This question was taken from a thread on the Enos forum. The responses as to which rule applied were varied and there was much disagreement – perfect for a Question of the Month: At a USPSA match, a PCC competitor is given the “Make ready” command, loads and applies the PCC safety, and assumes the start position. After the “Are you ready?” command, but before the start signal, the competitor fires the PCC and the shot impacts the rear berm. As the RO, what is your call?
Hmm, what call do you make? Here are the results from the poll:
I am not surprised that the the top two answers were DQ and false start, but which one is correct? Quite a few of the forum responses were DQ, as well as the comments on Facebook when USPSA shared this question in early May. But is it a DQ? If it is, which rule is used to DQ the competitor? You have to support any DQ with a rule. Calling a DQ because you think it was a DQ, with no rule to back it up, will result in the RM encouraging you to change your call.
Let’s examine the incident in detail and see which rules apply. The competitor had already loaded his PCC at “Make Ready” and the RO had issued the “Are You Ready?” command. I saw some folks say that is was a DQ for a shot that occurred during Make Ready (rule 10.4.3, and 8.3.1). But the RO had already issued “Are You Ready?” meaning that rule 10.4.3 doesn’t apply. Okay, what about an accidental discharge DQ? Well, the shot did not go over the berm, or strike the ground within 10 feet of the competitor, so 10.4.1 and 10.4.2 can’t be used. The competitor wasn’t clearing a malfunction, or transferring the firearm between hands, moving, or retrieving a staged firearm, so the rest of the section 10.4 rules for an accidental discharge don’t apply either.
If a DQ doesn’t apply, what happens then? This rule covers it (184.108.40.206): “In the event that a competitor begins his attempt at the course of fire prematurely (“false start” prior to the issuance of the start signal) the Range Officer will, as soon as possible, stop and restart the competitor once the course of fire has been restored.” Okay, I know some of you are not agreeing with this. You are saying that it was obvious that the competitor had his finger on the trigger and the safety off and had an unintended shot. How can this not be a DQ?
It’s not a DQ because what happened is not covered by any of the rules in section 10.4. And, because it really is due to an error on the part of the RO. What? How is this the fault of the RO?
Let’s look at 8.3.1 (Make Ready command), specifically the last two sentences: “The competitor must then assume the specified start position. The Range Officer will not proceed with any further range commands until the competitor is still and is in the correct start position.” I put the relevant sentence in italics. Using that sentence in conjunction with the PCC ready condition (220.127.116.11): “Carbine will be prepared with a loaded chamber, loaded magazine inserted, hammer cocked, and safety applied.” And the PCC competitor ready condition (18.104.22.168): “Fingers must be outside the trigger guard and the safety applied if the carbine is loaded.” The competitor was in the correct start position when the RO issued the “Are you ready?” command, but then moved into an incorrect start position before the start signal. The RO should have paused the range commands and re-issued “Make Ready” to get the competitor back into the proper start position.
Even if the RO had not stopped the competitor and let him complete the stage, a reshoot should have been called because of 8.2.2: “The competitor assumes the start position as specified in the written stage briefing. A competitor who attempts or completes a course of fire where an incorrect start position was used must be required by a Range Official to reshoot the course of fire.” If we call it a false start or an incorrect start position, it’s a reshoot and not a DQ.
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