No, we aren’t talking about tech support. We are talking about fault penalties because the 2019 Competition Rulebook changes for rule 10.2.1 have caused some confusion. What is part of the shooting area? What constitutes gaining support? That rule covers a a lot, and can be confusing. So, let’s break it down.
10.2.1 is commonly known as the “foot fault” rule and it covers the penalties for firing shots while touching the ground outside the shooting area or by gaining support on a object outside the shooting area. Foot faults for touching the ground outside the shooting area are straight forward. It’s a per occurrence penalty unless the shooter has left the shooting area and both feet are outside the fault lines or if there is significant advantage, then it’s per shot.
Most of the 10.2.1 related questions we are seeing are in regards to what constitutes gaining support from objects outside the shooting area. This is where the bulk of the changes to the rule occurred. The rule used to allow people to use an object that was only partially in the shooting area for support. But now, there are limitations to the extent an object that is partially inside or serves as the edge of the shooting area can be used.
With the 2019 rules, only the part of the object that is inside the shooting area, or in direct contact with the shooting area can be used for support without penalty. Clear as mud, right? Let’s look at an example using some walls and fault lines.
Here is the picture of a stage. The shooting area has been highlighted in yellow. Notice that the shooting area ends under walls since walls are considered to be solid planes that extend to the ground (rule 2.2.3) and anything on the other side of the wall is out-of-bounds. The fault lines on the edge of the shooting area are part of the shooting area, but part of the fault line that extends through the wall is outside the shooting area. And no, you can’t give a shooter a foot fault penalty for having their toes through an imaginary wall. The new 10.2.1 and 126.96.36.199 also state that wall supports are non-existent and can’t be used for support. And if a wall support touches a fault line, that doesn’t mean that the wall touches the fault line because the wall support doesn’t exist.
The wall edges and barrels that are touching or inside the shooting area can be used for support without penalty, but items outside the shooting area can’t. Kind of visualize force fields marking the boundaries of the shooting area. In the picture below, the walls high-lighted in pink can be used for support.
So what about contact versus support on objects and walls outside the shooting area? For foot faults, making contact with the ground or platform outside of a shooting area is penalized. But, when talking about objects it says standing on or gaining support. It is easy to determine if a competitor is standing on an object outside the shooting area, but gaining support is sometimes tricky to determine.
We have been asked by many PCC shooters about this penalty. A lot of times, there are tight corners or slots between walls that require PCC shooters to lean quite a bit further than a handgun shooter and as a result, the PCC shooters brush against walls. And many PCC shooters have been getting penalized for touching the walls. ROs need to observe if they are gaining support or just touching the walls because it’s a tight space. Would the shooter be able to stand if the walls weren’t there? If the answer is yes, then they are not gaining support. And as a RO, you should discuss tight corners with the RM before the match starts because shooters will be asking if they will get penalized. As a stage designer, I am not going to say to avoid tight corners, but keep 10.2.1 in mind and try to design stages so it will be easier for the ROs to make the call.