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Robco

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Everyone (should) appreciates those who contribute their time and efforts to officiating our USPSA matches. Stepping up to help run a squad and shooters when needed makes our sport work. Same with stage setup and tear down. Shooters on the squad have to help taping, resetting and painting steel and picking up brass after each shooter. I searched a bit before posting this topic and found a few but some were locked.

I will NOT re-post the link here, since that is probably why the posts are locked, of a YouTube video showing a stage being shot with a shooter still downrange, pasting targets, unbeknownst to all on the squad. But it made me think about discussing RO and squad responsibilities a bit, in general.

Without turning this into an RO course, I just wanted to mention a few issues which continually arise in club matches almost everywhere I shoot. I will list them in no particular order, and certainly not to infer that this is an exhaustive list. All of us can use reminders and maybe this post and thread will help us be better in the future.

In addition to all of the other duties and responsibilities of ROs:

1. Confirm the range is clear before issuing a Make Ready command.

2. Use the correct commands. Not the OLD ones or any other versions out there. But the OFFICIAL and ONLY, USPSA range commands. E.g., "Do you understand the course of fire" or "Load and make ready" are NOT proper commands." Or "shooter ready" or "Range is going Hot." Use of these types of "commands" confuses and could create safety issues.

3. ROs should encourage the shooters on the squad to participate in the duties necessary between shooters. If "lazy" squad members put the RO in the position of needing to command and demand help, then same shooters have NO right to act offended.

4. Do NOT issue the "Are you ready" command, until the shooter is apparently ready. This means, the shooter is in the starting position, and perfectly still for at least 1 second. There is always a designated starting position for the shooter. I am not aware of ANY starting position being one in which the shooter has his strong hand on the gun in his holster. This is an experienced shooter's way of demonstrating to the RO that they are NOT yet ready, and are thinking or whatever. Wait until the shooter is in the starting position and has been still for a full second. Otherwise, you are interfering with the shooter, plain and simple and could destroy the shooter's performance.

5. Quick Beeping on the start signal. The rules say the start signal should not be activated except between 1 and 4 seconds after the "standby" command is finished. Trying to fool the shooter in any way is just plain stupid. Follow the rules, and keep it fair with a properly timed, appropriate beep timing.

6. Loaded sight pictures are permitted. So don't interfere with the shooter by saying otherwise when they do this.

7. When the shooter is finished and unloading and showing clear, hold the timer AWAY from the gun, behind the RO's back preferably, so the noise of unloading or dropping the hammer, etc does NOT get picked up by the timer, adding time unfairly to the shooter's stage time before it is recorded. A good practice is for the RO to always LOOK at the time immediately once the shooter appears to be finished, to note the time, in case any extraneous noise is picked up by the timer thereafter, including potentially, shots fired on an adjoining bay too.

8. Along with making sure no persons are down range before giving a Make Ready command, it is also critically important that the ROs confirm all targets have been pasted and steel re-set before proceeding. Failures to do so and resultant re-shoots are ALWAYS 100% avoidable. Bad enough that we have range equipment failures to deal with and falling down poppers, etc due to wind. Do all you can to prevent the AVOIDABLE ones.

9. ROs are there, literally, to SERVE the shooters, and that capacity in tandem with the SAFETY duties of an RO should always be foremost in the ROs mind. Chatting unnecessarily with a shooter when he is making ready, is very poor form. The shooter has been working in support of the squad on the stage for perhaps an hour or more, waiting for their own chance to shoot for their 15 or 20 seconds - and when on the line, they deserve the oppty to concentrate and focus on their game and performance, and not be distracted or interfered with in any way avoidable, which include RO talk outside of the Range Commands or loud shooters too near the Shooter at the line. Plenty of time for chatting when the "range is clear" command has been given and the time properly recorded.

Ok, there are a few of my typical issues I observe at matches. Which ones have I not mentioned here.

Thanks

Rob

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Another one I just remembered.

When the first shooter is up to the line on a squad, TEST the timer before issuing the make ready command. Most electronic timers will "go to sleep" due to inactivity of a certain time period, such as always occurs on squad changeover on a stage. Otherwise, discovering the timer is not awake and working only after you gave the "standby" command, is a big interference with the shooter who just got ready to shoot, only to be let down and have to regroup again.

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those are good points, but mostly apply to LII and above matches with dedicated (non-shooting) RO's. Even in those matches, I would stress that it is also the squad's responsiblity to reset the stage properly, and ensure everyone's safety.

