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Old June 3, 2016, 10:34 PM   #1
Pep in CA
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RSO's at My Local Range

As a new shooter (this year), I have adopted a local shooting range as my home range. It has been around since 1958, has ample facilities for any kind of shooting, very reasonable prices, and most importantly to me, Range Safety Officers who enforce the rules.

Yes, that's right. I appreciate RSO's who enforce the rules and enforce them strictly. I personally have been reprimanded several times and each time it was indeed my fault, so I thanked the RSO and told him it won't happen again.

Also, when I had a problem with one of my guns, I raised my hand and an RSO arrived to help me. He was not only very polite but very helpful.

However, when I read reviews about the range on Google and Yelp, there are some reviewers who insist the RSO's are rude or ignorant or [expletive]. And I noticed these complaints don't come from new or average shooters, but from experienced shooters, and sometimes veterans.

So, I say, when you're shooting at a range, follow the range rules. At my adopted range, I don't care who you are or how long you've been shooting, or whether you're a veteran. Follow the range rules and the instructions from the RSO's. If the range rules seem arcane or oppressive to you, don't shoot at that range.

At my adopted range, I follow all their rules, and now that I know them, they make perfect sense to me. I am actually becoming friends with one or two of the RSO's.
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Old June 4, 2016, 06:33 AM   #2
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Sounds like the reviews of the RO's are accurate. Enforcing rules need to be done in a firm and professional manner. My take on this is that they need some help with the professional part, but hey if you are good with it, good enough.
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Old June 4, 2016, 08:06 AM   #3
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Umm ok? Thanks for the talk.


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Old June 4, 2016, 08:51 AM   #4
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There seems to be a couple of areas grown men seem to think they are experts at from birth.
Shooting, guns and driving cars.
Wish it were so.
The free-for-all public ranges can get downright scary, so those with competent range officers are appreciated - at least by me.
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Last edited by g.willikers; June 4, 2016 at 09:18 AM.
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Old June 4, 2016, 02:10 PM   #5
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I've seen a small but significant minority of SRSO's, who try to "skirt the rules", by saying it's okay for a member to break a safety rule, by not admitting that the rule has been broken.
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Old June 4, 2016, 03:21 PM   #6
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I take Google reviews with a lot of grains of salt, I have seen reviews of favored restaurants that I KNOW didn't describe the establishment I patronize.
IMHO a qualified RSO with a professional attitude and who is rigorous about enforcing safety rules makes for a good range.
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Old June 4, 2016, 04:02 PM   #7
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We have had a couple of RSOs that seemed to go out of their way to get in someone's face. Fortunately, they are gone. They went into law enforcement. Not sure that is a good thing.

The range rules are the range rules where I shoot and the RSOs will not cut you any slack if you violate them. Everyone knows where they stand and the RSOs are as polite as they can be.

I have been corrected and I did not like it but I did appreciate it. They were enforcing the rules equally.

There is a saying in the Navy: "A taut ship is a happy ship."

Bad things can happen when enforcement is lax.

There are holes in the metal roof that attest to the occasional failure. That brings up another truism: "Ordnance rules are written in blood."

When that occurs, it usually is followed by another rule.

I am thankful the RSOs where I shoot take the rules seriously and enforce them equally.

Some, who don't like the rules will go somewhere else to shoot. Others, like me, will continue to shoot at a safe range.
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Old June 4, 2016, 07:26 PM   #8
Pep in CA
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One of my reprimands was for not having my unloaded gun pointing downrange. There was no magazine inserted and the action was open, but it was pointing mostly sideways when I laid it down. Indeed the gun was safe, but the RSO told me to keep it pointed downrange -- it's a rule.

I can see how someone who considers himself an expert in firearms might find that silly or even rude, but I understood the correction. Keep the gun pointed downrange, always. It's not hard to do and I sure wouldn't want someone else's gun pointed towards me, unloaded or otherwise.

