We are trying a new thing on nroi.org. We have added a poll to the homepage with a Question of the Month. The main purpose is to see where our USPSA members are with their rules knowledge, but also to hopefully expand their rules knowledge when we discuss the results the following month. For March, the questions was “What should a RO do when a popper that is hit does not fall during a course of fire?”
The March poll was only open about 10 days, but we still got 38 votes. Here are the results:
|Answer Choice||Number of Responses|
|Do nothing and let the competitor finish||81.58 % (31 votes)|
|Immediately stop the shooter since it’s a REF||10.53% (10 votes)|
|Call it as a “hit” so the shooter can move on||7.89% (3 votes)|
The correct answer got the most votes. ROs do not stop shooters for poppers that do not fall if hit. The competitor can choose to stop themselves, and then the RO just proceeds with “If you are finished…” and then scores the stage as shot. It is also up to the shooter to request the popper calibration by the RM. It is not automatic and in addition to the shooter requesting the calibration challenge, the CRO/RO also needs to see evidence of a hit anywhere on the front of the popper (220.127.116.11). This is why it’s important to paint between shooters, to make it easy for the RO/CRO to see the hit on the popper.
Over the years, the popper calibration rules have been a topic of hot discussion on the forums and social media, especially when a calibration doesn’t go the way a shooter wants. But, if poppers are properly maintained before and during the match, there are very few popper calibration challenges. For local matches, when your squad gets to a stage, take a minute to check the poppers before shooting. If the poppers are heavy, adjust them. If the squad notices the poppers getting heavy during the stage, adjust them. If you are working a stage at a major match, check your steel often and keep it set properly. If you are a competitor at a major match and feel that the steel is getting heavy, politely ask the stage staff to check it.
There used to be an urban legend that ROs were not allowed to adjust poppers, but that was untrue. In the 2019 Competition Rulebook we actually added to rule 2.3.7: “Routine maintenance to a stage such as but not limited to: replacing targets, target sticks, activators and other props, ensuring all metal targets remain in proper working order, including adjustment by range staff, are not considered modifications.” Stage staff are now explicitly allowed to adjust
and maintain poppers.