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those are good points, but mostly apply to LII and above matches with dedicated (non-shooting) RO's. Even in those matches, I would stress that it is also the squad's responsiblity to reset the stage properly, and ensure everyone's safety.

Why should they apply only to L2 and above? Anyone who picks up the timer takes on the responsibility, period. If they are not qualified then they should stand aside. The same lack of knowledge/experience that makes an RO interfere with the shooter also could render their range management unsafe too.

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those are good points, but mostly apply to LII and above matches with dedicated (non-shooting) RO's. Even in those matches, I would stress that it is also the squad's responsiblity to reset the stage properly, and ensure everyone's safety.

Why should they apply only to L2 and above? Anyone who picks up the timer takes on the responsibility, period. If they are not qualified then they should stand aside. The same lack of knowledge/experience that makes an RO interfere with the shooter also could render their range management unsafe too.

Appendix A1 indicates that "Minimum one Certified NROI official per stage " is not mandatory for a L1 match. That said, I don't disagree on responsibilities...

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This is a larger issue with L-2 and above matches. Communicate with the squad to ensure as part of the stage briefing that you detail the order the targets will be scored and what if any props will be reset by the shooters and which if any will be set by one of the RO's. This will cut down on reshoots due to a target getting pasted early, or a prop not being reset properly.

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those are good points, but mostly apply to LII and above matches with dedicated (non-shooting) RO's. Even in those matches, I would stress that it is also the squad's responsiblity to reset the stage properly, and ensure everyone's safety.

Why should they apply only to L2 and above? Anyone who picks up the timer takes on the responsibility, period. If they are not qualified then they should stand aside. The same lack of knowledge/experience that makes an RO interfere with the shooter also could render their range management unsafe too.

I don't know how it's done everywhere else, but in our local matches, everyone pitches in to help RO and score, so the whole concept of some sort of separation between RO's and shooters isn't really valid. I typically only run the timer for a half the squad at most before handing it off. We may only have 1 or 2 or 3 certified RO's, but experienced folks who aren't yet certified still run the timer (and sometimes get taught a little during that process). I don't really freak out or nitpick if someone occasionally slips and says 'load and make ready' or 'range is safe'. I think correct range commands are important and valuable, but freaking out about them is only going to make people reluctant to help out and learn more.

Reading it again, most of the stuff still really applies, but perhaps without so much delineation between RO's and shooters in a few of the items. Everyone resets, everyone is responsible for safety, everyone is responsible for things being done correctly. It's a team effort.

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What's the correct command for you guys if it isn't "load and make ready"? (I'm an IPSC shooter)

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8.3.1 “Make Ready” – This command signifies the start of “the Course of Fire”.

8.3.2 “Are You Ready?” – The lack of any negative response from the competitor indicates that he fully understands the requirements of the course of fire and is ready to proceed.

8.3.3 “Standby” – This command should be followed by the start signal within 1 to 4 seconds.
8.3.4 “Start Signal” – The signal for the competitor to begin their attempt at the course of fire.
8.3.6 “If You Are Finished, Unload And Show Clear” or “Unload and Show Clear”
8.3.7 “If Clear, Hammer Down, Holster” or “If Clear, Cylinder Closed, Holster”
8.3.8 “Range Is Clear” – This declaration signifies the end of the Course of fire.
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This is a larger issue with L-2 and above matches. Communicate with the squad to ensure as part of the stage briefing that you detail the order the targets will be scored and what if any props will be reset by the shooters and which if any will be set by one of the RO's. This will cut down on reshoots due to a target getting pasted early, or a prop not being reset properly.

Good one. Everyone knows that re-shoots usually do not go well for a shooter.

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those are good points, but mostly apply to LII and above matches with dedicated (non-shooting) RO's. Even in those matches, I would stress that it is also the squad's responsiblity to reset the stage properly, and ensure everyone's safety.

Why should they apply only to L2 and above? Anyone who picks up the timer takes on the responsibility, period. If they are not qualified then they should stand aside. The same lack of knowledge/experience that makes an RO interfere with the shooter also could render their range management unsafe too.

I don't know how it's done everywhere else, but in our local matches, everyone pitches in to help RO and score, so the whole concept of some sort of separation between RO's and shooters isn't really valid. I typically only run the timer for a half the squad at most before handing it off. We may only have 1 or 2 or 3 certified RO's, but experienced folks who aren't yet certified still run the timer (and sometimes get taught a little during that process). I don't really freak out or nitpick if someone occasionally slips and says 'load and make ready' or 'range is safe'. I think correct range commands are important and valuable, but freaking out about them is only going to make people reluctant to help out and learn more.

