Even though PCC is now a normal part of USPSA Competition matches, we still get the occasional questions about PCC start positions and ready conditions in relation to handgun divisions. Yes, PCC competitors only compete against other PCC competitors, but that doesn’t mean that the PCC start position and ready condition can be completely different than the handgun divisions.
First, let’s talk about firearm ready condition. No, you cannot have the pistol divisions start loaded and the PCC start unloaded. Rule 126.96.36.199 clearly states that: “PCC Ready Condition: carbine will be prepared with a loaded chamber, loaded magazine inserted, hammer cocked, and safety applied. Other ready conditions may be specified, and must be identical to the handgun ready condition, with the exception of holstering.” The part highlighted in italics is the key. If handguns start loaded, then PCCs are loaded, If handguns are unloaded, then PCCs are unloaded.
Next, let’s talk about the start position. We have been asked about having PCC competitors start at a position 30 feet further uprange than the handgun position, or having the PCC on a table, a distance away from the start position, while handgun starts loaded and holstered. We don’t have a rule that spells out what can and can’t be done in relation to start position between PCC and the handgun divisions, but before PCC we didn’t have Open competitors start at a different start position than Single Stack competitors because we wanted a fair match for everyone. Yes, PCC is different, and it requires a separate start position, but it needs to be as close to the handgun start position as possible.
Over the last few years, stage designers and matches have done a good job of writing comparable start positions for handgun and PCC. Hands on X marks for handgun, translates to PCC barrel on X. Handgun loaded and holstered equals holding PCC in both hands with stock on belt. And the easiest way to save some text in a WSB is a “loaded firearm laying on table” start which applies to both PCC and handgun. It isn’t that hard to come up with similar start positions.
Remember, PCC is still not a crime, and is here to stay. Make sure you use the same ready condition and have as similar as possible start positions and everyone has a safe, fair, and fun match.