Home / Podcast / Little Things that Make a Good Match – 172

Little Things that Make a Good Match – 172

The difference between a really good match, and an average match isn’t a lot of super crazy, hard to do things. It’s simple really, and in this episode we talk about a few of the things that set some matches apart from others.

  • Matches should have clearly labelled safe areas. It doesn’t matter if the game happening at the range requires it or not, take the time and setup a clearly labelled safe area. All you need is a table facing a berm somewhere, and something labeling it as the designated safe area. A lot of ranges in our area just have people holster up at their car, and that’s just not preferable.
  • Clearly written stage descriptions. Often, Range Officers will walk through all of the stages before the match with the Match Director and be told how the stages are to be shot. Then, maybe 3 or 4 hours later, they finally arrive at a stage and are expected to remember exactly how the stage was supposed to be shot. Was it a loaded table start or unloaded? I know I’ve cried foul a couple times when I’ve noticed the squad behind me shooting the stage differently than I did. Take a minute, and write out the stage descriptions for your match, it’s not hard to do.
  • The 180* boundary should be clear. This is more of a USPSA specific thing, as IDPA allows for the use of muzzle safe points (which I really like, good job IDPA). Some bays at different ranges don’t have a backstop that’s parallel to the 180*. In this case, doing something simple like setting up the rearmost fault line parallel to the 180* gives a reference point for shooters and Range Officers.
  • Buddy System for New Shooters: Back when we had Ben Stoeger on the podcast he mentioned that ranges near him have a buddy system for new shooters, where newbies are assigned to an experienced shooter to help them and answer their questions during the match. I think it’s a great idea, and I’m surprised the ranges around here don’t do this.
  • Have a clear procedure for what to do with brass. It’s a little things, but I’ve given a lot of unimpressed glares to people when they start picking up “my” brass. I don’t really care how you do it, but I think the best way is to tell everyone to leave the brass on the ground all day, and after the match, let them pick up brass from the bay they finish on. It’s simple, and leave the brass for the people who stick around and help tear down, etc.
  • Use Practiscore. For those who don’t know, Practiscore is a match administration software that allows shooters to sign up for, and squad for an upcoming match ahead of time. It’s fantastic for many reasons, I like it because it keeps the match from having too many people show up. Once the specified amount of shooters have showed up, the match is full and more people aren’t able to sign up. It’s also great because it eliminates having someone sit in a stats shack all day entering data, and it spits out scores really quickly and distributes them via email to the shooters.

The News

The Holly Springs, NC police department is setting up a couple parking spaces at their new police department for online commerce (craigslist sales, basically) but they’re specifically not allowing people to sell firearms there. I think they’re being a little weird about banning the sales but whatever.

Strict scrutiny was applied to the Maryland assault weapons ban by judges in the 4th circuit this week. They overturned the AWB and the hi-capacity magazine ban. Awesome. Here’s more from Andrew Branca over at Legal Insurrection.

A VA man who was open carrying was robbed of his gun last week. He’s lucky that the bad guys only took his gun and not his life. If you’re going to open carry, get a retention holster. I like the Safariland ALS, it’s the best thing going.


About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


  1. “They overturned the AWB and the hi-capacity magazine ban.” Actually, that’s not quite right. The appellate court sent the matter back to the trial court, with instructions to do it over but applying strict scrutiny. The result of that SHOULD be overturning the AWB and hi-capacity mag ban, but the appellate court ruling by itself did not do that. Sorry if I was unclear on that point.

    Your blog posts just keep getting better, by the way, particularly in their relevance to competitive shooting. You guys have discovered TRUTH via EXPERIENCE. You’re doing a true service by sharing it. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

  2. Assigning seasoned shooters to new shooters has worked well for our club. Not only does it reduce the stress on everyone involved, it’s also helped our club deal with the handful of know-it-alls who haven’t ever shot a match, but are too cool to accept direction (an Internet Expert accounted for our club’s only NG).

    Thanks for opening my eyes on brassing. At the nearby USPSA and IDPA matches, the practice is for other members of the squad to police a shooter’s brass after each run. When the temperature’s heading towards 100 degrees, picking up brass nine times in every stage can really knock the stuffing out of you.

    It didn’t take long to notice that a couple shooters tended to handle the taping chores (switching off with their friends).

    It tends to make you cranky.

    I really like the idea of brassing as a group at the end of a stage, or even cleaning up at the final stage of the day.

    Keep up the good work.

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