I think I said that phrase to almost every squad at 2-gun nationals in response to the question as to whether they could re-holster their loaded pistol during the stage. But this also applies to a couple situations in USPSA Competition matches as well. Let’s talk about those.
Q: Can I re-holster my pistol when I run uprange during a course of fire? Or during any course of fire?
A: Yes, as long as the pistol is in a safe condition. The stage procedure can not require a competitor to re-holster a handgun, but the competitor can choose to do so provided the handgun meets the conditions listed in 8.1 (see rule 8.2.5). What are the proper conditions? Either loaded with the safety on or hammer down (e.g. the same condition as when you holster a loaded pistol at Make Ready), or completely unloaded.
Q: The stage has a low port and the competitor needs both hands to get up, can the competitor set the firearm on the ground without penalty?
A: Yes, if the firearm is placed in a controlled manner (not dropped/thrown) and the firearm meets the conditions in 8.1 (see rule 188.8.131.52). Again, the safety needs to be engaged or hammer down on a loaded chamber or the firearm needs to be unloaded. And, never holster a pistol while laying on the ground because you will be breaking the 180 in the process (and that is a DQ).
Q: A competitor trips and falls but maintains control of their loaded firearm on the way down and doesn’t break any other safety rules. But, the safety isn’t engaged when the hand is removed from the firearm. Is that a DQ?
A: Yes, because the competitor placed the firearm in an unsafe manner during the course of fire (see second question and 184.108.40.206). And yes, it is not fun to administer these DQs.