Saturday, August 17, 2013

IPSC Rules: When To Cover Targets With Transparent Plastic?

The Canadian Nationals 2013 was a wet affair. We had to contend with a lot of rain. I don't know what it is with 2013; I've shot more in the rain and snow this year than ever before, and it's not without it's problems.

What is the rule regarding covering the targets with transparent plastic bags?
"Rule 2.3.5: During inclement weather, the  Range  Master  may  order  that  paper  targets be fitted with transparent protective covers and/or overhead shelters, and this order is not subject to appeal by competitors. Such items must be applied and remain fitted to all affected targets for the same period of time, until the order is rescinded by the Range Master."
The above rule applies to both IPSC and USPSA.
I raise this issue for a reason. I was the CRO on a stage, which meant that I was responsible for ensuring that targets were covered. One particular squad, consisting of top caliber competitors, was on the receiving end of the "call to cover" order.
The call to cover targets came through with the instruction, "Cover as soon as possible". I am fully aware that competitors do not like engaging targets with plastic covers, since it makes it more difficult to "see your hits". It was raining fairly heavily at the time, so I made the decision to cover the targets in the midst of a squad. One of the competitors was facing a reshoot, and was upset, as were the remaining squad mates. The verbal exchange, which is usually of the bullying variety in order to get you to respond in favour of the competitors, insisted that the rules specified I had to cover the targets between squads.
Of course this is nonsense. The key component of the rule is "for the same period of time". Let me explain why. In this particular event we had 16 stages. It is highly unlikely that any two stages start at the same time, let alone 16 stages. Actually, the probability of 16 stages starting at the same time is 16^2, or 1 in 256. It is for this reason that we cover when the order comes through, if we are to approximately cover all targets for the same period of time. So you cover as soon as possible. Naturally their whining was ignored.
Then, in conclusion, make sure you're equipped for the rain. Have a raincoat, umbrella, something to cover your gear, a towel, hand warmers and perhaps a change of shoes.
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