Friday, June 25, 2010

USPSA Rule Changes

USPSA Rule Changes 0301101.pdf (application/pdf Object)

The Range Lawyers are Alive and Well, and ... well ... confusing.

The latest Columbia Cascade Newsletter (H/T "The Hobo Brasser") introduces New Rules from USPSA.

I suspect you will find them somewhat confusing. I know I did. Perhaps it would be best if we attribute the confusion to Friday Night Follies ("Yippee! It's The Weekend!")

Still, there are a few rules which are not intrinsically obvious to the casual observer. Most of them are relevant only to those who compete in Production Class, but some of them may affect us all.

Here are a selected few, and my first-impressions. I'm pretty sure I don't understand them, so if anyone has a better (or more authoritative) interpretation, I do, as always, invite corrections.

After all, I'm not an authority and this is not something that I had prior or background knowledge of the changes/improvements or the reasons why they were enacted.

And I'm assuming that these rule changes are definitive, official, and immediately applicable. This may not be the case.

Oh, and my comments only apply to the "Handgun Rules"; not being a 'multi-gun' competitor, I would not dare to comment on "Multi-Gun Rules".

... “Speed Shoot”-Courses of fire consisting of one continuous string of fire not exceeding 16 rounds shot on one or more arrays of multiple targets from a single location or view. No more than 8 rounds may be required without a mandatory reload and no more than one mandatory reload may be required in the course of fire. Stage may be scored either Comstock or Virginia Count. See Rule

Level II or higher matches are allowed no more than one of these courses of fire per every five stages. The total points available in these courses of fire shall not exceed 20% of the total points available in any match. Weak /Strong hand may be stipulated after the reload is complete.
Second Paragraph does not apply to "Club Matches" (Level I).

Do you not understand where the "Speed Shoot" designation applies? Neither do I.

In this, as with all succeeding rule discussions, it would probably be handy to have your current USPSA Rule Book handy.

(I don't intend to fully parse these rules. The purpose is only to make you aware that they are 'new', and to familiarize you with them in the general sense. I hope that this will lead to a fuller discussion.) Scoring metal targets must be shot and fall or overturn to score. Scoring poppers which fail to fall when hit, are subject to the provisions of Appendix C1, 6 & 7. Scoring metal targets which a Range Officer deems to have fallen or overturned due to a shot on the supporting apparatus or prematurely fallen or moved for any reason will be treated as range equipment failure. (See Rule 4.6.1). All Poppers shall follow the guidelines below:
1. That a minimum of 50% of the calibration zone be available at some point in the COF.
2. That the calibration will be done from a point on the COF where the calibration zone is available, closest to where the contested shot was fired.
The salient point in this rule is, I believe, that historically it has been permissible (especially in Club Matches ... see above) to score a 'hit' on a plate when the plate has fallen because of a hit which actually struck the supporting structure. After this rule is enacted, if a plate falls because the shot hit the thing-a-ma-bob that holds the plate off the ground, it's considered a REF ("Range Equipment Failure") and results in a mandatory reshoot. Which may grow tiresome, and expensive in terms of ammunition expended to complete a single stage.

This puts the burden on the stage construction crew to ensure that it's not possible (or at least, not easy) to hit the platform rather than the plate.

Three comments:
  1. This is only determined if the RO cannot see the mark of a bullet on the plate, which directly implies that each plate MUST be re-painted between shooters;
  2. The stage must be set up so that it is at least difficult, preferably impossible, to hit the support structure. Again, this puts the burden on the host club to insure that only the steel target is visible to the shooter.
  3. This is obviously intended to apply mainly to plates; however, it is possible to hit the base of a Pepper Popper and shake it sufficiently that the popper falls. Again, the steel target MUST be painted between shooters to insure that this rule can be applied. If the RO cannot definitively determine that the target has not been struck by the bullet, the shooter must reshoot the stage. There is no other option available to the Range Officer.
5.2.4 During the course of fire after the start signal, unless stipulated otherwise in the stage procedure, spare ammunition, magazines and/or speed loading devices shall be carried in retention devices attached to the competitor’s belt and specifically designed for that purpose.
Unless specifically prohibited in the Written Stage Briefing, a competitor may also carry additional magazines or speed loading devices in apparel pocket(s) and retrieve and use them without penalty, providing that the location of the apparel pocket does not violate the requirements of Appendix D, Item 12 (subject to the provisions of Rule
Yes, this is essentially a re-iteration of an old rule which requires the shooter to use the magazines in his/her "mag-carriers" before dipping into the pocket to get the 'back-up' magazines.

