It is a fact of life, everyone needs to perform certain bodily functions. In fact, if you aren’t having to perform one of them during the course of a match, it can be a bad sign. At a recent class, we ended up having a rather interesting discussion about this which has inspired this post. So let’s examine the finer points.
There is a wonderful children’s book that really needs to be required reading for a lot of adults I know, “Everybody Poops”. There are companion books for other bodily functions as well. Why we, as adults, treat this topic the way we do is mostly cultural and mostly broken. But let’s just call it “elimination” to use the scientific terminology.
We aren’t going to get into the availability of suitable locations for this activity nor the sanitary aspects or even if the MD has arranged for enough of them or enough servicing of them to meet the match needs. Nor will we deal with the vagaries of the the various health codes because those range from the non-existent to the draconian (I once heard of a local health code that required one porta-potty per every six people…that’s a LOT of porta-potties).
We are also not going to deal with the “decidedly male bias” regarding elimination and the ease thereof for some competitors vs. others. Sorry, you will need to discuss your quibbles here with the Creator as I have no power over that (if I did, dogs would live forever).
If you are shooting a match that lasts more than a couple hours AND you are properly hydrated/hydrating, you generally will need to avail yourself of the facilities. If you do not, you are likely not properly hydrating or have a bladder of extraordinary proportions. If it is extremely hot/dry you may not be able to properly hydrate over the course of the day, but just understand that if you aren’t utilizing the facilities every few hours you are flirting with dehydration. Being aware of time between eliminations is a very easy way to track hydration state.
Okay, now we understand that elimination is a fact of life and it is necessary at matches. Good.
The “fun” begins when we mix in guns and gun belts into the equation. You have to eliminate and you have a gun to deal with. If you just walk over to your range bag/cart and strip off your belt with handgun in the holster and you are not at the safe area you get to experience a DQ. Go ahead and take care of your needs, the DQ will stand and we will wait. Wash your hands.
Best range management practice is to place a safety area adjacent to the porta-potties so that proper gun handling can take place prior to and after the facilities have been utilized. For whatever reason, MDs seem to miss this very logical step. So, if you are an MD an/or are helping put on matches, it is worth the effort.
One range in Colorado has thoughtfully provided “safe areas” within the facilities themselves. Just keep in mind the requirements of 2.4, especially the “safe direction” requirement. Wash your hands.
Hardly a major match goes by that there is not a call for the RM for an “abandoned gun at a safe area”. Invariably, it belongs to someone in the porta-potty who knows the rules. Sadly, this is no longer a wise practice because there are people out there of low character who will wander off with your gun. So, taking the time to safely, and legally (at the safe area), stow it in your range bag/cart/backpack first is necessary.
The lore of our sport is replete with stories of guns, magazines, car keys, etc. being lost to the “blue water abyss”. I am 100% certain some of these are true as I have witnessed examples of all of the above. I also know that I have heard “heavy objects” being dropped in porta-potties, lots of velcro being released from within, and so on. While it is easy to say “I don’t want to know, don’t ask, don’t tell” that really isn’t the proper, nor safe way to handle things. And no, we aren’t going to pop open doors to DQ people who are maybe doing things improperly within the confines of said porta-potty. You cannot unsee some things and that is certainly unwise and probably illegal.
Do it right people. If there are not safety areas near the porta-potties, ask the MD to provide them. And wash your hands.
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