Question on Penalties - Stage 1 at USPSA Florida Section Championship
Stage 1 at USPSA Florida Section Championship was a standards type stage. The stage information is as follows:
I Love Standards!
Course Designer: Manny Bragg
Rules: Practical Shooting Handbook, Latest Edition
START POSITION: Standing in shooting area, wrists below belt.
GUN READY CONDITION: Loaded and Holstered as per rulebook
STAGE PROCEDURE: String 1: on signal engage T1-T7 with only one round each Freestyle, perform mandatory reload and re-engage T1-T7 with one round each Strong Hand only.
String 2: on signal engage T1-T7 with only one round each Freestyle, perform a mandatory reload and re-engage T1-T7 with one round each Weak Hand only.
SCORING: Virginia 28 rounds, 140 pts.
TARGETS: 7 Metric
SCORED HITS: Best 4 on paper.
START-STOP: Audible / Last Shot
PENALTIES: Per USPSA
Actual Scenario: Upon the start signal, the shooter draws, fires one shot at each target using a strong hand only grip, performs reload, then fires one shot at each target using a freestyle grip (both hands on gun). Second string was completed in accordance with stage procedure (e.g., one shot at each target using a freestyle grip (both hands), reload, one shot at each target using a weak hand only grip)
Question: What penalty or penalties, if any, should be assessed?
Options include, but are not limited to:
A. No Penalty - Reasoning: No failure to comply with stage description (10.1.1) as there is an implicit ability for the competitor to choose to first shoot using a freestyle grip (both hands) or a strong hand only grip and then choose to use the other type of grip after the reload. Key is to use one type of grip before reload and one type of grip after reload.
B. One Procedural Penalty under 10.2.2 – Reasoning: Competitor failed to comply with the stated procedure of using a freestyle grip (both hands) prior to reload and strong hand only grip after reload. The competitor is deemed not to have “gained a significant advantage during non-compliance” (i.e., the actions by competitor were correct, just in the wrong order)
C. Seven Procedural Penalty under 10.2.2 – Reasoning: Competitor’s choice to shoot the first seven shots strong hand only is permitted as within the choice of shooting “freestyle”. The competitor is penalize for each noncomplying shot (used two handed freestyle grip rather than strong hand only grip) after the reload because the competitor “gained a significant advantage” on each such shot.
D. Seven Procedural Penalty under 10.2.8.1 – Reasoning: Competitor’s choice to shoot the first seven shots strong hand only is permitted as within the choice of shooting “freestyle”. The competitor is penalize for each shot after the reload because he touched the handgun during the required strong hand only grip.
10.2.2 A competitor who fails to comply with a procedure specified in the written stage briefing will incur one procedural penalty for each occurrence. However, if a competitor has gained a significant advantage during non-compliance, the competitor may be assessed one procedural penalty for each shot fired, instead of a single penalty (e.g. firing multiple shots contrary to the required position or stance).
10.2.8 If a course of fire stipulates shooting strong or weak hand only, a competitor will not be penalized for using the other hand (i.e. the other arm from the shoulder to the hand) to disengage an external safety, to reload or to correct a malfunction. However, the competitor will be issued one procedural penalty per shot fired while:
10.2.8.1 Touching the handgun with the other hand while firing shots;
10.2.8.2 Using the other hand to support the handgun, wrist or shooting arm while firing shots;
10.2.8.3 Using the other hand on a barricade or another prop to increase stability while firing shots.