I'm not sure how or whether this is an improvement on existing rules, but it is clear that the intention is that the shooter uses ammunition carried on the belt before using ammunition carried in the pocket.


Sorry, I can't say this in a kinder, more gentle way: This is a stupid rule.

Not "stupid" because it's not a 'good idea', but "stupid" because it is unenforceable.

There is no penalty associated with this rule. If there is no penalty, there is no way to enforce the rule.

Is it possible to assign a Procedural Penalty for failure to follow this rule? I don't know why. Procedural Rules are enforceable only if the mandate to reload only from the belt ammunition-carrier is part of the written stage procedure. If it is written in the stage procedure, it doesn't need to be in the rule book.

Have I missed something here? I hope someone can tell me how, as a Range Officer, I can enforce this rule.

Don't bullshit me here, Boys.

9.1.3 Prematurely Patched Targets - If a target is prematurely patched or taped, which prevents a Range Official from determining the actual score, the Range Officer must order the competitor to reshoot the course of fire. However, if following the scoring of a target by any assigned Range Officer, the target is patched or taped by anyone other than a Range Officer, the score will stand as called regardless of the competitor’s opportunity to see the target in question and the competitor will not be permitted to appeal the score as called.
This is an odd one.

It sees to address a rare situation where the competitor doesn't follow the RO around during scoring of his targets, and challenges the score after the target is taped.

Okay, so we now that it's the competitor's responsibility to witness and accept the scoring of each target. Is this something new? No, clearly not.

As far as I can tell, it only circumvents the competitors ability to challenge the scoring of an individual target AFTER it has been scored by the Range Officer, and AFTER the target has been taped by the follow-up tape-apes.

Hmmmm. I suppose it's worth the effort to make a rule to prevent a competitor from challenging a call AFTER the target has been scored and taped. And it does reinforce the encouragement of the competitor to follow the Range Officer as he/she scores the targets.

Frankly, I have to fall back on the "Old School" injunction: "The Competitor Will Witness The Scoring Of Each Individual Target".

In other words: "If you snooze, you lose".

Okay, I can live with that. It just seems a shame that the situation is so common that it requires a rule to justify it.

9.9.1 Moving scoring targets which present at least a portion of the highest scoring area when at rest following the completion of their designed movement, or which continuously appear and disappear, will always incur failure to shoot at and/or miss penalties (exception see Rule
See Appendix B2 or B3 for the percent of target to be presented.
I don't see anything new here, except for the last sentence. Again, I'm not comparing it to the current rules, which (if I recall correctly) require that all of the Upper A-zone or at least 50% of the 'main' A-zone of a target be available to hit for score.

But it seems as if at least the last part of the first sentence is missing here. It's not intuitively obvious why this rule is needed. Is it just me? What are the conditions under which "failure to shoot at and/or miss penalties" will be applied?

Perhaps my copy of the summary is defective. Or perhaps I am defective.


The rules about Arbitration may be significant, but I don't see anything that applies to most shooting situations. Ho-hum.


Appendix A3 Facing Uprange—Face and feet pointing straight uprange with shoulders parallel to the backstop.
Now, this is new.

I cannot count the number of times when the shooter is enjoined to face uprange, and he ends up with his body skewed to one side or another while his face is turned 'uprange'.

This is a welcome addition, or should I say "clarification", and I look forward to correcting the wayward competitor who thinks he has gained some advantage to twisting his body into a pretzel shape. It's silly to do so, but now we have a rule which not only supports the supposed "right way" to stand but also allows Range Officers to correct the competitor.

Still, it's a small, almost insignificant rule change because there is not that much advantage to be gained by assuming the Pretzel Position.

Add to Appendix D4 under special conditions: Anyone signing up for Production is declaring minor regardless if the ammunition makes major at the chronograph. Should they be moved to another division, they will shoot minor for the entire match or sub-minor should their ammo fail to meet the minimum.
Okay, this is another minor point which is apparently intended to enforce 'other rules'. I have no problem with this rule, other than to regret that it is necessary to enact it to further discourage violation of 'other rules'.


There are a plethora of other rules in this ... 'announcement' ... and you should go read the whole thing to determine your own interpretation of whether or not it applies to your own special situation.

Generally speaking, these are all 'special rules'. The most commonly will not affect folks who are competing for the fun of it.

Which is just another way of saying that these rules are intended only to discourage "gamers".


In my humble opinion, it takes some of the fun out of the competition. When you can't "game" a stage, competition loses some of its flavor.

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