I’m probably going to regret this but if you are convinced you can make this work then go for it. If it works you get the credit, if not, you’re the goat. This isn’t the type of response to a USPSA Stage Design that instills confidence in the designer but, I was eager to test my idea and challenge shooters.
A couple of weeks prior to the May 18th USPSA Match at Southern Chester, the Match Director sent me an email asking if I had anything in the draft stage that could be used on the clubs 75 Yard Range. At that point all I had was an idea based on Match Video from YouTube but I wanted to try it out. I immediately started designing and wound up with a stage that I thought would be both fun and challenging.
There were two glaring issues with my design and I wasn’t sure that it would get the green light from the Match Director. First, I would be using an Out & Back differently than the club ever had before. It would be wrapped in a soft cover vision barrier and used to close a port. The second was how I would go about activating the prop so that any one steel popper in a series of three would activate it.
I turned to Facebook and thanks to the help of my follow shooters, I had both issues ironed out. I was confident that it would work and there would be a handful of shooters that would curse me for it.
The basic idea behind the stage was to introduce two options for engaging the steel. One would be considered safe and allow shooters to engage steel at their leisure. The catch was that they would have to do it from 30 yards away. The second option would allow shooters to engage the steel at 10 yards. The catch here was that shooters would have to be fast and accurate because the first popper to fall would close the port.
One of the other things that I did, which was a bit different from the norm, was that I used a very large portion of the bay. I had targets spread out in such a way that there were a number of ways to engage them. The fun part here was seeing Limited and Open shooters tackle the stage much differently than the Production, Limited 10, and Single Stack shooters.
Shooting The Stage:
I opted to take the safe route, mainly because I wasn’t afraid of the distance and thought I could down the steel relatively quickly. One popper gave me a little trouble but I still closed out the stage in a decent amount of time and placed 2nd in Production.
When I submitted the stage I didn’t realize that the Virginia / Maryland Sectional was being held on the same weekend. This drew away some of the shooters I hoped to see tackle the stage but it was fun none the less.
I’ve heard from a few people that the stage looked like a lot of fun and that they would have liked to shoot it. Shooters at the match gave mixed reviews. Most of the people I spoke with seemed to enjoy it and cheers went up every time someone took the steel from 10 yards. Later I spoke with the Match Director and learned that some of the D Class shooters weren’t having fun with it, sending a full magazine down range to knock down three poppers.
I don’t know how willing the Match Director will be to allow me to do something like this again in the future (he was concerned that it was too challenging for new shooters) but if you were there and enjoyed it, let him know the next time you shoot a match at Southern Chester.
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