View Full Version : Weird Events at the Range

March 24, 2006, 09:01 AM
Anybody have truly strange range stories?

Here's mine.

I bought my first .45 at Anthony Arms in Pompano Beach, Florida. Got my CCL training there as well.

My daughter wanted to shoot, so I brought her along with me a few times. She wasn't ready to shoot the .45, so we rented a .38 for her.

We did this maybe 3 times. Then, a little after Christmas we went in again.

We were told that I could shoot, and she could, of course, shoot my gun, but we couldn't rent a gun for her. My daughter, bulldog that she is, wouldn't stop pestering the kid at the counter until he told her why. When we found out, I realized why he was reluctant.

It seems that, the week before, somebody had come in and rented a gun and committed suicide right there at the range.

My daughter sort of gulped and we decided to just go home that day.

I went a few times after that, then had to sell my gun. When I was shopping for my new USP45, I could not reach them. It appears they have closed, and I suspect this event had something to do with it.

March 24, 2006, 10:12 AM

I have heard of people renting a firearm at a range and then committing suicide with it. For that reason, most ranges will not rent firearms to anyone who is alone. You're right the suicide probably did have something to do with the range closing but I'm not sure why.

March 24, 2006, 10:20 AM
Very strange event. I never would have thought about that.

I rented a 1911 last week at the range. No problems. But then again they know me since I'm a member and have my own .45. I was looking to rent the 1911 to see how it feels before buying one.

Because of weird events such as this, I always keep a full magazine loaded with JHP while at the range. Just in case someone goes crazy I don't want to have my magazines empty because I'm training.

March 24, 2006, 10:25 AM
This is not as uncommon as you might think. Like Riverrat said, most ranges will not let someone who is alone rent a handgun, unless they are well known by the range staff. The range probably closed down due to their Liability Insurance going through the roof and they just figured that it was no longer profitable...possibly.

Big Calhoun
March 24, 2006, 11:04 AM
Wow, that is a very sobering story to read on a Friday. That does explain why a few ranges I've gone to have said that you have to be with a 'party' to rent a gun.

March 24, 2006, 11:05 AM
I was kind of hoping it was rare.

March 24, 2006, 11:18 AM
What bugs me is the fact the the business suffers from someone
elses decision to take their life.

Over priced insurance is ruining this country.

March 24, 2006, 11:38 AM
There's a thread somewhere around here from a TFL or 1911forum member who was at the firing line when one of these episodes happened - yup, witnessed it. Very sad story when anybody feels so much pain they can't resort to anything else - very sad.

March 24, 2006, 12:29 PM
We had a fellow commit suicide on the local indoor range here in Corpus last year; not sure if he used a rental gun or his own...

Other than that, I can't count the number of times I've seen people blow up guns with bad reloads; shoot the wrong caliber through their pistol (just look in the brass bucket some day and look for 9mm cases "blown out" to .40...); try to stick the wrong magazine in their pistol (in a combat shoot once, watched a guy DESPERATELY try to reload his Sig using a Beretta 92 magazine...); etc. The range is a whacky and wonderful place - as long as you don't get shot or hit by shrapnel...



March 24, 2006, 12:30 PM
Very sad story when anybody feels so much pain they can't resort to anything else - very sad.

A very good friend of mine did it a few years ago and no saw it coming. He was a Vietnam veteran who evidently just could not live with himself anymore. At least he used his own gun (.357) and did it in his car.

But this topic is a completely different thread.

Double Naught Spy
March 24, 2006, 12:56 PM
If you think about it, suicide at a gun range with a rented gun isn't that weird. It is horrible for all parties involved, but not weird. For the family of the deceased, it is actually somewhat less hurtful as the deceased doesn't die in a home, car, etc. that the family may have trouble occupying or utilizing again because of the circumstances of the death. Of course, it sucks for the range. No doubt they end up with some legal hassles as to why they rented a gun to a person who apparently was suffering significant mental distress. Did they realize it? Could they have realized it?

March 24, 2006, 02:59 PM
I was a "permanent party" officer at Fort Knox, KY in the mid '70's. Of course it was a Basic Training post, lots of new privates away from home. There was an average of three suicides per year on the ranges from basic trainees.

Fort Knox had another interesting procedure. Drill sergeants marched their platoons to the range and then left them in the hands of professional marksmanship trainers. Some would think it was to increase the level of training but it had the side effect of not finding trainees, loaded weapons, and their "beloved" drill sergeants all in the same place!

March 24, 2006, 03:09 PM
happened here in greensboro, nc at calibers but that was under the old management. i wonder with range ammo and a head shot if the muzzle wasn't pointed down range if the bullet would go through and through? the new owner of calibers has cameras installed now. he is cool too, but i bet he had to c.y.a. insurance on ranges has to be astronomical.