Now I make sure my gun barrels are always pointed downrange when they are on the front bench.
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Old June 4, 2016, 10:00 PM   #9
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No lecture intended,but if you think about it,that particular event where you were advised by the range officer...
Up in the tool bar header of this forum is a choice "firearms safety".
If you click on that,you will be greeted by Jeff Cooper's "4 Rules of firearm safety".
I think if you look at rule 1,and rule 2, It pretty well covers your situation.

A range may indeed have other rules,like rapid fire,steel bullets,muzzle brakes,etc,for their own reasons.

But those 4 rules succinctly tell us pretty well how to keep from being dangerous.
Most of us can't focus on 26 rules at the same time.
Those 4 pretty well cover it.
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Old June 4, 2016, 10:32 PM   #10
Pep in CA
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HiBC, I certainly agree and I was certainly in the wrong in that situation. I knew the 4 commandments but for some dumb reason I put my gun down in an unsafe direction. I wasn't thinking. The RSO was right to correct me and I hope I never do that again.
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Old June 6, 2016, 08:43 AM   #11
g.willikers
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Quote:
One of my reprimands was for not having my unloaded gun pointing downrange.
That seems to be the universal rule at public ranges.
But is it really a good idea, having everyone's gun pointed at you as you go downrange to change targets.
All handguns being holstered and long guns being in stands with the barrels pointed upward would be safer.
But go argue with city hall.
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Old June 6, 2016, 09:44 AM   #12
aarondhgraham
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Range officers need to follow John Dalton's advice,,,

Range officers need to follow John Dalton's advice religiously,,,

Be polite.

That's all I ask out of anyone,,,
And it should be a primary requirement of anyone in authority.

I have no problems with RO's in general,,,
In fact I'm much more comfy at a range with one.

But that acceptance stops dead in it's tracks,,,
When an RO feels he can act like R. Lee Ermey.

I have experienced ranges where the RO's act like Army drill sergeants,,,
This behavior of yelling at people (simply because they can) is unacceptable.

Many people say that because our sport involves potentially deadly weapons,,,
It is not only appropriate but desirable and necessary.

I strongly disagree.

There were only three people who had a "right" to get in my face and yell at me,,,
Those people were my Mother, my Father, and my basic training TI,,,
Anyone else does so at their own peril.

<rant>

I have shot at ranges with very strict and to me, unreasonable over the top rules,,,
But as long as I know about them ahead of time I willingly comply.

But when a RO puts an electronic bull horn in my face and yells curses at me,,,
That's where I draw the line and leave that range,,,
Never to spend my money there again.

So, raise your voice or use the bullhorn to get immediate attention if necessary,,,
But stop short of calling anyone a "stupid son-of-a-whatever".

</rant>

Aarond

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Old June 7, 2016, 08:29 AM   #13
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No one enjoys being chided, but they enjoy being accidentally shot even less.

Quote:
Range officers need to follow John Dalton's advice religiously,,,

Be polite.
Indeed. That's a fine rule generally too.

It can be tough to both tell people not to do something and be liked, but I've seen too many ROs who were firm authoritative and meticulously courteous, even friendly, to conclude that it is impossible.
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Old June 7, 2016, 08:53 AM   #14
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I've had some people get to the point of wanting to start a fight when I tell them to follow the basic safety rules. How many times do you, or should you, have to tell someone to quit pointing their gun at someone else? I've found a lot of "adults" don't like being told to do something even when they know they shouldn't be doing it. After a couple of violations I ask them to leave. Sorry, but it's just not that hard to follow the basic rules of safety. As to the comment about having empty guns pointing down range while targets are being changed.....don't forget to add the rest of the info: the guns are supposed to be "actions opened". The RO can walk the line or look at the line and see that the actions are opened and the guns are empty before allowing the shooters to proceed down range. Not all RSO's are doing their job correctly. Some people just seem to think they're above having to follow the rules or have someone correct them when they don't. I'd suggest they stay home and let everyone have a good time and do so in a safe environment.
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Old June 7, 2016, 01:51 PM   #15
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During a ceasefire at our range....all muzzleloader muzzles must be pointed upwards during a ceasefire --- Because you can't tell whether a muzzleloader has a charge in it and the possibility of a hangfire.
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Old June 7, 2016, 08:37 PM   #16
Pep in CA
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The bottom line for me: If I have a choice of ranges and one is strict in its enforcement of rules and the other lax, I choose the former 10 times over. I am much more comfortable dealing with RSO's than I am with arrogant patrons who don't follow safety rules.

