Some Thoughts on e-Postal Match Design
Now that we are entering out third year of e-Postal Handgun matches, I've learned a lot about the actual design of the matches. I thought it might be useful to try and suggest some ideas that worked, and some that didn't quite work out as planned.
One thing that just about every match had in common was that it was harder than it looked. The legendary "Fly Swatter" target looks like you could hardly miss, yet I'm sure it has nearly brought grown men to tears! A little of the "Harder than it looks" is OK, but if it's too difficult, a lot of entries end up in the garbage can instead of being sent in, as some shooters think they have shot poorly, when in reality, it was just plain difficult to score very well, and they had actually done just fine.
Here's some thoughts from previous matches:
1. Don't make it so difficult that it discourages people from sending in their entries.
2. If using concentric circle type targets, many rings of narrow width are better than a few wide ones. This way small variations in accuracy will show up as variations in total score.
3. Split optic sight centerfire , iron sight centerfire, optic sight rimfire, and iron sight rimfire into different classes. Other classes can be fun, too, like air pistol, revolver, snubbies, saturday night specials, whatever! Encourage entering with several different handguns.
4. Make the targets printable on a standard 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper from a PDF file.
5. Keep the distance at 25 feet to 10 yards, as that is a comfortable distance for most shooters, and most ranges can accommodate that distance.
6. Including some strategy into the target design can add a challenge. For example, multiple sized targets with large ones of low value and small ones of high values. That way you have to decide if you want to take the easy safe scores or risk going for the smaller high value target even though missing it scores you a zero, or even a penalty.
7. Rather than just a plain old basic target, try to incorporate a theme into the match design, something that sets it apart from standard target shooting.
8. Keep the scoring system simple.
The whole idea is for the e-Postal matches to be fun shooting for shooters of all skill levels shooting all sorts of handguns, from antiques to the latest and greatest.
Of course, these ideas can be used to put together a fun shoot/contest out at your club range too, so feel free to have a go at it, too.