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    mike merkler
  1. Above: NRA Certified Pistol and The Well Armed Woman instructor Natasja Brandt demonstrates how easy it is to ‘get in a hurry and go home early’. This is a clear 180 violation and a DQ. On a COF start where the shooter must begin by facing up range (South) the gun cannot clear the holster until the shooter has fully-turned down range (North). It’s been waggishly-said that there are only two types of shooters in action matches—those who have been Disqualified (DQ) from a match, and those who will be. Although it’s a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ statement there’s an element of truth there. Safety is the paramount consideration in any action match, whether rifle, handgun, 2-Gun or 3-Gun. And it has to be, because shooters are running quickly through a Course of Fire (COF) with a loaded firearm. Unsafe gun handling will not be tolerated. There are many different ways a shooter can receive a DQ, and the most common is violation of the 180 Rule. The East/West 180 degree line applies regardless of how the shooter is moving through the COF. If the muzzle crosses it pointed to the South it is a DQ. A simple way to describe the 180 Rule is for shooters to imagine themselves standing in the center of a compass rose and facing due North (000 degrees). North is downrange from the Start position. Anything behind the shooter is up range to the South at 180 degrees. A line drawn from East (90 degrees) to West (270 degrees) passes directly through the shooter’s body. As long as the gun muzzle stays to the North side of that East/West line, and does not wander into the 180 degree zone, the shooter is good to go. Let the muzzle wander South of that line and the 180 Rule is violated. The shooter will get a DQ. That’s easy to understand as the shooter stands at the starting point for the COF. One certainly would not turn their muzzle up range towards the other shooters or the Range Officer/Safety Officer. The factor that complicates the 180 Rule is that the 90-270 degree East/West compass line moves with the shooter through whatever movements are required for the COF—whether they are moving forward, backwards, or laterally. If a shooter gets ahead of themselves it only takes one careless moment to break that 180. Here are the four most common ways that shooters wind up with a 180 DQ. Reloading While Moving Laterally Some COFs will start the shooter moving downrange, and at some point force them to move laterally along the target array. At this point the shooter will be moving parallel to their 90-270 line. Making a reload while moving laterally is the most common way to violate the 180 Rule, and it’s not hard to see why. Left: The ‘Over The Support Side Shoulder’ position allows rapid, and safe, movement up range. Right: All shooters have to do is remember to pivot to their support side to reacquire their shooting grip. The most effective (and commonly-taught) way to reload a semi-auto handgun is for the shooter to drop their support hand from the gun to reach for a new magazine. The shooting hand then cants the magazine well inward, and towards their support side, keeping the gun in front of their eyes while they eject the spent magazine from the gun. The new magazine is slapped into place, the grip re-assumed, and they continue shooting. If a right-handed shooter does this while moving from their right to their left, and parallel to the targets, the muzzle will invariably cross the 180 line to the South and be pointing up range. The same is true for a southpaw moving left to right. It’s a 180 Rule DQ that has trapped many an unwary shooter! Complex COFs requiring the shooter quickly advance down range can sometimes have a shooter getting ahead of themselves. If a shooter over runs a target, as shown at Position C, and turns up range to shoot they will break the 180 and earn a DQ. Experienced shooters have learned to analyze a stage and choose their path through it to avoid this reloading trap. If it can’t be avoided they will change their reload procedure. Instead of canting the magazine well towards their support side, they will roll the shooting hand outward to their strong side as they eject the spent magazine, and bring the gun hand elbow slightly inward. This will keep the muzzle pointing North of the 180 line and place the magazine well parallel to the ground to allow a new magazine to be inserted. It takes a bit of practice, but it’s better than going home early. Advancing Up Range Shooters will see COFs that require them to start at the extreme downrange position, maybe engage some targets, but then move up range towards the 180 zone before turning back down range to engage additional targets. North is still North, even though it is now at the shooter’s back. If their muzzle gets in front of them as they move up range it will cross that East/West, point to the South, and will violate the 180 Rule. Newer shooters are sometimes so intimidated by this that they will slowly back up range while making certain their muzzle is pointed down range. That takes a lot of time. Experienced shooters have learned two ways to safely deal with this while advancing quickly. Left: An alternative method for rapid movement up range is to trail the gun in the strong hand. Right: With this technique shooters must then pivot back to their strong side to reacquire the targets. One is to pivot towards their support side (pivot left for a right-handed shooter) and leave the gun in their strong hand while trailing it behind them at full arm extension, pointing down range (with their finger off the trigger in the Register Position) as they run up range to reach their next shooting position. Then they must pivot their body towards their strong side (gun hand side) to reacquire their grip and stance. The other is to pivot towards their strong side (right side for a right-handed shooter) and bring the gun hand up and into contact with their support side shoulder (finger in the Register Position)—pointing the gun over their support side shoulder while they move up range. They must then remember to pivot back towards their support side to reacquire their shooting stance. Both work, and require some practice to become comfortable with, as well as remembering to pivot in the right direction. Pivoting wrong breaks the 180. Performed correctly, it gains valuable movement time and a better score—all without risk. Overrunning a Target Many COFs will have the shooter begin at the Start Position, and then advance forward and down range through the COF while engaging targets to their right and left until they reach the final targets at the end. If a shooter