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Message from Joyce Wilson - Safety: Our Highest Priority


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To: All IDPA Members

From: Joyce Wilson, Executive Director, IDPA

Date: March 25, 2015

Re: Safety: Our Highest Priority

Many of our members have seen a video on social media this week in which a competitor was allowed to shoot much of a stage while another competitor was downrange collecting brass. This video was not filmed at an event in our sport, but it provides for us an opportunity to remind our members, Safety Officers (SOs), Safety Officer Instructors (SOIs) and Match Directors (MDs) that safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Safety, and the process for ensuring the range is clear prior to Load and Make Ready, will continue to be stressed in SO classes, and I encourage Match Directors at all Tiers to remind SOs of their process. Many of our SO Instructors have already expressed an interest in using this video as part of their teaching toolkit, not as an indictment of the match official, shooter or bystander, but as a learning opportunity and a reminder that safety is our highest priority.

Our Safety Officers have a big responsibility in ensuring that shooters will not be in harm’s way while running a stage. It has always been standard protocol that the CSO, PSO or SO be the last person off the stage to ensure that no one is downrange. This event serves as a reminder that complacency is the enemy of safety.

Shoot safely!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Big negative there sir. How about the RO makes sure that the rage is actually clear before the " range hot" call is made. I wont comment further (on the video) as I was not there and hove no clue as to how this happened. But picking up brass is usually not the thing taking the most time. How about resetting moving targets, steel, etc. Should we also make every match a lost mag match until the last shot fired? Range safety is everyone's part as well as brassing and pasting targets. Too many people want to shoot and talk instead of helping to keep the match running.

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Big negative there sir. How about the RO makes sure that the rage is actually clear before the " range hot" call is made. I wont comment further (on the video) as I was not there and hove no clue as to how this happened. But picking up brass is usually not the thing taking the most time. How about resetting moving targets, steel, etc. Should we also make every match a lost mag match until the last shot fired? Range safety is everyone's part as well as brassing and pasting targets. Too many people want to shoot and talk instead of helping to keep the match running.

I have been to way to many club level matches were the delay is split between resetting the stage and people policing their brass.

Safety does ultimatley come down to the person pressing the trigger, as the shooter you are relying on the RO's to have checked the range, but you are the one that is going to be shooting.

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Some of us pick up brass because of cost. 38 Super is $140 - $200 per 1000. It's hard to leave it laying when you know it will be gone after the match.

There was a day when everyone was pasting, resetting, scoring, and picking up brass. Everyone helped. Now no one picks up brass unless you pick up your own. It is a different time now.

I try not to hold up things as I watch to see when stage resetting is finished and stop so the shooting can continue.

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There is a serious flaw in lost brass matches except at the state and above level. Nobody wants to give anybody else their brass. The timer people are shooting without match fees and that should be good enough. Virginia has a serious problem with calling IDPA matches lost brass at the local level. This is why I moved to a revolver division.

Back to the topic at hand: Clearing the range prior to restart. This is the responsibility of the timer guy, who should be the one to walk furthest downrange and the last to come up range after ensuring that the stage is wholly reset and completely clear of all personnel. End of story.

Hint: Targets and walls hide torsos very well so squat down and look for legs and shoes. They are a good indicator of oblivious range dwellers.

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Forrest I agree with you on a couple things, but disagree that the caliber doesn't matter its my brass so I wan't it back. We have the same problem here in NW Florida. I actually got into an argument with a MD who from now on watches me brass for my self and myself only. While I brass I actually count the pieces I pick up to match the amount of shots fired in the string. Its very irritating but its what I'm willing to do as its my brass. A few other shooters who do not reload caught on to what he was doing and now give me their brass as well so now I'm bringing in eight times as much as i would if the MD wasn't a jerk.

I agree that it all falls onto the shoulders of the RO to clear the range. When I lived in Arizona the majority of ranges would have the RO stay in the furthest point in the bay until until all of the "brassing", pasting, and resetting was done and would visibly clear from the furthest point back to the start point. Maybe that should be a rule ans its not hard to do as the RO needs to walk the stage in order to score all of the targets anyway.

