but just not to embarrass myself.

What Is Action Steel

That’s the question I had. I’m familiar with steel challenge, which is largely stationary. However, action steel was new to me. I gazed upon the internet and learned that Action Steel isn’t really a sanctioned event with a dedicated rulebook. It appeared some time in 2019 and mixed USPSA-style shooting with all steel targets.

The benefits are that it’s a high level of fun, and the sport has a limited reset requirement. Matches move fast without paper to tape up and replace. The ding was also said to be fun to hear, and I don’t disagree. It makes determining misses and hits easy.

Scoring all comes down to who shoots the fastest and hits the targets within the parameters. Some targets require two hits, some require one, and others have to be shot in a certain order or you’re hit with a procedural penalty.

The Event Layout

Asymmetric Solutions has a massive facility and it’s quite nice. Sadly I couldn’t explore things like their shoot house, but I got to see three of their massive 100-yard ranges where we shot our stages. Across these three stages were six total stages. Shooters ran each course once, and their time was recorded.

We were broken down into squads, and each squad went to a different stage. At the stage, we received a briefing on the stage and the expectations, and then we were given five minutes to explore the stage, rehearse, and ask any questions.

The ranges at Asymmetric Solutions (Asymmetric Solutions)

The stages included a wide variety of designs, and each tested different skills. One had you shooting through four different ports at different heights. Another required navigating a maze of fake walls made of safety fence and blasting away at targets. One challenged you to run from stage to stage, another to shoot with one hand.

My favorite stages involved trucks. One was shooting from the bed of a seven-ton, and you had to shoot targets in numerical order, with target racks being to the far left and right. Between each numbered target, you had to shoot a center target. It made you think and didn’t give you a smooth transition between numbered targets.

Firing out of a Humvee turret made things interesting. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The best stage was called the last stand. You were placed in the turret of a Humvee and had 22 targets to hit. You had to cycle through a variety of white mini IPSCs and gongs before ending the shoot with small red popper targets.

Staff and Organization

My experience with Asymmetric Solutions’ staff was outstanding. They were professional, ensured rigid safety rules were enforced and kept the match moving. Not only that, but between stages, these professional instructors took time with everyone to dole out advice, give examples, and generally try to make everyone a better shooter.

I’m not sure if that’s standard during a competition, but it was a nice bonus. Go to shoot a competition and get a little free training on the house.

A maze of safety fence and steel targets made things fun. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Everything was organized and easy to understand. The day moved quickly, and it was a total blast. It very much felt like a no-dumb-questions environment, and the staff was always friendly and informational. All of their instructors are Special Operations veterans who have been there and done that.

From the perspective of a first-time competitive shooter, the event was well-run and a ton of fun. I was somewhat intimidated and unsure how well I’d do, but Asymmetric made the whole thing fun and easy to understand for shooters of all experience levels. There was a safety briefing, as well as a known emergency vehicle and EMTs on standby, just in case. It was all very professional, but also quite fun.

Shooting Fast

Asymmetric Solutions has facilities across the country, with one here in Florida, one in Missouri, and one in New Mexico. While I can’t speak for the future of their competition shoots, I would advise you to get out and try one if there’s a location and event in your area.

I’d advise anyone who enjoys shooting to try some kind of competition. I learned a ton in just one match. Not just the stuff a lot of defensive-minded shooters portray as gamer tactics. Shooting fast and straight applies to tactical shooting just as much as it applies to competition shooting. Being able to move, shoot, and do so under some stress is an invaluable skill. Plus, it’s a helluva lot better than golf.


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  1. I trained with Asymmetric in Farmington for three years and loved every minute of it. This was well before the other two locations and Grady P. was still on staff then.

    Entire cadre of BTDT’s giving real world advice and practical training, priceless.

    ZJ’s three man/small group CQB class was hands down the finest two days I have ever spent learning fighting stuff, ever…

    • I wish was younger & wealthier as I’ve contemplated competing. I was a state champion weightlifter & competed in bodybuilding & powerlifting. It’s stunning to me that Jerry Micheluk(who’s a scant 3 months younger than me)still kick’s butt!🙄

      • Jerry burns a fuck-ton of sponsored ammo to help keep him in shape…

      • About 90% of the gun community who would be attracted to participate in something like this can’t afford it so they are stuck with living vicariously through others who can afford it.

