Another question from this week’s batch of email:
“At a recent match after a competitor was instructed to show clear, hammer down and holster, the shooter dropped his gun on the re-holster. The shooter was not disqualified for this. I have seen this same situation happen when the shooter has been disqualified. I was under the assumption that the range is still hot until the command, Range is clear has been made and if a competitor drops a gun during a hot range it is a disqualification unless the command of range is clear has been made (sic). Could you help clarify this for me please.”
My answer: It’s absolutely a DQ if the gun is dropped prior to the “Range is Clear” command being issued. Whoever made this call did the competitor a disservice, as he probably now believes this isn’t a DQ and if it happens again somewhere where they understand and enforce the rules, he’ll be surprised.
In response to this:
“Myself and another shooter tried to explain this to the RO and he said it’s a grey area which seemed as clear as day. It’s just unfortunate that another shooter had been dq’d that same day while others seem to have special treatment.”
I’m not sure I can call this special treatment without understanding the who, what, when, where of the call, but I know for sure it’s not a grey area, and it’s not up to this particular RO to define it as such. Here’s the pertinent part of the rule:
10.5.3 If at any time during the course of fire, or while loading, reloading or unloading, a competitor drops his firearm or causes it to fall, loaded or not…
Since the “Range is Clear command had not been issued, this dropped gun occurred during the course of fire, and the result is a DQ for unsafe gun handling; dropped gun. There aren’t a lot of “grey areas” in the rules, just grey areas in people’s minds. Reading the rulebook or asking questions is a good way to clear some of the fog.