Reading it again, most of the stuff still really applies, but perhaps without so much delineation between RO's and shooters in a few of the items. Everyone resets, everyone is responsible for safety, everyone is responsible for things being done correctly. It's a team effort.

Apparently you are reading a lot more into my post than is there. There is no assertion that there is any "separation between RO's and shooters," whatever you meant by that. I have never seen a club that isn't forced to use non-certified acting "RO" shooters to run the clock, etc. It is just the reality of our sport. Nothing I have stated should have given the impression that that reality and my RO points being discussed, are incompatible. From a shooter's point of view, it is (should be) completely irrelevant whether or not the acting RO is trained/certified officially. I play by ALL of the rules, and expect the ROs to as well. And further, I expect the RO to not interfere with my performance, including mentally.

Anyone acting as an RO, is an RO. USPSA specifically prohibits "local rules" in USPSA matches. Level one or otherwise. Among other reasons for this is so a competitor can play the game without being interfered with by the ROs. Getting physically in the way of a shooter is grounds for a re-shoot. Well, in my opinion and experience, an RO mentally interfering with a shooter, in ANY WAY can be equally or more of an issue to the shooter's ability to perform.

3.3 Applicability of Rules:
USPSA matches are governed by the rules applicable to the discipline. Host organizations may not enforce local rules except to comply with legislation or legal precedent in the applicable jurisdiction. Any voluntarily adopted rules that are not in compliance with these rules must not be applied to USPSA matches without the express written consent of the President of USPSA. All local rules allowed under these provisions will be documented at USPSA HQ.

Is using improper range commands equally "bad" as having a shooter making ready or actually live firing the course while someone is still downrange? No. Can wrong range commands interfere with a shooter? Yes. Is warning a new shooter on a finger in guard or 180 condition, especially in a Level 1 match appropriate? Yes. Is ignoring the safety rules, whether or not the RO means well, ok? No.

USPSA shooting is a sport, literally defined by the rules. And it is NOT up to the acting RO to decide which rules to apply and enforce, any more than he can "throw points" to a shooter when scoring a target. If an RO calls a C hit, an A, he is cheating every other competitor in the same division, in the match. It either is an A hit or it isn't to the best of the RO's judgment.

Even if an RO is not a trained/certified RO, they are nevertheless BOUND to follow and apply ALL of the rules and procedures at all times. Not just the ones they know. And not the versions they know, because only the current rules apply. Not using the current, correct commands, is a clear indication to the shooter, that at best, the RO is not up to date on the rules, and worst case, they may not know the rules or may apply them poorly in your performance. The last thing I want to worry about when shooting a stage aggressively, is that the acting RO will wrongly call a foot fault when I am intentionally shooting with one foot off the ground and out of the shooting area, or 180 violation when it is a close call and I deliberately avoided a break of the 180, or give me some shit about taking a sight picture while making ready, after I loaded my gun, etc. These interfere with my shooting. I once had an older CRO, who must have been experiencing dementia, give the "are you ready" command while I was taking a sight picture with my empty pistol before even having a chance to load yet! To say the least, unfortunately for me, I was thinking about this idiot instead of my stage performance before the start signal occurred. That is just plain WRONG. And as expected, after watching him do the same thing for several other shooters, two of which I trained to keep their hands on their holstered pistol until they are ready -solely as a signal to RO's, I stepped up and said something to him about this repeated BS, and he THREW ME OUT OF THE MATCH! Well, the whole squad revolted and refused to shoot with this CRO any more, and he was moved to a different squad and we all continued our match, trying to put the damage out of our minds as best we could. This sport is not supposed to be about the ROs.

And finally, I consider almost everything about level 1 matches to be practice and training, for everyone involved. And using them to train and educate acting ROs is a big priority to me. I am about as far from being a "range/rule Nazi" as you can get. And I have helped many acting ROs learn to perform their duties correctly, and many were then anxious to take an RO class at the earliest possible time. I seldom correct an RO when I am the shooter, because it will just further interfere with my shooting performance, making a mountain out of a molehill and perhaps upsetting me instead of just mildly annoying or disappointing me if I can "ignore" it.

Having RO's is a part of our sport. Both for maintaining safety and a level playing field for all competitors. Competitors have a right to be fairly treated and given a chance to perform at the best of their abilities as long as they comply with all of the rules. There is only ONE set of rules in USPSA, which is what makes it possible for competitors from anywhere in the country (and world) to participate in USPSA matches anywhere, with the confidence that they know THE rules already. Again, this sport is not supposed to be about the RO's.

