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Excessively Hard Shooting Challenges - MD's need to know the skill set of their customer base


CHA-LEE
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I think the best stages are those that appear simple and can probably be shot cleanly by a twelve-year old.

 

Let the shooter make the mistakes by trying to go too fast or shoot something on the move to save that fraction of a second. From a stage design perspective this is easier to design into a short/medium course with a lot of movement, for example a 4-5 Hit Factor stage.

 

A large course could have a single location that can mess with a shooter, have them run to one side of the berm and engage two 6" plates set apart about 15 yards and see how many people can do it in just two shots. Just about anyone can do it, but someone tries to do it too fast, misses one, starts to leave and then has to go back. 

 

I don't think there is a need for difficult or impossible shots, the challenge comes from doing the achievable, quickly.

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I think the addition of optics, as in pcc and carry optics, is a contributing factor in making shots more difficult on stages. Optics have pretty much taken over, and I have seen at least one MD who shot carry optics who intentionally made a lot of shots very difficult in order to “challenge” carry optics. I have no idea if this is prevalent or not. “Make it hard for the rifles” is sometimes heard.

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While I’ll agree with your sentiment on club matches and even state level matches… 

 

I disagree regarding area matches and nationals.
 

I want to see unique and even difficult stages at matches like this… and that ain’t gonna be everyone’s cup of tea… but at the top of this game… stages at Nationals should be of some challenge to even the best of the best. 

 

Nationals shouldn’t be easy for your average C-class competitor that puts very little effort in to the sport. 

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3 hours ago, Dirty_J said:

Nationals shouldn’t be easy for your average C-class competitor that puts very little effort in to the sport. 

 

Nationals shouldn't be easy for the top GMs but still need to be doable by the B and C shooters. 

 

What they need to be is challenging for all.  One way to make it challenging is to design stages that have multiple ways to shoot them.

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15 hours ago, echotango said:

@motosapiens

I think there were about 60 that shot on staff day at A2 and only 5 shot it with no penalties. Several with 20+.

 

Well, just because all the shots are makeable doesn't mean everyone will make them all, lol. Especially old half-blind RO's (like me).

 

I didn't shoot any of the matches charlie mentioned, but in general, if I have no penalties in a 14-18 stage match, it means I dawdled and over-aimed. OTOH, if I have 8 or 10 mikes, something is probably not right.

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3 hours ago, Dirty_J said:

While I’ll agree with your sentiment on club matches and even state level matches… 

 

I disagree regarding area matches and nationals.
 

I want to see unique and even difficult stages at matches like this… and that ain’t gonna be everyone’s cup of tea… but at the top of this game… stages at Nationals should be of some challenge to even the best of the best. 

 

Nationals shouldn’t be easy for your average C-class competitor that puts very little effort in to the sport. 

I could not disagree with this more.

 

The idea that Nationals and Area matches should be fundamentally different matches than everyone's monthly club match is like saying that nationals for this sport should be a different sport.  

 

Nationals should be the showcase for what the sport is not some different version that it typically isn't. 

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5 minutes ago, MikeBurgess said:

I could not disagree with this more.

 

The idea that Nationals and Area matches should be fundamentally different matches than everyone's monthly club match is like saying that nationals for this sport should be a different sport.  

 

Nationals should be the showcase for what the sport is not some different version that it typically isn't. 

I agree with this. I also agree that many monthly local matches (not yours, lol) should probably be harder.

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18 hours ago, rowdyb said:

If you're connected with stages and the words "force" "mess" or "screw" come to mind I'd say you're making a mistake.

 

 

 yes and no,

 

I often when setting stages think in those very terms, but not in the way of make the targets "hard" 

I'll move a target to "force" the shooter to move, or "mess" with the flow, sometimes I'll get the layout right and "screw" with where a division will need to reload.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, MikeBurgess said:

I could not disagree with this more.

 

The idea that Nationals and Area matches should be fundamentally different matches than everyone's monthly club match is like saying that nationals for this sport should be a different sport.  

 

Nationals should be the showcase for what the sport is not some different version that it typically isn't. 

I’m not saying the matches should be “fundamentally different”… I’m saying the challenges should scale with the level of the match. 
 

