Stage Design Gripes

LawnMM

Harbinger of Sarcasm
Belligerents
Jul 5, 2009
2,490
1,389
219
Colorado
I'll try not to make this too whiney, but:

Can we stop adding artificial silliness in the interest of making things difficult? Design a stage that forces the shooter to navigate it the way you want, don't add silly stressors.

For example, lately I'm seeing three trends I'm not a fan of; so called 'no gear left behind' stages, all ranges being provided at EVERY match and a complete lack of tripod stages.

I've shot matches where you had to carry your gear from stage to stage, fine with that, makes us be selective about the shit we bring along.

One of my first matches was the Hide Cup in Wyoming put on by CD. They had the 'gut check' hill stage.

You started at the bottom, ran up this steep ass hill with all your gear (or whatever you thought you'd need), time paused for stage brief, resumes and you engage.

I'm fine with that 100%. If I want to use a tripod at the top, my dumb ass better haul it up there with me.

Also seeing the bring everything with you requirement on much smaller stages requiring essentially no movement.

My argument is the whole 'practical scenario' thing. If I arrive at a stage with three props, a barrel / barricade / rooftop and I know I can accomplish this stage carrying the rifle and a game changer or maybe another bag for the rooftop, why would I bring a tripod, pack with water, etc. etc. from one prop to the next?

If it was a military / hunting / LE / WTFever scenario you would never do that. You'd drop what you didn't need to make the shots and all your food, rain gear, water, tripod, bug spray, whatever would be close by if needed.

Feels like the whole 'carry everything' is added to make an otherwise easy stage harder.

Why not build the stage scenario around movement or positions like the CD guys and you bring what you think you need and if you leave something behind then oh well, make it work?

A lot of stuff we bring, particularly at bigger hike around the landscape national matches is stuff you have to make life at the match easier or manageable. Sunblock, water, rain gear, tools, cleaning rods, etc. Good to have but not 'necessary' to shoot with, it's more for life between stages.

Seems contrived to me.

Also not a fan of the whole no LRFs and no tripod stages. Some of us started with crappy gear, we worked hard, saved up, traded up, begged / borrowed / swindled our way to acquiring better stuff that works better and provides the best advantage to shooting...

And now none of the stages require or utilize that gear anymore. I've heard (LRFs in particular) this is to avoid a gear race or unfair advantage based on equipment.

Look around a national two day+ match at the shit people are carrying and tell me there's no equipment advantages walking around and the sport is devoid of any gear race.

I personally enjoyed the 'older school's stages where they were intentionally designed to not be cleanable in the allotted time, so you had to be smart enough to realize that and make every shot you took to succeed instead of racing to get your shots off and missing most in the process.

Seems like lately we're adding dumb shit to create difficulty where there isn't any.

Seems like LRFs and tripods are so good we just don't use them now in the interest of 'fairness' but you've got guys shooting in a single division pitting the guy with the factory Savage against a 30lb 6BR.

It's not fair, or equal, neither is life, we should stop pretending it is. Split the field into classes and you rank up at the end of each season based on performance not what gear you're carrying.

Thoughts?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Birddog6424

hoodoo

Private
Minuteman
Jun 25, 2019
24
12
6
I guess I'm a little opposite. I love the stages that get you out of your comfort zone, which is why I would think MD's design stages where you have to "carry all your gear up a hill." Anything to get someone out of their comfort zone. I love stages with movement, adding one more element to this game.

As far as tripods and equipment, that to me is up to the MD. Some MD's design their stages around tripods, some design them to be cleanable with just a bag. Who cares? You shoot the stage in front of you, and everyone has the same advantage or disadvantage as you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MinnesotaMulisha

FN-Whitney

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jun 14, 2018
132
48
34
I like the idea of different classes but at the same time you can't have 10 classes at a match or you would have 5 people in a class.

Yes there is an aspect of a gear race, there is also an aspect of gear crutch. I'm good either way, we all shoot the stage with the same restrictions and yes my gear makes me a better shooter.

No it will never be fair, there will always be someone who has an advantage either with gear, training, resources or all three. I don't think anybody can argue that.

