May 22, 2022

Combat Steel Match

The Rainbow Range Combat Combat Steel Match is held the second Saturday of the month, beginning with a mandatory safety briefing at 9:00 A.M. sharp. The main events are usually done by 11:00 A.M., with optional “games” until about 12:30. Spectators are welcome.

The match is open to anyone who can safely operate their firearm, whether or not they have prior competition experience; many local instructors promote this as a good “first match”. It has been continuously operated since 1973, with an unblemished safety record to date.

It offers 5 stages for handguns, 2 for rifle, and 2 for shotgun; all stages are 6 shots only. Time permitting, shooters are welcome to shoot all three types, or to go through more than once, (though only the frist try counts for score). Any firearm is welcome as long as you know how to operate it safely; many younger participants shoot .22, and even cap-and-ball shooters have competed.

You compete against the clock, and yourself; every competitor is eligible to win a prize pin. Every stage is six shots, but each will present a different challenge each month. You may be asked to pick up your firearm from the table in front of you and shoot twice at each of three steel plates; you may begin with gun in holster and have to step out from behind a barricade to shoot six rounds alternating between two plates – but don’t shoot the “hostage”! Any safe shooter, even if this is their first match, can be successful; even experienced competitors can push the limits of their skills.

After the main match, around 11:00 A.M., we reorganize the range and conduct a series of side games: usually two-man shotgun team, two-man and four-man handgun teams, and finally “walk-and-draw”: a single-elimination bracket match where shooters compete two at a time against each other to knock down their targets first.


What to bring:

  • Safe firearm in good repair
  • Holster (conventional hip holster: no cross-draw, no shoulder holsters.)
  • Ammunition (minimum 30 rounds for the handgun main match, plus about 20 for games, but you’re likely to want to go through twice; bring extra!)
  • Eye and Ear protection
  • Hat, suitable clothing for the weather, sunscreen, water, etc.
  • Safe Attitude


What to know:

  • You must be present on-time for the 9:00 A.M. Safety Briefing. No briefing, no shooting!
  • Safety is paramount. Anyone presenting a safety risk, however briefly or unintentional, will be asked to put their firearm away for the day. There are no second chances with firearm mistakes.


 Some fine print:

  • .22s are welcome – but aren’t eligible for prize pins.
  • “Race guns” and race holsters are welcome – but aren’t eligible for prize pins.
  • This is a basic match, but not a basic class. You must know how to safely handle, load operate, and unload your firearm, including manual safety or de-cocker if so equipped.