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Changes To The PRS Barricade Skills Stage

New Upgrades To The PRS Barricade Skills Stage

The 2024 rules for the Precision Rifle Series were recently published, and those included a few changes, including some upgrades to the PRS Skills Stages. I thought this was something many of my readers would like to know about, so I wanted to do a brief post to share what changed.

Changes to our standardized skill stages clearly show the progress in our sport. I’ve been shooting PRS matches for almost 10 years, and over the past few years, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the level of competition and ability of not just the top shooters but of the average PRS shooters. The rifles, ammo, and gear have also come a long way in 10 years. If you took a guy who finished in the top 5 at a match in 2015 and teleported him to the present with the same gear and skill level, he might not break into the top 50 at a pro-level match today!

These upgrades to the skills stages represent that advancement in skill and gear. The PRS Match Director Committee agreed to shrink the target size by 20% and increase the number of shots by 25%!

These changes bring a skills stage into better alignment with the typical round count and level of stage difficulty you see at PRS matches. We have a few guys like Francis Colon cleaning the PRS barricade skills stage in under 30 seconds! (Watch his 25-second run at K&M here.) Now, that is exceptional, but even the mid-pack shooters are finishing in under 60 seconds. In fact, at the 2023 K&M PRC, the 20 guys who finished mid-pack averaged 53.9 seconds on the PRS Barricade Skills Stage. That isn’t the case for other stages at a big, two-day PRS match – so it was time for some updates!

Ben Gossett Shooting PRS Barricade Skills Stage at K&M

What Is A PRS Skills Stage?

The PRS skills stages were initially designed to:

  1. Be a standardized and fair way to handle ties
  2. Serve as training tools for shooters to stress common skills
  3. Serve as a barometer for shooters to easily compare themselves to other shooters

The rules say, “Every PRS Two Day Major Competition will have at least one PRS Skills Stage that will be run the same way at all matches.” There were originally four different prescribed PRS Skills Stages, although the skills stage with the PRS Barricade is the one you’d see the overwhelming majority of match directors opt to use. The four PRS Skills Stages have remained unchanged for years, but the PRS Match Director Committee decided to update them for 2024.

The 2024 PRS Rule Changes

Based on the 2024 PRS Rules, all of the skills stages except for the PRS barricade have been eliminated – but they expanded the barricade skills stage so that match directors have 3 options in how they run it.

What changed on the PRS barricade skills stage?

  • Went from 8 round to 10 round stage
  • 2 targets (previously just 1)
  • Shrunk target size from 10” circle to 8” circle (also an option for 6” target in Big/Small scenario)
  • New options for distances (400-500 yards, previously only 400)
  • Start position changed from 10 yards behind the barricade to 2 yards
  • Stage par time no longer defined (previously explicitly defined as 90 seconds)
  • New option to slightly shrink the width in the center of the barricade (if you have one built to the original specs, rest assured it still works)

What didn’t change?

  • Same 4 firing positions (marked with an X below)
  • Same basic barricade dimensions
PRS Barricade Dimensions Diagram PRS Skills Stage

PRS Barricade Dimension Changes

Here is a look at the dimensions of the PRS barricade defined in the 2024 rules, compared to what was defined in previous years:

PRS Barricade Dimensions and Specifications as Defined In PRS Rule Book

You can see that if you built a barricade based on the old dimensions, it still meets the dimensions from the 2024 rules. I’m sure we’re all thankful that we don’t have to rebuild our barricades! 😉

While the rulebook always illustrated the shape of the barricade, as shown above for 2017 and 2023, they didn’t explicitly define the height of the middle section. You’d see some variations from one range to the next in that dimension. That’s probably why the PRS Match Director Committee appropriately clarified in 2024 that the middle section must be at least 6” taller than the two standing positions.

The 2024 rules allow a little more flexibility in terms of the width and height of the middle section. It also explicitly defines that each of the 4 shooting positions should be 12” wide. That was inferred from other dimensions in the past, but I appreciate the clarity. That last change was that the barricade can now be 3.5-5″ inches” thick, where previously the rules said 4-5″.

PRS Barricade Skills Stage Target Options

Now, let’s look at the changes related to the target size, distance, and layout options for the PRS barricade skills stage. In the past, all of the shots were at a single 10” circle at 400 yards. The 2024 rules give match directors 3 different options that they can choose from for their match:

PRS Skills Stage Options for PRS Rifle Match PRS Barricade

You can see the maximum target size for any of the 2024 options is 8”. That means the target size shrunk by at least 20%! Previously, the target was approximately 2.5 MOA, and now it’s 2.0 MOA max.

Here are direct quotes from the 2024 PRS rulebook describing each of the options for targets:

Option 1 – Big-Small

Targets: 8” circle and 6” circle at 400 yards spaced less than 2 yards from one another.

Course of Fire: Starting 2 yards behind the barricade at port arms with the magazine in and bolt back, at the sound of the start command (or beep) the shooter will engage the targets with 1 round each (big then small) from the four available positions then repeat one of the first 3 positions for a total of 5 positions.

Option 2 – Near-Far

Targets: 8” circle at 400 yards and 8” circle at 500 yards. Each target will be less than 100 yards right-left of each other.

