As of August 2014, Rangemaster no longer has a physical location. Tom Givens lives in Florida and teaches "on the road" but I am leaving this page up because it contains some good information regarding shooting matches. Keep in mind that many of the questions and answers applied to Rangemaster specifically, but in general can be applied to almost any shooting match.

This page is intended to give general guidelines and information for the Rangemaster Friday Night League shooting event. It is not tactical advice, and does not necessarily represent the policies of Rangemaster. Additionally, this is a list of specific questions that were submitted to me, so some of the answers are my personal opinions.

Is the Friday night league shoot an IDPA match?

No. At one time, Rangemaster held IDPA matches, but the Friday night match is Rangemaster Shooting League and not an IDPA match, and Rangemaster no longer has an IDPA club membership. There is no membership to any club or organization required to shoot on Friday nights.

Someone mentioned that Rangemaster was going to renew its IDPA membership and start having IDPA matches again, however, that is incorrect.

Do shooters have to be a graduate of Rangemaster's Level 2 in order to participate in the league shoot?

Generally speaking, yes. We occasionally, under certain circumstances, may allow non-student shooters to participate, but from time to time, we have too many shooters and have to pick a cutoff point. If that happens, Rangemaster students get first priority, even if the non-student has already paid. The Friday night league is designed specifically for RM students, so they get priority.

Do you limit the number of shooters allowed to participate?

Yes. We limit the number of shooters to 20 for safety and time reasons.

Why do the rules seem to be IDPA rules?

The vast majority of the time, we use Vickers scoring because it's much simpler than some other scoring systems. The Vickers scoring system existed before the advent of IDPA, and we used it before IDPA existed, so it and other things, such as shooting from cover and shooting on the move, are not exclusive to IDPA, and all existed before IDPA.

Please explain Vickers scoring and explain why is it easier than some other scoring systems?

Short Answer:
The time it takes you to complete the stage is your raw time. To your raw time, we add time penalties for incorrect procedures, hitting no shoots, or shooting inaccurately. The total is your stage score.

Longer Answer:
Each target has scoring zones and shots on each target are supposed to be inside the innermost scoring zone. You are penalized by getting points for bad shots; any shot outside the inner scoring zone. The further out the shot, the more the point value. We use an electronic timer to tell how long it took you to complete a stage. We add one-half of a second to your time for each point, plus other penalties for any other errors like shooting targets out of order or shooting a target designated as a no-shoot or non-threat.

Vickers is easier than some other scoring systems because you can figure scores without a calculator. Some scoring systems require calculations which normally require computer software to calculate.

This will be my first time. What do I need to or bring?


The following equipment is mandatory:
1. Gun
2. Belt
3. Strong side IWB or OWB hip holster. Must securely hold the gun and fully cover the trigger guard.
4. At least one spare magazine or speedloader (more than one is better)
5. On average, about 50-75 rounds of ammo, minimum. Ammo is available for sale at the range.
6. A concealment garment, such as a jacket or vest (optional for your first shoot)
7. Magazine or speedloader holder.

All equipment:
1. Must be 100% concealable, and suitable for everyday concealed carry
2. Must function properly
3. Must be in safe operational condition
4. Must have no unsafe modifications
5. Must not have any safety device deactivated
6. Must be of acceptable quality

The following equipment is not allowed:
1. Shoulder holsters or cross-draw holsters
2. Holsters that do not cover the trigger guard
3. Tactical holsters, unless you legitimately wear a tactical holster in your job
4. Any equipment considered police only, unless you are a police officer
5. Cheap, unsafe guns
6. Guns of less than 9mm or .38 special, unless otherwise specified
7. Guns designed for race gun or target only competition
8. Guns with optical sights, unless the gun is 100% concealable
9. Any equipment deemed unsafe or inappropriate by the safety officer or league director

The safety officer has the final say on equipment. If the SO deems equipment unsafe or inappropriate for any reason, it cannot be used. If you bring a quality gun that has not had any safety device modified, and is a legitimate concealed carry gun, you'll be fine.

Why does the gun have to be of "acceptable quality" and what does it mean?

It means a gun that a knowledgeable person would bet his life on. Any gun that malfunctions regularly isn't acceptable, partly because of safety, but also because a gun that malfunctions regularly isn't acceptable for self defense.

This will be my first event. What do I need to know?

