View Full Version : Shot at on the range

Brian Dukes
March 13, 2006, 11:38 AM
My dad and I were down range (IPSC match), between shooters, trying to fix a metal moving target that was having problems, and it was taking a little longer than normal. We had our backs to the starting box, when I heard PoopPoop..Poop-Poop! I turned, threw my hands in the air, and started yelling Stop! Stop! Stop! --Several spectators realized what was happening and did the same. The shooter stopped after about 4 rounds.

The range was set up with Hard cover walls in front of the starting box--about 20 feet across. We were in the deep left corner, obscured by the wall in front of the starting box, but plainly visible to anyone who looked around the side of the wall. Apparently the RO did not look around the wall before calling the range hot, and starting the next shooter. We had hearing protection in and didn't hear anything.

Now, I just came back from Iraq, so to be honest, it didn't really phase me. I think my dad was pretty shook up. The RO came out and apologized, and so did the shooter(who is not responsible for clearing the range as far as I'm concerned). Dad and I didn't say much, the range master happened to be there at the time and he talked to the RO briefly, and the match went on.

Later, after I got home, the whole deal really started to piss me off. I don't have anything personal against the guy who was RO, but I know personally how dumb mistakes can get people killed. I almost regretted not laying the guy out(would I have been wrong ?), as opposed to just shrugging it off.

I've always enjoyed the safety focus in IPSC shooting, but I feel this is a problem.
A shooter is DQ'd for a slight infraction, how should this have been handled? How is the precedence set to reinforce the responsibility of the RO?
Most importantly, what will keep this from happening again ( course design, RO training, using the A-RO/score-er to also clear the range)?
I'd appreciate any thoughts or experiences from any experienced shooters, and if I'm making too much out of a freak accident, let me know.


Jim Watson
March 13, 2006, 02:24 PM
I don't know the rules and procedures for reeducating a negligent RO, but he certainly needs to go back to school. Any obscured range should be cleared before shooting is resumed. Usually the RO does one side and the scorekeeper the other.

The shooter should, by rule, have been disqualified, too. As Big Jake would say, my fault, your fault, nobody's fault, he fired dangerous shots, he's done for the day.

How about you and Dad going to RO class and helping them out. You now KNOW what is needed.

March 13, 2006, 02:52 PM
There should be a safety marker put up or light turned on when anyone goes down range, perhaps with a lock that the personnel down range have the key to. Anything to make it safer because anyone can make a mistake.

March 13, 2006, 03:04 PM
I almost regretted not laying the guy out(would I have been wrong ?)

Yeah baby - Pappy Boyington/Robert Conrad style! ;)

March 13, 2006, 03:09 PM
As far as I'm concerned the shooter was just as much at fault as anyone. He pulled the trigger and should have known what was downrange from him. Competition or not the 4 basic safety rules still apply. If the RO can't clear his entire range from his position he needs to get in another position or the range needs to be re-arranged so it can be viewed.

March 13, 2006, 03:26 PM
Well, all I can say it's also a shared resposibility of whomever is going downrange to announce in no uncertain terms what their intentions are.
And that the RO/SO knows what's going on.
Our club holds monthly IDPA and USPSA matches where we have anywhere between 30-50 people show up. Sometimes it can get little hectic, especially if the weather is either inclement or hot, you got new shooters, equipment malfunctions...etc

I think it really is about communication, and just letting people know where you are at and that the range is not clear yet.

We have a large "house" stage that has multiple walls, windows, barricades and other props. It can be a pain sometimes to insure that there's no one around in there anywhere, but if it takes 5 of us to check, we do it. :)

Stay safe and good shooting!!

Brian Dukes
March 13, 2006, 03:59 PM
A few notes:

I though some one might mention a failure on my part to communicate. I know that at least half a dozen guys typically go down range to service targets between shooters in a less than organized effort. At the time I thought, and still do, that we were conducting typical range protocol, and that anyone doing an adequate job of clearing the range would have seen us. Having said that, I think I'll be less prone to assume an adequate job of range clearing (I know some Samaritan will explain assumptions).

I didn't think the shooter was at fault. The shooter never saw us. The shots he took were at banks of targets visible from the start box; we were deeper in the bay and obscured. I know when I load and make ready, I'm focused on my plan for the course of fire, and not second guessing whether the RO cleared the range. Maybe I need to reconsider?

I have gone to the RO class and do RO. I didn't that match because it was my first match in about 2 years, and didn't really feel comfortable RO ing right out of the chute.

I've used a number of safety marker systems, especially for night fires. I've been mulling over a few practical ideas. I have never been at a match where buzzers/lights/what have yous were use to clear the range. I think using the SO to also clear the range in a good idea. I have noticed a trend in SO's who are more interested avoiding taping targets and brassing the range, than supporting the RO.

March 13, 2006, 07:38 PM
The RO in this case is a BONEHEAD and SHOULD NOT BE AN RO!!!!!!!!!!!

It is HIS responsibility to clear the range, it is HIS responsibility to maintain the safety of the range he is running, and it is HIS responsibility to maintain the safety of EVERYONE in the vicinity of the range he is running. PERIOD!!!!!!!

He DID NOT do a squad head count before calling a hot range, he DID NOT physically clear the range, he DID NOT verify that all targets were reset, and he very likely did not call "CLEAR THE RANGE!!!" loud enough for even those wearing hearing protection to hear.

Had I been the one dowrange it would have been extremely confrontational REAL QUICK. There is no excuse for what happened, NONE!!!!

March 13, 2006, 07:41 PM
In my opinion the RO needs some remedial training, or a serious sit-down with the match production staff. Hopefully someone will impress upon him the potential deadly results of his inattention. He is in charge of that stage and all activity on it. The one thing you said- you were downrange working on a problematic mover- is another key here. The RO should check the targets before the next shooter steps up, and if there was a prior problem he for sure should have been checking that one.
I hope he learns from this.

March 14, 2006, 04:07 AM
I know how many shooters are on my squad and I count bodies before any shots are fired, wether i'm the shooter or not.

I'm taking the RO class on the 25th/26th.

March 14, 2006, 09:29 AM
id have shot back.

March 14, 2006, 10:47 AM
You can't be serious! If this is a typical response from competitors, then just think: all the other folks behind the firing line will think you are shooting at them and respond in kind. So its like you (1) against the rest (10).

This thread has definitely made me take going down range much more seriously, which is good. Thanks OP.

March 14, 2006, 10:47 AM
deleted this duplicate post

March 14, 2006, 12:29 PM
Turn this knuckle-head in before somebody gets killed on his next watch....If I had been downrange in your position, they would have to surgically remove my gun-barrel from the R.O's @ss.

March 19, 2006, 10:26 AM
I sit here feeling your anger, but I would not use physical retribution for what was an honest, if incredibly (incredibly) stupid, mistake.

Remedial RO training is a good idea for ALL ROs.
And including THIS occurence would help.