Wednesday, March 25, 2015


There are some uncomfortable questions that need to  answered here!
Borepatch: Complacency: All you can say is they all got lucky. If you ever work as an R.O. on a range for any event, here's the anti-complacency video of the year.
Range Officer Nightmare; and who is to blame?

Watch, think.  Then discuss:

This surprising event .. a man caught downrange taping targets after the next shooter is already halfway through shooting the stage ...

The questions that need to be answered include:

  1. The Range Officer is responsible for ensuring that the range is clear before starting the next shooter.  Where was his head?  (Bob, this is taking the "Extreme Shooters" concept just a little too far, don't you think?  If you're such a flaky RO, aren't you just asking for trouble when you wear a shirt with your name plastered all over it?
  2. What's with the guy who was downrange pasting the targets?  What happened to HIS "Situational Awareness"?  Didn't he hear the (clearly stated, in a loud voice) range commands?
  3. Is this an uncomfortable validation of the old mantra "IPSC WILL GET YOU KILLED!"  (??)
  4. Apparently, this was one of those matches where the emphasis has been placed on "MAKE THE SQUADS MOVE THROUGH EACH STAGE QUICKLY!"  What's so efficient about putting a squad member in danger?
  5. Speaking of which .. where was the rest of the squad?  Weren't they looking out for each other?  Don't they realize that they're all part of the "SAFETY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE" mantra?
  6. Didn't the shooter do his own walkthrough before he started his run?  Didn't he wait until the stage was clear before he got into the starting box?
  7. Apparently, not even the video-camera guy was paying attention.
  8. **(And Finally!)**  This is the thing I've been complaining about for YEARS!  The problem with Vision Barriers is the they don't allow everyone to see the stage at all times.  Safety is EVERYBODY'S RESPONSIBILITY!  Stage Design and Stage Construction (even at club matches) should be allow full visual access to every corner of 'downrange'.
Okay .. take ten.  Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

I know *_I_* will!

---  back now?  Me too ---

First impressions:  Everybody in the shooting bay is responsible for this ... this .. this inexcusable lapse in shooting safety regulations.

SECOND:  Solid "Vision Barriers" may add something to a mysterious stage design, but they (obviously) undermine the basic shooter safety.  I've mentioned this here before.  It's worth mentioning again.  The old-time habit of having ground-to-the-sky vision barriers have been somewhat ameliorated by having vision barriers which raise the blank-slate panel a couple of feet off the ground.  This provides the (obviously) false security of allowing the match staff to see the LEGS of someone who is down-range.  Didn't work here, did it?

THIRD:  Anytime there is a plethora of Vision Barriers downrange (or even one), either the Range Officer or the Assistant Range Officer (eg: scorekeeper) needs to walk down range and be the LAST person to exit the range.  This not only allows the 'match staff' to confirm that all targets have been taped and all falling/moving targets reset, but it also is the time when target-tapers are chased off the stage.

FOURTH:  No matter WHAT happens, the Range Officer is always responsible for walking the stage before the next shooter is permitted to start.  Often, the guy with the score-sheet (often referred to, even in in club matches, as the "Assistant Range Officer" or ARO), will accept the responsibility to walk the stage and check the targets.  The RO duties are thus simplified; if the ARO comes back behind the firing line and gives the nod, the RO might accept that as confirmation that targets are taped and the down-range area is clear.  

If that is not a match procedure, it should be.  Or at least some similar process which provides check and double-check confirmation

FIFTH:  The only way I can see this boonswoggle happening is if someone is putting pressure on the match staff to move the squads through quickly.  In a 'major match', that would be either the Match Director or the Range Master.  But I see no evidence that this is a 'major match', so I assume that this was a decision made by the Squad Stage Range Officer .. often a volunteer who has been to a few matches and has memorized the range commands.  This makes him feel that he is competent to run a stage as a Range Officer, whether or not he has taken the CRO course from USPSA.

Obvioulsy, "Bob" is entirely incompetent and should go back to his training days.  Got a CRO card, Bob?  Burn it!

SIXTH: Whatever happened to the word STOP!  When i teach INTRODUCTION TO USPSA classes, I make a special point of telling every class member that if you see something 'not right' downrange, you yell STOP! at your loudest command voice.  And I illustrate it using my Command Voice (which is not a shy voice).  Where's the squad?  Aren't they keeping track?  Don't they know that it's not only their perogative, but their DUTY to yell STOP when they see something dangerous on the stage?   
(I may be unjustly accusing the entire squad here, That doesn't mean that they don't also have a responsibility to keep track of what's going on down-range instead of just  reloading their magazines during the 'lull'.)

Everyone on the range is responsibly for Range Safety.

whenever an unsafe situation occurs, everyone present is responsible.  It's not viable for everyone to assume that the Range Officer has the situation well in hand.

In a legal situation, it's your presonal responsibility .. even as a mere observer ... to insure Range Safety.

Other Opinions:
 It's comforting that such an authoritive voice as Troy agrees


Anonymous said...

Everyone of the 8 or 9 points was valid and represented a cascade of safety procedure breakdowns. Murphy at his best (or worst).

Mark said...

All of your points are valid, as you & I know. I have looked at this a couple of times and suspect it is photo shopped.

Anonymous said...

RE: Mark's comment. I doubt the target taper would continue standing there taping targets with bullets whizzing by his head. I know if it were me, I would be hugging the dirt screaming cease fire, cease fire. I suspect either photoshop or some tape splicing.

Jerry The Geek said...

"Heinlein's Razor" has since been defined as variations on "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice."