Stage Design

STAGE DESIGN Requirements

USPSA is a bit easier to design vs a multi-gun or 3 Gun.
-Keep it Freestyle giving options | Mix it up on Start | Keep target acquisition Easy by type

-Add Vision barriers but keep a few sweet spots.

– CLUB Rules at level 1 matches are easier to design.

  • Time to create a Stage, Check via 3D for Safety and shoot through, write brief min 2 hours per stage.



The stage to the left offers multiple bunkers, 3 distinct target types. Swinger/Steel Handgun, Clay Birds Shotgun , and 3GN Round for Rifle. Vision barriers, Windows, barrels, and activator.

Round Count = Handgun and Shotgun 8 rounds each, Rifle 16 rounds Total of 32 Rounds. [estimated at 60 seconds or less time stage]

This Range has 5 Bays | 3 are 3 D berms, 1 is a 2 D and 1 a Single D. One Bay is large, 3 Medium, 1 small.

Giving a 60,60,120,60,50 second run. Total of 6 Minutes per person avg some faster some slower.


USPSA Handgun


3Gun Nation

FNH 3Gun

Look at sections regarding course construction

3 D STAGE DESIGN using Sketchup.com1Dberm3gnexample


Components | ITEMS |


Take the 4 introduction videos  1 Hour

  • Use Google maps to estimate pit[s] length and width.
  • Freehand sketch a basic idea

-Lessons Learned  Stage Design  BEST PRACTICES

Use wire cables only as activator lines. Never use nylon or guy wires. Nylon stretches and delays `reaction time’ especially during in the early afternoon. Guy wires get bent and get you easily agitated.

Always, have the cable lines run in a straight line as much as possible from the activator to the releasing device.

Don’t put a low stiff barrier like a piece of wood anything lower than the hip as a fault/charge line behind a door wherein the shooter would still have forward momentum while opening it.

Doors are better off and safer being opened towards the shooter rather than being pushed thru.

Only have a maximum of 2 activator lines attached to an activator be it a popper, door, window,

If you want a shooter to shoot thru a window make sure it is wide enough, tall enough so

Never put targets close enough wherein a shooter can almost kick them.

Steps and ladders must be covered so that the foot can never go thru the steps thus breaking his leg. Likewise, the steps must also be wide enough to allow some traction.

Don’t use see-thru materials such as screens as hard-cover when you have a swinging target behind it.

Wooden platforms and planks must have very rough surfaces so that even if it rains it doesn’t get slippery.

Have wide doors, don’t skim on its width just to save wood. Have at least another 10 inches of space between shoulders.

Avoid have vertical or horizontal slots too close to one another wherein it already hampers the shooting performance of a good shooter, if he can shoot it at least 2 feet away from the prop.

Whenever possible, have moving targets rather than disappearing. Modify disappearing targets in such way, that at least the head part still appears when it settles down or stops moving. You eliminate big-time problems with it.

Always have 2 more targets that can be engaged while the activator is still activating the swinging target. This will cater to the better shooters and not have to wait.

On swinging and running targets, attached a plywood shaped into an IPSC target behind the target. This will make it more stable with less breakage and not folding the target-board.

Don’t put boxes on windows, doors, or on ports. They are going to shoot thru there anyway. Boxes are only to be seen in a starting position or if not at all.

Angle targets with a hardcover/prop wherein if the shooter did break 180 while engaging the target, the prop will be hit then, you have a stronger evidence on your call. Position the prop and target so that the shooter will not be able to see the target while breaking 180.

*The lip of tire rims and drum have been notoriously reported to have spun a bullet back up range with some considerable deadly velocity. Try to deform it halfway so that it will break the centrifugal action.

Put a popper ahead of an IPSC target if they are to be placed close to one another. This will eliminate splatters piercing the target board.

-Previous Course Of Fire, Stage Designs  ST1_3GN_EF_LV1

Stage Exchange via

Jeff Maass’ USPSA Courses of Fire Collection

Visio Stages