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Old January 4, 2021, 08:00 AM   #1
Moonglum
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Protection From Theft/Ambush While At The Range

This isn't a topic I've ever seen here possibly because it's a rare occurrence but several years ago a member of THR was murdered and had his guns stolen while shooting alone at a State owned range.

I've only ever had one instance that really made the hair on my neck stand up. I was shooting a rifle at a private range when two guys started questioning me about how I liked the gun and was I interested in selling it. They may not have had any malicious intent but the whole thing just felt skeezy to me so I packed up and left. I assumed they were members because they were there but I never found out and I never saw them again

I still shoot at that range. It's a private club and to my knowledge it's fenced in. I usually get a berm to myself but I'm never the only person on the range.

My biggest concern has always been someone grabbing a gun out of my bag while I'm down range but I've recently decided to take one gun to the range with me to shoot at at time so I'll just have it in the holster loaded while I'm down range. I'm also thinking about taking my Ruger LC9 and keeping it in my pocket as a back up.

What security measures do the cognoscenti take while shooting alone?
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Old January 4, 2021, 08:28 AM   #2
Kevin Rohrer
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Other than being armed and keeping an eye on my other firearms, none.
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Old January 4, 2021, 08:31 AM   #3
Skippy
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As has been said many times, trust your gut.

Packing up and leaving was the smartest best option and you took it.

Even if range membership includes criminal background checks (which I doubt) there are still no guarantees all range members should be trusted and good to go.

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
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Old January 4, 2021, 08:36 AM   #4
TunnelRat
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Protection From Theft/Ambush While At The Range

I conceal carry at the range. I typically shoot rifles at my range in addition to pistol and I don’t have the option of walking down range with the rifle. Theft is a possibility, but my club also has 24/7 surveillance on the shooting line and in the parking lot and the entrance to the range is locked even when members are shooting. I also try to pick a spot that allows me to watch others and maximizes my distance to them if given the option. I think awareness is the most important factor. The harsh truth is absent having your own land to shoot on or being the only person at the range it is possible someone could ambush you while shooting. I can’t focus on my sights and target and all that is happening on the sides of me at the same time. When not shooting I watch the line.

Similar to yourself I’ve had encounters at the range that raised my alert level. In my case it was a man going through what sounded like a domestics dispute on the phone. He was not in the right emotional state to be shooting, imo. Being willing to leave and knowing to do so is important.


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Old January 4, 2021, 08:52 AM   #5
Moonglum
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As I mentioned in my opening post, a THR member was murdered several years ago while shooting at a state range.

My understanding was the person basically shot him in the back of the head and took his guns.

Platt and Mattix were known to obtain Firearms as well as Vehicles by doing the same thing. I recently Reddit discussion on THR in which the poster stated that a number of criminals in Arizona we're caught with weapons that belong to people who have been found dead in the desert.

This is something that is rare but it's something that does happen and it's something that I give thought to anytime I go shooting alone
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Old January 4, 2021, 08:56 AM   #6
TunnelRat
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Protection From Theft/Ambush While At The Range

When I mentioned theft in my post with regard to video surveillance I meant it from the perspective of someone grabbing it from my bag, as you mentioned in the opening post. I can take a pistol down range as you mention doing, but I can’t walk down with the rifle. I fully understood you saying that someone could shoot you and take your firearms (video surveillance may help as a deterrence in that regard, but maybe not). That’s why I do everything else in my post. Even still I’m unaware of a foolproof method.


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Last edited by TunnelRat; January 4, 2021 at 09:03 AM.
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Old January 4, 2021, 11:29 AM   #7
stinkeypete
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Skippy’s post no.3 above. Trust your gut.

I’ll add-
make friends at the range. Be friendly, introduce yourself, make friends with the
fellas that give off a good vibe.

Call the club officers and volunteer on some work party days. It’s good for the club and good for your soul.

The more people you know and the more people that know you, the safer you are.

Use your phone’s camera. If guys seem sketchy, take a quick photo of car license plates as you drive away, call a club officer and explain your feelings. You never know, there might be a “pest” problem and you just captured a lead the police can use.
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Old January 4, 2021, 12:32 PM   #8
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personally, with the ranges I have been at, my car was pretty close to the line. I just left what I was not shooting in the trunk. If I felt uncomfortable leaving a gun on the bench, I would just wear a holster or keep a sling on my rifle and transition to "carrying" it, while going down range. most ranges you can carry, they just don't want you drawing from a holster, and a holstered gun or slung rifle does not fall under the gun left locked open on the bench rule.
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Old January 4, 2021, 01:28 PM   #9
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I'm mostly a handgun guy, so I always keep one of my carry pistols concealed and shoot the others. I mostly use an indoor range associated with a gun shop, so I am more concerned about going from and back to my car, and there are no trips downrange for targets there. Vigilance is wise, certainly.
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Old January 4, 2021, 09:38 PM   #10
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Old January 4, 2021, 09:44 PM   #11
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Bring a friend to the range. Watch each other's back. Conceal carry.
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Old January 4, 2021, 10:07 PM   #12
Skippy
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Many of the posts here got me to wondering, can you/would you shoot someone for stealing a gun while you were at a range?

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
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Old January 4, 2021, 10:36 PM   #13
FrankenMauser
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I am always alone.
I always carry concealed at the range.
I never walk downrange unless everything is unloaded.
I try not to have more than 2 firearms on the bench(es) at a time, and no loaded magazines while downrange.

Otherwise, I can hear pretty much everything going on. Electronic muffs are nice for that.
It helps that the range is on a nasty wash-boarded road and most of the crap cars that range patrons drive are beat to hell rattle traps.

I hear them coming from half a mile away. My above precautions are pretty much unnecessary.
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Old January 4, 2021, 11:39 PM   #14
Moonglum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippy View Post
Many of the posts here got me to wondering, can you/would you shoot someone for stealing a gun while you were at a range?

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
I wouldn't shoot someone for just stealing a gun but people have been murdered by people who were stealing guns.
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Old January 5, 2021, 07:25 AM   #15
TunnelRat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippy View Post
Many of the posts here got me to wondering, can you/would you shoot someone for stealing a gun while you were at a range?

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

When it comes to property my general response is no, I personally wouldn’t potentially kill another human being for property (caveats such as a car in the event family members are still inside). When it comes to firearms, however, I’m often left wondering. A firearm isn’t a tv or even a car. It does have monetary value, but it can also be used to hurt and kill other people (so can a car, but not as easily in my mind). If someone steals one of my firearms and then goes on to use it to hurt or kill others, I’m probably okay from a legal responsibility standpoint (depending on the circumstances, of course). I’d feel pretty terrible, however, especially if I had the option to stop that person originally.

As was covered in another recent thread, most uses of a firearm don’t involve the actual discharge of the firearm. You could confront someone trying to steal your firearms with the hope that the threat of violence persuades them to stop the theft. There is always the chance they resist, however. In which case you’ll have to make a choice. As always, knowing your local laws is important.


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Old January 5, 2021, 09:37 AM   #16
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This one is tough because even though the thief is actually "going for a gun", absent an articulated threat (whether verbalized or having the gun pointed AT you or another person in a threatening manner) or if it is a surreptitious theft...then it would be very thin ice or a hard sell to a jury depending upon where you are in the country.

Here in AZ, or another similarly "gun friendly" locale....I still think it would be a hard sell because it would always come back to when a crusading prosecutor would run to the narrative "Was your ***gasp*** victim threatening YOU Mister Gun Nut Trumper?"

I'd say....50/50.

I'd say, trust your gut. Make sure any gun left uprange was unloaded and flagged if not cased and locked. Yes, I know that's a pain in the butt...but still, if you don't have a friendly set of eyes on your stuff and your back...caution always.