Most importantly, take it slow! There will be shooters that are faster than you. Don't try to beat them. No matter how fast you eventually become, there will always be someone faster than you (unless you're Dave Sevigny or Rob Latham, maybe). Only shoot, move, and manipulate the gun as fast as you can do it safely. Speed will come later. Don't be the first to shoot a stage. Watch a few other people shoot it and ask questions. Other than that, you probably just need to know the rules. Depending on what kind of shooting it is, the rules will vary slightly. Ask question like:

1. What part of the target do I shoot for? In a practical event, it's usually the upper center area of the chest.

2. Can I fire extra shots? This is usually allowed, but ask to be sure.

3. What kinds of reloads are allowed? Sometimes you can drop a loaded mag, sometimes you can't. Sometimes a course of fire description may specify that you must shoot until you run empty. Sometimes it is left up to the shooter to decide. It depends on the even and the director.

4. What sorts of penalties are there? In most events, penalties are assessed for not following instructions. Some specific areas to watch are, reloads, how far behind a barricade you must be while shooting, how fast or far you have to move when moving is required, what order you must shoot targets, etc.

I've never gone to a shooting event before and I'm scared to try one. Suggestions?

There's nothing to be worried about. I've never been to an event where I didn't meet a bunch of nice people. Over the years, I've met some of my best friends at shooting events, and I've met people from all over the country, and really the world. I've met people from just about every major country. There probably seems like a lot of rules to follow. There really aren't. One thing to do is watch other people shoot a stage before shooting it. You don't have to go first. People love to share their knowledge, and shooting events are no different. There will be plenty of people that will be glad to answer questions. If you're really apprehensive about shooting, go to one and don't shoot your first time. Just watch and learn. Almost everybody that has ever gone to a shooting event the first time has discovered they really like it. Even when I have a bad day, I have a lot of fun.

Why do I notice sometimes someone doesn't receive a procedural when I think they should, or receives a procedural when I think they shouldn't?

Mainly because the rules and guidelines for any given stage are determined by the person who designed the stage. Penalties and proper procedures are dictated by that person.

Why is a procedural sometimes assessed for something that contradicts the printed stages? or Why don't we always follow the printed stages?

Because the printed stage descriptions are intended to be a guideline only to set up the stages and not necessarily a strict course of fire. We try to be fair, however, it's mostly the shooter's responsibility to attend and listen to each stage's walkthrough.

Recent note regarding printed stages: This is an old question. At one time, we had a couple of shooters that wanted argue any time they got a procedural, and sometimes they tried to use the printed stage description to argue a procedural, even after being told beforehand that the stage had been changed. Printed stage descriptions are a guideline, but also, we don't use them much any more.

A while back you started giving penalties to any shooter who unloads before the safety officer says to. Why?

Two reasons. First, the Friday night league shoot is not a "run and gun, shoot as fast as you can and unload" event. It is supposed to be a practical event where you practice techniques you should actually use in real life. Unloading as soon as you fire the last shot is a horrible habit to get into and it serves no real world purpose. Second, it can be a safety issue.

Recent update on unloading. We now usually run a hot range, so shooters reload between stages instead of unloading.

But isn't it dangerous to run a hot range?

If you keep your gun holstered except when you are on the firing line, no, it's no more dangerous than having your gun loaded out in the real world. If you can't be trusted with a loaded gun at a shooting event, then you can't be trusted with a loaded gun anywhere. Additionally, the hot range policy helps, to a degree, to get away from the "this is just a shooting match" mentality.

When the course of fire says, "two to the body and one to the head" can I fire one to the head and two to the body or three to the head?

No. Generally speaking, you must usually fire the body shots first, then the head shots.

Why not? If I wind up with two shots in the body and one in the head, what difference does it make in what order I shot them?

Because "two to the body and one to the head" is intended to make the shooter practice a specific tactical drill (the Mozambique drill). The idea is not to just arbitrarily wind up with one of the shots in the head.

The Mozambique drill is as follows: When the body shots aren't effective, you go to the head afterward for a follow up shot. The idea of shooting a head shot first then body shots or shooting all head shots is generally a gaming tactic and has nothing to do with practicing the "two and one" drill. The intent of this event is to practice tactics and not to figure out a way to game out every stage to figure out the fastest way to shoot it.

What if I want to shoot all head shots to practice accuracy?

This comes up from time to time. Normally, there is no problem with it because there is a difference between doing this to practice accuracy and doing it only on a target that requires a head shot because it is faster. If you want to do this on every stage on any given night, more power to you.

Sometimes it seems like we engage targets and are specifically told to stand still when it seems like we should be moving. Why is this?

