Dangerous 5 Stand Situation

Dear Bruce,

I have been shooting 5 Stand intensively for the last two weeks, and twice, while at stations one or two, I have been confronted with a muzzle pointed very nearly at me, fingers on the trigger.

At our 5 stand, the only one I have ever shot, the number one thrower is located directly behind stations one and two, and throws the targets from in back of the shooters, over their heads, and on out into the field.

When target number one is the first one launched for shooters at stations three, four, and five, at least two of them have held their guns too low while “at the ready”, thus presenting the hazard I’ve described. The obvious solution to this is for the menus to avoid target one as the first target when stations three through five are shooting. I assume that if I have experienced this twice in two weeks, it is happening frequently.

I write this not knowing if the situation exists universally, or just at my club. I would be interested in your comments, and those of your readers.


Dear Henry,

Few things in life are more thrilling than standing in Stand One and watching the guy in Stand Three lean forward and pivot to the left to point those twin tubes of death right up your snoot. I would have shot first. There is absolutely no excuse for that kind of behavior or course design. Not only is that the designer’s fault, but it is also the shooter’s fault. If the shooter doesn’t know where his barrels are pointing, he should take up golf.

We don’t shoot too much 5 Stand format around here because the locals much prefer the freedom of the FITASC format. 5 Stand is designed on a commercial format to “jam ’em through” just like trap. It is well suited to high volume situations like re-entry events at shoots. It is less suited for club usage and practice. That is where the FITASC format does better.

Also, I think that FITASC is much safer than 5 Stand format. In FITASC, like skeet, the guy in front has the loaded gun and that is it. I always get a little edgy when people on either side of me on the trap or 5 Stand line are fumbling around with loaded guns. Trap is so regimented and the birds all out in front, so their safety record is OK. 5 Stand has yet to convince me.

The fix for your 5 Stand safety problem should be very simple. First, talk to the guy who pointed his gun at you. It is just possible that he is so stupid that he doesn’t realize what he did. Then talk to the range manager about the safety of his layout.

There is nothing inherently dangerous about an overhead going away shot on the 5 Stand. It is a fairly standard format for NSCA franchise 5 STand. I don’t happen to like it because, as you have seen, it can cause trouble.

Changing the target sequence as you suggest might help, but I don’t think that it is the best solution. I would really have to see the layout to know for sure. Remember, if you can physically pivot all the way around to take a target coming from the rear, some bozo will try it. I would hate to rely on just a change of sequence for safety. It would be better if it were impossible to shoot the guy in the next stand.

The best solution would be to eliminate the target and move the machine to a place in front and to the side of the shooters. A second-best solution might be to improve the caging system. Most 5 Stands that I have seen use “V” shaped cages. These are popular because they are cheap to make, portable and easily stored. They are ideal for the NSCA traveling road show trucks. They aren’t very safe though.

The best 5 Stand cages that I have found have been standard box cages with rear entry, not a front entry. A bar is placed across the cage, but NOT all the way to the front. The bar should go across the cage at belt height about two feet or so back from the front. This will physically prevent the shooter from leaning far enough forward to be able to draw down on the guy next to him. Many shooters don’t like this restriction on their freedom of movement, but I think that freedom from being shot wins out every time.

Still, I think that the safest approach is just to eliminate those come-from-behind targets that cause shooters to pivot back. Sooner or later something bad is going to happen due to that presentation. The right way to design a safe 5 Stand is to make it safe from the start.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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1 Response to Dangerous 5 Stand Situation

  1. Thomas H Milstead says:

    Don’t shoot much 5 stand or participate in tournaments. We have rear entry at GHGC Houston.
    I only shoot Stations 1 & 5, these two stations represent the extremes. No sense wasting time on the other ones.


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