Moving targets, ones that remain visible at rest or disappear after movement, are an easy way to add a challenge to any stage design. And when a competitor activates the targets per the WSB, then there usually isn’t a problem….other than some possible misses. But, what happens when a competitor fails to activate a moving target? The July Question of the Month asked: What is the penalty for not activating a disappearing target before the last shot?
Here are the results, and the majority of those that responded got it correct.
|Two misses and a FTSA penalty||48.07% (398 votes)|
|One FTSA penalty||28.02% (232 votes)|
|No penalty||12.44% (103 votes)|
|Two no-penalty misses||11.47% (95 votes)|
The rules about moving targets are found in section 9.9 of the 2019 USPSA Competition Rules. 9.9.1 defines what a moving target is. A moving target is a target that presents a legal portion of the A-zone (per App. B1) during continuous movement or after movement. A disappearing target is defined in 9.9.2 and is a moving target that does not present a legal portion of the A-zone after movement. In regards to the poll question we asked last month, let’s say the disappearing target was a drop/gravity-turner type of target. It was hidden before activation, and flashed twice and then was not visible at rest. But 9.9.2 also says that disappearing targets do not incur failure to shoot at (FTSA) and miss penalties. So how can a competitor get those penalties for not activating it? Well, that rule also references 9.9.3 as the exception.
Rule 9.9.3 is the key to the right answer. 9.9.3 says that moving targets always occur FTSA and miss penalties if not activated before the last shot during a course of fire (COF). So, if a disappearing target is not activated before the last shot, it’s two misses (we are assuming it’s a best 2 hits target) and a FTSA penalty. If the competitor activates a disappearing target, but doesn’t engage it, then there are no penalties and the target is scored as two no-penalty misses (NPM). Not activating a disappearing target is very costly. And yes, prior to January 2019, rule 9.9.3 used to say activation had to occur before the end of the COF, but that was changed to the last shot to keep competitors from activating moving targets after the last shot, and as a result off the clock.
What about things like max-traps and targets with no-shoots that move in front of them? These are also covered by 9.9.3 which states, “This includes no-shoot targets that must be activated when in front of scoring targets to expose them.” So 9.9.3 is all about the required movement of the moving scoring target or moving no-shoot that hides the scoring target. And misses and a FTSA penalty apply in those situations too. Yeah, it’s a harsh penalty but that is how the rule is currently written and needs to be applied.