COWBOY ACTION SHOOTING™ SASS Range Operations Basic Safety Course
Assessment. Assess the shooter’s condition. We have all seen a shooter who is suffering from a bad case of match nerves. Even though this person may have plenty of experience, adrenaline is a strong drug and has many adverse effects. A person suffering from the effects of match nerves may be a hazard to himself or others, so it is important to pay special attention to a shooter who may be shaking violently, has trouble talking, or seems a little lost about the stage requirements. It may be wise to suggest the shooter sit down and wait a while longer before he shoots.
Anticipate. With time and experience, you will be able to anticipate the shooter’s next move. If you can anticipate the shooter’s next move, you may prevent him or her from acquiring penalties or committing an unsafe act. This is the mark of a truly good Range Officer.
Attitude. The best Range Officers have the best attitude. If you can do your job well and have fun too, then you will find the posse generally also has a good time. You will additionally find you are less likely to have any serious confrontations, and the posse as a whole will work more efficiently. Remember, it’s your attitude that sets the mood for the entire match.
Coaching. This is the most direct way to assist the shooter after the course of fire begins. The Chief Range Officer should coach only when someone looks momentarily confused or lost, if they attempt to put down a long-gun with the action closed, or address the wrong target. However, it’s not your job to “shoot the stage” for the competitor, coaching him in every action and some shooters don’t like to be coached at all. It is prudent to determine if there is anyone on the posse who doesn’t want to be coached. Coaching is not considered RO interference and, therefore, will never be grounds for a re-shoot. SAFELY
Safely, as it applies here, has nothing to do with the rules per se. When we talk about assisting the shooter through a course of fire safely, we mean “without incident.” An accident or incident, which has the potential for injury, is of grave concern to all who are exposed to the danger, which naturally includes the Range Staff. Therefore, it is critical to do what is necessary to avoid or prevent such incidents from occurring. How is this accomplished?
Course Design. Some course designs are unsafe and should be avoided or changed. Example: a shooter leaves one shooting position and runs up-range (towards the spectators) to pull a revolver from his holster. This would mean the shooter, if he draws the revolver too early, could sweep the crowd with the muzzle of the gun. Solution: either stage the revolver so the competitor can’t get to it until he or she is pointed in a safe direction, or change the stage so the competitor has to run down-range. Don’t be afraid to refuse to allow your posse to shoot an unsafe stage. Insist the stage be made safe before proceeding.
Anticipate. Again, if you can anticipate what the shooter may do next, you may be able to stop an unsafe act from occurring. This is not to suggest you are expected to put yourself in danger in order to stop the unsafe act, but you might be able to prevent it from happening through verbal direction or physical action.
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