        We are lucky here, we have a group of retired and ex military operators that although they don’t do the competition thing do teach tactical defensive firearms use for free.

        Myself, I got lucky and got my training from the retired Navy seal who owned the range. He is also a contract instructor and continues to teach active duty Navy Seals and other government/private entitles/law enforcement. For civilians, he teaches a course for free to locals when he is available to do so, actually four days in earnest, 8 hours a day, class limit 6 people normally but sometimes he increases the class size if he can bring in another instructor to help him out, rifle and pistol. Its not an advertised ‘business’ thing, you ask him about it and sign up on a waiting list and when he gets enough people together he has a class. Its probably the best thing I ever did and was the reason I could save my wife’s life from the two animals that tried to abduct and rape her and probably kill her.

  2. Awwww, it was a chilly 42 degrees at the start…. it got up to five below here yesterday.
    I’ve been using large icecicles as targets lately.

    • unicorn and Epstein,

      Late Autumn, Winter, and early Spring are more-or-less glorious in the Southern United States. Late Spring, Summer, and early Autumn are more-or-less brutal in the Southern United States (hot in the entire Southern states plus oppressively humid in the Southeastern states).

      Of course late Spring, Summer, and early Autumn are more-or-less glorious in the Northern United States. And Winter is more-or-less pretty brutal in the Northern United States, although late Autumn and early Spring can be simply annoying (cold although not brutal).

      My philosophy: you can easily add layers to keep warm in cold outdoor weather; you cannot do anything to keep cool in hot outdoor weather.

      Pick your poison.

      • Uncommon_Sense,
        I have always said, I can always add layers to keep warm.
        I can only get so naked to keep cool, before I get arrested.
        I own a old farm house. No AC.

  3. I would like to do something like that, but the closest .22LR PRS is like an hour and a half drive one way.

    Have to stick with my air rifle like PRS.

    • Epsteindidnotkillhimself,

      About five years ago, I had a neighbor (and his wife) who had somewhat recently emigrated to the United States from Russia. He loved firearms and had a fair amount of hunting experience in Russia which was somewhat unusual. Having only been in the United States for a relatively short time, he had not yet investigated our gun laws or opportunities to shoot. He was thrilled to learn about my avid interest in responsible firearm ownership and recreational shooting. At one point and by happenstance, his sister-in-law from Russia was visiting and a very good friend from Russia was here at the same time on a business trip–and neither of them had ever shot any firearms before. I proposed an idea: he and I take them to a large National Forest area in my state and spend a day in an isolated (safe) location to shoot various firearms. My neighbor, his sister-in-law, and his friend were excited beyond belief. And so we went to the National Forest.

      We set up various targets and shot different firearms. The only down side is that our drive was three hours each way. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the trip immensely, even though we had to leave at the crack of daylight and returned in the dark. That trip has since inspired me to do something similar in the near future, although my focus will be on practice (rather than entertaining new shooters), especially moving-and-shooting and shooting from odd positions and angles.

      I encourage you to plan for something similar and make an entire day or even an entire weekend out of it. If you are the type that can handle rustic camping, that can make the entire event even easier in some regards. You just drive to your secluded (safe) location, set up your campsite, and spend as little or as much time as you want setting up practice courses and shooting.

      • Uncommon_Sense,
        I own 150+ acres. Problem is finding more than 100yrds with a clear LOS. Rolling hills and trees makes things difficult.
        With the cost of ammo, I shoot a lot of air. And I can do it off the back deck, no ears required.
        And, with the barn so close to a road, for rats, the .22 air rifle gets more practical use than even the 10/22.
        I did invest in some Magnum Targets IDPA 6inch knock overs scaled for .22 air to simulate out to 600yrd in .308WIN at 100yards.
        I also got two sets of their 1/5 Scale NRA/IHMSA Metallic Silhouette Targets and put them out to 100yrds rather then the 50yards with the 1/10 scale, standing, sitting and prone. A lot of fun!
        This year, I am going to try to shoot a .22 scaled version of NRA High Power Rifle for .22 air rifle. Some guy did the math for the targets at 50ft (200yrd), 25yrd (300yrd), and 50yrd (600yrd).
        If I can find a clear LOS and take shots out further than 100yards with the .308WIN and does not spook the livestock, I will.

  4. Competition shooting is the best way to test your equipment, as well as your ability to function under stress. Most people’s brains can’t handle running with a gun in their hand – let alone responding to a real life situation.

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