Ever since I began looking into Competitive Shooting, I have heard and read great things about Ontelaunee Rod and Gun Club. For some time now the club has been on my list of places to visit. I was finally able to cross them off of that list today and upon doing so, they were added to my list of clubs to shoot at more often.

Even though I didn’t shoot the best match, I genuinely enjoyed myself and hope to shoot there again soon. While I was having a good day, there was one individual who’s mood changed towards the end of the day. After an argument with the Assistant Match Director, he was issued a FTDR (Failure To Do Right) Penalty for the way in which he shot a stage.

After the discussion that was had here a few months back, where a friend of mine damaged a prop during a match, I was eager to report back and get your thoughts on the matter. Initially, I was glad to see this shooter be issued a penalty. Now that I’m home and giving it more thought, I’m beginning to think it may have been the wrong call.

Stage 5: Left to Right

When I arrived at the club for registration, I did a quick walkthrough of the stages. Of the eight stages to be shot, there was one that was more complicated than the others. It consisted of 3 Strong Hand Targets, 2 Steel Poppers, 1 Swinger, 1 Up & Down, and 3 Weak Hand Targets.

Shooters were to begin the stage seated in a chair. At the buzzer they were to stand and begin engaging targets. The order varied for Right Handed and Left Handed shooters.

FTDR IDPA Penalty - Ontelaunee IDPA - Oct 2012 - Stage 5

The Root of the Problem:

It would seem that the Stage 5 Course Description was a little vague. Some shooters saw it one way while others saw it differently. The difference between shooting it one way versus the other was that some shooters were gaining a competitive advantage. In the case of the FTDR, the shooter gained a tremendous competitive advantage.

After reading the stage description, I formulated a plan and began watching the squad ahead of me shoot the stage. The first shooter I watched did just as I planned. He stood up, drew his gun, and began firing from a static position.

The next shooter to take on the stage did things a little differently. This shooter stood, drew his gun, took a big step forward, and fired from a static position. My gut reaction was that this person was closing the distance in the name of safety. By taking that large step forward, he was getting away from the chair and ensuring he didn’t bump into it while transitioning through targets. I didn’t see this as a big deal and continued to watch.

When the shooter that was issued the FTDR began the stage, he stood up and closed approximately half the distance to the targets before he began shooting. A couple of the shooters within earshot of me grumbled that what he did wasn’t right. At the time, I agreed with them.

FTDR IDPA Penalty - Ontelaunee IDPA - Oct 2012 - Stage 5
The Shooter in this photo did NOT receive a FTDR – It is for illustration purposes only.
The grey silhouette is approximately where the offending shooter was when he began shooting

Issuing The FTDR:

After the squad ahead of us finished, we began to get ready to shoot. The Assistant Match Director came over to see how far along we were when the issue was brought to his attention. That guy can’t do that, it wasn’t within the spirit of the game. The Assistant Match Director walked over to the next bay to discuss it with the shooter.

When the Assistant Match Director came back over to our bay, he announced that the guy just kept arguing with him over the issue and, as a result, he was throwing out the stage. A couple of the guys contested, saying that he shouldn’t throw out an entire stage based on a problem with one guy. After a few seconds of deliberation, the Assistant Match Director told us that the stage would remain and the offending shooter would receive a FTDR Penalty.

Ask The Readers:

It would seem to me that there are two big questions with regard to this incident. They don’t necessarily mean the same thing, which is what fascinates me about IDPA. The first question is obvious: Did the shooter break the rules of the game and earn himself a FTDR? The second question isn’t simple at all: Were the shooter’s actions in the spirit of the game?