Support the Sport

Just a quick shout out to those companies who were willing to act as sponsors for the The 2009 Rocky Mountain Regional Steel Challenge Championship. I’m under no illusions that this blog gets any sort of significant traffic. Regardless, I think it’s very excellent of these companies and organizations to sponsor this match either through financial donations or by sending prizes and stuff to put in the schwag bags. No one is compelled to sponsor a match, and it speaks highly of their support of the shooting community that these people were willing to do so of their own volition.

Smith & Wesson

Tactical Solutions

Schuemann Barrels

SureFire, LLC


Machine Gun Tours

Whistling Pines Gun Club

Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition

3Gun Stuff LLC (They’re a new company but will have an initial offering of a couple of products of interest to 3 Gun competitors, with the intention of offering more in the near future. Writeups as more info becomes available.)

Charlie Drissel Custom Machining (See the 3 Gun Stuff link above for a listing of the initial products on offer.)

STI International

MGM Targets

Thanks to all of the above people, companies, and organizations for helping to make this match a standout event.


The 2009 Rocky Mountain Regional Steel Challenge Championship!

This weekend will be the The 2009 Rocky Mountain Regional Steel Challenge Championship.  Eight stages of steel-plated goodness.

Yours truly was tasked with designing the matchbooklet and logo.  Since the book is black and white, and I didn’t want all of my work to go to waste, I figured this would be the place to post the full color version.  It’s my first match logo, and one I made fairly quickly.  (Work has been hell lately, leaving me with not much spare time.)

The logo for this year's match

The logo for this year's match

More info on the match at the website for the US Steel Shoot

New Match Alert – Quantico 3-Gun

DC area 3-gunners; listen up. This past Saturday was the inaugural Quantico 3-Gun match. You need to check this one out.

The Quantico 3-Gun match was held on the Quantico HRP ranges. There were five stages on four big bays – three multigun field courses, a rifle speed shoot, and a shotgun speed shoot. Future matches will incorporate some long-range rifle stages on Quantico’s unknown-distance sniper course.

There were a lot of very good shooters there, including some 10-12 operators from the Quantico HRT unit, a couple of military contractors, and some very good local three-gun shooters. There were also quite a few new shooters, all of whom had a good time.

This is a great match, with first-rate facilities and excellent stages, and I’ll probably be helping out with it for the foreseeable future. Next match will be sometime in July. Come check it out.

Contact Mike Hughes at for the details.

Tactical Solutions AR-22, Wherein the Author Actually, Y’know, Shoots the Thing.

Ok, so I’m back from my first local Steel Challenge match with the Tactical Solutions AR-22 upper, and I have to say that I’m thoroughly happy with the thing.  The gun ran with zero malfunctions.  I shot the match with Federal .22 bulk pack ammo, the sort that is available at Walmart.  It also ran with a couple of magazines of Winchester Super X, and the handful of ancient Wildcat .22 LR ammo that was kicking around in the bottom of my range bag.

Since I’ve got four magazines, I pretty much shot the entire match using one magazine per stage.  (We run each stage three times, so given the average number of targets one magazine allows plenty of ammo per stage, even assuming a couple of misses.)

One of the other shooters brought out a suppressor, an AAC Pilot, and it screwed right on and ran with no problems.  The only downside I found was that the thread protector could come loose after heavy shooting.  That could be alleviated with a bit of locktite, I’m sure.

Tactical Solutions AR-22 and Steel Challenge.  Like chocolate and peanut butter, they just go together.

Tactical Solutions AR-22 and Steel Challenge. Like chocolate and peanut butter, they just go together.

Also, in my previous post I noted that the AR-22 upper didn’t fit onto all of my lowers.  A fellow shooter put a call in to Tactical Solutions (thanks to rtr over at the Colorado AR-15 board) and was told that if the upper didn’t fit, that the solution is to use a judicious amount of gun oil and some pressure.

Between some grease, an AR-15 pin punch, and a few light taps with a hammer, I was able to mount the TacSol upper to a Rock River lower.

I’ve got some videos from the match, and will be uploading those hopefully by the end of the week, as well as some ideas about a new kind of match with the tactical-ish rimfire guns that seem to really be hitting the market now.

First Impression: Tactical Solutions AR-22 Upper

Alright, I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted. Yes, I know, I suck. But winter was long, cold, dark, and free of anything resembling interesting shooting stuff to blog about. But that’s about to change. I’ve got at least a half-dozen good blog posts percolating inside my head, including equipment reviews, match reviews and video, and other general shooty goodness, including a new kind of game. But more on that later. So, the other day I open my inbox to an email telling me that my Tactical Solutions AR-22 upper was in. After doing the happy dance, I hopped in the car and drove down to pick it up. My first impressions are fairly positive. The fit and finish is well done, with the upper having a cool-looking aluminum float tube. The barrel is also threaded for a suppressor. The upper, like most .22’s, is a straight blowback design. The bolt does (presumably) lock back after the last shot due to the way that the follower interacts with the bolt, however it doesn’t engage the bolt catch. After removing the magazine, you can lock the bolt about half an inch open with the bolt catch; so basically enough to see an empty chamber.  Interestingly enough, the upper includes a traditional-style forward assist, but so far as I can see, it serves no actual purpose.

Tactical Solutions AR-22 upper and magazines.

After getting the upper out of the box, I wanted to toss it on a lower. My plans had been to use an existing rifle lower along with a red dot scope in my collection so I’d have a pretty much instant rifle setup for shooting the .22 rimfire division at Steel Challenge matches. Sadly, this is where I encountered my biggest gripe about the AR-22 upper. I tried it on multiple lowers and found that it didn’t mate seamlessly to the lowers. Attaching it to lowers from Rock River as well as JP was a lost cause. Even if I could get one pin through, I couldn’t get the other seated. Removing the upper required tapping the pins back out with a hammer and plastic punch. However, I did find that the upper fit tightly but acceptably on the lower for my Armalite service rifle. A call to a friend who’d also purchased an AR-22 upper, and I was told that he was able to get the upper mounted to an LMT lower, though it was a tight fit as well. So if you purchase one of these, expect that you may have to do some hand-fitting on the pin holes.

The upper mounted on a Service Rifle lower.

So, there’s my setup, the AR-22 with an Aimpoint Micro T-1. My hope had been to put the AR-22 on a Rock River lower that was built more for social work and practical competition, but that won’t be possible until I get the holes opened up a little bit more.

As stated earlier, the fit and finish of the upper are quite good, including the threads and thread protector on the end of the barrel.

If ever there was an excuse to purchase a .22 can, that's it.

The Black Dog magazines look to be a well-made product as well. Except for the screws, springs, and other small parts that hold them together, they are completely polymer. The smoked magazines are somewhat translucent, allowing you to see how many rounds remain.

Black Dog smoked magazines.

They also seem to fit well in belt carriers made for AR-15 magazines.

The mags seem to fit well in both Blade-Tech and Safariland mag carriers.

Overall, I am pleased so far with the Tactical Solutions AR-22. Hopefully I’ll be able to resolve the fitting issues soon enough, and hope to use it at this week’s local Steel Challenge match. With any luck, I’ll have a match review and videos up by next week.