Just a friendly spy from the MO forum who's very interested in your FDCC. You guys look like you've got your act together and are having a great time too.
I would be interested in starting up something similar in my locale, but I'm not sure where to start.
I would like to focus primarily on safety, education, fun and friendships, not in that particular order. I'd also like to keep it low on rules, to increase the participation level, but not sacrificing safety in the process.
I'm taking a look at your website and the FL forum here for general ideas, but please email/IM me with any suggestions and tips on where to get started.
I just started a thread on the MO forum, so the idea is in it's early stages, so any help would be appreciated. In the end, I'll probably put up a lot of polls to see what the MO members want, but I want to loosely base it one what you guys got going here.
Here's the thread if you wish to follow the progress of this idea, or if you wish to contribute in the planning.
Thanks for the idea and any support!
Some early quesions:
Ranges. I guess I need to see if anyone belongs to a local private club that would host such events for free or very cheap. I would also like to look into public ranges, but I'm not sure the protocal for booking time, costs, range supervision, etc... Any suggestions are appreciated. Also, how big of a range do you recommend? I imagine you are only shooting downrange, or is the range setup for multiple lines of fire?
What do we need? Cheap target stands (do-it-yourself is the cheapest way to go I assume), counters, safety equipment, etc...?
Who do we need? How many refs., safety folks, etc., do you use?
Rules and scoring? I'll probably leave this up to the MO members, but what are you guys doing?
Course layouts, how about some ideas?
I apologize if anyone thinks I'm 'stealing' your ideas, but remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
Probably your toughest battel will be finding a place to shoot. Once you do that, the rest is really a snap. See if any of you who are going to be doing the most work to get this done have any NRA credentials. Like an instructor rating or range safety officer. This isnt crucial, but it may be helpful whem making your proposal to anyone running the range considering the event. As someone who has some of these credentials, I understand that a lot of people without them may be better qualified and even trained than someone with them. Nonetheless, the rating does look good on paper and in front of someone who may decide if you can use their range or not. If none of you have them, consider it.
Once you get the range, everything else is easy. Please remember however, that it may be some time before you get much help putting these matches on. For more than a year I was about the only one putting any effort at all into FDCC. I've really been blessed with the help of some VERY generous shooters in the last year. It's almost to the point where I dont do very much at all except run around the range with a stupid camera taking a hundred pics. AEM, Dirk_Pitt, M4Real, CS223 and Hawkeye are life savers. If you keep things consistent and fun, you will get a growing list of shooters who are doing as much or more than you to put the matches on in time.
You also may start out very very small. I remmeber when I was so happy 8 people showed up. It may be the same 4 or 5 people coming out all the time for a while. At least until the word gets out. Just keep plugging away and be consistent. Make it so that people around you know that pretty much no matter what, you all will be there. If its 30 of you or only 3. Be there, every month, on time, and with a smile.
Once you get going word will get out and friends will tell frineds. I used to post announcments to our matches on about half a dozen boards to attract people. Now I only advertise here because we are getting too many people. But initially, put the word out everywhere.
When I started, I was trying to do what I could to save money. I wanted to keep FDCC free so I used home made targets. I would do one of several things. I would go to a local IDPA match and steal all their used targets, paste them up and re use them. I would take a piece of cardboard, lay an IDPA target over it and spray paint around the edges of the IDPA target so a silouette would remain on the cardboard when I lifted the IDPA target. I would cut out cardboard to IDPA type silouettes. I did this for a while. Eventually, I started asking for donations and when enough people started showing up and donating, I started just buying IDPA targets from whomever had them the cheapest. We use them till their pretty good and full of holes too.
I finially got a good, cheap, portable stand built after about 4 different designs. Whatever you do, make them cheap and replacable. they will get shot. A lot. Especially if you have target hosers show up!!! Anyhow, I get 8 foot long pieces of wood. I dont even know the dimentions. But its the cheapest stuff Home Depot has. I think its like 0.5" x 1.5" or something. I dont know. But its less than $2 per 8' of it. I cut it into sections. 2 pieces 12" long, and 2 pieces 24" long. Assemble them into an "H" with the two 12" pieces at either end and the two 24" pieces on the inside. Then cut 4' pieces to serve as the uprights you will staple the targets to. Jut little 1" pieces off the ends of these. Place these little pieces in the center of the two 24" cross bars of your stand between the edge of the ends and where the upright will stick. This all might sound confusing, but here's some pics to make it simple.
