On That “DQ” Issue.

So we bounced back and forth a couple emails.  I sent the last one Monday night asking for additional clarification regarding the issue previously brought up here.   Mainly because I had an issue with trying to use section 10.5 to attempt to DQ a competitor.

If you’re wondering why I wanted to get to the bottom of this, its’ because I don’t want to see someone else do something like I did and have it turn into me ruining their day at the match.  I knew how easy it was and even other RO’s at the time didn’t really think of it either.  That said the rules exist for safety first and foremost.  So I want a clear and concise reason and I want to have my facts straight if I have to drop the hammer.

So let me start at the beginning of my major issues.  Rule 10.5.1 states:

Handling a firearm at any time except when in a designated safety area or when under the supervision of, and in response to a direct command issued by, a Range Officer.

And is prefaced with:

Examples of unsafe gun handling include, but are not limited to:

Which my main issue was that the Rule Book clearly defines what is and is not handling:

(As in “handling a firearm”) The act of manipulating, holding, or gripping a firearm while the trigger is functionally accessible.

The other RO did bring up a valid issue with casing, uncasing, and holstering of firearms.  2.4.1 states the following:

Competitors are permitted to use the Safety Areas for the activities stated below provided they remain within the boundaries of the Safety Area and the firearm is pointed in a safe direction. Violations are subject to match disqualification (see Rules 10.5.1 & 10.5.12).

Which he then pointed out that 2.4 specifies activites that are permitted at the safety table, not that you must be at the safety table.  Which makes sense because you could uncase when when you step into the shooters box.

So the problem comes in that the case was opened, but no one actually touched the firearm.  How can it be a DQ?  Turns out it wasn’t.  There are two things worthy of note from the email:

This sort of thing is just asking for a DQ.  Might as well pass around a plate of chocolate chip cookies and tell people to look, don’t touch.

I can agree with that and sympathize whole heartily.  Yeah all things considered, probably not a good idea since everyone will be staring at it going “Oooohhhh Shiny.”  However it does open you to a potential DQ under 10.6.

One RM suggested that if someone had handled they would be DQ’d and the person displaying would get a DQ under 10.6.  It’s a bit of a stretch but I can see that.

For those unaware, 10.6 is the section pertaining to unsportsmanlike conduct.  As said above, it’s like tempting people with a plate of cookies, probably not the smartest idea.  Like Kevin, it’s a stretch but I can see it.

So, in closing, not a good idea, expect a talking to, and if you see someone else do it, give them a gentle nudge that it isn’t a good idea and use the cookie example.  Yes new toys are fun to show off, just walk over to the safety table just in case the monkey brain goes, “Shiny” and tries to pick it up.  Then your bases are covered.

The following bit from the authority on this one is worthy of remembrance as well:

Remember, the basis of our rules is safety.  You can game the non-safety related rules all you want but there is a very, very low tolerance for gaming the safety rules.

That is why I wouldn’t have an issue with it being brought up or a nudge.  Show and tell is creating a situation that can lead handling.  From a safety stand point, that’s bad, mmmkay.

This decision and justification does however solve another issue I had.  New shooters may show up with said case and open it to put on mags and holster while in a more comfortable area away from the safety table which is usually quite busy at the start of a match.  They key is they can not touch the gun.  Once the holsters are on they need to go to the safety table to remove the gun from the case and holster.

Personally I advise putting the gun in a separate case and calling it good.  The only reason I hadn’t yet was because I hadn’t had a chance to rearrange my range bag yet.  I still want my other XD, mags, and ammo as a backup so I need to do some rearranging.  However I can see new shooters showing up with that case, it as everything they need but eyes, ears, and ammo.

Sometimes You’re Lucky

So I got a new toy over the weekend.  This one is specifically going to be geared for competition.



That is a shiny new XDm 5.25 in .40 S&W.   The reason it is bi-tone and in 40 is quite simple, “Because Race Gun”.

Now I have the title of this the way I do for a very good reason.  Especially for other USPSA shooters who may get a new toy.  I got to the range and showed it to a couple other shooters while still in the case before setup began.  In other words I showed it as pictured above.  Neither I nor the CRO I was talking to really thought anything about it at the time.  It was in it’s case, no one was actually handling it, all should be well.

