I’ve recently received several questions concerning range officers placing themselves right along the 180° or 90° line in a stage, obviously looking for violations. This is a very bad idea, and here’s why: by placing yourself on the 180, you are begging to have a loaded gun pointed at you if (when) the competitor’s muzzle breaks the 90-degree median intercept of the backstop. This is especially hazardous when a rear fault line runs slightly downrange, putting you, the RO, in an even more precarious position.
There’s a simple fix for this: don’t do it! You don’t need to put yourself in harm’s way in order to enforce our safety rules, and the simple fact is that most breaches of the 180 will either be so significant that there is no doubt, or, they will be so close that you can’t tell for sure anyway. And, as with any call that involves a penalty or DQ, you need to be absolutely sure of what you saw. Anybody that says they can tell that a muzzle was at 181 degrees is fooling themselves. Safety is paramount, for sure, but that includes the safety of the range officials as well as the competitors. Stay off the line!