ICORE moves International Revolver Championship to Universal Shooting Academy in Florida

In a press release that came out this weekend, the International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts announced that the 2016 International Revolver Championship will be held at Universal Shooting Academy in Frostproof, FL. This is a huge change, moving the match from the Hogue Action Pistol range in San Luis Obispo, CA.


I think that Universal Shooting Academy is a fantastic facility and that they’ll do a great job hosting the match. I’ve shot probably a dozen matches at USA over the years, and with the exception of one IDPA Nationals where I needed SCUBA gear to shoot, I always had a great time.

But I don’t like this call, and that’s where this post changes from reporting the news to an editorial. To understand, you have to look at a little bit of shooting sports history. In 2011, I shot the last Steel Challenge that was held in its historic location in Piru, CA. It was awesome. 2012-2013 the match moved to Frostproof at USA, and in 2013 the match had its lowest attendance in over a decade. This isn’t a knock on Frank Garcia or Shannon Smith, the operators of Universal Shooting Academy, because they run a solid business and have a great facility.

However, there’s a data point here from Steel Challenge that says when you move a West Coast match to the East Coast, you run the risk of losing participation. I really can’t stress hard enough that I’m not knocking Universal here, because I do think it’s a great facility, but it’s also in Frostproof. Which, if you’ve never been there, is in the middle of nowhere, FL. It’s about an hour and a half from Tampa or Orlando, there aren’t a lot of great restaurants around, and it’s just…not a great place to hang out for an extended period of time. Maybe I’m just a homer and miss California, but I think people would much rather go to the central coast region of CA for a match than go to Frostproof.

I hope I’m wrong, and I hope the IRC continues to flourish now that it’s been moved to Universal Shooting Academy. I will say that November is the best time to hold a match down there, as the weather is actually pretty nice! Hopefully I’ll be able to pull the resources together and go shoot my first ever IRC at Frostproof this year.


  1. IRC was in Fallon Nevada last year so it already moved from SLO, Which is sad because I loved SLO.

    1. I was a little out of pocket for 2015, I wasn’t aware it had moved. That’s really too bad, SLO is one of my favorite places on the planet. I see however that Steel Challenge is there now, which makes me happy!

  2. If you attend another match at USA, and it is one where you more than a day, I suggest staying in Winter Haven. It is close enough that you can run up to Orlando while only adding 10-15 minutes to the drive to Frostproof, and has much better selection for places to eat.

    Personally I oppose moving the Steel Challenge back to California. For most of the rest of the country it means either committing a felony (sure you might not get caught) or spending $125-250+ on low cap magazines. And that is assuming that they even off low cap mags for your gun some guns, like the XDM, do not have factory 10 round magazines.

    IMO the problem with Steel Challenge was less to do with being in Frostproof, but management. The Steel Nationals, also in the middle of no where Florida, have been full or nearly full for the last two years. They do it by having the stages set up well (they use a surveyors level so the targets are perfect), with a good prize table, that is typically well run. Personally I felt that if the match was planted somewhere and given time to grow under the leadership of a dedicated MD it would’ve succeeded even without a move to California.

  3. Having been born in CA and lived here most of my life, the “threat” of felony for a standard capacity magazine is highly over estimated. Most LE I speak to at matches don’t care, and everyone of them say that if they get you for the miss-named high cap’s, it’s because they got you, or suspect you, for something much worse. They are not hiding at the ranges and counting rounds fired without reloading, nor anything so sinister.
    If you are a nuckle head, you most likely deserve to be wary.That being said, I don’t travel by air to matches. I don’t deal with TSA and checking firearms on planes. Some one who does, would have a better handle on what is done when someone out of state fly’s into CA for a match.
    I did RO the Steel Challenge in SLO this last Nov. and there were many shooters with standard capacity magazines. No one mentioned any anxiety over bringing them to CA. I agree with the statement that the Steel Challenge would grow with proper nurturing. I believe that SLO will help it grow. The Steel Nationals and the World Steel on the same coast is just a bad as it being only in CA.
    What happens to the IRC remains to be seen. I hope the east coast embraces it. As I have told many who ask, ICORE is unique in that it is an all volunteer organization. On the west coast, you have had MD’s who are devoted wheelgun shooters. That’s essential to the success of the match. It will be interesting to see how it evolves with a staff paid to run it. Yes the MD’s in CA were paid, but not nearly enough for the work involved.
    Finally, if it were not for the fact that my 93 year old mother lives in CA, I would have left 3 years ago when I retired.

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