Evidently not.  I got an email from the other RO after he was thinking about it last night and got a forwarded message from an NROI instructor on the topic.

The key is “was the trigger available”?  The answer for most cases is “yes” therefore DQ unless done at a safety table.

Currently I’m a bit lost because there is no rule in the rule book that would cover this that I can see.  The closest is 10.5.1 and 5.2.1, except the gun never left the case, it was just opened.  However according to NROI instructor if the trigger is visible you’re off to Dairy Queen.  I’m going to send an email off to get clarification on this one.  That said, be advised and be safe.  If you have an XDm and you leave it in the stock case to take to a match, don’t open it except at the safety table.  It could bite you.

It’s Time

I’m spending this morning backing up stuff off my laptop for a complete reinstall.  Back in April I had some issues while at the jet boat races.  Well Windows Live Writer has taken a trip south now as well so I figured it’s time to reinstall.

Especially given in a week Joe’s going to be here and I must say, next Sunday looks like it’s going to be fun.  I have to agree that the timing for this worked out decently well.  It’s doubly interesting because at the last match, there was a pile of new shooters, many who had never shot USPSA before, and even very little outside of that.

There shall be numerous data points, my classification from USPSA just came in and I am not enthused with remaining there.  Upshot of that though is whether or not I make the “gold standard”.

Now why do I need my laptop though if Joe’s going to be here, I have my nice desktop at home.  Well after the match we’ve got a few other things before we depart my place headed to Reno for GBR-VII.  I think my laptop should probably be functional for that.

This is probably a good thing…

So Sebastian made a post about the idiot in Sparks that decided to carry a pocket gun without a holster.  Can we all guess how that ended?  How many of you think that it went bang?

If you thought it went bang, well you were right.  This folks as Sebastian said is why you need to carry your gun in a damn holster.

I only bring that up because Nicholas Dropped a comment which I’m going to re-post here (emphasis is mine):

 Very true. We have morons at our shooting club. Who are questionably not safe. At USPSA matches they are shooting over the berm and into the hill behind it. Our berm is an aluminum sheet with rubber tire bits as a back stop. Very fine for pistol. But shooting over it is unacceptable. As well as keeping their finger on the trigger when they mag change or move to the next target. Really unsafe people. And when you bring it up to them they get all defensive. why do these people not think of being safe? It is the most paranoid thing I do at the range.

To which I replied:

Why are they not immediately DQ’d by the RO. All of those things listed there are explicitly stated in the rules as an immediate DQ.

See rule 10.5.8 and 10.5.10 explicitly on the booger hook bang switch problem while moving.

See rule 10.5.9 explicitly for the booger hook while reloading problem.

See 10.4.1 for shooting over the berm.

As for why they don’t think of being safe often it’s because this is how they have always done it and don’t see a reason to change. They do not understand or comprehend how their actions are unsafe.

If you see that happen at a match, notify the RO. At minimum they should be warned if the RO didn’t see it. If the RO did see it they need to get the boot for the rest of the match. The rules exist to protect everyone. The RO isn’t kicking them out, they kicked themselves out by breaking the rules.

Wow, all that time spent reading the USPSA rule book actually made the crap stick.  As I read his post I immediately recognized each of those instances being an immediate DQ, with explicit rules to cover every instance.  Of the rules listed above there were probably secondary rules they broke as well.

The fact is the RO needs to boot them, period.  I don’t care how you play around in your sandbox at home, but if you walk onto a range at a USPSA event those rules exist for my safety as well as everyone else at the event.

I know there are a lot of people who would hesitate to drop the axe and DQ someone.  Thankfully I haven’t had to do that, though I know one day it will come.  My biggest fear is having to drop the axe on a new shooter.  Which is why as an RO I will give verbal reminders about the booger hook if things start to look questionable with new shooters.

Kevin Imel said it best though during our RO training.

When the day comes when a competitor is DQ’d under your watch, you didn’t DQ him, he did that to himself.

He’s right.  Because honestly it benefits neither the club, nor the shooter to just let him get by with the mistake.  Some mistakes have to be punished in such a way that you NEVER want to repeat them again.  Telling you to pack up your guns for the rest of the day is a good way to do exactly that.

If you see unsafe gun handling, STOP it immediately.  Even if the RO didn’t see it.  The RO’s word is final and it’s his choice to issue the DQ, but at a minimum the issue needs to be brought to his attention.*

*For the most part other observers cannot really see what’s going on so this is mute.  If you are the RO running the shooter your eyes should be focused on that gun and his gun handling.  If you’re looking where he’s shooting you’re looking in the wrong spot.  Your score keeper should also be helping to look for penalties as well.

Letting people get away with unsafe gun handling is bad juju.  Especially if they take it to an area match.  Saying “Well I do it all the time back home,” isn’t going to cut it as an excuse.

So as I was saying, it’s probably a good thing they made me damn near memorize that rule book.  It’s also a good thing Kevin gave that speech saying drop the axe if it happens.

In Which I Lead By Example

Yesterday was the USPSA match in which I was the Match Director.  I designed all the stages and picked out the qualifier.  Overall I was looking forward to it.  Mainly because one of the stages was going to be the first stage I ever designed.

We got a bit of video of me shooting that stage.

I laugh because someone was glad that I was pissed for “forcing them to shoot this monstrosity” except everyone I talked to loved it and wanted to shoot it again. In hindsight I should have thought of a way to run it backwards.  If you’re wondering about the outburst at the end I looked at the target and saw I broke the perf on a no shoot at the end of the course.

However I’m saddened we didn’t get video of probably the most important thing that happened on that stage.  It happened while the RO was scoring my stage and I was standing right there.  I’m sad I didn’t even take a picture of it.


You see that white guy in the middle.  Yeah I shot the little bastard because he wasn’t smart enough to get out-of-the-way.  I drilled two A’s into T2, 2 A’s in to T1, and barely nicked the perf on the No Shoot.  When the RO came through he called Alpha Charlie on the target.  He thought I was outside the perf.  I promptly stopped him and said, “Name redacted, That should be 2 Alpha, 1 No Shoot.”  He looked at the target again and said, “holy crap you’re right.”  The funniest thing is, I didn’t even think twice about it, it was immediate and without thought.

Now I know some of you will think that some how that was in my favor, it was not.  Here’s how the score for that breaks down, if it had been an Alpha-Charlie, I would have gotten 7 points.  With a 2-Alpha, No shoot I get 0 points.  The No Shoot is –10 points, each A is a 5.  If I was a little less ethically inclined I could have taken a 7 point boost on my score for that stage.

It’s not worth it at all.  I’m in this for fun and you know what, if I have to cheat to have fun I’m doing it all wrong.  If I want to stand up on the top of the hill and say I won, by god I want to be proud of how I got there.

I was really sad when I had to call a FTE for the RO I caught as a shooter ran through.  I had actually hoped he was the first guy to just skip the body and take the head shots at an earlier position.  He shot the steel and forgot to hit the other target.

Here’s the match stages, both the descriptions and the Google Sketch Up files.  If you want to use them at your local club feel free to do so.  Just give me credit and I’ll be happy.

That particular stage is 30 Minutes or Less.  It started off being just 30 shots but when I redesigned it to fit in our bays and equipment list I ended up adding a target.

Another interesting story was from the standard I created 4×3.  I designed it specifically so the shooter would have a choice between which hand to use at which distance.  I ended up walking up just after they finished reading the stage description and two of the main shooters shot it strong hand closest, then weak hand when further away.  I promptly recheck the stage description which says the following:

String 1.  Upon start signal from behind F1 engage targets T1-T4 freestyle with one shot each.  Perform a mandatory reload and reengage T1-T4 one hand only.

String 2.  Upon start signal from behind F2 engage targets T1-T4 freestyle with one shot each.  Perform a mandatory reload and reengage T1-T4 with one shot each with the opposite hand.

I thought about it for a minute and promptly talked to the two guys who read the briefing and had shot.  In the back of my head I kind of chuckled at the thought of shooting the course of fire weak hand forward, strong hand rear, but I knew it would immediately cause an uproar.  So I clarified it for everyone and we re-shot those shooters at the end.

I still kind of wanted to hear the collective groan after I shot the course and then read the description for everyone.  If you are into USPSA, learn this now, pick up the description yourself and read it before shooting.  Others may have misinterpreted the rules.

I will say I guess Jigsaw was right when she said I was an honest shooter.