When you get ready to shoot, make some simple rules. Start with the 4 main safety rules. We go over these at the start of every single shoot. We tell people these are the only real rules you have to follow to participate. There is a unspoken 5th rule too. You have to have a thick skin. We are all pretty fierce with one another and poke fun at each other at any opportunity we get. If we dont get an opportunity, some have been known to creat them!
This all goes to reinforce the fun theme. Some of us take our shooting styles, our rifles, our tactics our gear and defensive training pretty seriously. But not at FDCC. When we're there, some of us try hard to take advantage of the courses and get in some good trigger time, but we hold ourselves to our own standards. If a shooter comes to the line with their rediculous rig in need of improvement, we keep it to ourselves. If they dont take cover, so what? If they fly around the corner instead of slicing the pie. We let them. Maybe you want to run your club different, but FDCC isnt really there to train anyone. People who are interested in improving will watch more serious shooters, and imitate them. They will ask questions and dialogue with you. We dont really criticize anyone or penalize them for doing something wrong. We will however point out to everyone when a shooter does something really well. This gives credit to a shooter who did something excellent and fills everyone else in on a tip. In the end those of us who are paying attention to whats going on out there learn from one anothers good and bad habbits. I bet most shooters are going to be aware of their site over bore height from now on after I blasted my low cover last month!
For courses of fire, just be creative. As time goes on you can create reactive targets and props. You can keep it simple enough so that shooters of all skill levels will be challenged. Keep courses easy to set up between shooters to keep everything moving along. Try to incorporate a good tactic or two in every course. A reload, use of cover, retreating, advancing, shooting in tactical priority, target ID etc, etc, use a couple of these and many other defensive priciples in every course and it will be fun and interesting for everyone.
Be easy, approachable, open and freindly to everyone. Solicit and listen to their ideas. You may not use them all, but listen. Nearly everyone who has come to FDCC has had an awesome time. Those who saw things we needed to improve upon had a good enough time and felt at ease with us to stick around and help us improve. Some folks are just sour apples and you cant make everyone happy. There's been a few complainers over the years with FDCC, folks who felt like they had an idea on how to improve everything. Folks who felt like they could instruct everyone. People with something to proove. In the end we would set them up to show them no one is perfect and even they can make a mistake. People like that are easy to do that to. When they made the mistake they complained and we just said sorry. They got all huffy and left, and I dont miss them one bit. In close to 3 years, I can recall only 2 people like that. They are probably better off elswhere.
Hopefully this is helpful. Please feel free to ask any more questions.
I should have known that you were the culprit behind this whole thing...
From the looks of it, you have done a great job, and it looks like you have had a lot of fun in the process. I like your philosophy on the club, keeping it simple and fun. Honestly, I'd like to duplicate your setup a lot, just leaving the fine points to hash out with my fellow MO shooters.
As you said, I am concerned about securing a range, but once the word gets around, perhaps someone will have a good solution, if not, I'll figure something out.
Thanks for the detailed response, it helps alot! I'm going to look over everything and brainstorm, but I'm sure I will be back to ask lots more questions tomorrow.
To summarize what all New-arguy said, just buy a plane ticket to FL, come to a shoot, see what we do, and then you'll be set. Good excuse to get away for the weekend. I'm sure we can out you up for a weekend.
Well that sounds like a great idea! Now if only I can weasel some vacation time this summer...
Do you have any pics of that target stand? I can't for the life of me, visualize this. I guess that's why I'm not good at building stuff...
BTW, things are progressing pretty well. I quickly got responsed from folks that are willing to help out, and they are working enthusiastically to make this thing a reality.
I think we have secured the use of a conservation range we hold our usual shoots at. Just need to finalize that arrangements. The location is about 90 minutes from me, but it is centrally located in the MO, midway between STL and KC, that way we don't leave anyone out. But we do have members that live in that city (Columbia) who are willing to help out, and store the materials for the shoot.
Thanks for all the help. I will keep you guys updated. We are meeting the 31st, for a 'regular' shoot, so we might try out some ideas. Ideally, we hope to run a real match sometime by July.
oops, sorry, I forgot the pics. Here you go. Look man, I buld these nearly without the use of tools. I dont really even own tools and I own no hammer. I used a weight to pound the nails in. Basically all this is to say if I can make these, anyone can...
Stick a tent stake down the center of the two crossbars. This will keep them from falling over in the wind.
Now it all makes sense.
You don't own a hammer?!?! LOL!