IPSC: European Steel Challenge 2014 in the Netherlands

European Steel Challenge 2014
Behind the lightning-fast KC Eusebio from Team GLOCK, top marksman Shane Coley, also from the USA, often claimed second place in the different gun classes

Cees van Diepen managed to pick himself up and with the help of Werner Pelzer, who is very well known in IPSC/Action circles, the 7th European Steel Challenge (ESC) 2014 did indeed become reality. Following the first five ESC events organized by Hans Wigger and his wife Jolanda, they entrusted the 2013 match to the capable hands of Cees van Diepen and Peter Schouwink. Sadly, on October 8, 2013, Peter Schouwink died of cancer and for a long time it was not clear whether, in view of this bitter loss, there would be an ESC 2014 at all. In the end, Cees van Diepen found the necessary strength of will and drove the organization of the match ahead with all haste. As mentioned at the beginning, he was supported by Werner Pelzer, who has organized several well-attended Steel Challenge matches in the past on behalf of the Bund Deutscher Sportschützen e.V. (BDS) in Philippsburg.

ESC in the Netherlands: whiteboards, organization and all the rules

Since suitable outdoor shooting ranges are a rare commodity in our neighbor’s country, the match has since been held at the Jasper indoor shooting range in the lovely town of Winterswijk. While the facility is large even by German standards, the scale of the events have to be reduced because of the special circumstances in the building — both the distances between targets as well as to the targets are less than the original American dimensions. Moreover, at the ESC only six instead of the usual eight events are held.

European Steel Challenge 2014
ESC 2014: "Outer Limits" is the only Steel Challenge event where the marksman changes position

Another Dutch peculiarity are the whiteboards (boards that can be written on with felt-tipped pens) at each range with drawings of the respective event. The range supervisor immediately marks misses as well as multiple hits, which avoids unnecessary discussion about the evaluation. Here a quick rundown of the organization of the European Steel Challenge: At the events "Smoke & Hope," "Five to Go," "Roundabout," "Speed Option" and "Accelerator", 5 consecutive shots are fired and the best 4 times are added together to obtain an overall time. At "Outer Limits," the only event that requires a change of position, only 4 shots are fired.

Each event consists of a total of 5 steel targets, where it is mandatory for one steel target to be shot last as a stop-plate. Round steel discs with a diameter of 25 or 30 cm and rectangular steel plates with dimensions of 40 x 60 cm are used as targets. After a hit, none of the targets fall over; every recognizable hit is counted. The distance to the targets is 7 to a maximum of 35 m. In the center-fire classes the shooter starts with a holstered gun and hands above the shoulders ("Surrender" position); in the small bore evaluation, the gun is held in the hand at a 45° angle, a beginner-friendly position. Once the participant has shot the 4 or 5 runs, the steel plates are given a new coat of paint for the next shooter so that the hits can be clearly assigned.

ESC 2014: Unbeatable US Pros and Exceptional German Talents

Despite the short preparation period for this year's ESC, the match was soon booked out and reached the 196 capacity limit for individual starts. The classes evaluated were Open Pistol, Open Revolver, Open Rimfire, Standard Pistol, Standard Revolver and for the first time Standard Rimfire. With 79 participants, the most numerous class was the Standard Pistol, where the targets are hit using pistols with barrels of arbitrary length, without muzzle brakes or the like and with mechanical sights. 

European Steel Challenge 2014
Dynamic lady: The American Tori Nonaka from the GLOCK team dominated the ladies' categories at the  ESC 2014

As was the case last year, the American pro shooter and Steel Challenge expert KC Eusebio again found his way to the Netherlands. But he did not come alone — he was accompanied by his team colleague Tori Nonaka (both shoot for the American GLOCK factory team) and top marksman Shane Coley. Coley won, among other competitions, the 2012 American USPSA championships in the Open Division and is a member of the Action Shooting Team of the U.S. Army Marksmen Unit, to which KC Eusebio, Max Michel Jr. or Travis Tomasie also once belonged.

The AMU can justifiably be called a real forging shop for masters.

European Steel Challenge 2014
KC Eusebio (Team GLOCK, center) shot incredible times of 1.2 and 1.7 seconds in the two Steel Challenge events "Smoke & Hope" and "Five to go" with the small bore pistol
European Steel Challenge 2014
KC Eusebio from Team GLOCK shooting with the small bore pistol

The three US pros started in the Standard Pistol, Open Pistol and Rimfire Open classes and no one seriously doubted that, in particular, Eusebio and Coley would divvy up the victory between themselves.

