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BayouSlide

"Muzzle!" and "Finger" safety warnings

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Per 8.6.1, "No assistance of any kind can be given to a competitor during a course of fire, except that any Range Officer assigned to a stage may issue safety warnings to a competitor at any time. Such warnings will not be grounds for the competitor to be awarded a reshoot."

These are an option that some ROs will use and others choose not to. My question to the Benoverse: would you rather hear a warning...or play your game, with only the word "Stop" if you break the envelope.

A friend and I have been discussing this recently and I'd like to hear a wider range of opinions. As a seasoned competitor, I find such warnings very distracting because I immediately shift my concentration to "Why did he say that: I know I have at least five degrees of safety margin here?" and away from the task at hand.

As an RO, I would give safety warnings to a new competitor for their first couple of matches (Level I only) to help them straighten out bad or risky habits. After that, all you would hear from me during a run if you cross the line is "Stop".

Instead of warnings, what I prefer is quietly taking the shooter aside for a moment after their run and asking if they aware they were very close to crossing the line during such-and-such. If they weren't aware, then it's something for them to think about, maybe re-examine their technique. If they were purposefully pushing the envelope to 179 degrees, that's a chancy move but within their rights until they actually cross that line. Either way it's their choice, and I haven't interfered with their game.

Curtis

Edited: added a poll

Edited by BayouSlide

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I think that once the timer beeps the only command that an RO should verbalize would be STOP! If there was a DQable offence committed, and" If you are finished? Unload and show clear. If clear? Hammer down, holster." Now that being said if it is a newer shooter coaching is and should be done.

Edited because I spell like a 2 year old.

Edited by danscrapbags

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AWLAZS   

I think the ro should be quiet until there is a violation. I have been worried in the past about a close one and said something but I did not mean to. It just slipped out. I felt bad for the shooter because he stopped and looked at me.

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I think the ro should be quiet until there is a violation. I have been worried in the past about a close one and said something but I did not mean to. It just slipped out. I felt bad for the shooter because he stopped and looked at me.

We are human and mistakes will be made, the only time it is really and issue is the IDPA/ USPSA crossover RO's.

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gfmun   

I think the new / less skilled shooters need the RO warnings and the consultation after the stage so they can learn and stay safe. Normally once is enough.

The highly competitive shooters on the other hand are pushing and know what they are doing, they do no need or appriciate the warnings.

From my very limited experience the ROs do a great job of knowing the skill levels and abilities of the competitors and doing what needs to be done.

thanks,

George

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MarkCO   

If it is a regular shooter, I only use STOP. If close, I make sure they knew they were close after the run is scored and sheet signed. If it is a new shooter I will tell them "watch your XXXXXX" (finger or muzzle). Likewise, with a new shooter, clock is hanging from my neck or in my weak (as dictated by the shooters) hand and my storng hand is prepared to stop a sweep, which I have done several times. One probloem I see all too often, and even in some of the videos from Nationals, is the clock RO watching targets or the shooters feet for foot faults, and not the gun. Kind of hard to issue safety warnings when the RO is not watching the gun.

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spanky   

I am the shooter in question.

There is a video of the run here. The OP is running the timer.

There was at least one other "muzzle" warning prior to the loud one you year on the second to last array. It rattled me and caused me to pause, look at my gun, lower it and then finish my reload. You can't really see it in the video but that's how I remember it. I know that it shouldn't have stopped me but I guess that's what electronic muffs will do to a guy.

Anyway, the OP and I deliberated after the fact and came to the consensus that we felt as though experienced shooters should not need a warning.

I don't at all hold anything against the RO for making the call. He felt as though it was the right thing to do and I respect that wholeheartedly.

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Not bad at all and great job on your part for stepping up to support the RO. Doesn't appear that you had a hitch and just kept on going. Absolutely the right thing to do.

Rich

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I would rather warn than DQ.....

That said, I give very few warning to good shooters.

For the new shooter (we get first timers a lot) it's a bit of on the job training. I don't trust thier skills and run them very close and tight. I'm also more vocal with these shooters and will tell them at the before LAMR that I may give them direction within the COF.

