Lloyd Harper, who was the assistant match director for the 1983 World Shoot, recently scanned the 1983 IPSC World Shoot match booklet and shared it with others. The match was held at the Lafayette Gun Club near Yorktown, Virginia. The scanned copy is missing a few pages. What I have posted here is what I have and the pages are presented in the order they were organized in the original match booklet. The sections in italics are my observations about the stage designs and how they compare to stages at current major USPSA events.
There’s also an article about the match in a 1984 issue of American Handgunner, still available online
When I started shooting USPSA in 1988, it was common to have stages that required shooting at distances beyond 25 yards in every major event. This standards exercise includes shooting at 40 meters, and one handed shooting at 20 meters. It also includes turning draws – something that was very common in defensive pistol classes in the 70’s and 80’s but is no longer popular (likely because of potential safety issues with shooters on adjacent targets muzzling each other during the turning draw.) Since most shooters were running single stack 1911’s in .45 ACP, 8 round strings were common. The Milpark target had a 10″ circular A Zone inside a (roughly) 13″ x 18″ C zone.
Back in the 1980’s, an impact sensor attached to a “stop plate” was often used to record the total time for a stage.
This tradition still exists in the Steel Challenge stages, but impact sensors are no longer used. Awhile back I wrote an article about shooting timers from the 1980’s. You can find it here.
Moving target systems were another popular stage design trend in the 1980’s. The best known mover is the one that is part of the Bianchi Cup each year.
Other stage design features that faded away as USPSA evolved from its early days were shooting over walls and swinging out from a wall holding a rope to shoot one handed – both included in this stage.
This stage included climbing some stairs to shoot from a platform. That sort of thing was common in major matches (and regional matches in Texas) in the 1990’s, but as with climbing walls and other obstacle course challenges, seems to have faded away as the sport focuses on ability to shoot quickly while on level ground. I suspect that the “retirement” of the more physically demanding elements of stages coincided with the growth of the sport and safety risks associated with those more challenging movement.
This stage required the shooter to open several doors. Knowing how to properly open a door with pistol in one hand and doorknob in the other was one of those skills anyone planning on shooting major matches had to learn, as there were always some safety related disqualifications at the big matches when people either hadn’t practiced (or considered) muzzle direction and techniques for door manipulation and quick target acquisition. Doors were also an easy way to activate mechanical movers and other reactive targets, so they were common at big matches.
This stage included a different obstacle course-style challenge: a fence that had to be climbed or crawled under. Twine, rather than barbed wire, was used for part of the fence, and penalties were assessed for breaking strands as noted in the stage description.
Surprise stages are great fun to shoot, but difficult to manage, particularly at a major match. In the early days of the Rangemaster Tactical Conference, the entire match was surprise, shot in low/dim light, with no stage description other than “do what you would do” against an array of reactive shoot and no-shoot targets. This worked because the event was small, access to the stages was tightly controlled (through the airlock of the indoor range bay), and people generally didn’t share any details about the stages with others. That match format also let one shooter into the bay at a time, so there was no way to stand around before your shoot time ogling the stages. When the event changed venues and some stages moved to an outdoor bay, it was difficult (aka impossible) to keep people from seeing the stage in advance. The last year any attempt at including a surprise stage was when TacCon was held in Tulsa, OK, and the shoot house was used for one of the match stages, with the rest being published in advance, much like what occurred at this World Shoot.
lso an article about the match in a 1984 issue of American Handgunner, still available online