This is normally because we are in a relatively small indoor range and the space available makes it difficult to shoot without hitting the wall. We have to be careful of angles. As a general rule, if you are engaging targets and are not behind cover, you should be moving, but it just isn't always logistically possible in this location.

If I'm shooting around the edge of a vertical piece of cover and one target is closer than the other, why wouldn't I always shoot the closer target first?

Because if you are using vertical cover correctly, you can only see one target at a time. If you pie the corner and see a target, why would skip it and go to another target? That's one of the reasons to be behind cover in the first place; so you won't have to deal with but one target at a time. There is a little lattitude given if the vertical cover is very narrow or if multiple targets are very close together and can be seen at the same time from cover.

Do I have to stand right up on cover while shooting at targets, or why is it ok to stand way back from cover while shooting?

No. In fact, standing too close to a barricade usually makes it difficult to manipulate the gun because there is limited room between you and the cover and gives you limited mobility for the same reason. You can stand back as far as you like and still be using cover correctly as long as you can only see one target at a time. How far back you can stand depends on the size of the cover object. For instance, you could stand further back from a wall six feet in width than you could from a small tree two feet in diameter. On the same note, you could kneel further back from a four foot brick wall that you could a two foot brick wall.

Do you consider shooting a match to be training and do you consider yourself a gun expert because you're pretty good at shooting matches?

Why does the gun have to be a minimum of 9mm or .38 special?

So you don't like small caliber guns. I wouldn't want to be shot with a .22. Why can't I use it in the shooting match?

If you're really interested in answers to these, see my myths page.

Why are some stages limited and some stages not?

Sometimes, stages are limited so we can test your accuracy skills. Normally, however, the stages are not limited and if you have to take four shots to get two good hits, that just your bad luck. On a skill drill where multiple strings are fired on one set of targets, limited stages make it more fair for scoring.

Do you think your way of shooting is the only right way?

Absolutely not, but in short, the stages used in the Friday Night League shoots test skills needed in real life confrontations. While a given stage may not perfectly represent a real encouter, there is usually a good combination of "fun to shoot" and practicality.

Why don't we shoot distant targets more often?

Because the stages are designed to at least marginally represent real encounters, and very few real life encounters involve shooting at 25 or 50 yards.

Are the stages always run in the same format?

No. From time to time, we use knock-down targets, but we don't have access to those targets every week. From time to time, we run "man on man" stages which are a lot of fun, but go very slow, and from time to time, we incorporate an accuracy test, such as a small or distant target.

What's the deal with tactical sequence (1-1-2-1-1)?

Some people believe when you face multiple adversaries of similar threat, you should shoot engage adversary once before going back to engage any adversary a second or subsequent time. How often it's really used in real life is debated among the experts.

I don't understand all the abbreviations you use. What do they mean?

Some of these are specifically IDPA related simply because some IDPA lingo has has crept its way into the general shooting lexicon.

T1, T2, etc = target number one, target number two, etc
KD = Knockdown (a knockdown is a target that falls when you hit it)
PE or PR = procedural error (or "procedural" for short)
DQ = disqualification
PD = points down
FTN = failure to neutralize
FTDR = failure to do right
DNS = did not shoot
DNF = did not finish
MF or MALF = malfunction
P1, P2, etc = position one, position two, etc.
TPD = total points down (for the whole match)
NS or NT = no shoot target or non-threat target
HS = head shot
BS = body shot
FL = facing left
FR = facing right
Mag = magazine
SHO = strong hand only (you may only use your strong hand to shoot)
WHO = weak hand only (you may only use your weak hand to shoot)
ST1, ST2, etc = stage number 1, stage number 2, etc
Str1, Str2, etc = string 1, string 2,etc.
FTDR = failure to do right
MA = master
EX = expert
SS = sharpshooter
MM = marksman
NOV = novice
UNC = unclassified
SSP = stock service pistol
ESP = enhanced service pistol
CDP = custom defensive pistol
SSR = stock service revolver
BUG = back up gun
ESR = enhanced service revolver
POS = piece of...well, you know
CoF = course of fire
LE or LEO = law enforcement or law enforcement officer
FAQ = frequently asked questions
ND = negligent discharge
AD = accidental discharge
MD = match director
SO = safety officer
AC = area coordinator
RwR = reload with retention
TRL = tactical reload
TRB = tap, rack, bang
TS = tactical sequence
TO = tactical order

Why does it take you so long to post scores sometimes?

This is an old question. Recently, scores are posted on the my web just a few hours after the match.