Watch where you step

The stage calls for the shooter to engage Target B, with six shots, while moving forward. Then, from cover, to engage the “array” at A, move to the next barrier and engage the targets at C.

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So the shooter approaches the barrier quickly firing her six shots; steps slightly over the fault line, bends around and engages the two targets almost within powder-burn distance. Good shots, all of them, and no hits on the non-target. She quickly moves over to the next barrier and does the same, this time not stepping on the fault line.

The safety officer has his finger out … and the penalty spoils her day.

For a PE? No. With the new rules announced by the IDPA for 2017, something called a flagrant penalty (FP) had reared its ugly head. 10 seconds is added to her score.

As I understand it:

  1. The match director determines the fault lines.
  2. If you step on the line, you are fine … if you go over it is a PE. Three seconds.
  3. If you engage a group of targets while breaking the fault line, you get an FP. Ten seconds.

Unfortunately that’s the way that the match director understood the rules as well and the penalty stood.

So this is the part of the rules that I think applies:

5.2 A Flagrant Penalty (FP) adds ten (10) seconds and is assessed, instead of a PE Penalty, in cases where an infraction results in a competitive advantage, such as failure to follow the instructions in a CoF and gaining a competitive advantage that cannot be addressed by a PE (i.e. score works out in competitors favour with a PE added).

5.2.2 Examples of an FP (non-inclusive list):

          E. Shooting an entire array while faulting the line*

Simple, right?

Not so much if you are on the receiving end of ten seconds for stepping over the line by a few millimetres. Especially if the fault lines are tight and the shooter has to hang his/her upper body over the line to see the last target in the “array”.

Harsh words were spoken by very experienced shooters here. But, and I think this is important, the rules are clear. And the match director’s word is final. Which, in this case stopped the whining in its tracks.

That’s a plus, compared to the old rules?

I’m still not sure that stepping over that line gave an advantage of more than three seconds to her final score. The FP certainly spoiled her day and maybe we all learned from it. I’ll be watching those lines very carefully in future.

*The text in italics is directly quoted from the new rules, which can be found here.

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