Marking of Individual Targets

by Mike Kendra on September 19, 2009

Here’s a thought that I’d like to share after attending a recent skirmish: Can an individual mark a paper target during a regional skirmish so that it’s an easy target to find?

I’m sure everyone’s reaction to this question is automatically: NO!

But wait a moment, please hear me out…

At the last skirmish they were handing out 5-shot single bull paper targets (cut to the shape of a square) for both score and for sighters. Of course the sighter targets had a large X drawn through the scoring rings, but that’s not what I’m getting at.

One fellow stapled his sighter target at a 45 degree angle, creating a diamond, and then he stapled his score target in the same manner as shown below.


I assume that this sort of target placement isn’t strictly illegal.

When I looked into the N-SSA rules, Section 12, which states the rules of individual competition, I could find no statement about target orientation.

Rule 22.20 titled “ALTERATION OF TARGETS” states: “Alteration of targets in any form is prohibited; i.e., spotting marks on individual or company match targets. An altered individual target shall be disqualified.” This rule doesn’t really address this issue either, does it…

So is this a fair method then?

As you can plainly see, stapling the target in this manner sure makes a crossfire mistake a lot less likely.

The four shooters on the left must pay much greater attention to their targets, a crossfire onto one of the similarly laid out targets could ruin one or even both of their days.

But, is the advantage of having a unique diamond target to shoot at any different from the guy on the right with the single bull?

Luckily we usually don’t need to worry about these issues at the National Skirmish (and also many regional skirmishes) using the standard 10 shot, 3-bull and 2-bull targets…

…Except when a shooter is lucky enough to be all by himself on the line with no other targets within 3 or 4 frames…

I would tend to think this type of target placement should be allowed, but I know from past experience when I attempted to post a target in this manner I got a verbal lashing from more “experienced” gentlemen.

What are your thoughts?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tom Magno October 22, 2009 at 11:05 am

RE: Your blog about marking individual tartgets. I completely agree with you that individual target ‘orientation’ on the frame is not strictly or literally covered by the rules. There is no ‘marking’ or ‘alteration’ of the paper, only the manner in which it is hung. I say “good thinking!” to the person who hung theirs in a diamond pattern, and would challenge the line judge who told me it would be DQ to show it to me in writing. The words “alter” can certainly be (very) loosely interpreted to mean orientation – but that’s a stretch.
In company events when shooting at wooden blocks, we are not chided or DQ for hanging our wooden blocks diamond or square, as long as they are all the same – so why would this be any different? There is no competitive advantage to the orientation of a circular target on a square paper hung in the diagonal. It is the INTENT of the rule that the line judges forget about – marking a target for competitive advantage, such as a sighting mark – that was the intent. Folding a corner or a strategically placed “tear” could be interpreted as a sighting mark (again – that’s a stretch).
Great Blog -keep it up!

Tom Magno

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