Edited by JThompson

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Being a fairly new shooter (3 years) and a brand new RO, I prefer to hear warnings. If I'm that close, I want to know it because I don't try to push the edge. When ROing much better/more experienced shooters, I am less likely to warn, though, as I assume they know they are close and I'll tell them if they cross the line.

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I can't see it in the video but I remember hesitating. I guess things really do slow down sometimes. :o

You, for sure, did hesitate. I could not tell if a warning was needed or not, but I go with what I feel. If you scare me you are probably going to hear about it. <_<

Edited by JThompson

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Doug H.   

At local matches with shooters I don't know well, I will issue warnings if I'm concerned. Level II and up matches I work, I don't give any warnings, the shooter should know what they are doing.

Doug

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I would say a bit of both with some situational judgement thrown in.

As others have said, if it is a new shooter give them a warning so they don't develop a bad habit that they will later have to break.

That being said. If the person has some experience and has done something that is not a DQ offense but could conceivably develop into a bad habit or a DQ offense then a warning should be issued. Using myself as an example. I have recently developed a habit of pointing the muzzle a bit up when behind a barricade during a transition or a reload. IDPA rules say to not do that. The SO in the last two club matches has given me a warning because what I was doing was not a DQ or a point down offense but is a bad habit to get into. He said the warnings calmly and then after I finished said "Quit doing the charlies angels bit behind a barricade before you develop the habit and get DQed at a big match." I personally think that in that case, a warning right then is a good thing to prevent the start of a bad habit.

Basically, something should only be said if *necessary*, otherwise, don't say anything. It is really a judgment call on the part of the SO/RO and you have to trust them to make the right call in that particular situation. If you feel what they did was too much, then calmly talk to them afterward. We can *all* learn that way.

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Joe4d   

New shooter at level one match only, (which isnt a poll choice) but does seem to be the consensus. You could also make a case that it is unfair coaching, yes I know the rule but look at it this way, shooter A aproaches the 180 RO yells "Muzzel" shooter doesnt break 180 keeps on going, Shooter B steps to the line does the same thing but no warning breaks 180 and DQ's,

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The RO should use good judgement. If the shooter appears to be out of control and close to a safety violation warn them. To me it is pretty obvious as to who knows what they are doing and who doesn't after the buzzer goes off. New shooters deserve to be warned. If we don't help the new shooters to get comfortable with the sport we won't have a sport for long....

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I can't see it in the video but I remember hesitating. I guess things really do slow down sometimes. :o

You, for sure, did hesitate. I could not tell if a warning was needed or not, but I go with what I feel. If you scare me you are probably going to hear about it. <_<

That wasn't a pause, your internet just sucks! ;):P

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I am the shooter in question.

There is a video of the run here. The OP is running the timer.

There was at least one other "muzzle" warning prior to the loud one you year on the second to last array. It rattled me and caused me to pause, look at my gun, lower it and then finish my reload. You can't really see it in the video but that's how I remember it. I know that it shouldn't have stopped me but I guess that's what electronic muffs will do to a guy.

Anyway, the OP and I deliberated after the fact and came to the consensus that we felt as though experienced shooters should not need a warning.

I don't at all hold anything against the RO for making the call. He felt as though it was the right thing to do and I respect that wholeheartedly.

I was the RO running the shooter in that video: it was another RO behind the line who yelled "Muzzle"...it rattled me, too. I had my eyes right on the gun during the reload and didn't see any problem—well within the safety margins in my judgement so I wondered what was going on as well. But as the rule states, any RO assigned to the squad is permitted to offer warnings if they so choose: I'm in total agreement on that and have no problem with the other RO doing so. Safety is rule number one: I'd rather have someone err on the side of safety and risk the occasional problem with a shooter's run than risk even a small chance of somebody getting hurt. After all, it's just a game. I can't imagine anything worse than somebody getting hurt on my watch.

But I was interested in opinions from a wide array of competitors, especially experienced ones, to see whether they feel such warnings are useful or merely distracting. I'm always willing to reconsider my predilection to avoid such warnings, except with newbies.

Curtis

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kgunz11   

When I was a new shooter, one of the mods here was running me at a local match. I had just gotten a new gun and only shot it a few times to confirm sights before taking it to a match. The gun wouldn't run, turned into a single shot. I probably have videos of it somewhere, but the RO shouted muzzle a few times. I never broke the 180, but in clearing a jam, he didn't want me to forget that the 180 still existed.