Anyone who had the chance to see Eusebio, especially live at a Steel Challenge competition, would have known that he can hardly be beaten. He has outstanding hand-eye coordination, a simply indescribable basic speed and he shoots absolutely fearlessly. His target acquisitions and swivels are sometimes so fast that it is nearly impossible to distinguish the sequence of shots. Just two small examples: In the "Smoke & Hope" event, Eusebio shot with a small bore gun, clocking a legendary time of 1.2 seconds, and 1.7 seconds in the "Five to Go"!

But even Coley, who ranked 4th at the 2014 U.S. Steel Nationals (behind Max Michel Jr., Jerry Barnhart (!) and Doug Koenig), had already proven that he is a marksman to be reckoned with not only at IPSC competitions.

And so it happened as it should have — the Open Pistol, the Standard Pistol, and even the Rimfire Open evaluation remained firmly in American hands. The winners here were KC Eusebio from TEAM GLOCK ahead of Shane Coley. And Tori Nonaka kept step with her American pro colleagues, winning the ladies' evaluation in every class she started in.

In the open classes, only KC Eusebio with 59.00 seconds and Coley with 59.97 seconds came in under the magical 60 second limit. Third place and best European was Saul Kirsch with a total time of 61.73 seconds.

Top 5 of the European Steel Challenge 2014



Name Time (Sec)
                                    1. KC Eusebio
                                    2.Shane Coley
                                    3.Saul Kirsch
                                    4.Lucien Rooijendijk
                                    5.Jan ter Borg

Eusebio shot the Standard class in a legendary best time of 67.85 seconds and set a new European record. Coley followed him in second place with 71.28. The last on the podium was Marijan Loch (the author of this article) from the SIG SAUER IPSC team, with a time of 76.76 seconds.

Top 5 of European Steel Challenge 2014



Time (Sec.)
KC Eusebio
                                    2.Shane Coley
                                    3.Marijan Loch
                                    4.Gregory Midgley
                                    5.Tino Schmidt
Top 5 of European Steel Challenge 2014

Revolver Open Class


Time (Sec)
                                    1.Sascha Back
                                    2.Chi Hong Ho
                                    3.Jan ter Borg
                                    4.Harry ter Borg
                                    5.Herman Buunk
Top 5 of European Steel Challenge 2014

Revolver Standard Class


Time (Sec)
                                   1.Sascha Back
                                   2.Harry Ter Borg
                                   3.Chi Hong Ho
                                   4.Eric Cornelissen
                                   5.Martin van Geel

Eusebio only needed all of 45.29 seconds for his win in the Open Rimfire. Second and third place went to Shane Coley (51.34 seconds) and Lucien Rooijendijk (55.57 seconds).

Top 5 of European Steel Challenge 2014

Small-bore Open Class


Time (Sec.)
                                   1.KC Eusebio
                                   2.Shane Coley
                                   3.Lucien Rooijendijk
                                   4.Marijan Loch
                                   5.Sascha Back

The Standard Rimfire, shot here for the first time, was won by Endre Laszlo (70.91 seconds) ahead of Marco Pedrano (76.16 seconds) and Martin van Geel (93.13 seconds). 

Top 5 of European Steel Challenge 2014

Small-bore Open Class


Time (Sec.)
                                  1.Endre Laszlo
                                  2.Marco Pedrana
                                  3.Martin van Geel
                                  4.Arnoud Langerak
                                  5.Peter Pols

The German revolver magician Sascha Back proved that exceptional marksmen do not necessarily have to come from the USA. He confidently shot his way to victory in the Open and Standard Revolver — with times that many a pistol shooter would be proud of. His time of 74.52 seconds with the Open Revolver would have been good for the Top 5 in the Open Pistol evaluation. Anyone who has ever tried to shoot fast and accurately with a double-action revolver will know what that performance really means. Hats off!

European Steel Challenge 2014: Award Ceremony with a Minute of Silence

The award ceremony began with a minute of silence in honor of the late Peter Schouwink, but otherwise unfolded in much the same way as last year. After paying tribute to the fastest lady, the fastest marksman (center-fire) was honored. Two different trophies were awarded for the first time. One for the fastest marksman in the open evaluation and then another for the fastest European marksman. Then the three first places in the individual gun classes were awarded medals, trophies and other prizes, followed by the awards for the first three places in the age categories as well as the team evaluations.

The other marksmen were then called to the prize table according to their total time rankings. Each marksman leaving the prize table was handed weapon-care products from BRUNOX and all participants in the large-caliber disciplines (upon presentation of the corresponding right-to-purchase) also received a can of NC propellant powder from VIHTAVOURI as a gift.

All results of the European Steel Challenge 2014 to be found on the Internet at www.steelshoot.nl

Thanks to all sponsors of the European Steel Challenge 2014: