Due to continuing concerns about the popper calibration process, a new procedure was developed to address the question some have about whether their shot changed something in the way the popper was set, putting it right, and making the calibration shot knock it down as intended. One of the Instructors, George Jones, came up with the initial procedure. I proposed it to the board a while back, and was asked to tweak it a little bit and clean it up–make sure it addressed what we wanted to do and didn’t create any unintended consequences. It was decided that the most effective way to introduce this was via a board-requested ruling. That ruling was released Wednesday, September 29th, and is also included in the USPSA Board meeting minutes from the night before, also released on the 29th. Here’s the link to the ruling itself: Amended Popper Calibration Procedure. We are also in the process of updating the digital rule sets.
In short, besides adding painting to the list of things that can’t be done to a popper waiting to be calibrated, it adds a reset step if the popper is hit correctly on the initial calibration shot and it falls. The new procedure requires the popper to be reset once the calibration shot knocks it down, and then the RM shoots it again. If it falls on the second shot, it is determined to be in calibration. The question of the competitor’s shot affecting something in the way the popper is set has arisen from time to time, and I have witnessed it on several occasions, especially with poppers that are a little more complex than others. We think this new procedure may result in a few more reshoots, but more importantly, it should induce more inspection of poppers by stage crews, and maybe a little more diligence on the part of the competitor setting it up, since the RM is going to request that the person that set it do it again for the second shot. All other aspects of the procedure are identical: hits above the calibration zone result in reshoots, and if the popper doesn’t fall, it’s a reshoot. If the calibration shot misses, there is generally laughter, and the RM must shoot again until he hits the popper. Once hit, all aspects of the popper calibration procedure will apply.
One thing to note: in order to request calibration, the competitor must hit the popper. Once calibration is requested, the popper cannot be interfered with and the area around it should be kept clear of competitors and range officers. The RM must inspect the popper for defects or anything that could be keeping the popper from falling when hit. If a defect or other issue is found, a reshoot is the proper way to respond to this situation. The popper can still be calibrated once the issue is resolved.