Stage Setup

If you are interested in shooting a night for free and enjoy some of the other special privileges for a stage setup, please review our schedule and then contact us or sign-up at the next match.  Setup includes both stage design and setting up the stage. If you have basic idea of what you would like to set up that is a good start; but it can be very helpful to have a simple sketch of the stage. It is also helpful to have a rough idea of how many targets you will want (steel and/or paper), how many walls you will need as well as any other props. Sometimes the most interesting stages may look pretty basic at first but when it comes time to shoot they can fun and challenging. But, if you need some help, don’t hesitate to ask. Chapter 2 and 3 of the USPSA Rule Book will give you some of the basic guidelines for set up, such as target presentation and some safety items.

When designing stages try to keep them as freestyle as possible, meaning that you don’t shoot targets 1-3 from one box, move to box B and shoot targets 4-8 while being able to see all the targets on the range. It means being able to safely shoot all targets as they become visible within the rules of the USPSA. The only big thing to keep an eye on is making sure no shots can pass through the targets into the concrete side walls. Shooters must also remain at safe distance from any steel targets (23-26 feet) and watch out for possible “shoot throughs” (i.e., bullets passing through one target and impacts the side wall or striking a second or third target or no shoot behind it).

As a Level I match, we have a little give in the rules as far as stage design when it comes to round count; But, remember to look for shoot through issues, potential 180 problems and make sure the shooter is far enough away from the steel (26 feet if using a fault line or 23 feet if using a physical barrier as per Rule 2.1.3). If you have any questions feel free to contact us.

Ideas for stages can be pulled from other matches you may have been to or from stage diagrams you might have seen. Often you can use target arrays and stage layouts from different matches to create fun and interesting stages. Simply by adding some no shoot targets or targets with hard cover you can make them even more interesting. Try not to get too elaborate with the design as it can make for a slow reset of the stage and can cause scoring issues. A simple stage can be improved with some sort of mover target or some steel – but, at the same time a great stage can be over-done with too many moving, flipping, flopping, swinging and turning targets. Also please keep in mind that the bays we shoot on are 36 feet wide and 75 feet long. All bullets must impact the steel backstop of the bay when you are designing a stage.

Set up time usually runs 1-2 hours from start depending on how complex the set up is. The start time for shooters is approximately 6:30pm.  However, we generally are not able start any later than 7:00pm because all shooters must be done shooting at 8:45pm sharp. The earlier we are able to start shooting, the more chances everyone has to shoot the stages at least once and more if possible. If you have signed up and are not able to make it to the range by 5:30 PM, the stage is open to whoever would like to set up on a first come first serve basis.

Always remember, before the first shooter goes through your stage you need to have it approved by the Match Director to make sure there aren’t any safety issues or rule violations. Please don’t get upset or take it personal if things need to be changed or moved around some to keep the stage safe.

This all may sound pretty intimidating but try not to feel overwhelmed. If you need help there are several other shooters around that can help you with things such as putting targets together, helping hang tarps, etc. Don’t feel like you are going into this alone. Members will help as much as possible and there are usually several individuals that can and will gladly help as well. Most of all, try to have fun and stay safe.

Many examples of stage designs can be found below.  Most often, it may be easier for new shooters or designers to review or use previously designed stages from others. In the case of our range, as mentioned above, we do not have backstops on the left and right sides of each bay.  This restricts many stage designs that are intended for a full 180 degree backstop, such as outdoor ranges.  When reviewing these stages, please be sure to keep this in mind. However, some can be modified that will allow for proper target placement to prevent bullets from impacting the concrete walls.

The Course of Fire Exchange

Stage Design Template (Microsoft Word)

Design Props (Microsoft Word)