And inherently Nationals “will” be different from many club matches… some are exceedingly easy… and some are regularly presenting more technical stages. 

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1 minute ago, Dirty_J said:

I’m not saying the matches should be “fundamentally different”… I’m saying the challenges should scale with the level of the match. 
 

And inherently Nationals “will” be different from many club matches… some are exceedingly easy… and some are regularly presenting more technical stages. 

I think then that's more of a problem with bad local matches, if your locals are good then nationals should be more of the same. 

Nationals stages should be the standard that club matches strive to replicate. 

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1 minute ago, MikeBurgess said:

I think then that's more of a problem with bad local matches, if your locals are good then nationals should be more of the same. 

Nationals stages should be the standard that club matches strive to replicate. 

Agree 100% here. 
 

My home club is a reasonably challenging local, with lots of GM heat … our newer shooters attending their first Level II rarely walk away without saying “how easy” their first major was. They have a local match experience I fear very few in USPSA get…

 

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As a beginner at USPSA and shooting handguns in general I'm one of those people who just can't make some of the more challenging shots. One of the first matches I went to had a texas star at 25 yards with no shoots covering about 70% of it so only the right side was visible. This might not sound difficult to you guys but for me they might as well have been asking me to shoot a quarter at 100 yards. I hit the first plate then ended the stage because the pile of penalties was probably less costly than spending the next five minutes trying to hit the other plates and put 20 rounds into no shoots. I still go to that club because I'm a glutton for punishment (and to be fair there hasn't been anything that difficult since then) but it definitely left a bad taste in the mouth of some other people who were shooting their first match and I haven't seen them since.

 

I don't think stages should necessarily be designed with people as bad as me in mind (otherwise it would all be open targets at 5 yards) but in my opinion if there's a strong possibility that it's less costly to skip a target entirely than try to engage it at all then it might be too difficult. When I see head boxes surrounded by no shoots at 25-30 yards my plan becomes "shoot vaguely in that direction to avoid a failure to engage penalty" rather than attempting to shoot the target. Personally, I don't find that fun.

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All excellent points. 

 

Humans being human, though, I think people struggle with defining reasonableness. 

 

In a different but similar vein, people will comment on how physical a particular stage or match is. The extreme positions are "so you just want a bunch of classifiers" and "USPSA isn't a track meet." Neither extreme is desirable or reasonable. Same concept applies to this discussion. 

 

Tough shots? Great. Tough stages? Hell yeah. 

 

Fiendishly impossible stages that involve a prop that only one particular club uses? Nope. 

 

Any shooter can make pretty much any stage or array hard. The newer guy makes it hard because, well, he's new. The more experienced guy makes it hard because he's going to be more aggressive on an entry or exit. 

 

A very large match in the desert southwest had you shoot 20 yd partials while riding a mining cart. Silly. 

Same match had you sitting in a flying saucer and scooting around "flying" the saucer. Silly. 

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Should strive to set up stages that are challenging for the veterans but still doable for all others who have also paid/helped out to play. A stage with many alternatives will provide as much of a challenge as a 20yd shot covered with no shoots,  The clock will weed out the weak….  The addition of PCC and the prevalence of optics seem to have helped to drive difficulty levels up as many forget when your trying to challenge a GM level PCC competitor with a 32rnd 20-30yd stage design you just decimated a D class Production shooter that may never bring his $$/Support back to the range.  
FYI,  I’m C classified in Prod/Rev/L-10/Lim/CO and currently Open,  I’ve been able to complicate even the simplest stages myself😂

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3 hours ago, Dirty_J said:

I’m not saying the matches should be “fundamentally different”… I’m saying the challenges should scale with the level of the match. 
 

And inherently Nationals “will” be different from many club matches… some are exceedingly easy… and some are regularly presenting more technical stages. 

 

I don't want to cause strife...... But have you gone to the Nationals in the past several years? The stages usually ARE different than what we see at most Level 1/2 matches. They are also "Different" in a worse way. For example, they are heavily biased towards Run, Stop, Shoot, position to position style stages with VERY LITTLE opportunities for blending positions together while engaging targets on the move or out right shooting on the move. There is also very little stage strategy decisions needed as most of the stages end up with most people using the exact same stage plan because there is no other viable strategy option. The Nationals should be testing the FULL RANGE of practical shooting skills in a balanced manner. This DOESN'T HAPPEN at the Nationals and should.

