One of the things I have observed while at local matches is that many of the new competitors are showing up with a battle belt type of setup. There is nothing wrong with that, but often these rigs run afoul with the rules in a few places and the range officials at the match are not educating the new competitors that their gear is not legal. Here are the common things I have seen and I want to encourage ROs to help teach the new competitors on how to adjust their gear.
New competitors need a holster that prevents access to the trigger guard and needs to be rigid enough that they can draw and reholster without assistance from their weak hand. If the holster has a retention strap or hood, the strap needs to be snapped shut and the hood needs to be engaged prior to the start signal for each stage (126.96.36.199). Competitors are very welcome to remove retention straps and hoods prior to the start of the match without penalty. ROs should not start competitors that do not have a retaining strap snapped shut or a retention hood engaged.
I also want to point out that holsters with thigh straps are not allowed. This is covered in rule 188.8.131.52 and the definition of ‘tie-down rig’ in the glossary (App. A3). Again, if the thigh strap is removed prior to the start of the match, it isn’t an issue. Most thigh straps can be easily removed from the holster.
We also have rules about the height of the heel of the butt of the handgun in relation to the top of the belt. The bottom of the backstrap needs to be above the top of the belt (see previous post). If a competitor is using a battle belt sort of setup where there is a normal width belt inside a wider cover to allow for MOLLE attachments, be aware that if the skinnier inner belt is not visible, then the heel of the butt of the handgun needs to be above the top of the wider cover.
ROs should point out issues and use local matches to educate new competitors about the USPSA equipment rules. That way when these new competitors decide to shoot upper level matches, they won’t have equipment issues at those matches.