During the final walkthrough of the stages that were on the ground for the “9 Days of Nationals” in 2018, one thing was clear—that was a lot of classifiers. The idea behind being able to have all eight USPSA divisions on the ground at the same range was the ability to introduce new classification stages, with hit factors taken from the match. We did just that. However, once the stages that were going to be considered for classifiers were on the ground, the match itself was found to be too heavily weighted towards “standards” versus “run and gun.” Before the first shot was fired at the “9 Days,” I was already planning a different type of match for 2019.
The contracts, locations and days had already been decided for 2019 before the start of the 2018 Nationals, so during the match all of my thinking was focused on how to make the stages for 2019 different. Over the course of the next several months I spent time working on several stage ideas, some that would be used in the JP Midwest PCC Championship and the change-over of those stages for the SNS400 match that was held at the same locations two weeks later. The parts of those stages that worked and that competitors liked made their way into the “HiCap” match.
The other thing we needed was to get some classifiers with movement, not just “box-to-box,” but short and medium courses that more resembled what you see at a regular match. The trick with a classifier stage is that it has to be able to be duplicated easy enough that clubs can set them up. Stealing stage design ideas from previous IPSC European Handgun Championships is nothing new for me; I have done this for years, taking two or three short courses and combining them into a long course.
This time I just modified a couple of short and medium courses to come up with some stages to try out as classifiers. Dave Jenkins was also working on some similar ideas; ironically enough, one of them was almost identical to something I had. Jenx’s version was better and made it into the match.
I have also said a shooting match should be about the shooting and not who can manipulate a prop the best or jump the highest and crawl the fastest. Stages should test the competitor’s abilities with a firearm and executing their plan. Stupid human tricks and circus props might be exciting at the club’s annual “fun” match, but should not decide National Championships.
The proposed stage designs were sent to Shannon Smith, who took the lead as Match Director and took charge of putting the match on the ground. In the more than capable hands of one of the most experienced Match Directors out there, the team set out to Utah to make my idea happen. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the HICAP Nationals to help make this happen and didn’t get to shoot it, but I hope that everyone enjoyed the match.