The 2022 World Speed Shooting Championships took place April 27-May 1 at CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park in Talladega, Alabama. A new record has been set for a Steel Challenge match: 712 shots were fired during the match, beating the previous record of 638 set almost five years ago. The strongest growth was in Rimfire Rifle Optics. In 2018 there were 121 and in 2022 there were 174 (24.4% of the game).
If you’re wondering why there’s been so much growth in this division, get out there and shoot it. Shooting a .22 LR rifle with a dot is simply fun and one of the fastest splits available. Before you aim for the World Championship title, you’ll need to beat Kenny Nagata, who set the world record in Rimfire Rifle Optics at 54.4 this year. Speaking of world records, there have been five in total at the game this year.
With a final time of 264.48, Jessie Harrison won the Overall Steel Master title.
My team followed Lance Bratcher, Jr.’s team on Sunday morning as he fired Rimfire pistols and clocked a new world record of 67.32 seconds, beating the old record of 69.05 set by Nate Gibson in 2021. However, the record was short-lived, as 2020 Rimfire Pistol Irons champion Neal Norman clocked 66.56 seconds on Sunday afternoon. Additionally, Kenny Nagata won the Rimfire Pistol Optics division with a blistering time of 55.73 seconds, beating the previous world record of 57.51 set last year by KC Eusebio. Chris Barrett continued his dominance of the Pistol Caliber Carbine Irons division, winning for the third consecutive year and setting a new world record of 57.47.
Rounding out the recap of new world records, another great shooter, Grant Kunkel, won the Pistol Caliber Carbine Optics division with a scorching run of 56.66 seconds, beating the old record of 59.27 set last year. by Kenny Nagata. Grant was also the Rimfire Rifle Irons division winner, clocking a blistering time of 57.73 seconds. Although that was down from his world record of 53.97 set in 2021, it was enough for the division win.
Grant Kunkel won the Pistol Caliber Carbine Optics division with a time of 56.66 seconds, a new world record.
Centerfire divisions had a few old winners and a new one. The new world champion is Nils Jonasson who won the Carry Optics title with a 90.48. The Open Sight Revolver title went to Michael Poggie, his seventh in a row. Right behind him in the rehearsal department was KC Eusebio winning his fifth world title in the Open Division. To become world champion is difficult, but to do it five or seven times in a row is impressive.
Gorka Ibanez scored a hat-trick in the Single Stack with a 96.48, beating his time from last year by almost seven seconds. It also puts him in an elite group of five shooters who beat 100 in Single Stack. Sal Luna repeated in production with an 89.38, making him only the fifth person to beat 90 in the division. Moving to the Limited, after a two-year hiatus, BJ Norris was back at the WSSC in 2022. He won the division with a blistering time of 83.13 seconds. He now has the six fastest match times ever in Limited.
To compete for the Rimfire Master title, you must draw RFPI, RFPO, RFRI, and RFRO. This year the title went to Grant Kunkel with a combined score of 248.03. After some research I found out that Kunkel got the best time ever for this special award. For Rifle Master, you must shoot PCCO or PCCI, and RFRO or RFRI. This year’s Rifle Master was Kenny Nagata with a 111.69, also the fastest time ever for this award.
As for Steel Master, the oldest of the special rewards, you must shoot two cannons from the center-fired divisions, but only one can have an optic, then RFPO or RFPI. Previously, this special prize was usually awarded to competitors from OPN, LTD and RFPO, and usually to a male. Neither was true this year. The winner shot OPN, SS and RFPO: Jessie Harrison, one of the most decorated women in shooting history. For the past four years, Jessie had always finished in the top five, but this year she beat the 2021 total by more than 10 seconds to claim the game’s top spot.
Chris Barrett set a new PCCI world record with his score of 57.47 seconds.
If you have never been to the World Speed Shooting Championships, I highly recommend it. Yes, these are the same stages you shoot at your local Steel Challenge match, but they are perfectly measured and laser leveled to the correct height. Each stage has a team of Range Officers making sure commands are given correctly and hits and misses are called correctly. The atmosphere is great with vendors in the middle of the stages; everyone will have to pass by them at least once during each session.
This year the awards were on the race track and I personally thought that was awesome. The room was spacious and of course they had the WSSC banner up for the pre, during and post awards photo ops. I was honored to be asked to do the prize announcements and tried to make each winner feel good when their name was called. The prize boards were well stocked by sponsors, and Spanky did a great job calling out the names. Next year, the WSSC will once again be held in Talladega at the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park from May 3-7. I will be there and I hope to see you there too.
Article from the July/August 2022 issue of USPSA magazine.