080826 South Florida Defensive Carbine Match at Markham Park Target Range in west Broward County
We held another South Florida Defensive Carbine match on 26 August 2008 from ~19:00 to 21:00 at the Markham Park Target Range in western Broward County Florida. The match consisted of three stages and we had 18 shooters in attendance. Each stage included a transition from rifle to pistol and the rifles used were all AK or AR variants.
This stage consisted of five (5) cardboard targets aligned along the
left side of the range, with each target partially obscured by a
non-threat target. Sitting perpendicular to this line was a plate rack
with five (5) 8" diameter steel plates that fall when struck. The
course of fire was to advance towards the plate rack, with the
cardboard targets to the left, engaging the cardboard targets on the
move and finishing off by dropping the 5 plates at the end. The
shooters began the stage with only 11 rounds in their carbines, but all
shots on the steel must come from the pistol as the steel is not
The intent of this stage was twofold. The first was to force shooters
to remember their holdovers at close range even when on the move. Many
of the non-threat targets were partially obscuring the -0 center
section of the body of the target such that if the shooter did not
remember to hold over they would hit the non-threat. This proved to be
a valuable lesson as many shooters had hits on non-threats on this
stage, and in reviewing the targets the shots could all be seen in the
upper section indicating a failure to properly hold over.
The second was to force a transition on the move, and not only a
transition to handgun, but a transition to a different type of target;
going from cardboard silhouettes to steel plates. Unfortunately, many
of the shooters reached the end of the line at or about when they
should be performing the transition, negating the need to transition on
the move. Many shooters, however, missed their first several shots on
the plates until they found their rhythm and then dropped a plate with
one shot each. As an example, I fired 5 shots at the first plate
before hitting it and then knocked them all down with one shot each.
To properly "game" this stage, the shooter would advance slowly and
ensure that they got two shots to the head of each paper target,
leaving them with one spare rifle round at the end that must be dumped
into the final head before the transition. If done correctly the
shooter would arrive at the stop stick at the same time as they empty
the carbine, allowing them to perform the transition and engage the
plates while standing still.
This stage consisted of four (4) cardboard targets to the left, a steel
silhouette with a swinging plate beside the head in the center, and
four (4) pepper poppers to the right. The course of fire was to begin
at the left and engage all of the targets from left to right while
standing still. Two shots were required on the steel silhouette and
one shot was required on the attached swinging plate. The shooters
began the stage with only 11 rounds in their carbines and all shots on
the pepper poppers were required to come from the pistol as the poppers
are not rifle-rated.
The intent of this stage was simply to work on the transition to pistol
while static. The targets were all no more than 15 yards away and as
such did not present much challenge.
To properly "game" this stage the shooter would take their time on the
four cardboard targets to ensure that they could make two good hits on
each, allowing them to have one shot left over to hit the swinging
plate after engaging the silhouette. The transition to pistol would
then come at a logical break in the stage and only the large pepper
poppers would remain for the handgun.
The targets were arranged in a straight line at approximately 10-15
yards from the firing line. The firing line was indicated by two
barrels and was parallel to the array of targets. Each target stand
had one high target and one low target. The shooter started at the
barrel on the left, moving to the right, and engaged all of the top
targets. After rounding the opposite barrel the shooter then returned
while engaging all of the bottom targets. The shooter began with a
carbine loaded with 11 rounds, and a spare 11 round carbine magazine.
If (when) the carbine ran empty the shooter was required to first
perform a speed reload to the second carbine magazine, and then
transition to pistol.
The original design of this stage was for the targets to be shot with
the rifle to be at >15 yards, and the targets to be shot with pistol
at <10 yards. Due to the limited number of shooters for setup,
limited number of target stands for the match as a whole, and space
limits on the range due to flooding, the design had to be compressed as
described above. The intent of the original design was to reinforce
that speed reloads may be better for longer range targets while a
transition may be more applicable to short range targets. With the
change in design this was somewhat lost.
However, this proved to be the hardest stage by far with only one
shooter managing to neutralize all of the targets. For a stage that
was intended to be the "easy" stage of the night, this one proved to be
the match challenge.
As shown by the one shooter that shot the stage clean, the key to this
stage was to take it slow. At 30 seconds per Failure to Neutralize,
having five FTNs (as I did) put you out of the running very quickly.
Had I taken even twice as long to shoot the stage I still would have
saved 120 seconds off of my final score. This was one of those stages
that looked easy until you tried it. It also paid not to shoot the
stage first, since many shooters thought they shot the stage very well
only to be surprised when they walked forward to view the targets and
found their FTNs.