Random Shots – latest news

One of the great joys of being an international official for our sport is being able to meet friends across the world and help put on some of the best IPSC events. I recently attended the Latin American Handgun championships in Buenos Aires and this exemplified the experience.

I ran Area 2 of the match, managing six stages and leading a team of 14 officials from Holland, Canada, USA, Jamaica, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay as well as Argentina. This multi-national band of IROA and NROI officials put in a tremendous performance, finishing by 4.30 on the last day despite some challenging conditions (great until the last two days when the heavens opened). The massive range complex was at the same time familiar and yet subtly different, Spanish colonial architecture, exotic plants and flocks of parrots and dragonflies in abundance. The complex easily accommodated 24 IPSC stages, as well as two full-bore rifle ranges and an Olympic clay pigeon layout. Near to central Buenos Aires, and next to the massive River Plate football stadium, it was like having Bisley next to Wembley!

Like every major IPSC event, I learned new things as a match official and got to shoot a brilliant course of fire. I also took away the memory of wonderful experiences, and many new friends.

There are still a few UKPSA matches to go this season and of course plenty of other IPSC matches across the world including the Australasian handgun championships in the Philippines. If you want to work a match all you need to do is get in touch with the Match Director or Range Master. Once they’ve confirmed they want you to work if in Great Britain you’re good to go, but if it is outside our region don’t forget the IPSC rules mean you need to get this signed off by our Regional Director in advance.

Don’t forget once you have finished your competition year you need to send in your completed match record card for 2019 so I can update your NROI record. Simply photograph/scan it and send it to me at nroi@ukpsa.org

Lessons from the line

Get in position and anticipate the shooter
We all know that the primary RO should always be within a pace of the competitor . Some stage designs make this very challenging of course, especially when shooting targets on the move or where the course of fire uses the full 180 degrees. This style of stage was very much in evidence at the Latin American championships and I noticed some new ROs struggled to position themselves in a way which both allowed them to monitor safety while at the same time not intimidating the shooter by standing in their eye line.

Here is the advice I gave them:

  • Look at the course of fire and anticipate how the competitor is likely to shoot it. For example, if the shooter is likely to swing back onto targets you may need to be level with or even ahead of their travel. Watch how the competitor does their walk-through – this is a very good guide to how they will shoot the stage.
  • Make sure you don’t stand to close to the safety angle and move with the competitor to ensure you stay out of their eyeline as they move and shoot.
  • Where it isn’t possible to exactly follow a competitor use any short-cuts available or a second RO to watch the competitor while you move.

Storm clouds on the horizon?
I recently had a lot of experience dealing with waterlogged and muddy ranges (international work isn’t all glamour, sometimes it can mean kneeling in 6” of cold water with your arm up to the elbow in a drain trying to clear flood debris!). It reminded me of some of the actions to consider when bad weather is forecast.

  • Check the drainage – find out where the water goes to when the range is flooded and build your course of fire and any metal targets on the high ground
  • Make sure competitors can reach the stage without wading through water
  • Stockpile a large quantity of solid material (gravel or clay pigeon waste works well) to add to muddy surfaces.
  • If stages include props like bridges make sure these are kept as clean as possible – chicken wire or AstroTurf, make good non-slip surfaces if they are cleaned of mud regularly.
  • You should use waterproof targets or plan to change normal targets more frequently.

Regularly back up your data
At a recent match there was a problem syncing a tablet and this meant scores had to be manually transferred, a time-consuming process and one in which keying errors could happen. Remember if you’re using a tablet this should be backed up for every squad/on the hour to the master tablet/PC.

Plan your 2020 season
Now is a good time to think about what matches you would like to work next season. Most matches run on a similar weekend every year – why not get in touch with the match director now and see if you can reserve your place for 2020?

Developing your Institute

Recent promotions
I’m pleased to report that Russell Hicks has recently been promoted to Range Master in all disciplines by the NROI Committee. I’m sure you’ll join me in congratulating Russ on this well-deserved promotion.

Increasing NROI membership
Experienced UKPSA Range Master and international competitor Ken Trail recently delivered the IROA/NROI level 1 seminar for 16 UKPSA members at Dartford. Ably assisted by Lewis Trail and Dave Peacock, this bumper crop of potential match officials learnt about all about the rules governing key IPSC disciplines and gained a real insight into how to approach building and running a practical stage.

Why not provide a venue for match official training!
We are currently putting together the training calendar for next year. If your club would like to host a seminar in 2020 please do get in touch with me at nroi@ukpsa.org

NROI Chairman

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