USPSA - COURSE TYPES
There are several types of Courses in USPSA competition and this article breaks them down so you can understand the differences. Course types help course designers create stages that test competitors’ skills across a wide range of challenging combinations.
The Short Course:
These courses accommodate up to two shooting locations and require no more than twelve rounds to complete. The stage design should not allow you to shoot the entire stage from any single location or view of the targets. Short course designs should not let you shoot more than eight scoring hits from one location or view.
The Medium Course:
These are designed to accommodate up to three shooting locations and require no more than twenty rounds to complete. Medium course designs should not allow you to shoot and score more than eight hits from one location or view of the targets. These courses can incorporate props or require a demonstration of dominant- and supporting-hand shooting skills.
The Long Course:
Long courses have no limit on the number of shooting locations and can encompass up to thirty-two rounds. You can only shoot and score up to eight hits from one location or view of the targets. These courses can incorporate props or require a demonstration of dominant- and supporting-hand shooting skills.
Location vs. Views: Locations are defined as physical spaces within the boundaries of the course of fire. A change in location occurs when both feet have moved to a new physical position where additional targets can be engaged.
One Location - Two targets are engaged from one location because you are not required to move your feet to a new position to take the targets.
Two Locations - Two targets engaged from two locations because you are required to move your feet to a new position to take the targets.
Views are specific to what you can see when you are looking at an array of targets. Vision barriers and walls are used to create multiple views from a single location. However, one location may offer multiple views.
In competition, competitors are required to move across multiple locations and change views to engage all targets.
Special and Supplemental Courses:
Special course types are used to design stages that test specific skills and create consistent courses of fire that can be set up, shot, and scored consistently for competition and classification.
The Standards Course:
Standards are two or more separately timed strings totaled together to produce a final stage score. Standards can be up to twenty-four rounds or less and scored under the Virginia Count or Fixed Time scoring systems. Standard stages use only cardboard targets and may require specific skills to be demonstrated on the clock. Standards courses may require specific shooting positions across multiple locations, mandatory reloads, and dominant-, supportive-hand shooting.
The Speed Shoot Course:
Speed shoots are completed in one continuous string of fire of sixteen rounds or less from a single location in any order. Scoring is calculated under the Comstock or Virginia Count rules. One mandatory reload may be required, and stage rules may specify which hand you shoot from after the reload.
The Classifiers Course:
A classifier is a specific stage or course of fire that is designed to measure a competitor’s speed and accuracy within a division. Classifiers may require mandatory reloads, specific shooting positions, specific shooting locations, and a demonstration of dominant- or support-hand shooting. All USPSA classifiers follow a published set of rules with notes and diagrams. The classifier documentation outlines everything needed to set up, shoot, and score the stage consistently. Hit factor scores for classifiers are recorded nationwide and loaded into a scoring database to facilitate the USPSA classification ranking. Details on the most current USPSA Classifiers can be found at https://uspsa.org.
The Shoot-Off Course:
Shoot-offs are supplementary courses of fire where competitors shoot directly against each other on a simultaneous stage using similar but individual targets. Shoot-off stages are usually a maximum of nine rounds and will require one mandatory reload. These courses are similar to drag races as competitors compete head to head for the best times.