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I feel like safety is taking a backseat to several things in that video. The RO was likely feeling the crunch of trying to keep the stage running quickly, which led to fatigue, which in turn led to a lapse in protocol such as BS'ing with the pasters on the way up range. The most troubling thing was that the RO didn't get relieved in a timely fashion after that happened. I would have hung it up for the day after something like that and apologized profusely to the shooter and the person left down range as I had failed them both in a potentially tragic way.

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Honestly with an incident like that I would most likely have shut the entire match down for the rest of the day.

I don't know if making every other shooter pay for an ROs oversight is the way to go. But I agree with having to personally call it a day.

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Honestly with an incident like that I would most likely have shut the entire match down for the rest of the day.

I don't know if making every other shooter pay for an ROs oversight is the way to go. But I agree with having to personally call it a day.
Yeah your right. But I would have gotten everyone together to address the situation right then and there. In order to make everyone aware of what happened and to inform all shooters that they need to pitch in to help the match run smoothly and safely.
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Kinda on a side note. Does anyone know where this happened? I want to know what the outcome was after an incident like this. Maybe other ranges could learn from this as well.

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38 super is an acceptable example of IDPA members who want their brass back.

We have only a handful of people in my county who shoot action pistol matches.

I have a friend who shoots mainly IDPA and is a Safety Officer for the IDPA matches.

He has shot a couple USPSA matches, but mainly IDPA.

He shoots a 1911 Wilson in 38super. That is all he was shooting in IDPA. This also goes for his girlfriend who shoots the 38 super also.

One more guy in our county who shoots matches, he has an EAA in 38 super. He uses that gun for shooting matches. It is not an ideal gun for USPSA but he shoots it cause that is what he has.

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At my local matches, I would love to see a rule that the stage needs to be reset before the policing of brass starts. I have shot matchs with 9mm, 40 S&W, 10mm and just right the brass off.

I understand some people really want to collect their brass, it cost money. At the same time it holds up the match, I would love to speed up the local match. I miss the quickness of state level matchs.

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At my local matches, I would love to see a rule that the stage needs to be reset before the policing of brass starts. I have shot matchs with 9mm, 40 S&W, 10mm and just right the brass off.

I understand some people really want to collect their brass, it cost money. At the same time it holds up the match, I would love to speed up the local match. I miss the quickness of state level matchs.

dude, you'll be shooting alone if your recommendations took place.

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I cant see picking up brass as a problem. I wait for people to set the cameras and fiddle with gear. I always try to help but everyone is not needed everytime to reset and tape. I usually do not go down range when Im the next shooter. I like to go over everything in my mind and recheck my mags. If I cannot pick up my brass at a local match then I will find something else to do.

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Make everyone on the squad participate in taping and policing brass. When they don't, put their score card at the bottom of the pile. If they still don't help, invite them to leave for the day and return when they feel like helping out and doing their fair share of work. Make certain the R/O confirms the range is clear before making it hot. Always. Every time.

I am in no way attempting to be sarcastic, but just doing those things is not rocket science. Just do them. Then you don't have to make up a bunch of new rules to try to accommodate for two simple ones that aren't being enforced. And those who constantly pick up brass and tape targets and set up steel targets for the great majority of the time will appreciate the break they will get when everyone returns to helping out.

As R/O, you can enforce these rules. If you can't, you should not be accepting the position, If your club won't support you doing these things, you need to find a new club. Life is hard enough. Let's keep it simple when and where we can.

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I shot IPSC back in the 80s and the took a 25 year hiatus while I did Dad duty. When I returned a couple years ago to USPSA and IDPA one thing I noticed is that the old protocol of assigning tape and brass had changed. We used to call out...

Shooter

On Deck

Tape

Tape

Brass

It worked really well back then.

Also the shooters on tape would wait with the RO and walk back after the targets were taped and the steel reset.

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I was wondering what all this was about and what Joyce Wilson was talking about.

I just saw the video.....OMG!

I feel comfortable that it would be the last time the guy picking up brass would be allowed on our club's property.

The RSO would not be allowed to be RSO ever again...but the poor shooter...I'm not sure if I would even be able to shoot again.

Then again, even as a shooter, I get spooked and demand a look if I catch a curtain fluttering in the breeze downrange, out of the corner of my eye.

They never question it.

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