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8.3.1 “Make Ready” – This command signifies the start of “the Course of Fire”.

Ahh, we use both. "LAMR" for loaded starts, "MR" for everything else.

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As a freshly minted RO, this post has been a great read. Here's to not screwing up too bad at my first first one in June.

As an actual certified RO, you have been trained in how to do it correctly. Try to do your best to convince others to do it right.

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8.3.1 “Make Ready” – This command signifies the start of “the Course of Fire”.

Ahh, we use both. "LAMR" for loaded starts, "MR" for everything else.

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We leave off the "Load and" part though.

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As a freshly minted RO, this post has been a great read. Here's to not screwing up too bad at my first first one in June.

Great! That is the point. Glad you have taken the time to get certified.

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Apparently you are reading a lot more into my post than is there.

Correct. my bad. :blush: You make many constructive points.

I think it's particularly important to stick to the range commands and correct procedures when you have a table start. We had a situation come up over the weekend where a new RO told the shooter on the line to go ahead and stage his magazines. Shooter interpreted that as make ready and staged his gun too. RO called it a dq. We ended up overruling it due to improper range commands and used it as a teaching moment for RO's and shooters both. Don't say anything that could possibly be interpreted as make ready except make ready. For shooters, don't make ready until you are SURE you have heard make ready. If you hear anything else, ask for clarification and for the correct range command.

I have to say tho, that I don't let any RO imperfections affect my shooting. It's just going to happen, so let it wash off you like beer off a duck's back. :cheers:

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As a freshly minted RO, this post has been a great read. Here's to not screwing up too bad at my first first one in June.

Don't worry about screwing up. Plan on screwing up, but try to minimize it and try to learn from each screw up and whatever you do don't be a dick about it and you'll be fine. thanks for helping out,

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the week before the Nationals I was shooting a local match at the same club. A guy on my squad said he'd RO just as long as he didn't have to do it all day since he really wasn't that experienced. I also jumped in to help throughout the day. He was somewhat unknowledgable about the specific commands and on two ocassions I just stopped before the timer went off and said those wern't the actual corrcet commands, told him what they should be and then we reset and proceeded. They were not really close to the actual commands so I thought it was important to stop & correct the situtation immediately ....

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We have many shooters come through our club from many different countries and English is not their first language or they have memorized the range commands in the book and that's about it. It's real important to stick with what's in the book or get strange looks or end up DQ'ing someone.

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We have many shooters come through our club from many different countries and English is not their first language or they have memorized the range commands in the book and that's about it. It's real important to stick with what's in the book or get strange looks or end up DQ'ing someone.

I think if you are not using the correct commands, you'll have a tough time selling a command-related dq to me. If you point to the start position and tell the shooter "get in here and get ready" and he pulls out his gun, it would be a total dick move to dq him. Of course a smart and experienced and cynical shooter would look at you say 'I don't understand you, please use legal range commands'.

I'm especially concerned with this when the start position involves staging mags and gun on barrels. It's easy to have a misunderstanding if you use anything accept 'make ready'.

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Most RO's me included go out of their way not to DQ anyone. I've observed shooters from other countries who do not or barely speak English react to the commands only because they have memorized them and it's probably the only English they know. It's important to use only the commands in the book so they know what to do. They aren't going to be smart or cynical just confused. We did have to DQ one foreign shooter because after the range was called clear it was pointed out that he hadn't engaged a target and he immediately drew his gun to engage the target. He thought we had told him to engage the target. The DQ was upheld even though there was a language barrier.

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We have many shooters come through our club from many different countries and English is not their first language or they have memorized the range commands in the book and that's about it. It's real important to stick with what's in the book or get strange looks or end up DQ'ing someone.

I think if you are not using the correct commands, you'll have a tough time selling a command-related dq to me. If you point to the start position and tell the shooter "get in here and get ready" and he pulls out his gun, it would be a total dick move to dq him. Of course a smart and experienced and cynical shooter would look at you say 'I don't understand you, please use legal range commands'.

I'm especially concerned with this when the start position involves staging mags and gun on barrels. It's easy to have a misunderstanding if you use anything accept 'make ready'.

Since I started shooting again (and most recently at Rio- haven't figured out who Mark is yet), I can say I have witnessed a few foreign shooters in the last couple of weeks that have such a language barrier.

They seem to know just enough to probably get by in the workplace (most likely mine), and are sometimes confused by straight forward/proper commands. Some can't even operate their speed holsters correctly (saw this last night).

So far I have yet to have an RO at Rio give incorrect commands before, during, or after I complete a stage.

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