The 2022 World Speed Shooting Championships were held April 27 to May 1 at the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park in Talladega, Alabama. A new record was set for a Steel Challenge match—712 guns were shot during the match, breaking the previous record of 638 set nearly five years ago. The biggest growth has been in Rimfire Rifle Optics. In 2018 there were 121, and in 2022 there were 174 (24.4 percent of the match).
If you’re wondering why there’s been such a huge growth in this division, get out and shoot it. Shooting a .22 LR rifle with a dot is just plain fun, and one of the fastest divisions available. Before you get your sights set on being the world champ, you’re going to have to beat Kenny Nagata, who set the world record in Rimfire Rifle Optics at 54.4 this year. Speaking of world records, there were five total set at the match this year.
My squad followed the Lance Bratcher, Jr., squad on Sunday morning when he was shooting Rimfire Pistol Irons and recorded a new world record of 67.32 seconds, beating the old record of 69.05 set by Nate Gibson back in 2021. However, the record was short-lived, as the 2020 Rimfire Pistol Irons champion, Neal Norman, earned a 66.56-second time on Sunday afternoon. Also, Kenny Nagata won the Rimfire Pistol Optics division with a blistering 55.73 seconds, breaking the previous world record of 57.51 set last year by KC Eusebio. Chris Barrett continued his domination of the Pistol Caliber Carbine Irons division, winning for the third year in a row and setting a new world record of 57.47.
Rounding out the recap of the new world records is another great shooter, Grant Kunkel, who won the Pistol Caliber Carbine Optics division with a smoking 56.66-second run, breaking the old record of 59.27 set last year by Kenny Nagata. Grant was also the winner of the Rimfire Rifle Irons division, turning in a blistering 57.73-second time. While this was down from his world record time of 53.97 set in 2021, it was enough for the division win.
The center-fire divisions had some old winners and a new one. The newest world champion is Nils Jonasson who took home the Carry Optics title with a 90.48. The Open Sight Revolver title went to Michael Poggie—his seventh in a row. Just behind him in the repeat department was KC Eusebio winning his fifth world title in the Open division. Becoming a world champion is tough, but doing it five and seven times in a row—that’s impressive.
Gorka Ibanez had a threepeat in Single Stack with a 96.48, beating his time from last year by almost seven seconds. This also puts him in an elite group of five shooters that have broken 100 in Single Stack. Sal Luna repeated in Production with an 89.38, making him only the fifth person ever to break 90 in the division. Moving on to Limited, after a two-year hiatus, BJ Norris was back at the WSSC in 2022. He took the division with a blazing 83.13-second time. He now boasts the six fastest match times ever shot in Limited.
To compete for the Rimfire Master title, you must shoot RFPI, RFPO, RFRI and RFRO. This year the title went to Grant Kunkel with a combined 248.03 score. After some digging, I found out that Kunkel earned the fastest 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 shot for this award.
As for Steel Master—the oldest of the special awards—you must shoot two guns from the center-fire divisions but only one can have optic, and then either RFPO or RFPI. Previously, this special award usually went to competitors in OPN, LTD and RFPO, and typically a male. Neither was true this year. The winner shot OPN, SS and RFPO—Jessie Harrison, one of the most decorated ladies in shooting history. Over 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 top spot at the match.
If you never attended the World Speed Shooting Championships, I highly recommend it. Yes, it’s the same stages you shoot at your local Steel Challenge match, but these are perfectly measured and laser leveled to the correct height. Each stage has a team of Range Officers ensuring the commands are given correctly and that hits and misses are called correctly. The atmosphere is awesome with the vendors in the middle of the stages; everyone is going to have to walk by them at least once during every session.
This year, the awards were at the race track and I personally thought it was awesome. The room was spacious and of course they had the WSSC banner set up for photo ops before, during and after awards. I was honored to be asked to do the award announcements and tried to make every winner feel great when their name was called. The prize tables were stocked well by the sponsors, and Spanky did a great job calling the names. Next year’s WSSC will again be in Talladega at the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park from May 3-7. I’ll be there and I hope to see you there, too.
Article from the July/August 2022 issue of USPSA’s magazine.