View Full Version : What To Do With Unsafe Behavior At The Range

December 12, 2007, 09:52 PM
This isn't a question but out of necessity has become my way: 2 weeks ago I posted about a guy 2 stalls down who discharged a 30.06 into the ceiling and thru the 2nd floor, examining the breech on his rifle with it pointing up. Scared the living daylights out of me, but - when I had noticed him doing this before the shot- as a relatively new shooter I thought it presumption to say anything. He had the look of an experienced shooter and I thought he knew more than I did.

Tonight, 2 guys with a new black powder rifle couldn't get it to work. They dropped behind me, one sat on the chair with the gun between his legs pointing straight forward and the other leaned over while both tried to force something in the gun. They slammed it open and shut, waved it up, down, to the side and were joined by 2 others. Each would grab the rifle, while standing in a tight circle and try to show the other what to do. I went back as far as I could behind them but we were all against the wall and the barrel was pointing all over the place, including my head, nor could I slip away to tell the range owner as they were between me and the door. So quickly I just loudly and urgently asked them to move to the line and examine their gun while it was pointed at the targets. One assured me nicely it was unloaded. I replied something like maybe so but it still made me nervous. They looked puzzled at what to do, so I suggested the owner might know about those guns and they left to ask him, by the time they returned, I was done shooting.

So, I don't care if they were nice guys and their gun was unloaded. I didn't know that for sure - still don't - and they were scaring the hell out of me. Maybe this was abrupt on my part, but I'm satisfied with how I handled it.

There's usually pretty professional behavior at this range. Maybe the season has brought out some unfamiliar with range behavior, whatever.....

December 12, 2007, 10:00 PM
+1 to you.

I can not and will not and do not stand by and let foolish people endanger me with their gun antics. Ranges have rules for a reason. I always speak up and don't care how the fools feel about it. Only you can protect you.

tony pasley
December 12, 2007, 10:05 PM
Safety first, last and always period.

December 12, 2007, 10:45 PM
you did good. It's often the unloaded gun that kills someone.

December 12, 2007, 11:03 PM
i agree completely. anything could happen all it takes is a person or a few persons with little or no knowledge with safety and firearms. and that just adds more flame to the anti gunners fire. the state owned ranges here don't allow most firearms. you can only use what you can legally hunt with here. basically shotguns with sabots,slugs and buckshot. muzzleloaders rifle and shotguns. .22 rimfire rifle and to the left of that shotguns with fine shot for clays and patterning. and a separate bow range for field and practice points only. the privately owned ranges you can use almost anything at. i won't go down range for anything until all shooting stops and everyone is aware of this. i put my firearm down on the bench with the action open and chamber empty. i look to be sure everyone else did the same before proceeding down. i recall a few months ago a few guys got ansy i was down at about 50 yards and they started throwing clays and firing. i yelled over to cease fire. they looked at me like i was somekind of a## for telling them to stop. they packed up and left. there is no range officer at either one of the state ranges. so regulating what goes on is pretty much quiet. oddly right on the other side of the impact area is part of the hunting area. i look through the trash cans and once in a while i find boxes and brass for 7mm rem. mag., .223 and 7.62x39. the burm at range is only for 100 yards. so i guess they are sighting in a few inches high at that.

December 13, 2007, 11:37 AM
Rule I: All Guns Are Always Loaded

Rule Ii: Never Let The Muzzle Cover Anything You Are Not Willing To Destroy

Rule Iii: Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Your Sights Are On The Target

Rule Iv: Be Sure Of Your Target


December 13, 2007, 11:47 AM
First off, just because it's a gun range doesn't make it safe. I often have my guard up even higher because ranges are where people come to learn and practice.

With that said, I always keep a loaded firearm holstered on my at the range. On those occasions where I see someone using questionable judgement, I will try and help. I do the introduction with, "Hi, I used to be a cop. Let me show you something that will help you . . ."

For whatever reason, folks new to firearms still think that cops are the end-all experts and authority.

But with people who are just being flat stupid, I go to the rangemaster and raise hell. I've yet to shoot at a range where that kind of behavior is tolerated--but they can't fix it if they don't know what's broken, so tell them.


