I shoot the occasional L Match because it’s an ego booster. You get higher scores and I like that!
In fact, sometimes I need that.
You see, my usual Bullseye competitors include several world class shooters who have won national and international championships. While shooting Bullseye with them is inspirational, it can also be discouraging.
Coming home from a small match where only the hard-core - these guys - and me were there, my wife might ask, “How’d you do?”
“Uhm,” I would answer carefully, “I came in sixth?”
She would give me that knowing smile.
“Maybe there will be more than six people at the next match.”
An L Match counteracts feelings of inferiority. While you may still come in sixth with those five High Masters, your numerical score will be higher, a lot higher.
And you’re also much more likely to “clean” a target. That’s a target worth 100 points, the maximum you can get.
That gives you something to brag about. It’s real. You did it. There, see the holes? And it’s Slow Fire, too!
(You can even show it on your web page!)
L Matches are shot on targets with huge X rings and they’re fired exclusively at 25 yards. Not surprisingly, scores are higher and seeing clean targets happens fairly often. While not commonplace, a clean target in an L Match is much more likely than one in Bullseye. And in the International events, a ten shot score of 100 is exceedingly rare even at the Olympic level.
But in the L Matches, they happen.
“Hey Don, I cleaned my Slow Fire with seven Xs. How’d you do?”
L Matches are also a good meeting ground for the pistol shooting sports as well as a good format to bring shooters in from the public “do what you want” range.
Any handgun, range rules permitting, is allowed so anyone with a handgun can enter. You can shoot using both hands if you wish. The rules allow any stance as long as the shooting arm is unsupported. Iron sights work just about as well as a red dot with those big scoring rings. Even telescopic sights are permitted - at only 25 yards, they hold no advantage.
In an L Match, everyone shoots at once so there’s no standing around waiting for your turn.
“Shooters to the line,” means everyone is going to shoot now.
An L Match moves along quicker than Bullseye. Slow Fire is over in four minutes unlike Bullseye’s ten that can seem like forever for those done in two. And while Timed and Rapid at 15 and 11 seconds are different than Bullseye’s 20 and 10, few shooters from any handgun sport will have trouble getting off the required five shots per string.
And this brings us to a big advantage for the action-oriented shooters.
You see, there are no alibis in an L Match. If you have a problem such as a misfire or stovepipe, the clock is still running. You need to clear it and keep going.
Bullseye and International shooters aren’t used to that. They’re accustomed to stopping and getting more shots and more time.
No so, in an L Match.
Shooters accustomed to the action and practical pistol sports will have a distinct advantage in Timed and epecially Rapid Fire. They know, “Slap, rack, bang!” They know how to clear a problem, to make the gun ready and keep shooting.
In situations like that, the action and practical shooters will end up with better scores than the Bullseye and International shooters.
It’s a competition leveler.
Note, however, you may get some debate because, well, rules and practices for L Matches vary from one club to the next.
Searching the internet, I was unable to come up with a formal set of rules for L Matches. Consequently, each club has its variations.
Some clubs, for example, say you must ready exactly five rounds. They are accustomed to the Bullseye and International formats where that limit is mandated in the formal rules.
But because there are no alibis in an L Match, you may need more than five rounds in a Rapid Fire string so you can quickly “slap, rack, bang” your way past a misfire.
In the L Match, therefore, shooters should load full magazines so they can deal with problems without needing to stop and reload.
Of course, it’s also true that, with more rounds, L Match competitors would be forced to count - to five shots per string. If you miscounted and ended up with eleven holes in your target after two strings, you would lose your best shots as penalty, just as in a Bullseye alibi.
It is worth a minor note that a shooter’s honesty would have to be trusted. For example, it would be possible for someone to realize they had missed the target frame completely on one shot and so, to make up, shoot an extra in the current or next string.
But such behavior would eventually be detected. All it would take is for a shooter to have extra holes on more than one occasion while claiming to have fired only ten. “It’s a crossfire” only works when the neighbor is missing a hole. The lie will soon be detected.
When you are standing shoulder to shoulder with loaded firearms, trust is everything.
So when a cheater is detected, it’s over for them. They will be shunned in a dozen different ways and the unwelcoming treatment will drive them away.
They won’t be back.
L Matches are a cross-over event. They allow the action crowd and the Bullseye and International practitioners to meet on common ground, each having unique challenges as well as distinct advantages.
And a 100-7 in Slow Fire?
Thanks, I needed that!