This incident occurred at the RO's make ready command. Trigger finger outside of trigger well. This I think is your key. A discharge that occurs without the trigger being pulled is a malfunction therefore the shooter should be allowed to correct the problem,use a backup gun meeting the same division requirements or withdraw without penalty.
This is exactly what I thought, too. But, I came to accept the wording of 10.4.3...and it says "shot". Doesn't say shot as a result of pulling the trigger, just says shot. "Shot" is defined in the rulebook. If there is a shot while loading, it is a shot. A shot caused by a malfunction of the the gun (or ammo), is still a shot nonetheless and a DQ offense based on the definition of "shot". The malfunction is secondary. It would be unfortunate to a shooter, whether at a local match or Nationals, but it is what it is. The shooter can always arbitrate and argue the malfunction rule.
One thing I failed to read before I started this (no one else pointed it out either), the second sentence in 10.4.3 further clears the issue, IMO;
"This includes any shot fired during the procedures outlined in Rule 8.3.1 and Rule 8.3.7."
8.3.1 is the "Make Ready" command rule. So, any shot
while the competitor responds to the "Make Ready" command is a DQ.
This situation happened to me about 2 yrs ago at a local match in the midwest. I wasn't a certified RO. Others on the squad were. They said the shooter could fix his gun or get another. The shooter had the gun serviced earlier in the week. I'll remember this and will pull the rulebook if it happens from here on.
Edited by remoandiris, 19 March 2012 - 06:17 AM.