As a USPSA Match Director that has put on large Section Championships and Nationals, I have some rules that I like to follow. First, if you use a prop it has to be able to last for multiple days while taking a beating. There is nothing worse than a faulty or broken prop that causes backup or possibly losing a stage. They have to be bulletproof, no pun intended, and they have to be consistent when activated. Another thing is that they have to be easy and quick to reset.
Manny Bragg has participated in the USPSA shooting sports for a long time and has put thousands of matches on the ground during his time as Match Director and Area Director. He has seen props fail, stages lost and delays forced by hard to reset or faulty props. Bragg likes to solve problems and that is good for competitive shooters. After years of seeing matches plagued by substandard props and having to bend over to reset things like stomp pads, he put on his problem-solving cap and came up with the Manny Back Saver Signature Series.
The first prop that Bragg came up with is the “Manny Stomp Pad” ($190 plus shipping). This is a self-resetting stomp pad that no longer requires bending over to reset the old style of spring-loaded stomp pads. No more having magazines stab you in your gut while you try not to fall over yanking on the stomp pad trying to reset it, only to have it go over as soon as you close the lid most of the time.
The “Manny Stomp Pad” is a steel plate that gets spiked down, with the upper steel brace that has a curved steel tube that the cable passes through and attaches to the target-activating part. At the base of the plate is a steel “pedal” that has a bungie cable attached that secures to the mounting brace. It is ready to go after each time it is stepped on. You just reset the cable to the activating part of the target that is attached to the cable. These have been used successfully at several major matches that Bragg has been the MD for, including the USPSA Area 6 Championships where 400-plus shooters over several days stomped on them. And at about 30 pounds, these are also easier to move around compared to the old style of stomp pads.
Now that Bragg had the cool new stomp pad, he needed something to attach the cable to. If you use swingers, max traps or any other prop that uses an activating stick, then you know these are a major pain. They are normally two pieces of 2x2 held together by some rusted-out, ready-to-break hinge which no one ever knows how to properly determine the correct configuration. The “Manny Activator Stick” is another innovative design to make it easier to use props and less likely to have issues. The activator stick is an all-metal, fully adjustable system that has a base plate the stick extension is bolted to. This allows it to pivot out when pulled. The entire system is bolted together as a single unit. When put in place, the extension stick goes back consistently to the same spot for each target activation. This is important to keep the activated target presenting to each shooter the same every time. There is no longer a question which end is up, and when the match is over you now have the stick and the base as one piece to store together. Since it is adjustable, you no longer have to find that one hinge that only works with that one swinger, and you can adjust the height as needed.
Learn more at mannybragg.com.
Article from the January/February 2021 issue of USPSA’s FrontSight magazine. Photos by Isabel Martens.
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