Of course, that is not the case at my adopted range. From my experience so far, the RSO's have been courteous, helpful, and polite, but also strict. Bravo, I say, and I thank them.

NoSecondBest, I'm on your side, and thanks for chiming in. If a patron refuses to follow the range or safety rules, I most appreciate you asking them to leave.
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Old June 8, 2016, 08:20 AM   #17
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Another comment on going down range to check targets:
In my experience,once all the weapons are clear and pointed downrange
Actions open,perhaps chamber flags inserted,
All clear verified,
It is "Hands off the guns" time.
Ideally,people are clear of the benches or firing line.

Its actually NOT a good time to fill magazines,tweak scope knobs,case up guns to leave,etc.
I realize not all ranges enforce that rule,
But part of what we do as a group shooting together is exercise courtesy and common sense.
Included in that would be acting in a way that does not cause other shooters to wonder if they are safe.
To have it in your own mind that you are being safe is not enough.
If the guy on a cold range checking targets looks back and sees you sitting at a firing point beside a rifle,he has to wonder.
If you are waiting clear of the firing line,he can be at peace.
Part of what the RSO 's job is,is to be the guy who sees any situation that even has the appearance of being unsafe.
And check it out.USUALLY nothing more than calm ,polite education should be necessary.
Sometimes "Freeze!! Stop what you are doing,hold what you have" is needed.
Sometimes" That just unacceptable,I'm going to check your firearms and its time for you to leave"
But agreed...the RSO approach of being a caricature of Sgt Carter chewing on Gomer Pyle is not necessary,usually.
Though..there may be the rare exception.
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Old June 8, 2016, 03:26 PM   #18
buckhorn_cortez
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I shoot at a private gun club. We don't have official range officers. Everyone belonging to the club is a designated range officer.

The first one at a range (pistol, rifle, etc.) is the designated RO for that range until they leave and hand over control of the range to another member.

The only time there are "official" RO's is during competitions.
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Old June 8, 2016, 04:42 PM   #19
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Had a chief range officer at Chabot who was a real [coc]. I let him yell and make a fool of himself and then pointed out that a range safety officer had given me approval. He was redfaced when he learned that and tried to get me into trouble (he didn't). I think his name was Mauer.
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Old June 21, 2016, 03:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aarondhgraham
But when a RO puts an electronic bull horn in my face and yells curses at me,,,
That's where I draw the line and leave that range,,,
Never to spend my money there again.
I had this happen to me at a range I shoot at. We were having a competition and the RO starts berating me right in front of everyone that was competing. I immediately packed up my stuff and walked out the door and haven't been back.
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Old June 21, 2016, 05:02 PM   #21
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Yah.

Quote:
Another comment on going down range to check targets:
In my experience,once all the weapons are clear and pointed downrange
Actions open,perhaps chamber flags inserted,
All clear verified,
It is "Hands off the guns" time.
Ideally,people are clear of the benches or firing line.