December 13, 2007, 05:34 PM
Being a military instructor, I'll tell you the way we do things out here. I have kicked a full bird off my line before and just last week we removed a young Captain for stepping back from the line with an M9 in her hand and swept the entire line with it. Granted it was empty and the slide was locked back but that kind of safety violation won't get a chance to be repeated when I am responsible for that firing line. IMHO, you did a good job. Never be afraid to speak up or even call a cease fire if at any time you witness an unsafe act. Yeah, amatures might cuss you for being a scaredy cat or some kind of cry-baby narc or what not but who honestly gives 2-****s what they think. I would rather be thought an ass than be thought of as the guy that could have stopped an unsafe act, didn't and somebody got killed for my silence.

December 13, 2007, 05:46 PM
Depending on my take on the people doing the unsafe stuff, I would either help them find and fix the problem while politely explaining gun safety and range rules, or report them to the range master and get the heck out of there with no new holes in my wrinkled old hide.

Most of the unsafe people I've seen at our range are 20-somethings who are new to firearms. Their parents sadly neglected this important part of their education, they desperately want to look like they know what they are doing, and will listen and learn and even say 'thank you'.

December 14, 2007, 01:05 PM
MY usual MO is to evade and escape and report. I can think of two incidents right off where I endeavored to remove my self from potential danger at the store/range with a speed and agility most would think impossible for a fat guy.

personally, I would only intervene verbally or physically if the threat was to me and I did not feel I could safely withdraw without further exposure.

Based on the facts and circumstances articulated by the OP, I think that the OP did well.

December 14, 2007, 01:17 PM
Being a military instructor, I'll tell you the way we do things out here. I have kicked a full bird off my line before and just last week we removed a young Captain for stepping back from the line with an M9 in her hand and swept the entire line with it. . .

Yeah, amatures might cuss you for being a scaredy cat or some kind of cry-baby narc or what not but who honestly gives 2-****s what they think.

God Bless the Corps.

Oh how I miss the days . . .


vox rationis
December 14, 2007, 10:50 PM
check this sucker out:


"nice" muzzle control ey :barf: how would you have liked to be shooting in the lane to his right? double yikes

December 15, 2007, 05:50 AM
You wouldn't even know he sweeped you because you couldn't see him.
If I see someone with a video camera at the range, I'll wait. Only once have I been to the range where someone had a camera, but they were taking stills and they looked to know what they were doing. But I still watched them for awhile before I went in and started shooting.

December 15, 2007, 12:21 PM
My heart skipped a beat watching that video, I'm going to call my dad today and thank him for teaching me how to handle firearms safely. I grew up around guns and following the rules are like instinct but still something I think about when handling a firearm. One of my favorite parts of shooting is the frame of mind a range session puts me in sort of like a heightened state of awareness.

December 16, 2007, 08:18 PM
The holidays often mean people get memberships to clubs paid for, new guns, 10 boxes of ammo, new sights etc. New Year's brings resolutions like; "I'm gonna join the health club and learn how to shoot that revolver". This is in addition to the fact that in many areas, winter is cold. So this time of year, we find the range gets some folks you haven't seen there before.
Personally, I just go Zero tolerance - that way I never feel I have to rate an issue from 1 - 10 the danger scale.
All members of our club wear thier # on a badge (actually, the back of your key-card), so reporting is anonymous if someone feels uncomfortable. Guests sign in under a member's #, and wear a guest badge. Cameras are reveiwed if necessary.
I guess it seems obvious that we have done these things in response to dangerous behavior. We impose the fewest restrictions possible, but safety is paramount.

December 18, 2007, 07:57 PM
Most of the unsafe people I've seen at our range are 20-somethings who are new to firearms.

I've seen more than my share of unsafe 30-70 somethings
One of the unfortunate effects of the trend towards "shall issue" ccw has been a large increase in the number of gun owners who have neglected to learn proper the safety rules. There seems to be a lot more dangerous shooters now then there was ten years ago.

I am not shy about politely advising them if they are putting me in danger.

December 23, 2007, 10:03 AM
My heart skipped a beat watching that video,

+1 I can't fatham whats so hard to understand keep the muzzle facing downrange at all times.