March 24, 2006, 03:35 PM
Happened at the range I go to last year. The bigger tragedy, the mans drug addicted teenage daughter killed herself the night before(with one of his guns), after being questioned by the police he went to the range, rented a gun and killed himself.

I wasn't a member then but I 'think' they are under new managment now.

March 24, 2006, 03:52 PM
several years ago a guy walked into a pawn shop in phoenix and asked to see if a chain saw worked. might have been a skill saw . any ways he cut his own head nearly all the way off. bled out right there.

March 24, 2006, 04:15 PM
^holy crap. Thats really terrible.

March 24, 2006, 04:52 PM
I hate to add to the "commonality" of the suicide at the gun range but... I had a female friend that was suicidal. I believe that it was a combination of a chemical imbalance and severe depression.

If any one had a reason for feeling depressed, she certainly did. She lost an uncle to liver cancer, her grandmother, and her father in the span of just a few years. She felt that she was somehow responsible for their deaths. First, she tried to overdose on Tylenol. They pumper her stomach when she finally admitted to it after complaining of a severe stomach ache. Then she dropped a hair drier in the bath tub. Her sister told me that she could hear her getting shocked before the breaker finally tripped. To get to the point, she asked me to take her to the range and expressed a "sudden interest in guns". I told her I would think about it but I knew no way in heck would I take her to the range. Unfortunately, she was determined enough that a simple plastic bag did her in. She asphyxiated herself in a hospital where they were treating her depression.

While most gun statistics are put out by antis, there is one statistic that I believe... Gun owners are much more likely to suceed in their suicide attempts. Guns are much more deadly and death is much quicker. Death is often immediate and there is little if any chance of saving the person.

March 24, 2006, 05:20 PM
Because of weird events such as this, I always keep a full magazine loaded with JHP while at the range. Just in case someone goes crazy I don't want to have my magazines empty because I'm training.
Same here.

March 24, 2006, 07:25 PM
i also remember that at the az sportsman on 7th and camelback here in phoenix a guy walked in and asked to see a 38spl. the sales man handed it to him and he then pulled out a round . the sales man dove to him and struggled a bit but the guy loaded it and killed him self.

if they want to at least hope they only want to do them selves not take a bunch of folks with them. that is the dangerous people. the ones who want to kill a bunch of others or force some one else to do it cause they are eunuchs and cant do it themselves.

March 24, 2006, 07:35 PM
Wow - very sad indeed. It's bad enough for the person doing it and his/hers family, but think of what it also does to the people at the range who may see it or have to deal with the after-affects.

I had rented guns at two ranges by myself, one where a RO was right there with you, and another where I was 'set free' in the range. I never thought about the potential suicide issue before.

While I don't keep an extra loaded mag around while shooting, that does seem to be a good idea. I've read online where people keep their BUG on them at all times while at the range just in case something bad does go down.

March 24, 2006, 08:47 PM
Gun owners are much more likely to suceed in their suicide attempts. Guns are much more deadly and death is much quicker. Death is often immediate and there is little if any chance of saving the person.

I've heard a couple stories that spoke otherwise.

Talk to Capt. Charlie about it; I remember him talking about responding to suicide attempts where the person was still conscious.

March 24, 2006, 09:09 PM
Talk to Capt. Charlie about it; I remember him talking about responding to suicide attempts where the person was still conscious.

I think what Capt. Charlie actually said was "that putting a gun into your mouth did not assure you that you were going to die instantly.'

I saw a guy shot point blank under the chin with a .45 and he lived for about 10 minutes. The entire back of his head was gone. I could actually see his brains thru the back of his head. He was conscious but not aware. He was bleeding from his eyes, nose, ears and mouth.

I was told that people who attempt suicide with pills and other means are sometimes screaming out for help but someone who uses a gun really wants to die. I don't know how true that is but I was told by a reliable source.

Also not all head shots are fatal. My son's father-in-law served with the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam and was shot by a sniper behind the right ear with an AK47 and the bullet exited through the roof of his mouth. He recovered and returned to Vietnam for a second tour.

March 24, 2006, 09:57 PM
There was a cat that I think was feeling suicidal walking across the berm on the range in my yard the other day. ;)
I didn't shoot it though because I was at the 25 yard line and couldn't tell if it was my neighbors cat or not. We have been having some problems with mean feral cats out here recently.

Big Calhoun
March 25, 2006, 07:40 PM
I also tend to keep guns loaded, especially now after reading some of the horror stories in the multiple threads here. I only have an extra magazine for my Beretta. With the other two, I keep one magazine loaded with my defensive loads and the other magazine free for the range ammo. All defensive magazines stay in until I'm ready to shoot that particular gun.

