Stages where the firearm starts on a table usually raise some questions because they are not as common as starting with the handgun holstered or holding the PCC with stock on belt. The most common question is what about magazines? Where do they start when the gun is on a table? That is what we were asking in this Question of the Month.
Start Position from WSB: Unloaded gun on table. Wrists above shoulders.
Competitor stages the gun as in picture and assumes the start position. As the RO, what do you do?
Before we get into which answer is correct, let’s look at the relevant rule. Take a look at the first sentence of 5.2.4: During the course of fire, after the start signal, unless stipulated otherwise in the stage procedure, spare ammunition, magazines and/or speed loading devices shall be carried in retention devices attached to the competitor’s belt and specifically designed for that purpose.
This rule states that all mags start on the belt unless otherwise specified in the WSB. And if you read the rest of 5.2.4, it says apparel pockets can also be used unless the WSB prohibits it. So in this case, the WSB does not state anything about magazine placement and as a result the mags need to start on the competitor’s belt or in pockets. Magazines cannot be staged on the table.
If you look at the poll results, all the answers got quite a few results, but the correct answer is “have the competitor remove the mag from the table”. The RO should not allow the competitor to start the COF because they are not in the correct start position.
We also get asked about the condition of an unloaded firearm on a table. For all firearms, the magazine well needs to be empty, no ammo in the firearm (empty chamber or cylinder), and the slide or bolt are forward (or cylinder closed) and the hammer must be down (see 8.1.3). If a competitor accidentally loads the firearm, the RO needs to have the competitor unload the firearm before proceeding with the next range command.
Tables starts are not difficult, they just rely on knowing the rules to ensure consistent enforcement of the start position.
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