Random Shots – latest news
As I write this the European Handgun Championship has just finished, and I have returned home tired, happy, and with more than the odd mosquito bite – a hazard of a hotel next to the Danube! There is something magical about a major IPSC event, the sound of gunfire pretty much from dawn till dusk as a 1,000+ shooters compete over many days to see who is best. And of course, to help them do that are some of the best match officials in the world, IROA and NROI members all working hard to keep the event running smoothly.
As well as managing a medium stage during the pre-match, I set up and ran the chronograph for the main match, something I have never done before. To be honest this wouldn’t be my first choice of job, but it is an important role that ensures one of the three IPSC principles, power, is properly tested. And of course, you need a chronograph to test the calibration guns and ammo to ensure the poppers can be shot down with a gun just making minor. Overall it was a great learning experience for me, and a good opportunity to meet all the competitors (including a strong GB contingent) and see a vast array of the latest guns and equipment! Working at such a large international event also reminded me of one of the great benefits of IROA membership, seeing old friends and making a few new ones. As well as the satisfaction of a job well done, and learning something new, I left with many good memories and invites to join friends at matches across Europe in 2020.
But before then I will be working at the Latin American Handgun Championships in Buenos Aires in October. I’m looking forward to another great match, and of course, the odd steak and glass of Malbec! Why not expand your experience and go global? If you’re interested in working abroad or in joining IROA I’d be happy to offer you advice on the process. Just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
The next level 1 IROA/NROI seminar in October in Dartford is now full. In fact, it is so popular we’ve had to move to a bigger venue! If you, a friend or fellow club member would like to become a UKPSA RO, why not contact me at email@example.com and I’ll add the name to the waiting list for the seminars planned for 2020.
Take care and stay safe.
Lessons from the line
Clear the range – and the shooting area
It has been long standing practice that the next shooter in a squad is the only person allowed in the shooting area just before they shoot and while the crew are re-setting and scoring the stage. This courtesy allows the competitor to have a last look at the course of fire and is something we should encourage as long as it doesn’t hold up the running of the stage. Of course, as soon as the stage is ready, we still need the competitor in place and ready in the start position!
But at a recent match there was an unfortunate incident where a competitor taking a run through ran into the previous competitor who was still in the shooting area with the scorer. This resulted in injury to the competitor and a few choice words to the inconsiderate shooter about their behaviour.
So how can we help prevent this in the future?
- As ROs step out of the shooting area if possible once any necessary work is completed. This will often result in the previous shooter following and clearing the shooting area.
- The RO scoring (on the tablet) can then guide the competitor who has shot to check any disputed targets and then the back of the range, preferably traveling back outside the shooting area, and completing the scoring process at the rear of the range. This automatically clears the shooting area for both the next competitor and the people who are re-setting the stage.
All this doesn’t mean of course that the next competitor shouldn’t be mindful of their own actions and be respectful of their fellow shooters and the range crew!
Wet weather and paper targets? No problem!
The UKPSA have secured a small supply of all weather ‘Norwegian’ full size and mini IPSC targets. While not cheap, these targets are remarkably tough and can literally stand up to days of rain avoiding the need to use plastic bags in wet weather. If you’re running an outdoor match and want to secure some of these excellent targets, contact Kevin Strowger at RD@ukpsa.org
Is it an A or a C ? – you need UKPSA approved scoring overlays!
NROI have a supply of Handgun/Rifle and Shotgun scoring overlays available free to UKPSA match officials. If you need an overlay simply send me a small letter Stamped Addressed Envelope (SAE) with Handgun/Rifle, Shotgun or Both written on the inside to UKPSA NROI, PO Box 28849, Edinburgh, EH14 9DF and I’ll send you some overlays by return. You may even get a bonus IROA/IPSC sticker!
Electronic Scoring – next steps and changes in back up
Recent major IPSC matches have used the ESS tablet-based scoring system, something I experienced myself at the European Handgun Championships. There were a few teething problems (not with the system but the WIFI) but the new offline option and great back up from the technical team soon had any issues corrected. The system has some brilliant features, not just for ROs but also Area CROs and the Range Master who can see the match progress in real time.
The UKPSA are investigating how we can introduce this system here in the UK but in the meantime, we have other online scoring systems, like Practiscore and ShootNScoreIt, which can be used at UKPSA matches if approved by the Regional Director (see rule 9.11.1).
The NROI committee have agreed to make electronic scoring the preferred option for UKPSA matches if the following is carried out:
• Scoring must be using a recognised app (Practiscore/ShootNScoreIt/ESS) and the RD must have approved use of this for the match
• Officials must use a tablet device (Samsung tablets work well and were used at the European Championship) NOT a mobile phone because of the increased possibility of keying errors.
• The RM/match must ensure a supply of paper score sheets is immediately available if required in case of a tablet failure on a stage (i.e. so it can keep running and an accurate record is maintained).
If the above is followed the keeping of a paper back up when electronically scoring UKPSA stages is no longer required.
Developing your Institute
The NROI committee was pleased to agree the promotion of Milan Koria (Action Air) and Dave Peacock (Shotgun) to Range Master and Colin Beattie, Russell Hicks, Tim Wyborn (Action Air) and Simon Lofthouse to Chief Range Officer. Congratulations and thank you again to these UKPSA officials for their hard work and contribution to our sport.
Minimum age for match official training
Following legal advice from the associations insurers, the NROI committee has agreed the minimum age for range officer training should be 18 or over. This decision considered several factors including the level of legal responsibility we can reasonably expect of a minor.
Why not join IROA?
As well as working at level III matches abroad more experienced officials can join the International Range Officers Association, working at the largest and most prestigious IPSC matches world-wide. This would not only be a great way of gaining more experience but also given our expertise in Shotgun, Mini Rifle and Action Air UK officials can really add value to the work of this important global body.
The application process and form are available to suitably qualified UKPSA officials online and needs to be endorsed by the Regional Director and Chairman of the NROI.
Feeling lonely on the range? Why not provide a venue for match official training!
I am currently putting together the training calendar for next year. If your club would like to host a range officer seminar in 2020 please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org