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Old March 20, 2012, 11:35 AM   #1
az_shooter
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Range Safety question(s)

Here in Az its not uncommon for recreational shooters to go out in the desert to shoot their firearms.This was the case a few weeks ago.I had just purchased a Mosin Nagant and took the wife out to give it a whirl. This is only the second time I have taken her out shooting,and this was only her first time ever shooting a rifle.

At first,I was going to setup the target down the wash a bit,but my wife called me on it and said,"what if someone or something comes up the wash?"

She was totally correct and I respected her judgement,So I scouted for a better location.

The area we finally ended up with was a bend in the wash with a Large rock formation as a backstop. We were at least 75-100 yards away from the backstop and target. We each had Safety Glasses,and hearing protection. All shells and litter were picked up prior to leaving the area.

My wife and I were taking turns shooting,5 rounds each. After each turn,we would both go down range to check the target.

On one occasion,after my turn,I asked my wife to accompany me down range to check the target. She declined and said "Im just gonna stay here and load the gun."

This threw up a red flag,as an unsafe act,and I again asked her to go down range with me. "She chuckled and said "What do you think im gonna shoot you in the back?" I thought "Not on purpose..."

I explained to her that it was a safety thing.She said she was just gonna sit back at the table I brought while I went down range. I insisted she go down range. She got all steamed,and blurted out "You dont trust me." With that she stormed off.

I tried to later explain to her that my methodology of going down range was instilled in me in the time I served in the Army.

I was taught that at a zero range(which is similar to how we were shooting) everyone one on the firing line goes down range to check their targets TOGETHER regardless if they are already zeroed. I can remember my time in the military,zeroing my weapon,and having to stay on the firing line until everyone was either zeroed,or out of rounds. I remember going down range with everyone else,standing there,and walking back with everyone and sitting in the foxhole while everyone else shot,and tried to zero.

Her thing is that is a moot point because I am no longer in the military and those rules dont apply anymore.

So this is how I was trained,and since this was my "range" those were my rules.

Was I out of line in my request of my wife to accompany me down range? She says she has talked to many people and they all say I was overly anal in my range safety procedures. Thoughts,opinions?

Needless to say,ill likely never take my wife shooting again,unless its at an actual range,which yes some will say would be the optimum environment,but who here hasnt gone out in the woods or deserted areas for some plinking?
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Old March 20, 2012, 11:51 AM   #2
darkroommike
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Someone has to be the RSO. If you can't take your wife downrange, (maybe she's tired, don't like snakes, wrong shoes, etc.) take the bolt from your Mosin Nagant downrange with you. Explain to her it's not a trust issue but a safety issue, and that everyone needs to be on the same page all the time.
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Old March 20, 2012, 12:30 PM   #3
4V50 Gary
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She's being lazy. However, that would bother me if she stayed back to watch the guns to prevent theft. Mind you, it should be strictly hands off of the guns while you are downrange.
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Old March 20, 2012, 12:31 PM   #4
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Wow, tough situation to find yourself in.

Some people don't understand that when it comes to safety, it's NEVER personal, and "trust" has nothing to do with it. Sounds like your wife doesn't have a realistic concept of safety (does she really think that people don't get shot accidentally?)

If someone is offended because someone else double-checked them on a safety issue, then they have an attitude problem, plain and simple.
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Old March 20, 2012, 03:00 PM   #5
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I agree with Scott - it has nothing to do with trust - it has everything to do with safety. Good gun handling skills are just as important on informal ranges as they are on formal ranges. The rule is "No handling of any items (e.g. - guns, mags, sunglasses or a soda can) on the shooting bench and no handling of firearms anywhere on the range during a cease-fire". Firearm accidents don't happen in a vacuum - they usually take a person, firearm, ammo and not following, one or more, basic safely rules. I would direct your wife to a firearms safety course and not attempt to train her yourself. Best of luck, Dan
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Old March 20, 2012, 03:19 PM   #6
dmazur
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My wife and I also go shooting together.

On nice weekends, there are usually other shooters but we occasionally have the place to ourselves. My wife's concerns are leaving the rifles unattended, even though it is a private range. Rather than argue with her (which rarely has any measurable benefit) I agree that we will take turns servicing targets, with the other playing babysitter to the rifles.

