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What Makes a Good Match Great?

This episode is based on an email I got from Mike, who is helping to get a new USPSA match started at Low Country Preserve in Tabor City, NC.

What advice would you give to a new match director to make a local match really fun and interesting?

Honestly I think you should lose the focus on fun.

Now, don’t take that the wrong way, here’s what I mean: USPSA shooters have the most fun at USPSA match. Stick to the rules, build good stages and stick to the rules.

Did I mention that you should stick to the rules?

Nothing will keep the serious USPSA shooters away from your match, like a match that sacrifices the rules in the name of perceived fun.

What are some of the things you have seen done at local matches to make them run more smoothly?

Balance your stages. We’ve got some local matches that used to be known for getting all backed up, and people remember that, and don’t shoot because of it.

If you’ve got props that aren’t 100%, don’t use them. Crappy steel that falls out of adjustment all the time, falling steel that has trouble staying on posts, carnival props that take forever to reset, and cause reshoots, etc.

What are some of the things that make one local match better than another?

Submit classifiers asap. We’ve got some clubs in the area that submit classifiers the next day, and we’ve got some that might get around to it before their next match next month. Shooters notice, and they talk about it. A lot.
I’m still waiting on an 80% classifier from June to be submitted. I think it’s gone forever, unfortunately.

We’ve got one match in the area that built a reputation for having stages that were all 8 shots through a port, to 8 shots through a port to 8 shots through a port, etc.
Avoid that.

Decent tablets. This is personal, but nooks suck. iPads are the Cadillac of tablets for scoring, and they really do perform better than anything else. They’re expensive though, so don’t sweat it if you cant afford them right away. I would say think about making them a part of your growth plan.

Match bucks. It’s not much for the range to give away, gives the shooter something to actually win, and gives them an incentive to come back. Next match free for division winners, ten bucks off for class winners, something like that.

Are there any “little things” you like to see at a match that make it better for the shooter (ex. water on every stage)?

Shade. If you don’t have shade, find a way to make it. I think more than water, more than snacks or whatever, having shade for shooters is definitely valued.

Well marked safe areas that are easy to get to. IE, I don’t want to walk halfway across the range to find the safe area.

Have spare timer batteries in the range box, Don’t make us run all over the range looking for the RangeMaster when my timer dies, or have to use someone’s awful CED7K from their range bag.

Leave the tablets on each stage, instead of having each squad take the same tablet to each stage. If the tablet stays on a stage all day, and it breaks or something, and you lose all the scores on that tablet, you lose that stage for everyone, but if each squad is taking their tablets from stage to stage, and one breaks, you lose EVERYTHING for that squad, and that’s terrible.

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. I wonder just one thing, why do you call the CED7K awful?

    • I think they’re too small, beep is too high pitched, hard to read in the sunlight, and I always forget to hit review between shooters. The PocketPro2 is far superior in my opinion…

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