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Where's the "Practical" in USPSA Stages


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I am fairly new to USPSA and firearms in general. I learned about USPSA when I saw an old match on YouTube. Guys sprinting for 30+ meters, shooting prone, crawling through a tunnel. Man did this look cool. It's what drew me to it.

 

I've now been shooting matches for 10 months. Albeit, only local club matches. I have experienced none of this. The longest distance I've had to move is maybe 12 yards. Most stages have maybe 3 positions. I've watched videos of recent Area and Nationals and it's much of the same.

 

Are there any matches that incorporate the stuff of yesteryear anymore? Is there a reason why we don't see stages that require more physicality? Would you guys want to see more of this?

 

Just a noob here asking you more experienced guys. Seems to me like these physical elements would make stages more interesting.

 

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I've been shooting for about 4 years and I've never once shot a stage with a cooper tunnel, and only a few times can I remember moving 30+ yards. I'm 41 and I think of myself as among the younger set, although that is changing. I like physical stages but I totally get the complaint that it becomes less of a shooting skill test. If an athletic B class shooter can win the stage, then i think it was poorly designed.

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1 hour ago, anonymouscuban said:

Are there any matches that incorporate the stuff of yesteryear anymore? Is there a reason why we don't see stages that require more physicality? Would you guys want to see more of this?

 

Just a noob here asking you more experienced guys. Seems to me like these physical elements would make stages more interesting.

 

The game has evolved over time and will continue to do so.  At this point the focus in USPSA tends to favor the quantity of shooting over some of the other aspects.  However, I've still shot plenty stages this year with long runs, low ports, prone shooting, technical setups, long/difficult targets, cooper tunnels, balance beams, etc.  It just depends on what matches you go to and who sets up your local matches.  

 

The word practical in USPSA is mostly legacy and reflects how the game originated at that point in time.  Today it has evolved into a true game focused on testing the ability of a human to plan and execute a task using a handgun.  The practical still lives in the base of the skills: safe/controlled gun handling, quick gun manipulation, marksmanship, accuracy at speed.  So the practical ability to handle and shoot a firearm does come out of the pursuit of shooting USPSA but beyond that it is a game of elevating skill where the stages provide a problem to solve as a test and not anything "practical".

Edited by theWacoKid
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Practical gun fight :    You stand with a concealed weapon, under clothing.

 

                                      The start signal is someone punches you in the head.

 

                                      And, they keep punching you in the head until you fire a shot.

 

                                     (I'm just being nice here and NOT having them start you by stabbing you or firing at you,

                                       and there's only ONE person).

 

                                      You draw and fire most of the entire mag in a panic.

 

                                      Hopefully you "neutralize" the opponent, because you probably don't have access to

                                      a reload, or the extra mag is hidden away where it will take too long to access.

 

                                      The ambulance arrives to take both of you to the hospital, followed by the police,

                                       and the lawyers.

 

You sure you want a more "practical" COF ?

 

 

 

 

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Hmm... makes sense that those that pioneered the sport are now the ones designing the stages and are older. What's funny is that I am no spring chicken. I will be 49 in January but I'm still in great physical shape. Most people think I'm in my mid to late 30's. I feel 25!!!

I would love to find some matches that incorporate more physical challenges. Not that I've at all mastered any of the this stuff but it seems fun and challenging.

Next year, I plan on traveling to shoot some matches. Maybe I will encounter some of these stages elsewhere. Hope so.




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I feel the same way about wanting more physicality. I actually set up the matches at my club, but sadly I know most of my clientele are old, so I don't feel I can do too much that's crazy.

 

My dream would be integrating some ninja warrior-type obstacles in a match. And while 3gun seems to be a possible outlet for this, the multiple guns and other junk make it too ridiculous for me. I don't get the "drag racing" feeling in 3 gun that I do in USPSA.

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25 minutes ago, Barcode1337 said:

My dream would be integrating some ninja warrior-type obstacles in a match. 

 

That's not the spirit of USPSA and would completely ruin the game so you'll have to find it elsewhere.  

 

Physical activity and challenges included in a stage are one thing but an obstacle course is over the line. Let 3gun keep the dumb activities to themselves. 

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I see plenty of physical matches in this area. I think if youre not coming off a stage short of breath you probably werent sprinting fast enough. And to me practical is definitely subjective but also how you apply what youve learned. 
There is a lot of stuff that goes into shooting. And you learn much of that getting reps in. And so shooting is shooting. How you apply it in a a tactical or self defense scenario is up to you. I think mastering the basics and the tasks associated with shooting allows you to use your brain to figure out the tactical problem. Or self defense problem. 
i wont get too far into the weeds but blue ridge 3gun is one of the most physically demanding matches there is. From what i hear. Ive never shot it. 
Also check out the tactical games. And check out Drop Zone Gunner (set up and ran by jeremy griffin). i think these would be right up your alley dude! Good luck!

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Could always just do a 50 yard Sprint before it's your turn.