Course of Fire: Starting 2 yards behind the barricade at port arms with the magazine in and bolt back, at the sound of the start command (or beep) the shooter will engage the targets with 1 round each (near then far) from the four available positions then repeat one of the first 3 positions for a total of 5 positions.

Option 3 – Left-Right

Targets: Two 8” circles placed at the same distance( +-10yds in range difference) between 400 yards and 500 yards and spaced 100 yards to 300 yards apart (left and right, 15 to 45 degree angle).

Course of Fire: Starting 2 yards behind the barricade at port arms with the magazine in and bolt back, at the sound of the start command (or beep) the shooter will engage the targets with 1 round each (right then left) from the four available positions then repeat one of the first 3 positions for a total of 5 positions.

Parting Shots

I just wanted to share the news about these changes with all my readers. Now we all have something new to practice before our next match! 😉

You can check out the PRS Rules Committee meeting notes related to this decision if you’re interested in learning more, which includes notes about the discussion and why they landed on what they did.

PRS Rules Committee Meeting Notes Related To PRS Barricade Changes

About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. Cal has an engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and the ability to present technical information in an unbiased and straight-forward fashion. For more info, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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  1. I think this is not a good direction. We can not measure our performance any longer. This is like high jump competition taking off from a shallow pit, or with run-up length shortened only to 5m. This makes no sense. Javelin throw has 5 world records, because they always modified the CG point of the equipment. Complete mess, belive me. Please DO NOT change skill stage!!

    • Hey, Sándor. I understand your point, but the match director committee already decided and these changes have already been rolled out.

      If it helps any, I can say that committee that made that decision included the majority of the most influential match directors and contributors to the PRS in the discussion. Here is a list of the PRS Match Director Rule Committee members that were present (active participants/observers of the discussion):

      Attendees: Mark McCensky, Nick Gadarzi, Jim See, Runar Jonsson, Nate Whitehead, Ted Hoeger, Richard Layton, Vanja Krtolica, Ben Graham, Dane Lentz, CJ Armstrong, Luke Jeter, Terry Diston, Ben Blevins, Mike Lombardie, Leon Weatherby, Kenn Burdick, Bob Hamilton, Ken Wheeler, Missy Wheeler, Brian Neace, Mike Lombardi, Seth Howard, Chris Opfer, BD Kae, Stephanie Rosetta, Laurie Kokoruda, Brandon Hembree, Spencer Munn, Fred Mudd, Deborah Gaumond, Ryan Kerr, JP Gentile, Richard Layton, Prentice Wink, Adam Leonberger, Keith Baker, Sean Johnson, Doug Koenig, Greg Holloway, Ryan Molz, Bill Lauze, Scott Woodhouse, Bryan Lewis, Andy Slade, Julie Kay, Ken Sanoski, Drew Walter, Tate Streater, John Kyle Truitt, Amy Lynn Truitt, Clay Blackketter, Michael Beemer, Brady Lamm, Ja Hymer, Josh Bandy, Justin Watts, Paul Smith, Derek Love, Matt Stiner, Phil Cashin, Bryan Sikes, Shannon Kay, Jim Saunders, George Gardner.

      That is quite the list!!! If that group of people decided it’s the best thing for the sport, then it almost certainly is. I personally think every match having a “give me” stage that is less valuable than the other stages (lower round count) and that is no longer challenging is worse than not being able to make direct comparisons across matches.

      I’d suspect that just like there being 4 “official” skills stages before, but 90% of the matches had the same one … over time we might see most matches gravitate towards one of the options. And when that happens, we’ll be back in the same position where you can make direct comparison across matches – and it will be an appropriately challenging at a two-day match instead of a give-me stage.

      Plus, I’d say most of the matches I’ve gone to lately were no longer running the PRS barricade skills stage as prescribed for those exact reasons. They would combine two skills stages into one, or add some kind of additional twist to it to take the round count up to 10 or try to make it more challenging. So we were already seeing divergence, which was making it where you couldn’t compare across matches anyway.

      We’re all entitled to our opinion and there are downsides to virtually any change – but I’d bet most PRS shooters would agree with this change.


  2. I (we – shooters, competitors) can accept this thinking. Anyway who am I to disagree, with this opinion, came from such a noble group of expertise, competitors and judges. I am just an old track athlete who saw some rule changes during years in athletics. Some of them were good and some were bad (there were some other with very short lifetime as well). I just wanted to say, if there were an official (non official) world record set by Francis Colon that’s just died with new rules. We just started to practice to beat it, and suddenly there is no more point to do that. We can agree, that this skill stage has no longer the same.
    On the other hand as far as we saw, see this sport developing super fast. We can see here in cenetre of Europe, where it started not long ago. We are lucky that we getting into it with all the benefits you guys built up. I am very curious that where will be the first moments when there will be some kind of resting moment in relation of rules “hardcoreness”. One again in track and field nowadays very hard to beating world records, but they are there, waiting for a better one. Athletes needs stabile aims. We do not like changes except it serves the progressions. The question is what is progression and/or what is important in PRS. Being faster, being more accurate or just reveal who is the best – bracketed with having fun.