Mondays are busy for NROI. There usually are multiple emails that start out with, “I shot a match this weekend and I am unsure the right call was made….” Sometimes the emails are from ROs who want to confirm they made the right call. But we also get a fair number of questions from competitors too.
I once had an up and coming competitor who had shot through hard cover onto a target not understand why those hits did not count for score. I explained it to him and he thanked me and explained that he wanted to become a GM before learning the rules. I thought it was great that he had that goal, but was baffled as to why he didn’t want to learn the rules to assist in achieving that goal. Don’t the top competitors need to know the rules to make sure they get fair calls and to know what they can and can’t do within the rules?
I know that when I was a beginning D-class shooter and took the RO class, I learned a lot of things that helped me as a competitor. Like if the WSB doesn’t say palms flat on marks, I can just touch the marks with my finger tips. Or that there is this thing called significant advantage in relation to foot faults and it not always is one procedural per shot. I had a ton of ‘aha’ moments that helped me become a more informed and savvy competitor in relation to the rules.
Some of the Monday emails we get from competitors confirm the right call was made and we point out which rule applies. But we also get some emails where the competitor got a bad call from the RO. And because the competitor didn’t have basic rules knowledge, he was not able to challenge the RO.
I encourage all competitors to spend some time learning the rules. Do you have to be experts? No, but you should have a copy of the rules handy and be familiar enough with them to look things up. How can one gain this rules knowledge? Here are a few suggestions:
- Attend a Range Officer seminar: We have a lot of members who take the RO class just to learn the rules. They usually become certified, and some renew their certification while others let it expire. You can find RO seminars near you on the USPSA website. You have to be a USPSA member and have a classification in USPSA or SCSA to register for the seminar. Don’t want to take the seminar? Keep reading.
- Read the rulebook: Spending time in the rulebook is really the best way to learn the rules. A question comes up during a match, look it up then and there! The USPSA rulebooks and SCSA rulebook are found on the websites and apps. Want to order a printed copy? We now offer them through Amazon.
- Read the NROI Blog and listen to the Podcast: Subscribe to this blog and listen to the NROI Podcast. There is a wealth of rules knowledge on the blog with pictures, videos, and answers to common rules questions. You can register for our email list on the homepage.
Just remember that even if you take the RO class or read the rulebook once, the rules do change over time and you might need to refresh your knowledge once in awhile. We always announce rules changes and provide change logs, so be on the lookout for those. And never be afraid to ask a RO to show you the rule in the rulebook. Double checking while at the match is the best policy versus sending an email on Monday only to find out you were the victim of a bad call.