The December Question of the Month deals with a magazine ending up beyond the plane of a wall and what, if anything needs to be done about a shooter that reaches through the wall for it.
Thankfully, most of you got this one right. There is no problem with this situation and it is allowed. Now, you might be wondering how a question of the month that has broad consensus as to the correct answer ends up being used. The reality is that we get this question from folks fairly often. So, it seemed reasonable to toss it out there. And, there were still a bunch of folks that got it wrong so it does provide a teachable moment for some.
The usual confusion folks have about this situation stems from rules 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11. Because we state that the wall is a solid plane and goes from the ground to infinity; the notion is that a competitor cannot cross the plane of the wall at all. And while this is true, the magazine, being an inert and inanimate object incapable of following anything but the laws of physics, doesn’t know about said rule and just goes on through the wall. Had the wall actually been a solid plane then the magazine would have hit that plane and fallen in front of it and not breached the plane of the wall. Thus, we cannot penalize a shooter who has to reach through the plane to retrieve said magazine.
The same rules would apply if the object under the wall was a prop such as a ball, that was being carried by the shooter and dropped.
Some do try to make the case that this is Range Equipment Failure and thus a reshoot because the wall failed to stop the magazine. Rule 4.6.1 does include the failure of a barrier but in this case the barrier didn’t fail. It performed as constructed. Simply put; if you want the walls to physically be solid all the way to the ground and prevent objects from passing through them, then build them that way. Rule 4.6.1 discussing failure of a barrier refers to a barrier falling or becoming unsafe/unstable due to wind or other forces.
As for penalties, this is not unsportsmanlike behavior so 10.6.1 is not a consideration. The shooter also did not gain any advantage from this, quite the opposite probably, so no procedurals are warranted. Being able to reach through a wall that is not physically there is not an advantage because, as already stated, had the wall been solid in the first place the magazine would not have gone through it and the competitor would not have needed to reach through the wall.