The best IDPA Stage I shot last Saturday.

So I walk into a  bay and I find this Course of Fire.

Narrative: You are giving a speech at a local church about crime in the neighborhood when the local gang interrupts the meeting with guns drawn. Engage the targets from the sides of the podium in Tactical Sequence.

As you can see, the Bad Guys are not only at close proximity with the No Shoots but also have Hard Cover in different shapes and sizes.
I took a long time shooting this stage. It was easy to lose count of who you shot and who didn’t get a round. I found myself going into tunnel vision and came close to hit No-Shoot a couple of times.  It challenged your brain, your accuracy, it messed with your depth perception and it had you shooting at a downward angle. Having to go from side to side of the podium to acquire shots was as effective as if the targets themselves were moving.I saw good shooters missing targets because they never saw them or hitting a Non-Shoot because they got fixated on a rear target so bad, the No Shoot did not even register with them. To summarize, it was a fun & challenging stage without the need of whiz bang electronics or complicated moving targets.

When designing CoFs, we want to make them entertaining plus educational. I notice that there is a trend in IDPA to make stages “fun” and overly complicated with all sorts of gadgets and disappearing targets. IDPA is a defensive action shooting sport and not hunting prairie dogs with a handgun.

A good stage should also be easy to reset. Ideally it should not take much longer than the time that the Score Keeper takes tallying the points down, people pasting the holes plus a minute. If you need five minutes to reset a stage that only takes 20 seconds to shoot, you should either simplify the stage or have more personnel for that stage.

Also remember: Batteries will die, electronics will fail. springs will stretch but Gravity works 24/7.  If by the time you finish setting up a stage, the only musical theme you can here in your head is this, you may want to rethink the whole thing.