NOTE: There is still nothing saying you couldn't THREATEN to blow them out of their shoes if they didn't put it down.
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Old January 5, 2021, 12:58 PM   #17
mrt949
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A few years back was at a private range .When a person walked up to the Firing ling started blasting like a idiot. I had my wife with me .Packed up and left. Contacted the board they ashed who was he .I Said he had a gun .NEVER WENT BACK
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Old January 5, 2021, 07:17 PM   #18
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Shooting on the Forest Service range, "Dirty John" south of Andrews, NC years ago, I was initially alone, doing some rifle sighting-in, when an NC plated car drove up and parked. It didn't concern me at the time as the range had an outhouse frequently used by forest visitors when in the Wayah Bald area. No one got out of the car, and it began to give me the 'heads up' feeling.

I carried my rifle down to the 100 yd butts, changed targets and saw that the male driver had dismounted and was headed for my firing position...#1 with 15 other positions available. I gave him a look, from 100 yds, asked him if he needed help, but to stay away from my gear. He paused, looked me over with that Sako .308 cradled in my left arm, then turned, and left.

An hour went by and one of the Forest Service LEO's stopped to check my entry tag and I mentioned the guy, the car and its license #, and how he'd driven off after being confronted. The LEO, two months away from retirement, and with a lot of back country experience in his face, nodded, complimented my long held procedure of taking my rifle with me to the butts and said he'd keep an eye out. He ran the plates, found no wants or warrants, and that was the end of it.

With two combat tours in SE Asia, 50 years ago now, I've come to rely on good procedure, and have a healthy respect for my hunches. If it feels wrong or hinky, it's time to pay attention.

Tunnel said: "Being willing to leave and knowing when to do so is important." That's very good advice.

YMMv, Best Regards, Rod
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Old January 6, 2021, 12:42 PM   #19
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1st to mention a protective dog wearing hearing protection.
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Old January 6, 2021, 10:40 PM   #20
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I keep my vehicle locked and carry down-range.
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Old January 7, 2021, 09:43 AM   #21
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Moonglum, there is NO way to prevent being ambushed when you are alone. If somebody wants to ambush you, they will, plain and simple.

Either don't shoot alone (and if you don't, you will need a plan for if your shooting partner tries to kill you, right, like with the Chris Kyle incident or the mom/son murder suicide in Florida), or leave ASAP when another person arrives at the range in order to minimize your proximity to a potential threat.
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Old January 7, 2021, 12:15 PM   #22
Skippy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Naught Spy View Post
Moonglum, there is NO way to prevent being ambushed when you are alone. If somebody wants to ambush you, they will, plain and simple.

Either don't shoot alone (and if you don't, you will need a plan for if your shooting partner tries to kill you, right, like with the Chris Kyle incident or the mom/son murder suicide in Florida), or leave ASAP when another person arrives at the range in order to minimize your proximity to a potential threat.
Also, "Accidents happen."
- Forrest Gump (paraphrase)

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
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Old January 7, 2021, 01:15 PM   #23
jrothWA
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So Im shooting at a range//

wearing ear protection and concentrating on why the firearm is acting up, etc.
and I am not CPLING?? Dumb, I may be, stupid i'm not.

Even backpacking and hunting smallgame and deer, I'm packing.

For Halloween weekend travel to Nashville to catch the Grand Ole Opry Saturday evening show, Shoulder holster was on and filled.
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Old January 7, 2021, 04:43 PM   #24
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The Fryburge Shooting range in Maine, now a State run range with an instructor, had a theft a few years ago. Guy was shooting, left his vehicle unlocked (within sight of the line), and some punks from NH stole a rifle from his back seat and sped off. Always lock your vehicle and keep stuff out of sight.
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Old January 7, 2021, 06:54 PM   #25
Skippy
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I have no sympathy for people who leave their cars unlocked and valuables get stolen, particularly when firearms are stolen. I have little sympathy for people who leave firearms in their locked vehicles and are stolen anyway.

I may pity them, but I'm unsympathetic.

Just had a FB post the other day on our local neighborhood page that a Springfield 9mm was stollen from a car. "We ALWAYS lock our car and NEVER leave the gun in it..... Except last night."

I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
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