Some of these stories have been a tough and sobering read, but good education.

March 26, 2006, 05:55 PM
I do almost all of my shooting at a sportsmen's club range out in the country. Weekends are quite busy but on many weekdays there are very few people there. I shoot mainly on weekdays because I have the facilities pretty much to myself and I have the time available being retired and partially disabled. Club memebershiip requirements are very non-discriminatory and determnined non-members wouldn't find it too hard to access the ranges.

There are occasional instances of "strange" or really "weird" people showing up to shoot. I didn't used to be to careful to keep a means self-defense readily available. (Most shooters seem totally oblivious to the risks.)

After a few instances of seeing strange looking people or seemingly normal looking people acting strangely, sharing the range with me (and no one else being around) I decided to be much more diligent about keeping at least one cenerfire pistol or revolver loaded and readily available at all times while I was shooting.

March 26, 2006, 06:35 PM
2IDdoc : Did it really matter...? ;)

March 26, 2006, 06:59 PM
Don't know how "wierd" this is but......At the local range with a friend who just got a brandy new Remmington Nylon 66 .22 for his b-day. His mom ,the angel that she was , brought us to the range to check out his new gun. While the line was hot, some guy starts setting up on the station next to ours. He unloads his stuff and statrs to fiddle arround. While he's doing his thing , he hands his very pregnant wife a staple gun and some targets to hold. At some point , he goes back to the car to get something , and his wife decides that while he's at the car , she'll save some time and go hang the targets WHILE THE LINE'S STILL HOT!!! She got about 10 feet down the path when I yelled (don't even rember what I said). The RO almost swallowed his whistle !!! When the smoke cleared, the husband said "people were shooting, what were you thinking??" Her Response ? " Well , they weren't shooting at me !" Some people just don't get it.

March 26, 2006, 07:52 PM
Hey X-Ray, if I see a pregnant woman at a range I will speak up about it. She has no business being there. The sound of the gun fire is amplified in the womb, and can cause hearing damage(even deafness) to her unborn kiddo. Imagine hearing a gun fired under water. Sound travels many times faster under water than through air. The problem is that most people don't know that it's unsafe.

March 26, 2006, 08:33 PM
21Ddoc: Good point. At the time I was 14 or15 and that wouldn't even occured to me.

March 26, 2006, 09:09 PM
Hey X-Ray, if I see a pregnant woman at a range I will speak up about it. She has no business being there. The sound of the gun fire is amplified in the womb, and can cause hearing damage(even deafness) to her unborn kiddo. Imagine hearing a gun fired under water. Sound travels many times faster under water than through air. The problem is that most people don't know that it's unsafe.

At the risk of being flamed I am going to point out that not all OB/GYN Mds feel the same way. There are a number of issues.

"Doc" over at THR has posted on this a number of times


Look for posts by "DOC"

It's a good start.

Also yes sound does travel faster and better in water than in air. True statement. Now you might want to look into how well sound traves between 2 media of different type (Hint#1 Why do Ultrasound techs use gel on the transducer, Hint #2 When active SONAR detects a submarine what is is actually detecting?, and no it is not the steel hull of the submarine.)

There is also lead free ammunition.

Also as in any medical decision there is no perfect answer and as alway relative risk should be considered.


Mike in VA
March 27, 2006, 08:54 PM
A local range in NoVA (Blue Ridge Arsenal) has had 2-3 suicides in the last 5 years. It's a nice enough facility, but the few times I've been there I've been thoroughly underwhelmed at the lack of range oversight by the staff (i.e. they've been oblivious), might be a factor:confused:

March 27, 2006, 11:53 PM
Mike, I wish I would have shopped around a little before I joined up at Blue Ridge. There is NO oversight at that range. Sometimes it is down right scary being there when it is crowded. I've seen some people acting stupid in there a few times. This past Saturday some kid is behind the line fiddling around with an AR-15 type weapon, barrel pointing in all different directions and he was shoving a magazine!! into it.

Think I am going to start going down to the NRA range....

March 28, 2006, 02:53 AM
you know something strange happened at the range a few weeks ago i was at. basically a huge sand pit that me and my buddy were shooting clays at. (this is part of a real range though, not just some place out in the woods)

anyway we payed the owner where all the cars are parked for pistol and rifle and then drive to the shotgun pit. we get there, and my buddy and i start unloading the car w/ our supplies. About mid way through (gun was still unloaded and wrapped in a towel in the car) a single guy about my age (22) comes driving down into the pit and parks his car. and starts to walk directly over to me.