Its actually NOT a good time to fill magazines,tweak scope knobs,case up guns to leave,etc.
I realize not all ranges enforce that rule,
But part of what we do as a group shooting together is exercise courtesy and common sense.
Included in that would be acting in a way that does not cause other shooters to wonder if they are safe.
To have it in your own mind that you are being safe is not enough.
If the guy on a cold range checking targets looks back and sees you sitting at a firing point beside a rifle,he has to wonder.
If you are waiting clear of the firing line,he can be at peace.
Part of what the RSO 's job is,is to be the guy who sees any situation that even has the appearance of being unsafe.
This^^^^!
Yes.
Guns are down, Cylinders open and empty, Magazines out, slides back and no one allowed to handle their gun during the target change. The RSO checks this before any one is allowed forward.
Muzzleloaders....if they have a charge in, then the gun is fired before people are allowed downrange.
No one is allowed in to a shooting point....not for any reason.
When everyone is back, then the RSO clears the hold and points reopen
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Old January 23, 2017, 08:51 PM   #22
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A couple of years ago I had (ironically) a dude have a ND and almost shot his girl's foot while showing my his Single Six. That and a couple other incidents have made me wary of public ranges. I never did like that as we shot in the woods or wherever back in the day, but those days are gone so I had to get used to it. After that incident I sought out and joined a private range where you pretty much have your chosen range to yourself. I like it.

They just completed a public range about 20 min from my house so I figured I would check it out and run some rounds through a new 442 last week. As the RO clears the line to set targets one gentleman tells him he just loaded his single action and he says will go ahead and shoot it and THEN tells everyone 'hold up a minute' without really verifying that everyone heard him. At least I didn't think so. I am certainly wary about shooting with the public anyway, so I was glad I have my little range. Even if it is twice as far away. I am pretty sure I won't be back.
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Old January 25, 2017, 09:56 PM   #23
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I am an NRA trained RSO. I am an RSO at the local range and I gently remind folks of the range rules as well as the general safe gun handling rules. When folks go down range no guns are touched. If the magazine is out it can be loaded (at this range) but the gun itself cannot be touched. If you pull up in your car and start to unload stuff you will be reminded that the guns stay put until the range is hot. I have only gotten a hard time from one person in all the time I have been acting RSO. He was shooting a tactical/combat practice routine and I was watching because his target was a bit on the high side of my comfort zone. He was doing a good job of controlling his gun so while he stopped to reload some magazines I asked him how he was doing? when he didn't answer I mentioned that the weather was good for shooting without much wind... After a short delay he turned to me and stated that he was here to shoot not talk. I said OK and left him to it. He later called the president of the club and reported that I had tried to keep him from shooting and that I was rude. The president and I are good friends and she knows how I am with people because she has gotten a lot of comments about how nice it is to have help and advice when needed. I am sure there are RSO's who are "power drunks" that watch folks to see if they can catch them doing something wrong. I am also sure there are those individuals who don't tolerate authority figures at all. Talking to a guy on the #4 pistol range one day he was excitedly showing me his handguns and as he did he swept me with the muzzle several times. After the first couple of times the guy that was with me talking to him left because it was a potentially dangerous situation. I stopped him in mid-sentence and asked if he was mad at me (the guy showing off his guns). With a puzzled look on his fce he said no and then I pointed out what he had been doing. He was very apologetic and corrected his routine. he felt so bad he even went out of his way to apologize to the guy who had been there with us at the beginning.
I had watched him clear the weapons when he was done shooting, we both knew the guns were clear and the chambers were open. It just goes back to those safe handling rules. I try not to get overly excited or yell. It is easier to get along with people if you work with them rather than going out of your way to embarrass them.
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Old January 26, 2017, 12:52 PM   #24
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My favorite range up here in Anchorage is the one that has had the most criticism for having strict RSOs. But those who are critical of the RSOs are the ones who believe they are above the rules.

When you choose to go to a range, you agree to abide by the rules, simple as that. If a shooter does not wish to follow the rules of that range, they can go shoot somewhere else.

Some of the more agitated RSOs might be nice guys, but having to deal with the true morons day in day out might make them seem like they arent that nice. So cut them a little slack. A little! Not a lot. If they become unprofessional, thats another story.
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Old January 27, 2017, 08:36 AM   #25
Don P
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Quote:
All handguns being holstered and long guns being in stands with the barrels pointed upward would be safer.
Yes it would. All of the public ranges that I have been at do not allow holster carry while on property. Drawing is a no-no not allowed. I no longer a
use the public ranges
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