We follow the range rules, which are essentially
  • Rifles unloaded and cased when being transported.
  • Rifles must be pointed downrange when uncased.
  • Rifles must have actions open and remain untouched when range is "cold".
  • Range may be called "hot" when everyone is behind firing line and has had time to don hearing protection.
  • All members have RO responsibility and violations of the rules can mean loss of membership for all involved, including those present who did not act when a violation occurred.

She was present when the group of shooters at the benches cautioned one guy who started fooling with his scope when others were servicing targets. He argued for a few seconds, but gave up when someone explained what "don't touch" means.

I've never raised the "trust" issue and neither has she. I believe we both know that the only excuse for violating one of the range rules is ignorance, and neither of us is ignorant.
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Old March 20, 2012, 09:45 PM   #7
Navy joe
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Well, on an uncontrolled range like that it would be ideal if you could get your wife to the basic safety point where she won't accidentally shoot you. Beyond that, with people down range, no one handles guns. No one. Want to load mags, fine, stay back off the bench. Actions open, weapons safe.

The real consideration on an uncontrolled range is being downrange and apart from your guns and vehicle when trouble shows up. I will not be completely empty on a range like that ever, usually take a slung long gun with me to post targets.
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Old March 21, 2012, 12:56 AM   #8
JohnKSa
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Quote:
I explained to her that it was a safety thing.She said she was just gonna sit back at the table I brought while I went down range. I insisted she go down range. She got all steamed,and blurted out "You dont trust me." With that she stormed off.
Nobody ever means to accidentally shoot someone with a firearm. But it still happens all too often.

Safety rules are a good thing and abiding by them is an even better thing.
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Old March 21, 2012, 12:32 PM   #9
zippy13
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Quote:
She said she was just gonna sit back at the table I brought while I went down range.
Were the gun(s) on this table? If yes, shouldn't she have been provided somewhere to sit that was away from the gun(s)?
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Old March 21, 2012, 01:36 PM   #10
dmazur
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Not to get a rant started on the Four Rules (because there are die-hard NRA-trained types who don't like them) but you might start with those.

Then transition into, "If we both follow these rules, we can take turns changing targets and neither will have to worry about what the other is doing."

Believe it or not, it's easier to teach the Four Rules with the exceptions (again, there are those who believe there aren't any exceptions) -

Rule 1 - All guns are loaded Unless you have personally unloaded it for inspection or cleaning when you picked it up. As soon as you put it down, Rule 1 applies again.

Rule 2 - Never point the muzzle at anything you aren't willing to destroy Guns in cases, guns laying on tables, and guns with actions locked open are essentially inert and Rule 2 doesn't apply to them. Applies to any gun being held by someone with the action closed. Doesn't matter if you know it's unloaded. (See Rule 1)

Rule 3 - Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire Multiple shots at the same target are an obvious exception. However, if you are moving between targets (like IDPA), finger off the trigger while moving. Finger off the trigger while holstering.

Rule 4 - Be sure of your target and what is beyond An example of this concern is "ridge shots"...if you miss, what is the bullet going to hit? And, if you are into double-taps, practice at a range with a big backstop until you learn to control the second shot.

Just my two cents. These rules are simple enough that they are easily remembered. If they are followed, and not just given a "yeah, yeah more rules", they can save lives.

ETA - The comments after each rule listed above are mine, and paraphrase remarks I have read about the Four Rules in a variety of sources. IMO, the biggest problem with the Four Rules is understanding how to implement them. So, my comments are just plain language attempts to answer the question, "So what does that mean?".
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Last edited by dmazur; March 21, 2012 at 01:44 PM. Reason: Explained my comments
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Old March 21, 2012, 02:01 PM   #11
tim s
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Does'nt matter who does or does not go down range under generally accepted range rules... bolts out or bolts blocked with safety device OR everybody away from guns on line with nobody allowed to fool with any gun while shooters downrange.
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Old March 21, 2012, 03:14 PM   #12
langenc
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NO ONE SHOULD TOUCH A GUN WHILE OTHERS ARE DOWNRANGE!!!PERIOD

We were at a range in AZ-very well known, and they have a red line behind the benches and a yellow line just in front. When it is CEASE FIRE and after all guns are INDIVIDUALLY checked for ammo by RSO, shooters may go downrange. DO NOT get caught in that area between red/yellow line while anyone downrange-man in tower will let you know on the PA!!

