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Thread: Cover Rules

  1. #1
    We are diminished
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    Cover Rules

    As some of you may know from reading my website, the guys who run the KSTG matches have been struggling with our cover rule. It has a lot of flaws but so far we've been unable to come up with anything better.

    Right now, our cover rule has four parts:
    1. fault lines; no part of either foot can go over the fault line
    2. crowding; muzzle must not protrude past the uprange edge of the point of cover being used
    3. pieing; shooters must engage targets in the order they become visible around a corner (applies to vertical cover only)
    4. ballet; both of shooter's feet must be in contact with the ground while shooting around cover (no silly IPSC 1-legged acrobatics)


    I think we're pretty happy with #2 - #4.

    The fault lines are weak, though. There are a number of problems with using fault lines:
    • shooter has to be looking at the ground and his feet as he comes up to a shooting position instead of looking downrange and thinking about the threat he's supposed to be engaging
    • in order to accommodate shooters of different sizes, ages, degrees of athleticism/flexibility, etc., the cover line has to be pretty generous... to the point where frequently a typical shooter is barely using cover at all
    • in order to accommodate an array of multiple targets, the cover line has to be generous enough to allow shooters to engage the "last" target they'll see around cover... meaning they're barely using cover at all for the earlier targets in the array
    • setting up flat, no-trip "fault lines" on grass, gravel, and other outdoor surfaces is difficult


    The primary alternative to the fault line concept would be to use more of an IDPA-esque rule. The primary problem with the IDPA rule is that it is so subjective. Expecting an RO to solve moderately complex geometric equations by sight at speed for a moving object (the shooter) is asking too much. I've seen an awful lot of shooters on an awful lot of stages at an awful lot of major IDPA matches and no one could honestly tell you that the rule is applied consistently and fairly across the board. Even taking out the cases where an RO is being malicious (which I've witnessed), there are just too many variables in terms of view angle, etc.

    The other alternative that people suggest is some kind of sensor downrange that will indicate if a shooter is too far from cover. While it sounds good in theory there are many problems with that approach: expense, added complication of setting it up for each target, figuring out a way to make it fair for the guy who is the size of a bus without making Caleb-sized people "cover free," etc. The same problems exist for the half-joking idea of mounting paintball guns downrange, plus the hopefully obvious issues related to sending speeding paintballs uprange.

    There are some pretty innovative thinkers here at PF, so one of you solve this problem for us, will you?

  2. #2
    Site Supporter MDS's Avatar
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    I don't really know what I'm talking about, so in true gun-forum style, allow me to run my mouth here.

    If you put a colored lightbulb just barely down range of the cover to be used, could you position it so the shadow line is the fault line? Something like "only one shoulder can be lit up by the green light, until the targets are lit up by the shooter."
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  3. #3
    Site Supporter BaiHu's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat as mario, I don't know jack, but I do fancy myself as a problem solver, so here goes my 'concept' of solving the problem and it's pretty low tech.

    Make your line with a long piece of cardboard and then sprinkle baby powder along the line cardboard edge and then remove the cardboard-voila! you have a line/edge. Wind might be a factor, but it shouldn't be too bad and you'll be able to tell if they 'kick' dirt onto the powder vs 'stepping' into the powder. If the person steps in the baby powder, you'll have a foot print. This makes the cost low and easily refreshed b/w rounds.

    Alternatively, but a similar concept, if you've ever used a plumb line, it is a 'chalk' line that you snap onto a wall. Instead of snapping it onto the ground-which won't stay as, leave a colored plumb line tacked into the ground and if the line is kicked or stepped on, it should conceivably spread the powder along the line or leave the powder on the shooter's shoe.

    The baby powder should work on any surface and is easy to sweep up in an indoor range.

    The plumb line probably won't work at all in an indoor range, but could work on an outdoor.

    Does the above make sense?

    The last idea, that isn't my favorite, but relatively amusing: On an indoor range, bring some bubble wrap and put some double sided sticky tape on the bubble wrap and leave it at the 'cover' edge. If they step on it, 'pop', you'll see that some bubble wrap has been destroyed and the shooter gets a penalty.
    Fairness leads to extinction much faster than harsh parameters.

