I know our rulebooks are quite long and complicated. And I know that there are too many rule numbers. But using the rulebook effectively just takes a little familiarity and practice. We don’t expect everyone to memorize all the rules and rule numbers because it’s not necessary and we provide rulebooks as a handy reference. Here are some tips on how to get better at using the rulebooks.
1.) Learn how to navigate the digital rulebooks. USPSA has a video that details how to access the table of contents on the PDF version and USPSA or SCSA App version of the rulebook. As you will learn below, the table of contents is your friend. Even if you are the type who likes a printed version of the rulebooks, the table of contents is useful.
2.) Word search is helpful….sometimes. The nice thing about the digital rulebooks is that searching for a word is very easy, but there are a few pitfalls. First, you may not be searching for the proper term. Second, the word search may return a ton of results. And finally, a lot of people go to the first rule with the word they are looking for and neglect to look at the other rules which are also returned. As a result, the wrong rule is sometimes used. When you find a rule using the word search function, make sure to read it and determine if it’s the best rule.
3.) Learn the chapter topics. When I get asked a rules question, the first thing I do is go to the chapter that covers the topic. For a scoring question, it’s chapter 9. For the range commands and course of fire it’s chapter 8. And the chapter for when things go wrong: chapter 10 – penalties and disqualifications. These three chapters cover the bulk of what most ROs will see while working a stage. There are a few rules which aren’t in the chapter you would expect, but the majority of the rules are where you would expect. And to make it easier to learn which chapters cover what across all rulebooks, in March 2021 we rearranged the SCSA rulebook chapters to match the USPSA Competition and Multigun rulebook numbering.
4.) Practice. Getting skilled with the rulebook does take some practice and repetition is the key. Learn the chapter topics and then learn the subsections of the chapters. If you do that, you will get better at looking up the rule numbers when needed.