Problems with target I.D. in field style matches.


September 4, 2013, 09:31 PM
Title says it all. I am having problems discerning targets in these long range field matches. I will set up the scenario for you.
Course of fire will be 10 targets for this stage in 2 minutes. 10 shots total.

The field has 20 or more targets of varying sizes, and I am instructed to engage 10 diamond targets. Field has rectangle, diamond, and circle targets that have all been shot before my turn at the stage. The targets are no longer bright white, yellow, etc.

Ranges to these targets are given before hand. 1st at 223, 2nd at 330, 507, 580, 595, 620, 685, 680, 815, and 932. These targets are spread out over lets say 40 degrees from my position.

I am having a real problem first with identifying the diamonds from the rectangles, and secondly the 507 from the 580, 685, etc. I alway find myself dialing dope for 507 and trying to engage a target that is 620 or vise versa. Keep in mind, I also need to watch for wind during the course of fire. You can miss the target just as easy with a blown wind call. And over 40 degrees of target location, wind calls will be different even at the same ranges.

My magnification is usually in the 6-9 range to get a better field of view, but that still doesn't seem to help. You guys got any pointers on the mental steps you would take before or during the stage? I thought about trying to draw out the scenery on my dope card?

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September 5, 2013, 06:21 AM
are you getting a chance to prep ahead of time and identify the targets? and once you get on the clock you just move to the wrong target?

or are you looking at them during prep or the briefing and still can't tell the difference.

when going through the list of targets, i'd try to also remember stuff like the color of the strap it's hung on, the type of stand, and bushes or trees around it, etc.

i also use the clock method from previous target. so starting with target 1 on the left, go 1 oclock to target 2, then from target 2 go 3 oclock to target 4, then from target 4 go 2:30 to target 5, etc.

if i have time to prep, i will write that down along with the dope on a little note card or in my match book.

i tend to run 10-14x magnification because my eyes are bad. if prone i might crank it all the way to 25x.

it can be hard to tell squares from diamonds. however, if the targets are larger the squares are probably hung from 2 straps instead of 1

the problem is often also that you have to make sure the spotter is looking at the same target you are. so if there's any question, start talking to him to confirm

September 5, 2013, 08:13 PM
Stage prep time varies greatly. Sometimes no prep and sometimes you get several minutes behind a pair of binos or spotting scope. I think this is the time for drawing pertinent scenery.

I see a lot of guys using a red dot at 45 degrees, they set the dot at point of impact at say 600 yards. When they loose sight of the target in there scope, they simply find it in the red dot and move back onto the scope. I haven't tried this yet.

I never considered using the clock system. I will give that a shot.

At the last match, most all of the targets were hung around t post with a cross bar and a single wide strap. I really do get lost in those targets, and half the match is shot in some contorted position other than prone.

September 5, 2013, 08:17 PM
Seen an optometrist yet??

It could be your eyes needing help?

It could also be some sort of yellow or grey polaroid shooting glasses will better define the targets for you too?


September 5, 2013, 08:32 PM
Haven't had my eyes checked since I was a young teenager. Maybe it's time for a visit. Forgot to mention that I am color blind. That could put me behind the curve before the match even starts.

September 5, 2013, 08:50 PM
That could put me behind the curve before the match even starts.Most definitely for sure!!

Again, maybe an optometrist can recommend a color correction lens tint for better target definition since you can't different colors too well.

They will have a color chart and different lens colors to help you see if any of them help.

I can imagine yellow, red, or grey Polaroid lens would help make them stand out from the background a little better.

I know, rose colored shooting glasses!!
But if it works, don't knock it till you try it!
Red can cut out the green background and perhaps give better definition of the target

PS: Might be a good idea to take some good color photos of the targets in natural background so you can show him what you are trying to deal with.

PPS: You might also check on availability of tinted lens covers for your scope instead of tinted glasses.
They might be available, depending on the manufacture of the scope.


September 5, 2013, 09:01 PM
I shoot a vortex razor. Thanks for the suggestions taliv and rc.

September 5, 2013, 11:16 PM
is this at the rifle ranch?

September 6, 2013, 10:40 PM
Actually the targets at the rifle ranch were in a relatively straight line, and I didn't get lost nearly as easily. The match where I had so much trouble was on a ranch close to the Oklahoma/Texas border.

September 15, 2013, 08:27 AM
I have no advice but my background is in 3-gun. I just read the OP and wanted to say that it sounds like a very challenging discipline!

1-1 Banger
September 29, 2013, 06:56 AM
Others seem to have hit on it already, but oh well. What helped me a lot during sniper school was to ignore (for the most part) the markings on the target itself. For example, during one of our UKD exercises, we had 10 targets to engage from 200-856m. There were 50 targets on the field, and it was set up like a small village. My spotter and I worked out our range card and focused on dividing the field into sectors and identifying landmarks. The spotting scope allowed whoever was spotting to identify the target clearly, and would then walk the shooter in by sector and giving a direction and description. For example:Sector 1, target farthest left of the barn. He's by the large wood pile. It sounds ridiculous, but it works wonderfully, we both shot perfect scores for that exercise. After that we continued using that system and consistently were one of the best teams during the course. If given time to prep, identify the target, then identify landmarks around it. If you can't read the markings on the target, you can think back to "I know that that target was next to ____" then just look for that. Also, and I know, it sounds ridiculous, make up names for prominent targets. For example, we had a target that was placed in front of a window on a house mock up. We called it "The Burglar". "Shoot the burglar" meant to find the far right window of the white house and shoot the target in front of it. One was in front of a tractor, we called it "the farmer".

September 30, 2013, 08:33 PM
Thanks guys. As stated in my original post, I am going to try and draw out the scenery before the stage starts. I think this will help in many ways. I never considered naming my targets. The Arborist hangs out by the oak tree, Double Ditch Diggers in the draw, Fisherman by the stock tank, etc, etc.

You are right Banger, that all does sound silly but that could definitely help with my target I.D. problems. Thanks for the tip.

October 2, 2013, 11:01 PM
My first time to the eye doctor was when I was autocrossing. I notice I had a problem with depth perception between cones. I had trouble telling which were further at medium distance and after a certain distance they all appeared to be on a flat plane. The glasses really helped with that. It helped my depth perception and effectively how much farther out I could usefully see.

1-1 Banger
October 3, 2013, 03:48 PM
No problem, always glad to help out. Feel free to shoot a PM if you have any questions.

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