 

Making stages more difficult at major matches should be done by providing shooters the opportunity to deploy a wider array of skills within the stage. Not taking the easy way out and simply putting targets at unreasonable distances over and over from one stage to the next and forcing everyone to eat the same $hit Sandwich to see who can "Survive" the best..... 🤮

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31 minutes ago, CHA-LEE said:

 

I don't want to cause strife...... But have you gone to the Nationals in the past several years? The stages usually ARE different than what we see at most Level 1/2 matches. They are also "Different" in a worse way. For example, they are heavily biased towards Run, Stop, Shoot, position to position style stages with VERY LITTLE opportunities for blending positions together while engaging targets on the move or out right shooting on the move. There is also very little stage strategy decisions needed as most of the stages end up with most people using the exact same stage plan because there is no other viable strategy option. The Nationals should be testing the FULL RANGE of practical shooting skills in a balanced manner. This DOESN'T HAPPEN at the Nationals and should.

 

Making stages more difficult at major matches should be done by providing shooters the opportunity to deploy a wider array of skills within the stage. Not taking the easy way out and simply putting targets at unreasonable distances over and over from one stage to the next and forcing everyone to eat the same $hit Sandwich to see who can "Survive" the best..... 🤮

I skipped this year but went to Open/Limited in 2021, I was shooting Open and I believe there were 3 stages I was very glad I was not shooting Limited, so I can understand the issue. 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, GigG said:

Let's all remember.  With the hardest possible stage the guy that shoots it best gets all the points and everyone scores on that curve. 

yes, but

at a certain point with difficult shots it becomes a matter of luck if you get the hits or not. like a 25 yard head box, even top shooters will be random on the ratio of As to Cs, they will get their hits but the score is less of a direct skill test at that point.

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1 minute ago, MikeBurgess said:

yes, but

at a certain point with difficult shots it becomes a matter of luck if you get the hits or not. like a 25 yard head box, even top shooters will be random on the ratio of As to Cs, they will get their hits but the score is less of a direct skill test at that point.

 

Hitting a 6x6 inch square at 25 yards shouldn't be a matter of luck. Getting an A instead of a C at that range is.  And there should be things in a match that us mortals can't do that the top guys in the match can.  

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49 minutes ago, CHA-LEE said:

 

I don't want to cause strife...... But have you gone to the Nationals in the past several years? The stages usually ARE different than what we see at most Level 1/2 matches. They are also "Different" in a worse way. For example, they are heavily biased towards Run, Stop, Shoot, position to position style stages with VERY LITTLE opportunities for blending positions together while engaging targets on the move or out right shooting on the move. There is also very little stage strategy decisions needed as most of the stages end up with most people using the exact same stage plan because there is no other viable strategy option. The Nationals should be testing the FULL RANGE of practical shooting skills in a balanced manner. This DOESN'T HAPPEN at the Nationals and should.

 

Making stages more difficult at major matches should be done by providing shooters the opportunity to deploy a wider array of skills within the stage. Not taking the easy way out and simply putting targets at unreasonable distances over and over from one stage to the next and forcing everyone to eat the same $hit Sandwich to see who can "Survive" the best..... 🤮

Yep. I’ve shot at least one Nationals event per year since 2020. 

 

The stages have been mostly garbage. I’ll agree with that completely. JM and team are a bucha of lazy MDs as far as I’m concerned. Entirely phoned in stages. 
 

The best stages at the Nationals events hosted last month at CMP were borrowed (in spirit at least) from other other majors… such as Area 5 (fixed time stage and the stage with the wall down the middle in zone 3). 
 

The area matches I shot in 2022 were far more challenging than Nationals. It’s a shame to be honest.  

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12 minutes ago, GigG said:

 

Hitting a 6x6 inch square at 25 yards shouldn't be a matter of luck. Getting an A instead of a C at that range is.  And there should be things in a match that us mortals can't do that the top guys in the match can.  

so the challenge is to not have that head box a a range where its luck for a good shooter to get As. 

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