IDPA Rules: When is it a Failure To Do Right?

Yesterday I posted about an incident at my First IDPA Match. During that match, a friend of mine damaged a prop and there were some grumblings from fellow shooters that the prop should be repaired or replaced by the shooter. That post generated some excellent discussion which spilled over to FacebookOpens in a new tab..

It just so happens that the Safety Officer running the shooter is a Facebook user and came across the post. He explained the situation from his viewpoint and went on to explain how he handled the scoring of the target.

From the Safety Officer
The shooter was a little taller than most and got up on his toes and took the shot. I wasn’t unsafe so as far as I was concerned that wasn’t anything to worry about.

Scoring wise it was down 10 because it would be unfair to other shooters to score down 0 when the target was gone for others by the time is was taken.

This prompted a response from another Facebook user who is involved in both USPSA and IDPA matches from a Match Directors perspective. I found her response rather interesting because she makes an excellent point, why penalize a shooter for his height?

Facebook Comment
As for scoring it -10 so as to not penalize “average-sized shooters”… why penalize Scott for being tall, if the SO said shooting while “up on his toes” was not unsafe?

I’m finding all of this fascinating due to the way IDPA rules are enforced. Being a USPSA shooter, I’m accustomed to a fairly well defined rulebook that doesn’t give the Range Officer a whole lot of room to make a judgement call.

In the event that the Range Officer does make a judgment call, the shooter always has the option to move it up the chain of command and have the incident reviewed by another party. I’m not saying that IDPA rules are poorly written or that USPSA rules are iron clad, I’m just saying that it seems as though IDPA shooters are under the scrutiny of the Safety Officer more-so than USPSA shooters are under the scrutiny of the Range Officer.

All of this long-winded talk leads into a question I had regarding another stage shot at my first IDPA Match.

IDPA at Lower Providence - Stage 4Lower Providence IDPA – July 28, 2012 – Stage 4

I don’t have a copy of the stage briefing, so we’ll have to do this based on my memory. The stage in question required shooters to lean over a faux pool table and hold a pool cue, as if taking a shot. At the buzzer, the shooter was to drop the cue and engage targets while retreating to cover. From cover, the shooter was to engage the remaining targets.

In the video above, you’ll first see me shooting the stage. At the buzzer, I stood up and engaged the target directly infront of me, while retreating to cover. From behind cover, I engaged the remainder of the targets. The second portion of that video shows my friend Scott taking a similar approach. He stood and engaged the first target, then went wide to engage a second target before getting behind cover. From there, he engaged the remainder of the targets.

Both of these stage plans were very common, but a third shooter went about the stage in a very different manner. This shooter stood up and took about a dozen baby-steps, engaging all targets before getting behind cover. This course of action prompted a few responses from fellow shooters. They ranged from “Ugh, he was retreating with a bunch of baby steps” to a flat out “That should be a FTDR”.

My opinion, from a USPSA standpoint, is that he gamed the stage and came in roughy four seconds faster than I did, good for him. From a “Spirit of the Game” standpoint, I wonder if he should have received a penalty for his actions.

Ask The Readers

If you were the Safety Officer running the 3rd Shooter, would you have issued a penalty?
If so, why or why not?


Hi There, My name is Walt White and as the name of this blog suggests, I am a Pennsylvania resident. In addition to having numerous hobbies that I discuss on my blog - Iā€™m also the father of three little girls and a pitbull.

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