I don't mind someone warning me, the concentration lost is quickly regained. And I'd much rather get a warning than a "stop" especially if the RO doesn't have a clear view.

In the video posted, the camera was not so that I could see your muzzle. Looking at the back berm and the wall you were shooting down, being left handed, and your shoulders being parallel with the wall, I didn't see an infraction, but you must have gotten close enough to the RO for him to worry you might break the 180.

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New shooter at level one match only, (which isnt a poll choice) but does seem to be the consensus.

In hindsight, maybe I should have added that as a poll choice to make the poll a little more precise. But I can't imagine any RO having second thoughts about offering safety warnings to a new shooter at a Level I.

I'm more interested in determining whether experienced shooters would rather receive such warnings.

Curtis

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I'm more interested in determining whether experienced shooters would rather receive such warnings.

Curtis

Does that really matter? In other words, what does shooter preference have to do with serving as an R.O.? I tend not to use warnings, but have, in instances where they were warranted. Shooter preference, identity or experience level of the shooter had nothing to do with it; rather it was situation driven.....

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lugnut   

I tend to not give warnings on muzzle. If I am 100% sure they broke the 180 I'll say stop. If they are at 181 they don't get a stop because I need to be abolutely sure they broke the 180. Close isn't acceptable for a DQ.

On the other hand if they are moving or reloading with the finger on the trigger I will yell finger! If they keep doing it they would get a stop. Not sure why I do this because a finger on the trigger during a reload is just as dangerous as breaking the 180 in many ways...

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I'm more interested in determining whether experienced shooters would rather receive such warnings.

Curtis

Does that really matter? In other words, what does shooter preference have to do with serving as an R.O.? I tend not to use warnings, but have, in instances where they were warranted. Shooter preference, identity or experience level of the shooter had nothing to do with it; rather it was situation driven.....

Good call Nik.

Rich

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I'm more interested in determining whether experienced shooters would rather receive such warnings.

Curtis

Does that really matter? In other words, what does shooter preference have to do with serving as an R.O.? I tend not to use warnings, but have, in instances where they were warranted. Shooter preference, identity or experience level of the shooter had nothing to do with it; rather it was situation driven.....

Nik I feel you're misinterpreting my point. I'm not advocating removing any RO discretion. I'm simply curious.

Since issuing warnings is an option for the RO, but not a requirement, I think understanding how shooters feel on this issue is important. You are doing your job as an RO no matter which side of this equation you fall on, whether you give warnings or not. The rule book is clear on this. And if the rule book says I have to option to do something, but am not required to do so, I have a choice to make and I'm comfortable with questioning my initial thinking on this, which is to not disturb seasoned competitors with warnings. Why not try to understand how the competitor feels on this issue?

As the NROI states in the RO creed: "It is my duty to assist all competitors in their attempts to accomplish their goals" and "I shall exercise due consideration for the personal emotions of any competitor, and shall act in a manner so as not to embarrass or disturb the competitor any more than is absolutely necessary."

Safety is served by either a warning or by "Stop". One has far greater consequences to the shooter, but if most shooters would rather not be warned (I'm definitely in that category) then that has to be taken into consideration in deciding how best to handle this, in general terms.

Curtis

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Carlos   

We had to use these calls a lot last match with a new shooter, so much so that the guy who brought him to the match expressed his embarrasment & promised to "work with him." Fact was, this new shooter clearly did not understand safe gun handling (though he thought he did), and he probably would not have understood a DQ. IF he had actually crossed the line, I would have DQ'd him. As is, he clearly got the message from us & we expect that message will be reinforced off the range by his friend. I see it as a win-win situation.

Problem seems to be from what I take it are over-zelous ROs out there yelling MUZZLE! at experienced folks just because they get to be in charge. Is that what you all have seen at your range?

I would rather warn than DQ.....

That said, I give very few warning to good shooters.

For the new shooter (we get first timers a lot) it's a bit of on the job training. I don't trust thier skills and run them very close and tight. I'm also more vocal with these shooters and will tell them at the before LAMR that I may give them direction within the COF.

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