For some reason he seemed like he was walking over in not the usual friendly type manner, yet not storming up to me either, i guess a very assertive way. :confused: So he gets up to me and he dosent look like someone i would trust for anything something very shady about him.

So he walks up to me and gets very close, much closer than conversation distance. and i look at him and he stares at me for like 2 seconds, and then keeps looking directly into my eyes as if we were having a staring contest and asks if he can shoot some clays w/ my buddy and I. Then mumbles something that he will throw in a bit of cash.

Honest to god first thing that popped into my head was that this guy is going have my loaded 12 gauge and shoot myself, my buddy and everyone else down there.

So i backed up to give me some space if he tries something, and looked right at him and said sorry i only shoot with friends and family (i'm also a bit bigger than this guy and would kick his ass if it came down to it)

SO then he coldly stares at me for like 2 seconds again, and i stare back at him like i'm not going to back down w/ what i said to you. and he turns and walks away, gets back in his car, and leaves the range.

I did not see this guys car down at the rifle/handgun main parking lot either, however its possible it could have been there. but to me it seemed like he drove right in, wasnt using the range, or knew anyone there, and came right up to my self and my buddy.

I also noticed that we were the youngest people there, and he did not approach any of the other 6 people that were in the shotgun pit, which IMO looked more friendly than myself at the time.

So this thread got me thinking maybe he could have wanted to blow his own head off w/ my shottie -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-!

anyway this story as you can see is all shoulda/coulda/woulda and what if's.

But with the feeling i got from that guy, i wouldnt want to know what would have happened if i let him get his hands on a gun! it could have been uneventful or a disaster. :o

March 28, 2006, 02:48 PM
WOW Bandit, that's sounds pretty creepy. He could have just been a nut that wanted to shoot a shotgun, or maybe he was going to walk away with your shotgun once you handed it over to him, who knows.....

March 28, 2006, 03:50 PM
I lived in Fairfax for a little while. Blue Ridge is a nice store, but I can't imagine why anyone would shoot there with the NRA range so close.

Those two places were like night and day, at least when I lived there.

March 28, 2006, 04:19 PM
Banditt, your creepy story is the kinda reason I keep something extra loaded in a back pocket when I'm out shooting...And I may have never done it had i not heard stories like yours.

March 29, 2006, 02:39 AM
yeah def a weird expereince, especially when its been about the 4th time in my life i've gone to the range!

I only recently (past 4 months maybe) got into shooting, i've always loved guns, and the outdoors and figgured now was a good time to buy a shotgun, practice with it, and start out on a few small game hunts to begin with.

This was literally the second time at the range w/ my new shotgun!

Like i said before though, there are 1,000 things he could of or couldnt have done you just never know.

Carrying another gun at the range is def a good idea, except this is the only gun i have at the moment.

I need to apply for a hangun permit, hopefully can get it for hunting use as well as home/range. Concealed carry would be amazing but i think they are pretty tight about that stuff around here. you know, making sure citizens cannot defend themselfs. :barf:

March 31, 2006, 08:12 PM
I first started owning and shooting my guns at my nextdoor indoor range a year ago.

My dad owned guns for years, but I never knew about it until my brother found his .357 and 9mm one day...but needless to say, he only took me to the range once before I started owning.

I usually go during off hours so that I have the place to myself because this range will get jammed packed around 4pm and weekends. I do this so that I do not make a fool of myself and to avoid idiots.

I take my time with my revolver and my aim to be as accurate as possible, not to see how many rounds I can burn through in 15 mins. I like to mark my groupings and test out different ammos.

I did have a strange experience last year when I went with my friend who was range testing some different loads for his deer rifle. We spent hours there testing up to 100 yards.

Halfway through the testing, some dumbass comes to the stall next to us and just starts to burn through his ammo like no tomorrow. He really thought he was something special (even though his target did not show it) and he seemed very reckless.

After a while, my friend brought in the target from about 30 yards and started to mark the groupings...he stopped and motioned me to check it out. There were 8 holes on the target when my friend had only shot 5 rounds. He waited for the guy to reload, then confronted him about the issue...the guy just laughed and said he was curious if he could hit a target at that range...my friend just snapped at him saying that he was testing loads and his sights and that if that idiot wanted to test out his accuracy at 30 yards, then he should move his own target back that far.

Of course, it did not end there. After I shot a few rounds and was bringing in the target, the idiot unloads about half his clip into the target, knocking it to the ground from the holding clips. He was "trying to hit a moving target".

I did my best to keep my cool because it is not wise to get into a fight at the damn gun range and luckily, the RO came in and asked the idiot to leave because he had seen the whole thing. The RO even made it up to us by not charging us for the time that day (would have been $24 per person.)