Nothing new in that; I compete in IPSC matches at least three times a month, year-round.
However, I've been paying more attention to the way individual stages are designed lately. I've observed that the current rules aren't always clear about what a competitor can and cannot do while shooting a stage. I've paid particular attention to the penalties which accrue for infractions of the stage procedures.
Specifically, I'm concerned about infractions which incur a "Per-Shot" penalty, as opposed to those which incur a "Per Occurrence" penalty.
During the match last weekend, competitors were required to engage targets through a low port, which essentially required them to assume a prone position. A shooting box was placed behind the port, and they were admonished in the published stage procedures to remain within the shooting box while engaging the targets visible through the port.
Here's how it should have looked, from the perspective of a bystander:
A few of the competitors, for whatever reason, lost track of the (fully legal) fault lines which comprise the shooting box, and had a foot OUTSIDE the shooting box.
A controversy arose as to whether they should be penalized for "per occurrence" violation of the stage procedures (one 10-point penalty) or "per shot". This last ruling would have exacted 8 procedural penalties, for shooting two scoring hits per each of the four IPSC targets visible from that port. The difference in the ruling would be ten points penalized or eighty points penalized, so you can imagine that the discussion was vehement.
The rule book states:
10.2.1 A competitor who fires shots while any part of their body is touching the ground beyond a Fault or Charge Line will receive 1 procedural penalty. However, if the competitor has gained a significant advantage while faulting, the competitor will be assessed 1 procedural penalty for each shot fired while faulting, instead of a single penalty. No penalty is assessed if a competitor does not fire any shots while faulting a line.I won't confuse the issue by revealing how the Match Director ruled on this question. Instead, I will pass it on to you.
How many penalties should have been applied in this situation?
(NOTE: this is not a test. Until the National Range Officer Institution [NROI], in the person of the Chairman of the NROI, has ruled, there IS not right answer. I'm just interested in what YOUR decision would have been. Please quote applicable rules.)
(NOTE 2: Okay, so maybe this IS a test!)