  4. #4
    Site Supporter orionz06's Avatar
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    Not sure how effective it would be but what about a concentration penalty? Use a laser to activate a flash or strobe that is pointed at the shooter. Deduct point each time it goes off.
    Think for yourself. Question authority.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaiHu View Post
    Make your line with a long piece of cardboard and then sprinkle baby powder along the line cardboard edge and then remove the cardboard-voila! you have a line/edge. Wind might be a factor, but it shouldn't be too bad and you'll be able to tell if they 'kick' dirt onto the powder vs 'stepping' into the powder. If the person steps in the baby powder, you'll have a foot print. This makes the cost low and easily refreshed b/w rounds.
    It needs to be something that won't (potentially) get messed up with every shooter.

  6. #6
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    Do away with the cover requirement altogether.
    -C

    My blog: The Way of the Multigun

  7. #7
    Member Corlissimo's Avatar
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    Another ignorant "know-it-all" here...

    Going along with BaiHu's string idea, why not just use a light rope or string that is raised off the ground? It could have a bell hung from it to indicate contact with the shooter's leg. It could also be offset towards the uprange side to allow for the feet to pass under it while still keeping said feet in the proper location.

    The only potential issue I see with this is multiple stakes protruding from the ground causing injury in a slip & fall. But if they can be set wide enough that might obviate the need for some type of "safety cover" over each one.
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  8. #8
    Member Dropkick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mariodsantana View Post
    I don't really know what I'm talking about, so in true gun-forum style, allow me to run my mouth here.
    LOL. That makes me feel a little better about tossing out another "data point."

    If the targets are farther away from the cover than the shooter, the targets will "see" the shooter first. I'd draw up some "science" in Paint, but to save time it's the concept from AMIS. So the shooter would need to be farther away from cover than the targets in order to see the targets before they "see" the shooter. You could setup a fault line parallel to the cover X+y feet behind the cover. (X = distance from target to cover. y = a few extra feet to insure the shooter see the targets first.) (And technically the fault line would be arc whose curve be based on the distance from cover, but that'd probably be a pain to setup.)

    For outdoor fault lines, you could use athletic field paint. I don't have an ideas about how to get around fault lines all together though.

    Also, how would an official tell if a shooter has stepped out farther than needed from cover? I think this could work, but would probably need to be refined some... If the official is couple feet behind the shooter and looking over the shooter's shoulder that is closer to cover, the official should not see any of the target in between the side of the cover and the side of the shooter's head. At any point the shooter steps out too far, the official should be able to see the target. Does that make any sense? I might have to take some photos and do some drawings.

  9. #9
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    Chalk line are a neat idea, but don't usually leave enough material down to remain visible often even on their intended item. You can pretty much forget trying to get one on grass or dry dirt. They could work inside well enough, but you'll be re-snapping them every time they get hit
    I think fire would make an effective fault line, but it's going to play hell on insurance costs.
    I do my best proofreading after I hit "Send"

  10. #10
    We are diminished
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    Hopefully everyone understands that this is a professional, genuine discussion among peers. As such, I'm not going to waste a thousand words per response saying "you're a lovely little snowflake." Responses below are blunt...

    Quote Originally Posted by mariodsantana View Post
    If you put a colored lightbulb just barely down range of the cover to be used, could you position it so the shadow line is the fault line? Something like "only one shoulder can be lit up by the green light, until the targets are lit up by the shooter."
    Four problems:
    • Not all ranges are equipped with electrical outlets everywhere you might want to hang a target.
    • Lightbulbs aren't bulletproof. Anything down range is going to get shot, and having frayed electrical wires + broken glass down range is a problem.
    • Light would have to be kitten strong to cast a shadow in bright sunlight.
    • To see whether the light was on the shooter's shoulder or not, the RO would have to be able to see the front of the shooter... putting the RO in a position not conducive to safety.


