Yes, the rulebook is long. Yes, there are rules that reference other rules. And no, citing any rule that mentions the term is not necessarily the best rule to use. Whether it is during your RO exam or renewal exam, or on the range, citing the correct rule is very important.
We get many emails saying that we are intentionally using trick questions on the RO exams or that we are being too picky about which rule is cited and that our rule answers are not correct. We look at all those emails and respond with explanations of why the correct answers are the correct answers. In the rare case where we do find an error in our question pool we correct it. Many times, people just don’t read the question close enough and look in the wrong part of the rulebook for the rule citation. Other times folks fall prey to the word search function in the PDF or App version of the rulebook and just stop at the first rule that has the keyword they are looking for. Why is it important to use the correct rule? Because missing an answer on an exam might not be a big deal, but using the wrong rule at a match could have a big impact on a competitor. Which is why we want folks to choose the best rule, not just a rule.
Let’s look at an example and why selecting the wrong rule could be a problem. A stage has a swinger that is activated by opening a door. A competitor opens the door, the swinger activates, and in the process the cable breaks. The competitor completes the stage and requests a reshoot because the cable broke. The RO denies the reshoot because the swinger activated normally and the cable breaking did not affect the competitor’s attempt at the course of fire. Which rule applies?
Most people go to rule 4.6.1 first. That’s a great rule to cite if you are describing what a range equipment failure (REF) is, but does it support the RO’s call? Does it support denying the reshoot? Nope. Why? Because it just says that range equipment must be consistent for all competitors and gives examples of REFs. It doesn’t describe any action to be taken by range officials when a REF occurs.
The best rule to cite is actually 4.6.2 because it says that if a competitor cannot complete the stage due to a REF, then a reshoot is required. Okay, you are probably saying that the RO denied the reshoot so how does this rule apply? Even though the reshoot was denied, the RO still needs a rule to support that call and 4.6.2 is it. The competitor was still able to complete the course of fire, because the cable broke after the swinger was activated, so a reshoot per 4.6.2 cannot be applied.
Remember that when completing your certification or renewal exams to make sure you are using the best rule to support the answer. If it’s a DQ or a procedural, it should be a rule from chapter 10 that actually applies those penalties. If it’s a scoring call, it will be from chapter 9. If it’s a question about range commands or the course of fire process, the rule you want will probably be in chapter 8. Do not just use the first rule that comes up in the word search. Make sure you look through all the possible choices and pick the one that best applies.