Okay, maybe passionate isn’t the right word. I like to think of USPSA members who strive to be experts about the rules as aficionados. And as fans of the rules, do we get a little grumpy when people are cavalier with them? Yes, we do.
This past summer, we had some training at USPSA HQ. The trainers asked us to define the USPSA brand. Yeah, USPSA is known for safe, fair, and fun shooting competitions, but what defines that? Well, we couldn’t define the USPSA brand without talking about the USPSA rules. Yes, there are the USPSA and IPSC targets, but use of those targets is outlined in the rules. The range commands? Yep, covered in the rules. Match safety? Defined there as well.
USPSA isn’t USPSA without the rules. And since USPSA has well established rules, a USPSA member from New York can go to a club match in California and know the range commands, the penalties, and how the targets score. There are no surprises if everyone plays by the same rulebook.
And yes, RMIs, RMs, and even some CROs and ROs do get frustrated when the rules are not followed. The RMIs especially find it frustrating since we spend so much time teaching the rules. But we understand that people are not going to become rules experts overnight. We know that clubs may setup an illegal stage once in awhile. We just hope that people are looking up things in the rulebook, or sending an email for clarification, and learning from their mistakes and striving to do better.
If you are thinking, “My club doesn’t follow the rules. How do I change that?” First ask why it is that way. Is it because there are not enough people who know the rules? Then look into hosting a RO class at your club. Is it because there are not enough people who help run the matches? Then get involved. Or is it because the club leadership doesn’t want to follow the rules? Well, that is harder to fix.
We only ask that if you are running a USPSA match, that you follow the USPSA rules (all of them). If you don’t want to follow the USPSA rules, then just call your match something else. Don’t falsely advertise it as a USPSA match, when it isn’t. That way the folks attending the match know what to expect and it protects the USPSA brand.