    Quote Originally Posted by BaiHu View Post
    Make your line with a long piece of cardboard and then sprinkle baby powder along the line cardboard edge and then remove the cardboard-voila! you have a line/edge. Wind might be a factor, but it shouldn't be too bad and you'll be able to tell if they 'kick' dirt onto the powder vs 'stepping' into the powder. If the person steps in the baby powder, you'll have a foot print. This makes the cost low and easily refreshed b/w rounds.
    • How do you determine if someone stepped in a thin line of baby powder sprinkled on grass, or gravel?
    • What if it's raining?
    • Time to re-apply powder in exactly the same place/thickness/etc for each shooter (to keep things fair) would be monumental.
    • Every time someone accidentally steps on it to paste targets you'd have to re-apply.
    • For many stages, once a shooter has engaged the targets from cover he moves on to another position. Now stepping on the "fault" line forces you to determine whether it happened before or after he was supposed to leave cover.


    Alternatively, but a similar concept, if you've ever used a plumb line, it is a 'chalk' line that you snap onto a wall. Instead of snapping it onto the ground-which won't stay as, leave a colored plumb line tacked into the ground and if the line is kicked or stepped on, it should conceivably spread the powder along the line or leave the powder on the shooter's shoe.
    • You say "plumb line" I say "tripwire." Trip hazards on a live fire stage are a very bad thing.


    The last idea, that isn't my favorite, but relatively amusing: On an indoor range, bring some bubble wrap and put some double sided sticky tape on the bubble wrap and leave it at the 'cover' edge. If they step on it, 'pop', you'll see that some bubble wrap has been destroyed and the shooter gets a penalty.
    • Once Shooter-A has stepped on an area and popped all the bubbles there, what keeps Shooter-B from stepping on the same spot? Or do you double-tape fresh bubble wrap after each shooter?
    • As you said, the solution doesn't work outdoors.


    Quote Originally Posted by orionz06 View Post
    Not sure how effective it would be but what about a concentration penalty? Use a laser to activate a flash or strobe that is pointed at the shooter. Deduct point each time it goes off.
    Discussed in OP. To clarify:
    • Requires electricity down range.
    • Anything down range will get shot.
    • Most sensors aren't precise enough to cut a very specific go/no-go line.
    • Different people of different heights and sizes will not expose themselves around cover the same way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Rhines View Post
    Do away with the cover requirement altogether.
    • Go shoot IPSC.


    Quote Originally Posted by Corlissimo View Post
    Going along with BaiHu's string idea, why not just use a light rope or string that is raised off the ground? It could have a bell hung from it to indicate contact with the shooter's leg. It could also be offset towards the uprange side to allow for the feet to pass under it while still keeping said feet in the proper location.
    • As you said and as discussed above, trip hazard.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dropkick View Post
    If the targets are farther away from the cover than the shooter, the targets will "see" the shooter first. I'd draw up some "science" in Paint, but to save time it's the concept from AMIS. So the shooter would need to be farther away from cover than the targets in order to see the targets before they "see" the shooter. You could setup a fault line parallel to the cover X+y feet behind the cover. (X = distance from target to cover. y = a few extra feet to insure the shooter see the targets first.) (And technically the fault line would be arc whose curve be based on the distance from cover, but that'd probably be a pain to setup.)
    • Math is hard.
    • The whole "seeing first" thing is fine for static threats lying in wait who know exactly where the opponent is coming from when the searcher is moving slowly and deliberately. "Slow & deliberate" is not the way people pie corners in games (or the scenarios the games tend to simulate).
    • Seeing first -- as demonstrated in AMIS -- is far from the only determiner of who shoots first and who hits first.


    If the official is couple feet behind the shooter and looking over the shooter's shoulder that is closer to cover, the official should not see any of the target in between the side of the cover and the side of the shooter's head. At any point the shooter steps out too far, the official should be able to see the target. Does that make any sense? I might have to take some photos and do some drawings.
    • Shooters are constantly moving. The RO would need to be mirroring his movement perfectly which is not practical.
    • The RO may not be tall enough to see over the shooter's shoulder, or may be too tall to see a line from shooter's shoulder to the target unless RO squats.
    • It's basically just a variation of the (much simpler) IDPA "50%" rule which is subjective and therefore more prone to mistake and abuse.


    Quote Originally Posted by MikeyC View Post
    I think fire would make an effective fault line, but it's going to play hell on insurance costs.
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