gets in too big a hurry and runs even slightly past a target, turning back to shoot it will break the 180 and will result in a DQ. Natasja demonstrates how easy it is for a right-handed shooter moving laterally to their left (or a Southpaw moving right) to break the 180 while reloading. The ‘standard’ reloading technique will point the muzzle South of the 180 line and can be called for a DQ. Speeding through a COF is good. But, the most experienced shooters have learned that ‘controlled speed’ is best. Their stage planning will make certain that their shooting points for every target they engage is forward (North) of their 90-270 degree line. A safe way to reload when moving in the ‘wrong’ direction is to roll the gun hand wrist outward and bring the elbow into the body while ejecting the magazine. This keeps the muzzle pointing down range while allowing the quick insertion of a fresh magazine. The Facing Up Range Start There will be times when the COF specifies the shooter start by facing up range (South). At the buzzer they turn downrange, draw, and engage targets. Jeff Cooper’s El Presidente is a classic example of this. Sometimes, in their haste to achieve fast times, shooters get the ‘turn’ and ‘draw’ reversed. When the buzzer sounds there is nothing wrong with the shooter’s hand going to and gripping the holstered gun. But if the gun clears the holster—regardless of where the muzzle is pointed—before the shooter has fully-pivoted down range, the 180 will be violated. It’s a DQ. As an IDPA Safety Officer I have been ‘swept’ on more than one occasion. It’s not fun, but it was just an example of a shooter moving faster than they were thinking. Moving faster than thought pretty much sums up how shooters receive a 180 Rule DQ. It only takes one careless moment to end their match day. Thinking through the upcoming evolutions, and planning the movements through a stage, is the best way to avoid the 180 DQ. IN THIS ARTICLE disqualification 180 rule dq pistol rifle 2-gun 3-gun action shooting shotgun Chris Christian Natasja Brandt the well armed woman tips uspsa idpa This article came out yesterday. I thought it has merit to this topic. IMVHO Mike
  2. As long as it is stated in the WSB, what's the big deal. If at 6 feet or higher goes to infinity. if lower barrier stops at 4-5 feet that's it. Quote from nuidad: is amended to read: Unless otherwise specified in the written stage briefing, all such barriers, walls, vision barriers, snow fence barriers and other constructs will be considered to go from the ground to infinity, provided said barrier is at least 6 feet So lets move on IMVHO Thanks Mike
  3. Glad you weren't hurt nor was anyone else. Just bruised pride. At least you have learned from it. You were defiantly a good sport about it to stick around and help the match. Been there done that myself. There are only two kinds of shooters, those who have ADed and those who will AD. IMVHO Mike
  4. When trigger is set properly, you lock slide to the rear, insert magazine, depress trigger and use slide stop to have slide go forward. If trigger is set properly, the hammer will not follow the slide on LMR and go bang. I am not saying to do this in remedial action during a COF. That would get you a trip to DQ. I am saying to do this at the command of LMR. Mike
  5. Explain something to me. I'm old school 1911 shooter. If the weapon is brought to slide lock, magazine inserted, shooter pulls trigger and lets slide go forward, if weapon has a proper trigger, hammer will stay back and shooter can put safety on. You can actually feel the trigger reset and weapon should not go off. You, the shooter would be DQed for this at LMR command? Yes or NO? IMVHO, if trigger is set right, it will not go off, until you pull trigger again once the slide is forward. Let me know Thanks, Mike
  6. When I have a bad match, I just tell myself at least you are at the range and not at work. Just continue to finish the match and go on down the road. Just learn from where I screwed up and keep going. Or when the finish over, say Thank God and drink more whiskey. MIke
  7. I talked this over with the other instructors. We don't see taking this off as any different than unlocking a locked holster prior to the draw, or cutting the strap off one. Troy On 3/22/2017 4:47 PM, mike merkler wrote: Troy, Need an official ruling on SERPA HOLSTERS. If a competitor takes out the retaining tab (you use your trigger finger to release the weapon) If the holster is designed with this safety device on it, can he deactivate it so it doesn't work? I know if a magazine pouch has a strap, it must be used. Of course shooters cut them off so they are not used. Thanks, MIke Merkler TY11297 -- Troy McManus Director, NROI Just got this from Troy. So there you are and I am ok with the answer. Takes it away from the Range Officer. Thanks, MIke
  8. Match Gun is EDC So I have it with me all the time. Mike
  9. Wrote to Troy at USPSA, waiting on an answer. It's just that these holsters have a good design, just poorly used. People make mistakes and when they do, it hurts them and others. I know the shooting sports can be dangerous, depends on the shooter. Have seen a lot of scary ones shooting competition over the last 30 years. Mike
  10. I only wanted the USPSA ruling on this. Which I think has been brought out 5.2.6 USPSA Handgun matches Did not want a lot of opinions as to what "I" think. I see a lot of these holsters out there with the mechanism disabled. No worries guys. Thanks, Mike
  11. no I completely understand. Waiting on an official answer from USPSA. Thanks Mike
  12. Here it is: 5.2.6 USPSA Handgun matches will not require the use of a particular type or brand of holster. However, the Range Master may deem that a com-petitor’s holster is unsafe and order that it be improved to his satisfac-tion, failing which it must be withdrawn from the match. Divisions may restrict a specific type of holster. So it is up to the Range Master to determine if it is unsafe or not. Thanks guys. Mike
  13. So there is no real rule in USPSA banning this holster. If the individual club says to disengage it is on them(the club) or on the shooter for disabling the trigger release. We are not talking about IDPA here. Thanks for the input. Mike
  14. What is the real ruling on using these Serpa Holsters with the Trigger lock that needs to be depressed to draw the weapon. I have seen a few of these holsters where the shooter deactivates the release so you just draw and do not depress it to release the weapon. I would think that if there is a mechanism on a holster or magazine pouch that has a strap on it is supposed to be used. Just would like some insight on this issue. Thanks Mike