We have all seen it at matches. A competitor running towards the side fault line and engaging a target as he jumps in the air and lands outside the shooting area. But was the RO paying attention? Did the shots occur before going out of bounds? Let’s see what the answer is for this Question of the Month.
Was the competitor considered to be inside the shooting area for the final two shots?
Before we discuss what the correct answer is, let’s discuss what is considered out of bounds in USPSA. Here is the relevant part of 10.2.1: “If a competitor fires shots while touching the ground or any object completely outside the fault lines, they will be assessed one procedural penalty per occurrence.” By this rule, the competitor in the video is not penalized because both shots were fired before he touches the ground outside the shooting area, so the correct answer for the poll is ‘yes’. If one foot had hit the ground before the second shot, then he would have earned a procedural per 10.2.1.
Does this mean I can have both feet outside the shooting area and jump and take a shot while in the air to avoid penalties? Nope! See 10.2.1.2. Once you have left the shooting area and touched the ground outside of it with both feet, you earn a procedural for each shot until you have re-established a presence back in the shooting area. How do you re-establish that you are back in a shooting area? By having one foot in the shooting area and the other one off the ground outside the shooting area.
When there is a stage where this type of movement is likely to occur, the timer RO and assistant RO need to work as a team. The timer RO needs to focus on the gun and target engagement while the assistant RO watches the feet and where they were when the shots occurred. And stages should never require competitors to have to jump out of bounds to engage a target because we have competitors of all skill levels in our sport.
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