The only answer I have is to be selective when you pick matches. Don't put yourself in a situation where you don't agree with how the MD set up the match, or test yourself with a match you know will get you out of your comfort zone, maybe a little of both.

As I heard Frank say before, nobody is making a living shooting PRS or NRL, it is a hobby. A expensive, addictive hobby and the more I remember that, the more enjoyment I have and amazingly the better I shoot.
 
  • Like
Reactions: hoodoo

The_Count

I always wanted a title!
Belligerents
Nov 13, 2012
812
221
49
At the last match I attended, I was surprised to find that one of the best shooters for the day used one bag the whole day. They never ran a tripod, and never ran a support bag.

This was eye opening for my shooting partner and I. The guy was a stud, and only carried a rifle, game changer, and backpack. Maybe he had a tripod for spotting, but I never saw him use it on a stage.

It was impressive to see a guy shoot with no crutches.
 

LawnMM

Harbinger of Sarcasm
Belligerents
Jul 5, 2009
2,490
1,389
219
Colorado
Not suggesting 10 classes. Mtn Bike races have four I think three would be perfect, beginner / sport / pro.

Set thresholds for the classes based on percentage of what the winner shoots.

If you shoot 0-33% of the winners score you're a beginner. If you shoot 34-66% of the winners score you're in the sport/intermediate class. If you shoot 67-99% you're a Pro/Expert class.

If you shoot two matches during the year and land in percentage fields above your current rank you 'rank up' automatically and once you advance you can't drop back down to sandbag.

As for movement, like I said, I'm fine with that, even fine with carrying gear so long as the stage design supports what's being asked.

It's the 'do this to simulate that' which starts feeling contrived and wonky instead of practical.
 

FN-Whitney

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jun 14, 2018
132
48
34
Don't you think some of the contrived stages come from MD trying to do something different and maybe they are just out of ideas?
 

LawnMM

Harbinger of Sarcasm
Belligerents
Jul 5, 2009
2,490
1,389
219
Colorado
I double checked the definition before using it in this context 😁

Created or arranged in a way that seems artificial and unrealistic!

I guess my point is we're losing the practical elements of the sport and I kinda miss stuff based on reality when I'm waiting for my turn to shoot off a toilet or something 🙄
 

FN-Whitney

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jun 14, 2018
132
48
34
Do you think some of this would end and go back to realistic scenarios is there were less matches?
 

LawnMM

Harbinger of Sarcasm
Belligerents
Jul 5, 2009
2,490
1,389
219
Colorado
Don't you think some of the contrived stages come from MD trying to do something different and maybe they are just out of ideas?
For sure. Frank did an interview with Jacob Bynum from Rifles Only a while back and they touched on some of this. All the rifles only stages were based on after action reports from actual engagements.

Their advice for match directors was to be creative.

My point is, we're seeing the same stages at every match with dumb shit added with the hope of making it challenging or difficult.

Problem is you're still shooting the same generic barricade stage only now you have to do it hopping on one foot so it's different.

So I'm standing there like "why the fuck would I hop on one foot, that's dumb."

We're adding dumb shit that makes the stage IMpractical in hopes of making it different.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FN-Whitney

lowlight

HMFIC of this Shit
Staff member
Online Training Access
Apr 12, 2001
28,936
9,361
219
Base of the Rockies
www.snipershide.com
Getting to the obstacle and then moving to the next along with target size is a way to mix it up.

I actually agree with Joel Wise when he says, Match needs to increase the time, reduce the number of stages and build better stages in their place. They are trying to do too much with too little and in some cases with too many people.

The stages need to go to 3 minutes apiece, you can have a few that are shorter but within reason. Then I suggest a Pro and AM target package at every stage. Big and Small, from there it's about movement. This is not just for a logistical reason, but a safety one too.

Going back to fighting with the bolt gun vs playing a game with them. Instead mix it up, like Gunwerks, Phil has a PRS day and a Field Day, one is similar to what we see in typical matches, then a field day that is a mix of military and hunting stages
 

FN-Whitney

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jun 14, 2018
132
48
34
I have you heard you talk about the different targets sizes before and think that would help "grow the sport" more than anything else I have heard mentioned.
 