 

That's what I do during training. Our practice bays are 50x50 yards so I usually do at least a 25 yard sprint to get my heart rate elevated and then start the course of fire I'm practicing. Nothing like a 40 yard sprint to try to shoot the plate rack at 10 yards. Try that 5 times in a row.

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21 hours ago, obsessiveshooter said:

I've been shooting for about 4 years and I've never once shot a stage with a cooper tunnel, and only a few times can I remember moving 30+ yards. I'm 41 and I think of myself as among the younger set, although that is changing. I like physical stages but I totally get the complaint that it becomes less of a shooting skill test. If an athletic B class shooter can win the stage, then i think it was poorly designed.
 

 

the thing is, that even on the athletic stages, the best shooters still win. Look at A3, which is always significantly more physical than other area matches.... no athletic B shooters winning there.

 

Closer to home, we do an outlaw 1911-only match here in idaho that includes some stages with 100-150 yards of running, dashing in and out of trenches, etc.... It's fun as hell, but the same guys win that always win, because the bottom line is a 30 yard run only takes a few seconds and the best shooters are shooting much sooner and more accurately at the end of it.

 

I personally enjoy more physical stages, but the reality is that most people (not just shooters) are lazy and fat, so I put alternatives in. Don't want to go through the tunnel? Take an extra 4 seconds and go around.  Don't want to go prone in the middle of a stage? Go to 2 different widely separated positions where the same targets are available,... etc....

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The real answer is if you want to see that stuff, volunteer and make those stages yourself. I like you have always been drawn to the physicality of what I saw in the "old days" I have been helping run matches for many years now and finally decided to just start doing some of them, so this season I ran  3 stages with Cooper tunnels at level 1,2 and 3 matches and 2 stages with climb over obstacles (shorter than I would like but its a start), what I have found is as long as you give a reasonable option to avoid the athletic part people are pretty happy.

 

A reasonable alternative should be a disadvantage but not so bad that it kills someones match, think a couple seconds longer not 10s of seconds.

Also for cooper tunnels specifically try to force the shooters to shoot from very close to it to on both sides to reintroduce the risk of a penalty for knocking a stick off, no fair that only those that go through face the risk of penalties. 

 

PS watching the national champ shoot on the move while going through a cooper tunnel is pretty cool

Edited by MikeBurgess
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Come out to a Run N Gun match, as suggested above. This was a stage from the Legion 9/11 Memorial RnG held at Rockcastle this year. (This was obviously not my match run. I was an RO and once the match was over, several of us went out to run the stage again before tearing it down ).  7 stages separated by about 8 miles of difficult trail and a bunch of other physical obstacles. It's the most fun you can have with a gun in your hand, guaranteed.

 

 

 

Edited by ClangClang
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On 10/20/2019 at 11:06 AM, perttime said:

If you include long sprints, very low ports, and tight tunnels ... people will complain. "Hey! We came here for the shooting, not for an obstacle course. Besides, if I go prone, I need somebody to help me get up."

You joke. But if I go prone, I need someone to help me up. 😋

 

Each club is different and tends to do different things. Major matches will have all of that though.  Shooters are doing weird John Wick Gymkata type stuff at those.

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On 10/20/2019 at 10:58 AM, anonymouscuban said:

Are there any matches that incorporate the stuff of yesteryear anymore? Is there a reason why we don't see stages that require more physicality? Would you guys want to see more of this?

Just a noob here asking you more experienced guys. Seems to me like these physical elements would make stages more interesting.

 

3 hours ago, ClangClang said:

Come out to a Run N Gun match, as suggested above. This was a stage from the Legion 9/11 Memorial RnG held at Rockcastle this year. (This was obviously not my match run. I was an RO and once the match was over, several of us went out to run the stage again before tearing it down ).  7 stages separated by about 8 miles of difficult trail and a bunch of other physical obstacles. It's the most fun you can have with a gun in your hand, guaranteed.

 

I've been doing these Run & Gun matches for about 3 years (in addition to USPSA) and in that time I've seen them grow in popularity and the level of competition.  They're not replacing anything, just filling a niche which apparently is present for certain types of personalities.  Several of my USPSA buddies now do a few of these a year too.  They can be brutal for the individual who pushes themselves, which is the fun and challenge of it.  The video posted above is only one stage of several you shoot along the course.  That stage may be 1/2 mile into the event or 5 miles into the event, and you have to run through that terrain from stage to stage carrying ALL of your gear and navigating obstacles along the way........and the clock is running the entire time. 

The Rockcastle one @ClangClang mentioned is run by a guy that is a member here.  I believe he was doing the Pawnee event and decided to start his own out east and has had good success.  The guys that run Lead Farm 3-Gun (Tooth & Nail Armory) up in Missouri have started one and it is also challenging.  They are good 3-Gun shooters and are also members here.  I know of several members here who do the Pawnee event (one in January & one in July) to supplement their other competition shooting interests.  There are several down in Texas that are a good tough challenge, Waco, Pecos, etc.  People come from all over the States to try these things.  I have no idea if this type of competition is available for @anonymouscuban out in California or anywhere out west, but if you're really looking for something very physically challenging combined with shooting then investigate one of these, train for it, and give it a go.

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