I’ve been hinting at a writeup of the season’s final tactical rifle match, but have simply been too slammed at work to get anything put together. That changes now. Until this match, these had been run by Eddie Rhodes, a name some of you may know, and a guy who’s one helluva rifle shooter. However, he has a full plate, and has stepped down from the match director position. Another local shooter, match director, and all around excellent guy is going to be taking over the match, and yours truly has been tapped to be his right-hand man. So, next spring should bring some interesting reports.
So, on to the review. The match is basically designed to test a shooter’s marksmanship abilities under field conditions and at rifle distances. The stage counts are generally small, with four stages total being a big match. In this case, there were only three stages; a “short course” with targets out to 300 yards or so, a longer range course with targets out to 425 yards, and a “Standards” course of fire that doesn’t change from match to match, and is intended to serve as a benchmark of a shooter’s ability with a rifle. The standards course involves firing several five-shot strings at 10-inch plates set at 200 yards from various traditional shooting positions: offhand, sitting and prone.
The field courses involve shooting from a variety of positions and off of oddly-shaped barriers and through ports. This being Eddie’s last match, the bar was set pretty high, with a number of the steel targets having a no-shoot steel plate near them. (Yours truly managed to drill one right off the stand.) Punishment for hitting a no-shoot was a time penalty and having to run down range to reset the target.
Much of the match involves moving from position to position, and instinctively knowing where to hold out to 425 yards. To this end, I find that the ACOG TA-011 is a fantastic choice as the graduated stadia lines really do help in engaging the targets. Wind, also, can become somewhat of an issue, and the best competitors are able to observe and compensate for it.
Many of the positions involve shooting from odd positions, or through various obstacles such as the above plastic pipes, or through ports or to one side or the other of a barrier as seen below.
As far as gear goes, most shooters opt to run an AR15 with some sort of scope with examples from Trijicon, Burris, and Schmidt & Bender being brought to the line. Iron sights, and/or guns in .308 are also used by some shooters, but bring with them their own special challenges along with their divisions. Standard 30-round magazines are predominately carried by most, with some shooters opting to bring an extra 20 round magazine for shooting through low ports, or 42/52 round magazines, like the ones made by Tripp Research for monopodding and shooting through higher ports.
As for my shooting, well, I did alright, but most of these matches are a huge learning experience for me, as I’ve been primarily a pistol shooter. I came in 7th out of 13 total shooters, which isn’t too bad, but leaves obvious room for improvement. Overall, I’m looking forward to the new matches in the spring, and can’t wait to start pulling rifle triggers again.