For the August Question of the Month, we asked you to score a target. Simple enough, right? Except one of the options we gave you was “Fix target, reshoot”. What? Yep…and, that was actually the right answer. Read on…
Now, you maybe feel that this was the “backer” target and not a target meant to be shot directly at. And therein, folks, lies the rub. At speed, when running through a course of fire, this causes confusion. The shooter could see what looks like a D hit and move on without firing a make up shot whereas, if this target had been presented correctly, it would have been a D hit or clearly a miss; likely prompting the shooter to fire a make up shot, if desired.
So let’s dive a bit deeper and see what rules apply to this situation.
We also have 4.6.1 which deals with Range Equipment Failure (REF) and mentions “displacement of cardboard targets”. In this case, the target was not displaced from its original position per se; in this case it was the replacement target that was displaced allowing a portion of the backer target to be revealed thus creating an inconsistency in target presentation.
If we combine this with 2.3.7 which states, in part, “The staff, cooperatively with the Range Master and Quartermaster are required to ensure competitive equity for all competitors.” Any time we lose consistency in how a stage is presented between shooters we run the risk of competitive inequity. Certainly there are inconsistencies caused by weather, among other things, that we cannot control but we do need to do our best with the things we can control.
In this instance, proper target maintenance by the RO crew would have prevented this problem. Either stitch the front and backer targets together with a staple driven through both and the legs bent over (or staple into a small block of wood), or, just cut the top of the backer off. The tradition with USPSA targets is we cut/tear the upper portion of the target off when they are a backer target to prevent just this sort of thing as it is far more prevalent with USPSA targets; but, it does happen with IPSC targets.
I heard from several people at the match where this occurred that “at Area X we just scored that as a D hit”. No, sorry, but no. That is not a D hit, no way, no how. I could almost give you scoring it as a miss, and indeed that is how half of you scored it in the poll, and, that was how it was initially called at this match. In this case, upon competitor protest, the RM was called and after further review we determined it was effectively, an illegal/inconsistent presentation leading to REF. This only affected the one competitor, who was required to reshoot after the target was repaired properly.
In most cases, illegal presentations are a problem with either stage setup or with stage maintenance. At setup, these really should be caught by the setup crew, the RM or at least the RO crew during the initial shake down of the stage before the match. At a local match, if you don’t have someone designated to be the RM who walks all the stages before the shooting starts looking for problems (among other duties), then you are doing your shooters a disservice.
When illegal/inconsistent presentation happens due to poor stage maintenance, it really falls on the RO crew that is working that stage. At the local level, it falls on everyone that has shot the stage, helped run shooters, and do the reset. There really is no good excuse for it and, more often than not, it causes trouble. Be it a simple reshoot for one shooter all the way to the stage being removed from the match; it is still trouble we do NOT need and can easily avoid.