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What is the impetus behind this rule?  I understand that technically the barrel of the pistol is pointing up range, but it is contained in the holster.  The orientation of the barrel doesn't seem to matter at any other time, even if it breaks the 180, while in the holster.   

 

Is someone afraid the gun will fall out of the holster? that's usually DQ-able no matter where it happens.  Most 3 gunners have figured out they need a good retention holster, so that isn't so much an issue anymore. 

 

I ask the question because I run qualifications for my guys at work and all of us have loaded pistols on during our rifle quals.  I have never thought twice about going prone, nor has any of my other staff.  It seems to be a non-issue.  I contend it is not an unsafe act.  Does anyone have a good reason why we should continue to DQ people who do it? 

 

If we do want to discourage it, Would it maybe be better to give a procedural instead of a DQ?

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It’s an extra safety measure that makes sense in my opinion. Matches draw a wide variety of people with varying skill levels, so a little extra margin of safety is good. 

I also like doing different things such as loading the pistol on the fly. 

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That rule has been changed at some matches for a few years for reasons that include those you mentioned.  It depends on the rule set you are using.  

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It is simple risk aversion.

While not very likely that a handgun in a holster could or would go off when prone, there is a possibility of it falling out or somehow something get into the trigger guard.  Again, very unlikely.  But, the gun is in a bad orientation for an AD.  So, the motive is to simply eliminate that risk.

The other aspect is that many of our rules have to be applied to the lowest common denominator, or in simpler terms, a new shooter.  That isn't mean to be negative or derogatory in any way.  But I see guys showing up with sherpa and drop leg holsters all the time.  I def don't want to be behind this guy while he is prone w a hot gun.

 

And, it is easy to minimize or eliminate the risk.  Have handgun unloaded for prone stages, making it hot after the initial draw takes seconds.  And, if everyone has to do that, it is an even playing field. Shoot the pistol first and dump prior to rifle portion. Give shooters an option, go prone and gun is cold, one knee, it can be hot.  Have the pistol staged on a table or prop after the rifle stage, shooter retrieves after rifle.

 

I am not one of the safety queens that jumps on every little issue. But, this is one that is not that intrusive and is probably a good rule.

 

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I also like to start you with an empty pistol because after you've paid $300+, I don't want to send you home because you wiggled and wriggled while you were prone. Dropping a loaded gun is always a DQ. I also leave you with an empty pistol if you have guns slung up...just no reason to risk catching the gun on your sling. Everybody starts the same.

 

One year, I let you start with a loaded pistol. In my mind, the stage was standing. It said in the stage brief, if you planned to go prone, you needed to start with an empty pistol. I am overly cautious, and unless you're using your pistol first, it's usually empty. But, I thought, no worries. Alas, I had to DQ an open shooter who made a bit of a running leap to abandon his rifle and he bumped the pistol and boom, on the ground! Dang it!

 

Personally, I don't like having a loaded gun pointed at me when I'm RO'ing...especially in the mountains where there are cactus, stumps, rocks and all sorts of other things to catch it on!

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In general I am not a fan of gratuitous unloaded or empty chamber starts. However, we did have a Condition 3 start (loaded mag inserted, empty chamber) at one of the stages I designed for SMM3G last week. We did it because prone rifle shooting was an option, and (1) some folks feel nervous pointing a hot handgun uprange, even in a holster, plus (2) we cannot be sure everyone will have secure holsters. Each year someone's pistol falls out of their holster, and an empty chamber makes things much safer for all concerned (even though under our rules that is still a match DQ - loaded or not). As mentioned above, it is a layered approach to safety - in this case TWO things have to go wrong before someone gets hurt. As everyone had the same challenge of remembering to rack a round into the chamber, the competitive playing field was level.

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I'm a fan of the condition 3 start anytime you're requiring shooters to go prone, use a sling, or anything else crazy. One small concession can ease a lot of minds and quite many complaints. 

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If I am running the stage I prefer an empty gun if going prone. I learned the lesson of a good retention holster many years ago.

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It might just be me but I get a bad feeling anytime I see a loaded gun pointing at me. ?

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On 4/16/2018 at 9:55 AM, Don_B said:

It might just be me but I get a bad feeling anytime I see a loaded gun pointing at me. ?

 

 

I guess I get the rule...But its silly.  Im with the OP, Ive run several qualification lines where folks went prone with hot pistols.  I never thought to be offended by it until my first 3g match.  When a gun comes out of the holster while you are running which way is it pointing when it hits the ground?  Only Jesus knows

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If it is empty it has zero chance of going off.  While in the holster, I understand that it is safe condition, but this is one of the rules that I believe is put in place because it guarentees there is no chance of the pistol firing in an unsafe direction

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As an RO I like them unloaded if they are going prone. Most matches are remote enough that you would bleed out, before getting to medical attention. My question is what have you gained by not going prone with a hot pistol?

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If a properly holstered pistol is insufficient to protect you from the potential danger of a pistol when the user is going prone in front of you then it is insufficient to protect the wearer of that holster.    If mitigating danger is the highest concern then we should strongly consider finger gunning the stages and walk (don't run)  around yelling "pew, pew, pew".  After all that would be the best way to assure no one got hurt.  

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A few things to think about:

 

Do YOU want to stand behind a randomly chosen guy with a loaded pistol pointed at you while he's prone? 

 

The intent is to keep loaded guns from pointing at people. 

 

On the other side, I have had ROs try to tell me that if I go reverse kneeling and my holster points back, that it is a DQ, had to get the MD to come over and say of course not.

 

When we kneel or pick up guns or anything off the ground, the gun can point backwards too. 

 

I would like to see letting you drop mag and rack out the round, reholster, and be ok, if you did end up not clearing it and reholstered, then be at mercy of the rules.

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The intent is to prevent a random guy with a home done sketchy trigger job going prone with a hot pistol, hitting the ground too hard and the gun going off. Yes it is rare but I have seen trigger jobs that would do exactly that. The idea is safety to the group of shooters behind the line of fire. Nothing more. 

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Personally, I'd go one step further and say I don't like hot reholstering, period. That aside, at the WY Governor's Match we had to get rulings on hot pistol reverse kneeling, and prone. Our UML ruling was no hot prone, but a self-flagging reverse kneel was fine.

 

My general rule is if a loaded gun is pointed at a person, that's no bueno.

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I never allow a hot pistol to go prone at my club matches. I have a ton of new shooters and many show up with a nylon holster, etc and have minimal retention. Mag inserted, empty chamber is how I'll start a stage where prone is required or I will have the handgun portion before the rifle so the pistol is already abandoned. 

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I always have shooters go condition 3 just for the simple fact there are always new shooters and safety is the most important thing on the range. 

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