When someone sweeps you-tell em-DONT POINT THAT AT ME.

They will tell you it is not loaded. Tell THEM 69%(pick a number-a high one) of all those getting shot are shot w/ EMPTY guns.


From post #10 (dmazur-just above)

Rule 2 - Never point the muzzle at anything you aren't willing to destroy Guns in cases, guns laying on tables, and guns with actions locked open are essentially inert and Rule 2 doesn't apply to them. Applies to any gun being held by someone with the action closed. Doesn't matter if you know it's unloaded. (See Rule 1)


At the above range and many others a cased gun is treated just like an uncased gun. Harder to pull the trigger but still can be loaded.


I had the opportunity to shoot a 22BR match in NC. Their rang rules (for a match went like this)

1. Rifles were brought to the line and placed on a rack.
2. at some point the match director said "rifles on the benches". Rifles placed on the bench by the shooter, action open, of course.
3. Match was shot and at time end or whennall were finished-CEASE FIRE-check all rifles. Each shooter checked his own and the one on either side of his bench to make certain-unloaded/bolt open.
4. Remove rifles from bench back to rack.
5. Target person may go forward to retrieve/post targets.

Id guess this is a little excessive but it sure ELIMINATES the fiddling w/ guns that often occurs w/ someone downrange.

Id also bet no one has ever been shot there.

Perhaps that is SOP for matches. That is the only one I have ever shot in. Where I shoot we all check our own and coulpe benches that we can see on either side for safe conditions. We dont remove between cards.

Comments by regulars, please.

Last edited by langenc; March 21, 2012 at 03:27 PM.
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Old March 21, 2012, 03:38 PM   #13
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My rules for taking my wife shooting are simple. I know what I'm doing and she doesn't. This means that my rules are THE RULES. She does it my way or she doesn't go, unless she goes by herself. When I am present I am the king. Unless we are at a controlled range where someone else is the king. Even then I am the Prime Minister and I call all shots not called by the RSO

If we were ever out shooting and a situation like the one you describe occurred I'd pack up the guns and take her home. If she refuses to get in the car she can walk.

I've been married for 15 years.
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Old March 22, 2012, 01:20 AM   #14
oldkim
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Rules...

Gun safety is everyone's responsilbity. Some just abide by them more...

Please know that I put on a lot of shoots. In all the years... I still have someone in the back handle their firearm. Even though I run a "cold" range (means that the gun is unloaded, no magazine in the gun, no round in chamber)... folks want to "show off" their guns to someone else, especially newer folks.

People forget. That is why I'm there and also the other Safety Officers with me.

I try to keep it simple. If there is someone in front of you... you got to know that you should not be handling any firearm (PERIOD).

It's the Golden Rule - if you don't want someone doing it behind you... don't do it behind someone else!

Plain and simple.
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Old March 22, 2012, 03:57 AM   #15
Sport45
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Quote:
I explained to her that it was a safety thing.She said she was just gonna sit back at the table I brought while I went down range. I insisted she go down range. She got all steamed,and blurted out "You dont trust me." With that she stormed off.
I don't know your wife, but I would have trusted mine to keep her paws off the shoot'n stuff while I was downrange.

I certainly wouldn't have insisted she go with me after explaining hands off the firearms is the rule if anyone is in front of the firing line.
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Old March 22, 2012, 08:22 AM   #16
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Empty Chamber Indecator

When I run a range or conduct a class the first thing I do is pass out ECIs (Empty chamber Indicator or Bolt Open Indicators.

They are put in the rifle and kept in the rifle until the shooter is in the act of shooting.

Any one can instantly look at a rifle and tell its safe. Add to that, all rifles are grounded and shooters step back from the firing line.

I even use the ECIs on my range when I'm the only one shooting.

Certainly cheap enough. They don't distract from the 4 basic rules, but just let others see the rifle is safe.

https://estore.odcmp.com/store/catal...4=&note5=&max=
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Old March 22, 2012, 09:31 AM   #17
Don P
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Quote:
However, that would bother me if she stayed back to watch the guns to prevent theft. Mind you, it should be strictly hands off of the guns while you are downrange
I concur, you and the wife take the 100 yard walk and number 1 bad guy comes out of nowhere and the guns get stolen, worse, you and the wife get kidnapped, and worst case you and the wife found dead in desert.

My opinion you were anal about it
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