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Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!

Newbie to IDPA rules


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First I want everyone to know that I am not bashing IDPA by asking this question. My observations are based not only on local matches but a State match and readings from the Tactical Journal.

Why is there such ambiquity in the rules and their application? My experience is that what one SO enforces on a stage is of no concern to the next stage SO.(like touching a barricade or cover with the hand or gun). Another stage allows for the shooter to move across threat targets with an empty gun after they have been neutralized while the next SO says that a neutralized target is still a threat.

There is also subjective application to the rules. In the second quarter 2010 issue of the Tactical Journal in an article written by Tricia Kennedy about the S&W IDPA Indoor Championship; there is her comment on page 26 which states, "...the militaristic SO gave me a procedural for advancing too slowly..." That procedural seems so subjective. Also, twice in the same article she notes that two different SO's instructed her to stand straight. Again subjective.

I have looked in the rule book and find no specific rules that really govern any of these examples. My next question would then be;

Does IDPA allow the individual stage designers the latitude in making the criteria for their particular stage and enforcing the rules set forth in how that stage is to be shot? Is that why it varies from state to state, club to club?

I love to shoot USPSA and IDPA both. I do find it more complex to shoot IDPA because it seems that each course has a set of instructions telling me how the stage is supposed to be shot and those instructions vary from stage to stage.

Maybe I have been regimented by USPSA into thinking on my own as to how to solve the engagement of the targets on the stage.

Why do IDPA rules seem to vary so much? If that is the way it is, so be it. That will not stop me from putting rounds downrange just, hopefully, getting me to better understand the nature of the game.

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In many ways you've already answered your own questions.

There are rules, that are in the IDPA rulebook, albeit some of them are rather ambiguous.

There is also latitude for the course designer to create specific Courses of Fire that have a scenario which must be followed, unfortunately some course designers need to read the CoF portion of the rulebook again ... but that happens in every shooting sport.

There's the human factor involved. No matter how well SO's are briefed on the operation of a particular CoF, someone is going to misinterpret things.

Lastly, there's just a few SO's out there that really need to .... you can fill in the rest.

Have fun, be safe, and realize that no one sport is perfect. they all have their idiosyncrasies that upset people.

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  • 2 weeks later...

First, the rulebook is only 82 pages and most of it has nothing to do with stage design. There are firm rules regarding cover, and reloads. There are also more than a few SOs who should take 20 minutes to reread the rulebook and try a little harder to understand it. The rulebook does not address if a target is neutralized. That can only be determined once it is scored. What the rulebook says is that you may not leave cover with an unloaded gun.

Having attended and worked the S&W match, I think the shooter was confused about a number of things including what she was doing that caused the procedural and what was being said to her. She did say she was new at this.

Stages should be designed and run under the guidance provided by the rulebook. As long as the stages and their operation conform to the guidance in the book, they should be fine.

The problem I have observed is either designs that violate the guidance in the book or their operation under "local rules." Believe me, a match you see in one area of the country could be very different than another part of the country. There is one area where you can expect to see IDPA run as "IPSC Lite." That is not a criticism of either but a recognition that some areas do not apply the rules of the game. I think that has been pretty well covered in other threads and probably causes more problems than any other aspect of IDPA. There are several aspects of the current book that could use some work, but the concepts of stage design are pretty clear. Personal interpretation and preference muddies the water and harms the sport.

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I read that article, too. When the person who wrote the article was told by two different SO's to stand up straight, I took that as a new shooter attempting to anticipate the buzzer, and was beginning to crouch into what she wanted to use for her firing position. Especially in the case of a new shooter, don't believe everything you hear. Maybe the SO were being "range nazi's", but more likely they were not; that was just her perception based on very little experience.

Much as it is in professional sports, the most you can ask of the SO's (the "referees", I suppose) is that they apply whatever interpretation they're using to any and all competitors. They may very well be wrong, but if it's applied evenly, at least nobody gets an advantage from that. I'd rather they know and correctly apply the rules, but failing that (because these are people we're talking about), at least be fair in misapplying the rules.

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