I was asked to be a Squad Manager and run a squad of ten shooters through 12 stages at the 2018 USSL PCC / 2-Gun Championship. Now, keep mind I’m a pistol guy. I’m very comfortable and confident managing a pistol stage. Not so much with multiple guns. But I am passionate about the shooting sports and enjoy helping, so I said yes.
This was my First time running a squad of multi-gun and PCC (Pistol Caliber Carbine) shooters by myself. As I began running shooters, I felt a little unsure of myself but pressed on and learned from the experience.
The first thing I experienced managing these shooters was the need to notice when a shooter came to the line if he or she was shooting PCC or 2-Gun. PCC means a Pistol Caliber Carbine only, 2-Gun means they would be shooting a AR-15 style rifle and a pistol.
If they were shooting PCC I would simply give the “make ready” command and proceed. But if they were shooting 2-Gun (look for a pistol on their hip) I had different things to do depending on the design of the stage.
On some stages we needed to walk downrange to a long-gun staging table, make the rifle ready, and place it there. The walk back to the start position and make the pistol ready.
On other stages I would hold the shooters rifle while he or she make their pistol ready, then hand them their rifle to make ready.
A 2-Gun shooter would shoot one gun, at the appropriate targets, then place it in a designated dump box or barrel. They would then draw their pistol, or pick up their rifle up from the staging table and continue shooting the remaining targets. I had to be aware that this was done safely.
Once they were finished we would then retrieve their other weapon, make sure it was safe, and remove it from the stage.
I learned when running PCC shooters that sometimes the timer will not register shots properly. I needed to remember when I was running a PCC shooter to hold the timer closer to the rife. I learned to hold the timer up high, close to the rifle, and with the numbers facing me. That way I could see that the timer was registering each shot. But most importantly, the last shot.
When the shooter was finished shooting the stage I would give the end of stage commands. These commands are a little different with a rifle than they are with a pistol. I have given the Pistol “if finished, unload and show clear. If clear, hammer down and holster” commands so many times it automatic. With the rifle I must remember to add, “If finished, unload and show clear. If clear, lock the chamber open or closed on a chamber flag, safety on, muzzle up.”
I often fumbled these commands on the first day of the match. So I practiced the commands that evening, and did much better the next day.
One other thing that was different with this match was the scoring of paper targets. In a pistol match we score targets according to the holes in scoring zones. In this match, paper targets required only one hit in the A zone or two hits anywhere on paper. So that is what I look for when scanning the targets. And remember, rifle holes are smaller than pistol holes, and thus a little harder to see, especially after many holes have been tapped.
Considering my newness to officiating this type of match, all went well. I became more comfortable as the match progressed, and the shooters were very helpful.
What interesting experiences have you had working as a Range Officer or Stage Manager?