LawnMM

Harbinger of Sarcasm
Belligerents
Jul 5, 2009
2,490
1,389
219
Colorado
I think the pro/am targetry is a good idea. I also think the time element needs work.

There's an assumption right now that 'everything is cleanable'

That just makes people rush around that much more with a loaded rifle. I haven't personally encountered one that wasn't safe, but that's based on my meager ability after doing these matches for 8ish years.

Some of it probably compresses time to the point where newer shooters may be getting pushed harder than is really safe unless they're extremely self aware and humble enough to realize it's beyond their ability and they shouldn't try to 'clean it.'

Maybe along with the pro/am targets we can have pro/am times. Give the new guys an extra minute or two as they're still figuring a lot of this out on the clock.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FN-Whitney

hoodoo

Private
Minuteman
Jun 25, 2019
24
12
6
Maybe along with the pro/am targets we can have pro/am times. Give the new guys an extra minute or two as they're still figuring a lot of this out on the clock.

In club matches I'm all for that. Give the newer guys more opportunity to have fun and hit targets, because that's what this sport is, hitting steel.

But, and a big but. We are talking about National matches here aren't we? If you sign up for a national match, all bets are off. Armature time limits are for club matches. Don't start dragging that stuff into National level matches.
 

lowlight

HMFIC of this Shit
Staff member
Online Training Access
Apr 12, 2001
28,936
9,361
219
Base of the Rockies
www.snipershide.com
National Level matches aren't anymore, they are simply larger 1 day matches expanded to an extra day. Hell in some cases they shoot the same stages, twice.

They are having problems with attendance, safety, and stagecraft.


If you want Pro Level Two day matches, make them a Pro level event. They are glorified BS right now
 

lowlight

HMFIC of this Shit
Staff member
Online Training Access
Apr 12, 2001
28,936
9,361
219
Base of the Rockies
www.snipershide.com
Having a Pro/AM in the same match is simple

We did the SHC as a Team vs Individual, same stages, small-time change, everything else scored the same. You just have two lists, one for individuals, one for teams.

Having a Pro side and Am Side has ZERO Bearing on the match, some of you are just too ignorant to understand. This shit is easy and solvable to a create a better experience for EVERYONE
 

Sheldon N

Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut
Belligerents
Sep 24, 2014
3,628
2,401
219
Pacific Northwest
Things I have encountered in match stages that I'm not fond of.

Unlimited round count barrel burner stages that force rapid fire high round engagement. Multiple spinners, stuff that has you burning off 15-20+ rounds in <2 minutes.

Wildly wobbly props - ropes, chains, t-posts, floating platforms, swingsets. I don't mind a rickety barricade or stuff that isn't rock solid, but sometimes it's over the top.

Stages that introduce too much luck in the outcome. Extreme low percentage shots, stuff that's too hard for anyone to repeatably hit. Sometimes it can be super narrow targets that are susceptible to wind variability. Conditions hold stead and you get a bunch of points, conditions change quickly and you get screwed, lots of effect on match outcome based on what stage you start the day on. If they want to run those kinds of challenging targets, a good MD will spread out stages like that so everyone encounters some of those stages throughout the day.

Stages that are boringly cleanable, where the whole field is pretty much going to hit every shot. Stuff like drop prone and engage a single 2.5 MOA target at 600 yards from one position with 10 rounds.

Stuff I do like....

Stages that are challenging, that require thinking and keeping track of target order, location, number of shots. Stages with a unique shooting problem that is solvable. Positional shooting> prone shooting. Shooter movement > single position. Broader field of fire > narrow shooting lane. Multiple targets > single targets. Time pressure > excessive stage time (within reason).
 

Birddog6424

Sergeant
Belligerents
Apr 25, 2014
1,301
753
219
Boise, Idaho
^^ This...

Carnival stages I call them. Stupid ass props is a better description. Shooting off suspended platforms, saddles on sawhorses, intentionally unstable firing positions, is just dumb. MDs need to stop trying to get cute and come up with a challenging COF that gives shooters a fair opportunity to hit their targets in the time allotted.
 

