2016 Top Cop – South Florida Pistol Club (SFPC)

Safety Rules


The following safety rules and general understandings apply between the South Florida Pistol Club (SFPC) and the 2016 Top Cop Competition.

 Common Firing Lines – Courses of fire where multiple competitors are required to fire simultaneously from a common firing line must provide a minimum of 5 feet of free space between each competitor.
 Shooting Boxes and Fault Lines - Are used to define the limits of the shooting area.

Basic competitor rules in the Top Cop competition:
(01) Carry and Storage of firearms – Except when within the boundaries of a safety area, or when under the supervision and direct command of a Range Officer, competitors must carry their handguns unloaded in a holster securely attached to a belt on their person. A competitor who, while not at a safety area or under RO supervision, removes their holster or their equipment belt with their handgun still in the holster, shall be considered to be in violation of Safety rules and be subject to disqualification from the match.

(02) Competitors, while on the competition field, carrying their handgun in a holster must have an empty magazine well, and the hammer or striker must be de-cocked. Anyone found in violation of this rule will be immediately escorted by a Range Officer to a suitable range or safety area where appropriate corrective action shall be made.

(03) If a Range Official notices that a competitor has lost or displaced their eye or hearing protection during a course of fire, or has commenced a course of fire without either one, the Range Official must immediately stop the competitor who will be required to reshoot the course of fire after the protective devices have been restored.

(04) A competitor who inadvertently loses eye or hearing protection during a course of fire, or commences a course of fire without either one, is entitled to stop, point their handgun in a safe direction and indicate the problem to the Range Official, in which case the provisions of the previous rule will apply.

(05) A competitor who intentionally loses or displaces eye and/or hearing protection during a course of fire will be stopped by the Range Officer and or subject to match disqualification.

Malfunctions - Competitors Equipment
(01) A competitor, who experiences a handgun malfunction while responding to the “Make Ready” command, but prior to issuance of the “Start Signal”, is entitled to retire to repair his handgun without penalty, under the authority and supervision of the officiating Range Officer. Once the repairs have been completed, the competitor may return to attempt the course of fire, subject to scheduling as determined by the officiating Range Officer or Range Master.

(02) In the event that a competitor’s handgun malfunctions after the Start signal, the competitor may safely attempt to correct the problem and continue the course of fire. During such corrective action, the competitor must keep the muzzle of the handgun pointing safely downrange at all times.

(03) While rectifying a malfunction that requires the competitor to clearly move the handgun away from aiming at a target, the competitor’s fingers must be clearly outside the trigger guard.

(04) In the event that a handgun malfunction cannot be corrected by the competitor within 2 minutes, he must point the handgun safely downrange and advise the Range Officer, who will terminate the course of fire in the normal manner. The course of fire will be scored as shot including all applicable misses and penalties.

(05) Under no circumstances is a competitor permitted to leave a course of fire in the possession of a loaded handgun.

Match Management
Range Officer (RO) – issues range commands, oversees competitor compliance with the written stage briefing and closely monitors safe competitor action. He also declares the time, scores and penalties achieved by each competitor and verifies that these are correctly recorded on the competitor’s score sheet.
Range Master (RM) – has overall authority over all persons and activities within the entire range, including range safety, the operation of all courses of fire and the application of these rules. All match disqualifications and appeals to arbitration must be brought to his attention.
Match Director (“MD”) – handles overall match administration including squadding, scheduling, range construction, the coordination of all support staff and the provision of services. His authority and decisions will prevail with regard to all matters except in respect of matters in these rules which are the domain of the Range Master. The Match Director is appointed by the host organization and works with the Range Master.

