USPSA competitors have been so controlled by IPSC politics for so long, we've almost been brainwashed. It will probably take a while for us to rise up and sing Hallelujah! to the New Rules demanding "Shoot 'em as you See 'em" stage designs. And it will certainly take even longer for stage designers to become accustomed to providing FREESTYLE stages for us to shoot.
In case you have been reading this article half asleep, please allow me to make this point a bit more emphatically:
Rule 1.1.5: Freestyle -- USPSA matches are freestyle. Competitors must be permitted to solve the challenge presented in a freestyle manner, and to shoot targets on an "as and when visible" basis. Courses of fire must not require mandatory reloads nor dictate a shooting position, location or stance, except as specified below. However, conditions may be created, and barriers or other physical limitations may be constructed, to compell a competitor into shooting positions, locations or stances.The changes are marked in red.
220.127.116.11: Level I matches may use shooting boxes and specify where or when specific targtets may be engaged, and may specify mandatory reloads in short and medium courses only (not in a long course).
Other changes from the 2004 rule book:
18.104.22.168 - verbiage beginning with the word "however" has been deleted.
22.214.171.124 - entire paragraph deleted.
126.96.36.199 - entire paragraph deleted.
The editing differences are significant, but the real difference is this; this rule-set is no longer included to pay lip service to the concept of 'freestyle'. Instead this is USPSA POLICY. Stage designs for Level II and Level III competition will still require USPSA approval, and those will be evaluated to determine their adherence to this policy. Stage designs which do not follow the concept of FREESTYLE will be returned for revision, and will not be approved until the required changes are acceptable.
This is a major, major, major, major change in stage design and it will drive (at least) changes in the expectations of USPSA competitors. With any luck it will filter down to stage designers, who will eventually reject any concept which does not include the words ... or at least the implication ... that the competitor may "Shoot 'em as you see 'em".
Devil take the hindmost.