While the July Question of the Month was actually based on a Fixed Time stage it is important to remember that when it comes to scoring the stage, a Fixed Time stage can be thought of as a Virginia Count stage with a time limit. Extra shot and extra hit penalties apply to both VC and FT stages, as would stacking penalties. A couple of differences between VC and FT stages is that in a FT stage, overtime shots are penalized, missed shots are not penalized, and failure to shoot at penalties are not applicable.
The July question was taken directly from a stage at a large Level II match. Rather than being able to only select a single answer, respondents could select any or all of the options available. There were 1354 total votes cast and 2019 answers selected which means at least 67% of the votes included more than one answer.
Here’s the question as presented in the July QOTM and a graph of the results:
WSB: 12-round, Fixed Time, short course with six cardboard USPSA targets. Maximum time of 6.0 seconds. On audible start signal, engage each target with only 2 rounds each.
A competitor fires three rounds at T1, two rounds each at T2-T5, and one round at T6. The final shot is recorded as 6.22 seconds. T1 has three hits in the scoring zone.
Let’s discuss each of the possible penalties and why each did or didn’t apply to this situation.
Extra Shot (184.108.40.206). Out of the approximately 1,350 answers to this question, neatly 16% said that an extra shot penalty was appropriate for this situation. It’s an understandable response since the competitor fired three rounds at T1, but is it correct? Rule 220.127.116.11 states that an extra shot penalty is assessed when shots are fired in excess of the number specified in a component string or stage. The stage required a total of 12 rounds, two on each of six targets. In this case, the competitor had the presence of mind to only fire one round at the last target, so only 12 shots were fired in the stage. Therefore, an extra shot penalty is not applicable. If the competitor had fired three rounds at T1 and two each at T2-T6 for a total of 13 shots, then an extra shot would be appropriate.
Extra Hit (18.104.22.168). Just over 42% selected an extra hit as applicable to this situation. We’ve discussed why an extra shot penalty is not appropriate, even though the shooter engaged T1 with three rounds. However, the question stated that there are three scoring hits on T1 when only two are specified. For that reason, an extra hit penalty is applicable in this case. Note that the question stated that there were three hits in the scoring zone; if the competitor had a two hits in the scoring zone and one in hard cover or in a no-shoot, an extra hit penalty would not be assessed.
Stacked Shots (22.214.171.124). Around 5% chose stacking as a penalty for this situation. This is a case where a partial reading of the rule can make an RO think the penalty is appropriate. Let’s look at the wording of the rule: “…shooting more than the specified shots at a target(s) while shooting other target(s) with fewer shots than specified…” Okay, that sort of makes sense. The competitor fired three shots at T1 and one shot at T6, so he should get one stacking penalty, right? Now let’s look at the rest of the rule: “…in a manner than eliminates transitions between targets…” In this case, the competitor did not save a transition because he made all five transitions necessary for the stage. It is unlikely that a stacking penalty would be assessed on a stage that doesn’t have a reload or multiple strings where a competitor could save a transition or two and still engage each target with the correct number of rounds. Remember, when it comes to assessing a stacking penalty, the key to remember is did the competitor save a transition?
Overtime Shot (126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52). Between 14% and 15% said that the competitor should be assessed an overtime shot. At a glance, this is understandable. The final shot was recorded as 6.22 seconds and the maximum time was 6.0 seconds, so there was an overtime shot, right? This is another case where a check of the rules, and reading the entire rule, will serve the RO well. Rule 184.108.40.206 clarifies that any shot fired more than 0.30 seconds over the set time will be assessed as an overtime shot. In this case, the competitor’s final shot was fired at 6.22 seconds, so an overtime shot is not appropriate. What is special about 0.30 seconds? A lot of people think that 0.30 seconds is used because of a person’s reaction time after hearing the second beep of the timer. Sounds good, but not everyone’s reaction time is the same so there is no way to measure an overtime shot based on reaction time. In fact, 0.30 seconds is based on the duration of the beep on most timers. Remember also that an overtime shot is the only five-point penalty in the rule book; the idea is that the penalty is only intended to negate the maximum number of points that a competitor could have earned with the shot.
Failure to Comply with the Stage Procedure (10.2.2). Nearly 17% said that the competitor should be assessed a penalty for not complying with the stage procedure. This penalty is something of a catch-all and is often misused. In reading the complete rule 10.2.2 and sub-rule 10.2.2.1, there are two statements that should jump out in this case. One, in 10.2.2, reads “…except where addressed in other rules…” and the other, in 10.2.2.1, states that this procedural penalty does “…not apply to the total number of shots fired…” 10.2.2.1 goes on the clarify that penalties for firing insufficient or additional shots (i.e. misses or extra shots) are addressed in other rules. We’ve covered the applicability of extra shot, extra hit, and miss penalties to this situation. Some of you likely chose this answer because the competitor fired three shots at T1, when the WSB clearly stated only two rounds. But remember, the competitor did not fire an extra shot and was assessed the extra hit penalty, so he has already been penalized for his mistake and it is not appropriate to assess a 10.2.2 penalty because it would penalize the shooter twice for the same action.
So the final correct answer is one procedural for an extra hit. That’s it. Just the one penalty.
Virginia Count and Fixed Time scoring will often generate questions like this one, and the more we cover these types of situations, the better we will all be at scoring them. If you happen to shoot at a club that does not include either VC or FT stages in the monthly matches, ask them why not. They can be more challenging to score, yes, but they are an important part of our sport. Limiting the number of shots or setting a maximum time for a stage introduces a unique shooting challenge and one that is different than a Comstock stage.
Remember to vote in the current Question of the Month!
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