What are the making’s of a good match? Organization, Amenities, Professionalism, and Price are what I’ve found to be pretty important when comparing one match to another. T3 (Trigger Time Training) has this pretty well figured out and it shows with the progression of the match since it’s inception. I was fortunate enough to attend one of T3’s first monthly matches and several since. It’s been refreshing to watch the T3 Monthly Match evolve.
The first one I attended needed some tweaks to the organization as there were squads bunching up and traffic jamming stations and the match ran a solid 10+ hours before completion. They have long since resolved that issue by putting an open stage or two between squads and staggering the starts to keep everyone moving. It has made a noticeable difference in how smoothly people move through the stages and the time required to shoot the entire match. The match is set up as a ten stage, field style match. It is challenging as it takes place on T3’s 7000 Acres of open Colorado landscape. The wind can be calm and consistent and it can certainly be difficult and ever changing, as was the case when I attended the November match.
A rangefinder is not required for the T3 Monthly Match since the staff provides a printed range card with distances, descriptions of the targets, and any special instructions necessary for each of the ten stages. This helps take a little of the ‘gear factor’ out of the running for 1st place since everybody is working off of the same information and nobody is losing points because their rangefinder can’t keep up. The match is also, with few exceptions, set up as a one shot – one kill type of match. Most targets are only allowed to be engaged by the shooter with a single round, you either hit and gain a point, or you miss and move on to the next target. I’ve come to like this style of shooting as it really emphasizes the shooter’s ability to read the wind as the dominating factor in determining placement on the scoreboard. Most competent shooters can spot their miss and adjust for a second round hit but by limiting the engagement to one shot on most targets they keep the emphasis on wind reading.
There are exceptions that will get us into discussing Amenities. One such exception is a moving target. T3 has added an In Motion moving target stage to their monthly match. I think this is especially challenging and also quite unique. You just don’t encounter a mover at most ‘monthly’ matches because they lack the size and funds to support such a feature. It’s a lot of fun and sets the match apart from some of the other monthly matches. Here is a video that Frank Galli at Sniper’s Hide made using the same target and part of T3’s ranch to give you an idea what it looks like.
They also have a stage now with the closest target at 1130yds going out to around 1400yds. That stage you are allowed a follow up shot on. They have also added a stage where a tripod or set of sticks becomes necessary since your view of the target is obscured from the firing position if you lay prone. I like little quirks like this that force people to really get outside their comfort zone provided by that nice stable prone position.
The T3 Monthly Match has added a two story shoot house that has five firing positions from it, three on the first floor, and two on the second. There is a lot of flexibility in that they can move the house and change the targets that are engaged from the different shooting positions within. Two on the first floor offer a stable prone position and one forces the shooter to sit or kneel. On the second floor there is a narrow vertical window to be shot through and a sloped ‘roof’ area to shoot off as well.
The T3 Monthly match has incorporated some movement and time management into the match as well. This is a rather poor performance of mine on a two position stage, number 4, at the T3 Monthly Match. The wind at this time of day was just insane to get a handle on. It was varying from 3-4mph up into the 12-14mph range and with the angles to the targets it was hard to catch the switch in wind patterns while you were going about building your position, firing, loading, moving, etc. You can hear the wind in the video!
T3 also has a set of hostage flapper targets on one stage where striking the flapper earns you a point, but if you hit the hostage by mistake, it gives you a negative point, so you are actually better off missing entirely than hitting the hostage targets! There is a culvert stage where you shoot through a drainage tube that makes a whacky sound and adds another neat twist. Even with good fundamentals and shooter mechanics the pressure blast is contained within the tube and kicks up dirt and dust making it difficult to spot your shot.
I think this helps paint the picture for the Amenities you are privy to at the T3 Monthly Match. The target package is really first rate and there’s a good mix of everything. If I were to recommend a match to practice or help prepare for a larger match, this would certainly be among the list of recommendations, and near the top if not at the top of the list.
The price of the match for a day of shooting seems to be a point of contention for some people. At $100 dollars this is not a cheap ‘monthly’ match. However, I’ve just described many of the features and things that really set the T3 Monthly Match apart from other matches. This isn’t a 20 dollar, shot all from a bench or prone, monthly match that takes you 3 hours to shoot and then you go home for a beer and ballgame that afternoon. This match is a full day of shooting, on natural landscape, with steel targets, reactive targets, a mover, alternate positions, and a shoot house. All taking place on a 7000 Acre parcel of gorgeous Colorado landscape. It’s also local to the Denver area. I live southeast of Denver and while I wouldn’t call an hour and a half a ‘short’ drive, it’s definitely shorter than driving to say…Raton. I also don’t need hotel accommodations for the night prior to the match. I can drive up that morning, and I’m home in my own bed that evening. For anybody within’ driving distance of Denver, this is hard to beat, and in the long run will cost less than some other matches where an overnight stay is something you have to plan around.
With regard to Professionalism the T3 Monthly Match crew have their stuff together. There is a safety briefing before every match. There are at least two employees constantly roving around on an ATV or Four Wheeler with medical supplies for emergencies and a satellite phone if somebody is seriously injured and needs to be Med-EVAC’d off the property. They listen to feedback from the shooters, there was a discussion after the November match about the posting of scores and how to avoid making somebody feel bad if they were new and didn’t do well. The solution wound up being that by default scores would be posted, but if you would rather not have them published, you can ask and your scores would be withheld from the website. I was pleased to hear that Paul and Zach keep statistics based on the hits and misses on each stage. They continually evaluate and tweak the course of fire. If there is a target that is rarely hit, they will make it bigger or tweak the position or range it is engaged from. Personally, I think this match is a bargain at the price and it’s excellent practice for the larger National Level matches. They will be hosting the 2015 Sniper’s Hide Cup again next year on Memorial Day Weekend so keep your eye peeled for that. It was probably the most fun match I’ve ever been to when I attended this year.