Range Communications
During the course of fire, the common commands you will hear from the Range Officer are:

Make ready! - This command signals the start of the Course of Fire (COF). The shooter may take a sight picture, and load or otherwise prepare the gun. Guns with hammer must have the safety on with the hammer cocked; otherwise the hammer must be fully down or in a de-cocked position (if a de-cocker is installed). When ready, the shooter will assume the start position and wait for the next command;

Are you ready? - No response from the shooter means the shooter is ready. If not ready he/she must indicate so now;

Stand by! - This command means that the start signal is coming between 1 to 4 seconds – you should not move until the beep sounds;

Beep! - The signal to start engaging targets is an audible beep signal from an electronic timer;

Stop! - If at any time during the course of fire the RO says "Stop”, the shooter must immediately stop, point the muzzle downrange, and wait for further instructions. This does not always mean that the shooter did something wrong;

After the competitor has finished the course of fire:

If you are finished unload and show clear! -
 Semi-auto: Remove the magazine from the gun, un-chamber any round in the gun:
 Revolver: Shooters open the cylinder and remove any rounds or spent cases;
 Show the Range Officer that the gun is clear.

If Clear, Hammer down, Holster! or If Clear, Cylinder Closed, Holster!

 Drop the hammer or striker using the trigger. Guns equipped with de-cocker: The de-cocker may not be used for this purpose – the trigger must be used;
 Revolvers: Shooters should close the cylinder, and if clear, holster the gun. There is no need to pull the trigger since the hammer is already down;
 Guns that do not fire without magazine inserted: insert an empty magazine pull the trigger, and remove the magazine once again leaving the firearm well empty. Show the empty magazine to the Range Official before inserting it and after removing it from the gun;

Range is clear! or Shooter is clear - This command signals the end of the COF.

Loading, Reloading or Unloading During a Course of Fire
When loading, reloading or unloading during a course of fire, the competitor’s fingers must be visibly outside the trigger guard and the handgun must be pointed safely down range.

Except when the competitor is actually aiming or shooting at targets, all movement must be accomplished with the fingers visibly outside the trigger guard.

Sight Pictures and Range Inspection
A competitor is permitted to take a sight picture prior to the start signal. Such sight picture is only permitted no more than one step from the “Make Ready” location.

Accidental Discharge - Match Disqualification
A competitor who causes an accidental discharge must be stopped by a Range Officer as soon as possible. An accidental discharge is defined as follows:
 A shot, which travels over a backstop, or berm.
 A shot which strikes the ground within 10 feet of the competitor.
 A shot which occurs while loading, reloading or unloading a handgun.
 A shot which occurs during remedial action in the case of a malfunction.
 A shot which occurs while transferring a handgun between hands.
 A shot which occurs during movement, except while actually shooting at targets.

Unsafe Gun Handling - Match Disqualification
 Handling a firearm at any time except when in a designated safety area or when under the supervision of, and in response to a direct command issued by, a Range Officer.
 If at any time during the course of fire, a competitor allows the muzzle of his handgun to point rearwards, that is further than 90 degrees from the median intercept of the backstop, or in the case of no backstop, allows the muzzle to point up range, whether the handgun is loaded or not.
 If at any time during the course of fire, or while loading, reloading or unloading, a competitor drops his handgun or causes it to fall, loaded or not. Note that a competitor who, for any reason during a course of fire, safely and intentionally places the handgun on the ground or other stable object will not be disqualified provided:
o The competitor maintains constant physical contact with the handgun, until it is placed firmly and securely on the ground or another stable object and;
o The competitor remains within 3 feet of the handgun at all times.
 Allowing the muzzle of a handgun to point at any part of the competitor’s body during a course of fire (i.e. sweeping).
 While facing downrange, allowing the muzzle of a loaded handgun to point uprange beyond a radius of 3 feet from a competitor’s feet while drawing or re-holstering.
 Failure to keep the finger outside the trigger guard while clearing a malfunction where the competitor clearly moves the handgun away from aiming at targets.
 Failure to keep the finger outside the trigger guard during loading, reloading, or unloading.
 Failure to keep the finger outside the trigger guard during movement.
 Having a loaded firearm other than when specifically ordered to by the Range Officer.
 Retrieving a dropped handgun - A dropped gun must always be retrieved by a Range Officer who will ensure it is unloaded and properly secured in the competitor's holster or a suitable container.
 Drawing a handgun while facing up-range.