- Those that have been DQd
- Those that will be DQd
I have joined the ranks of the latter category. A bit of translation in case you are not familiar with the term “DQ”: disqualified, no longer allowed to shoot in the match.
Most of the DQs I’m aware of are a result of a safety violation. I this case there is no question. Here’s what occurred:
I shot stage 3 of a match Saturday night that was challenging. It started with the description, “You are sitting on the bank of a river fishing when a bunch of bad guys decide to ruin you day…” The entire stage was shot from a seated position. The bad guys included two poppers that were concealed behind cardboard. I’m usually good with steel poppers. When I can’t see them, it’s a bit more challenging. I lost count but it’s possible I put 6-8 rounds into one popper before I got it to fall. My brain was still spinning on “why wouldn’t it go down?”.
I stood to reholster and the RO gave me clear commands: “SLIDE”, “TRIGGER”. At which point my gun went “BANG!”. That is considered an accidental discharge and is without question a DQ.
What went wrong? I didn’t take the magazine out of the gun. Neither I nor the RO noticed that the magazine was still in the gun. We didn’t visually inspect the chamber to verify it was empty. The RO was as stunned as I was and shared the blame. However, I believe I am always responsible for the safe use of my gun and, in my mind, take 100% of the blame.
What did I learn? When the stage is over, you need to let go of any thoughts about what went right or what went wrong. You need to focus on the task at hand: safety unloading your weapon.
What went right? I’ve heard that there are multiple gun safety rules so that if by some chance you fail to follow one rule, the others will keep you safe. In this case I did follow this rule: “Never point a gun at anything you are unwilling to destroy.” I was holding the gun firmly in my right hand and had the gun pointed downrange. It startled us but caused no danger to anyone in the bay. I am thankful for that.
A good friend was DQd earlier this year for loading his gun before the RO stated , “Load and make ready”. He sat out the rest of the match and I have been hyper alert about waiting for verbal commands since that occurred.
If my mistake can help raise the awareness of other shooters to pay close attention in the “Unload and show clear” steps of a stage, that is worth sharing the experience.
Have fun and stay safe!