DisplacedTexan

Ornery Tech Sergeant
Belligerents
Oct 13, 2014
541
105
49
Hill AFB, UT
Stop calling tripods and bags crutches. I bought this stuff to get hits, end of story

Like @Birddog6424 told me the other day, we're shooting open class, so why the fuck are there restrictions in open?

No more offhand nonsense, no more spinners where the only points you get are the from hitting the plate BEHIND the spinner, no more wire spools stacked sideways on each other, no more spinners that you have to spin while both are moving or you get ZERO points for the ten hits on target without spinning one, no Okie shooting lines.

Stop. The. Fucking. Gimmicks.

Parma Precision Rumble is a prime example of how a match should be run. Straight forward, safe and no gimmicks.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Birddog6424

The_Count

I always wanted a title!
Belligerents
Nov 13, 2012
812
221
49
At the last match I attended, I was surprised to find that one of the best shooters for the day used one bag the whole day. They never ran a tripod, and never ran a support bag.

This was eye opening for my shooting partner and I. The guy was a stud, and only carried a rifle, game changer, and backpack. Maybe he had a tripod for spotting, but I never saw him use it on a stage.

It was impressive to see a guy shoot with no crutches.
Quoting myself to add the following. They guy I'm talking about came in second at the match I attended, and won the match the following weekend.

And yes, my shooting partner has a huge man crush on him. Might need to find a new shooting partner soon:p.
 

earthquake

SGT of Marines
Belligerents
Jul 30, 2009
1,792
324
189
Delaware, OH
I like and miss field based matches like the Hide Cup, where you had to find targets and figure your own distances to them. Natural terrain or at least some semblance of urban structure.

I think a lot of problem with matches these days is, they try to cram as many people and stages into each day that it makes it difficult to move 400 people through 20 stages. Therefore, the stage times have to be short and you can't lase targets.

If you think about it, at a 2-day match, you're spending 90-seconds per stage, for 20 stages or less. That's 30 minutes of trigger time, spread out over 2 long days. LOTS of sitting around waiting.

Another issue I think, here in the Midwest anyway, is availability of land. MD's have to get wacky/creative (apparently) 🤷🏼‍♂️ to keep things interesting. There was a match here recently and a prop was a damned swing...4' wide bar hanging from chains. It sucks ass to shoot off of. A couple dudes used a tripod to stop the swing from moving. MD gave them both a stage DQ. 🤷🏼‍♂️

Other matches around here are just a carbon copy of last year's match, over and over. Quite boring. I'm not a MD so I can't bitch too much. I either buy what they're selling, or I don't shoot. May have to travel west next year. 🤔
 

Sheldon N

Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut
Belligerents
Sep 24, 2014
3,628
2,401
219
Pacific Northwest
If you think about it, at a 2-day match, you're spending 90-seconds per stage, for 20 stages or less. That's 30 minutes of trigger time, spread out over 2 long days. LOTS of sitting around waiting.
Setting aside whether you actually like to shoot 90 second vs 2 minute stages, at a match with a 10 person squad you are looking at roughly an extra hour longer to complete the COF with a 2 minute stage time compared to a 90 second stage time.

I've been at some matches with 2:30 par times and they take forever.
 

reubenski

First Sergeant
Belligerents
Jun 8, 2008
2,243
1,550
219
39
Colorado Springs, CO
I think a lot of of dumbass stages come from MD ego. They want the shooters to compete against them rather than having the mindset that they are providing a good match. They want to put their stank on the match. When I'm shooting I give two shits about the MD. I'm trying to beat my fellow competitors. When an MD tries to drag his ideals into a stage to prove some point is when it gets annoying. You get guys that pick a fight with a particular piece of gear. They don't think tripods are realistic or sportsmanlike. They don't like how many bags some low end shooter uses. They want people to drag all their gear over or through an obstacle in a stage. They don't like heavy rifles. They don't like 6mms. Then they MD and it's their chance to try to make a point. It's little man syndrome. I don't care for it.