There was a recent question in the Triangle Tactical Facebook group asking about what sort of things a Range Officer should bring when working a match. I thought I’d put together a list of things that are nice to have and make them into an episode.
Coincidentally, most of the things on the list are also helpful to have around in your practice sessions as well, so even if you’re not a range officer, you might pick up a couple ideas for your personal use.
Pistol grip thing that snaps onto paint cans: If you’re working a stage that has a lot of steel, you’ll thank me. It makes a TON of difference in the ease of painting.
Duct Tape: If you’re really concerned about competitive equity (which you should be at every match, but at least at Level 2 and up matches) you can allow the target sticks on swingers and drop turners to soak up a few more bullets on these targets if you wrap the sticks in duct tape before stapling the targets to them. Swingers and drop turners are more apt to get bullets in the sticks since they’re moving around, so it’s a good idea to give them a good wrap of duct tape before hanging the targets.
Some sort of brass squib stick. Not because you’ll be hammering out peoples squibs, but because it’s nice to be able to check if the barrel of a gun is clear right on the bay. You don’t have to buy an actual squib stick, a 5/16″ brass rod from Amazon will do the trick nicely.
Your own stapler. Get one that throws really long staples. I like the ½” ones. Long staples are helpful for situations when you have something like a no-shoot target stapled on top of a regular target. Shorter staples have trouble getting through that much cardboard and reaching the target sticks, and you end up with no-shoots falling off, and poor competitive equity.
A 9V battery or two. Sucks to have to find the MD or the Quartermaster to try and get a new battery if the one in your assigned timer goes dead. Having a spare in your range bag keeps the match moving.
Overlays. I always misplace them in my range bag, so I started keeping two of them in my wallet. Actually bought a new wallet yesterday and found 4 overlays in it when swapping everything over to the new one. If you’re able to whip them out nice and quick when a shooter asks, you’ll be favored over being the RO that has to yell up range asking if anybody knows where an overlay is.
A tarp. Good for several things. I’ve seen ROs at majors who are working a stage that’s mostly stationary put a tarp on the ground to catch brass. When I was working the 2015 Nc USPSA Sectional we used my tarp to put a wall on the side of the shelter we were under to keep our stuff dry. Also worked great.
Tools. Basic stuff like a phillips screwdriver and a flat head, as well as a crescent wrench big enough to adjust poppers at your club, etc. Personally, I wouldn’t bring my nice tools to a match, it’s too easy for someone to borrow them for another bay and forget to bring them back. Just make a trip to Harbor Freight and get a few cheapies just for the RO box.
Sharpie: So you can mark the sticks of any targets that need to be changed.
Zip ties. Not necessarily for stage props or anything, but if you’re working a multi day match there’s always a chance you’ll break something that can easily be remedied with a zip tie.
Name tag. Especially if you’re ROing a major and you’re not wearing a shirt that has your name on it, having a name tag so shooters know who you are is a good thing.