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Shooting stars

Fastest guns in the West found targets in Piru

Posted: August 22, 2008 9:42 p.m.
Updated: October 24, 2008 5:03 a.m.

B.J. Norris fires rounds last weekend at the annual Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting championships in Piru. Norris, 19, of East Texas, won the competition and picked up a check for $1,000 to boot.

 
Last weekend, hundreds of marksmen loaded up their pistols and revolvers and competed in the annual Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships in the dusty hills behind Piru, located near Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Shooters from all over the country and even foreign countries vied for more than $300,000 in cash and prizes, as well as the title of "Fastest Gun in the World."

The road back into the range is unevenly paved. Cell phone reception is lost, and brittle sagebrush dots the landscape.

Banners of the shootout's sponsors such as Colt, Smith & Wesson and Blackhawk flap in the wind. Every major gun manufacturer currently participates in the Steel Challenge, according the competition's Web site.
Another prominent banner celebrates a recent Supreme Court decision that struck down a Washington, D.C. ban on handguns and recognized the Second Amendment as an individual right.

The shootout consists of several outdoor shooting courses, with marksmen firing from the hip at different arrangements of steel targets, trying to squeeze off rounds faster than anyone else.

The most difficult course has the shooter firing off at several targets, sidestepping a few paces, and firing off at a few more targets, all in a single round.

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