The Canuck
December 23, 2007, 01:18 PM
At the range where I work p/t we have bullet-resistant glass partitions so you can see how much of an idiot the person next to you is being. :eek: I tell them that if they follow the BIG FOUR that they are gauranteed to not hurt anybody. I also tell them that if they point the gun at me or anybody else, out they go, no refunds, no rain-cheques. It seems to work.

December 23, 2007, 01:57 PM
I've found that people who bring friends to the range are the worst. One time the line was cold and I was out changing my targets. As Im heading back, I see this guys friend looking at his pistol, in his hand, pointing it right at me. I yelled at that guy and the member who didnt instruct him correctly. No excuse for that **** what-so-ever.

Lesson learned by me though. I watch everyone now before I head out. Anyone who seems suspect I keep my eye on...

December 23, 2007, 08:26 PM
One time the line was cold and I was out changing my targets. As Im heading back, I see this guys friend looking at his pistol, in his hand, pointing it right at me.
Yikes! :eek: That's been a fear of mine. Being in there alone, and going out to fix a hanger. Even with the security light on, I never spend much time out there unless I have another member I know on the line.

December 24, 2007, 08:41 AM
I actually had a woman shoot a 25auto down range while I was doing a target change. 4 lanes over, but I hit the ground you can bet. After it was all over and she was "removed" my Dad said that was the fastest he'd seen anyone crawl. :D

December 25, 2007, 05:05 PM
Gun store clerks have their far share of incedents.
I have been covered by more than one so called expert before.
It is rare for someone to check a gun befor e handing it to me. I always check it when I get it. To the point of making sure they watch me check it.

I have been to outdoor public ranges when I lived in SC. They always made me nervous enough to carry something loaded with me when I went down range.
I joined a club as soon as I could afford to. Been a member of one ever since.

December 26, 2007, 10:28 PM
I know I was looking at a gun at the counter a month or two ago. The clerk locked the slide back and checked the chamber. I accepted the gun, and checked the chamber again.

I then eased the slide down (no reason to ram it home on someone else's gun since it was on an empty chamber). I then asked if I could dry fire it. He said yes. I then pointed in a safe direction, and before I could dry fire it, I pulled the gun up (pointed it at the ceiling) because one of the other employees started to walk in front of where I was pointed.

The employee I was working with and I laughed about it, and he thanked me for pulling the gun up, as obviously, you never point at anything you don't want to destroy.

It is interesting to see some of the people at the gun store (private range) who aren't quite sane at the sales counter. I've seen a few guns pointed by customers all over the place at the sales counter.

I haven't had any issues on the range yet, thankfully, but wouldn't even skip a beat to react to it. No reason to be rude, but you have to watch your ass at the range, as it only takes one mistake to be a REAL bad day.

Just like when I'm in my racecar, just because it's a "practice day" at the track, doesn't mean people are going to drive with sanity. I've had a few people damn near kill me doing things in practice that lacked any sense, and cause incidents, or damn near cause them.

Yes, they laugh at the range when I tell them it's my "cheap" hobby, compared to auto racing.


January 14, 2008, 07:14 PM
One time the line was cold and I was out changing my targets. As Im heading back, I see this guys friend looking at his pistol, in his hand, pointing it right at me.

EVERY WEEKEND I go to the range, I deal with at least one incident where I have some idiot who have no clue on how to handle a gun safely. Usually, it's more than one.

This weekend, I had some moron decide that a cold line was perfect time
to reload his CCW piece. I always check to make sure everyone has heard the call, and has stepped back. This dimwit did that, then went back for the bench. I heard the slide on his 1911 clink shut just as I'm passing in front of his lane.

The previous weekend, I look over to my right to see some guy peeking down the muzzle of an AK, bolt closed and magazine in. At least this Homer Simpson
wannabee had the courtesy to point it at his own head.

I'd like to list every incident of unsafe, stupid gun handling I witnessed just in the past year, but that would be a full time job. It's out of hand compared to
ten just years ago.

I hate saying this, but I'm rapidly reaching the point where tighter restrictions over who gets to own a gun, and who gets to carry one is beginning make a lot of sense. Too many people either don't know the rules, or don't think the rules apply to them.

January 14, 2008, 07:39 PM
I also have zero tolerance for unsafe acts. My SOP is deal with them politely
but firmly.

Bazooka Joe71
January 14, 2008, 08:15 PM
Stories like this make me appreciate my range.:eek: