"Can You Count?" (CM 06-03 USPSA Classifier) is a 20-round stage which challenges the participant to draw, shoot and reload quickly. It also requires that the shooter can break the habit of shooting each target only two times -- sometimes, this is the more difficult challenge, because you know we get into a rut.
It's not very exciting to watch this stage, until someone screws it up. That's the signal for your friends to tease you mercilessly ... if they have already shot the stage successfully.
But when you don't perform to your own expectations, and it's because your gun isn't running right, jocularity is not the most welcome response from the Peanut Gallery. (youtube link here)
One thing about this classifier: the stage procedures are flawed.
It's not fatally flawed, it just doesn't make it clear about the penalties for failing to follow the written procedure.
Here's the situation we encountered (not involving the two gentlemen shown in the video).
The course procedures read:
On signal, from Box A only:One of the squad members got a couple of shots into T2 before he remembered that he was suppose to reload. So he reloaded, and completed the rest of the stage without error.
String 1: Engage T1 with five rounds only. Perform a
mandatory reload and engage T2 with five rounds
String 2: Engage T3 with five rounds only. Perform a
mandatory reload and engage T4 with five rounds
Targets within a string may be engaged in any
order without penalty
I was keeping score, and the Range Officer asked me what the penalty should be.
"One procedural, for not reloading when he was suppose to" I replied.
Some of the folks in the squad took issue with that call. I reminded them that there was no advantage gained, so only one procedural penalty ... for not strictly abiding by the written stage procedure ... was justifiable.
In return, they quoted the sub-text in the stage procedures:
Failure to perform reload is per-shotfired [sic]"Yes", I agreed, "... there is a significant advantage gained if NO reload occurs, especially in a stage with a total elapsed time of something like 10 seconds. But the shooter DID reload. He just didn't reload when he should have. He should only be penalized for not strictly following the stage procedure. The per-shot penalty is invoked ONLY if he didn't reload -- which he did."
However, I suggested that they (the dissenting squad members) take the question to the Match Director. In the absence of a Range Master, in a club match the M.D. gets to make these difficult decisions.
They returned from their discussion with the M.D. with the word that it was officially ruled that "per-shot" penalties would be applied.
I didn't agree, and I counseled the 'offending' competitor that he had the right to request arbitration. I said that I would speak on his behalf. He didn't think it was that big a deal, and quietly accepted the additional penalty points.
I don't know if this issue has been addressed by John Amidon, or if a 'ruling' has been published in this kind of situation.
But it kind of ticks me off, you know? I have the strong suspicion that clubs interpret the rules differently.
Not that it makes a big difference; in this kind of quick-and-dirty stage, if you get even one penalty point it pretty much takes you out of the running for a good stage score.
Still, it was a relatively new shooter, and I don't like it when the "Wheels of Justice" grind so exceedingly fine.
Have any of you bumped up against this stage, this vaguely worded procedure?
I would be interested in any comments which discuss the subject. Obviously, I think I'm right. It doesn't make any difference at all to the match, at this late date. But I am ... dissappointed ... at what I perceive to be an injustice.
This is what I do to relax. The competition shooting, I mean. I don't like to argue about the rules, so it makes me turn surly when the rules seem unfairly applied.
Okay, so I do enjoy a lively debate.
Anybody out there think that the "Per-Shot Penalty" should have been applied here?