I often go to matches and hear folks comment on how it takes 3-4 hours for only a few minutes of shooting. Yes, it’s true that SCSA and USPSA matches are half day events where the competitors spend very little time shooting. The time is spent on stage reset between competitors and socializing with squad mates. However, sometimes there is a lot of time wasted between competitors, especially at local matches which lack stage ROs to keep things moving. Let’s look at how you can be ready to Make Ready and keep your match flowing.
SCSA – Steel Challenge stages have very quick reset because there are only 5 plates that need painted, but the next competitors preparing their gear can take time. Competitors shooting centerfire divisions are usually not a problem because their gun is in a holster and magazines are in pouches on their belt. It’s the rimfire and PCC divisions where folks bring their cased firearm and magazines to the line that can sometimes slow things down. Mostly because there are some misconceptions about what those competitors can be doing while others are downrange painting plates.
While the stage is being reset, competitors can set cased firearms on the provided table. The competitors can also remove loaded magazines from their case (provided they are not in the same compartment as the firearm) and pre-stage those on the table. They cannot unzip their gun case until the RO gives the Make Ready command. At the end of the stage, once the firearm in placed in the case and the case is zipped/latched closed, the RO calls Range is Clear and stage reset can occur. During this time the competitor who shot is allowed to leave the cased firearm on the table as they gather up their magazines. As soon as the previous competitor has gathered their gear and left, the next competitor should start the process of placing their gear.
Another thing we encourage (but not require) in SCSA is for long guns to be cased/uncased at the side berm or a designated area. Competitors then bring their flagged rimfire rifles or PCCs to the shooting position with the muzzle pointing up. They are allowed to be at the shooting position with the firearm held this way while stage reset is being done. They can even set magazines on the table. They just can’t lower the muzzle or remove the chamber flag until Make Ready. At the end of the stage, the competitor clears and flags the firearm per the range commands and then the RO gives Range is Clear after the competitor is holding the firearm muzzle up. The stage reset begins while the competitor returns their long gun to the case at the side berm/designated area. This does speed things up a bit.
USPSA – Pretty much the same as SCSA. If you are shooting a handgun, be near the start position with all your gear and ready for the Make Ready command when the stage reset is complete. If you are shooting a PCC, be near the start position with your flagged PCC uncased and held with the muzzle up. And a reminder for all our ROs, if the start position does not have any target views, competitors can request to make ready at a position where a target is visible and then move to the start position after the firearm has been prepared. They can even make ready a step or two from the start position. All of this happens under RO supervision after the Make Ready command. They are under RO control. And what about competitors carrying PCCs around as they watch their targets being scored? That is fine too, as long as the PCC stays flagged with the muzzle up.
Please keep these things in mind when shooting matches. An extra few seconds for each competitor per stage does add up over the course of the match. It doesn’t seem like it at the start of the day, but by the end of the day when everyone is tired it does.
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