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Old September 11, 2007, 11:40 PM   #1
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Does shooting with strangers make you nervous?

After reading another thread it occurred to me that I might not be the ony one who feels less than 'safe' in a public range. Not to say that I don't get along with other shooters in person, quite the opposite, I just feel a little...

I once saw a young (age) shooter blasting away as fast as he could pull the trigger. His 'pattern' was barely on the B27 he was shooting at, so he knew there was something wrong with the laser sight on his pistol. He looked to be tinkering with it after running his gun dry to slide lock. He inserted a fresh mag, dropped the slide relase and WITH FINGER STILL INSIDE TRIGGER GUARD, turned the gun 90 degrees up so with it aimed right at his face, he could make sure the laser was still on. I never saw a 350 pound rangemaster move so fast.

Then once I saw a man with a new at the time S&W 460XVR shooting (at seven yards) try to fire rapidly only to have the second shot of his double tap go off almost straight up, killing the target return cable box in his lane.

Then there was that time that a couple frat guys rented 2 pistols to shoot, and midway thru their rangetime I watched one spin a glock around his finger like a cowboy. BANG. He dropped the gun, and amazingly no one was hurt.

With this in mind, Am I off base to be a little , well jumpy at a public range with shooters I don't know?
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Old September 11, 2007, 11:46 PM   #2
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Was at the range a few weeks ago and I noticed a guy that was fumbling around with his gun. He was shaking it, banged iton the table, kept trying to pull the slide back? I told the range master and he went over and I think the guy left or maybe went next door to the gun shop. I'm not too sure exactly what happend with the guy..but he sure didn't have a clue!!
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Old September 11, 2007, 11:50 PM   #3
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oh yeah about the OP, I don't mind shooting with strangers. The range I go to, they ask if you've ever fired a gun before, and if not, they take the time, free of charge, to give you a basic lesson on how to use the gun, and they let you pop a few rounds before they let you fire alone to make sure you fully understand the gun. Not a bad
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Old September 12, 2007, 12:22 AM   #4
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one range used to frequent is completely public and never has a range officer on duty, it is a state range in PA. If you go there, and others are shooting you are supposed to ask who is acting as ranger officer, you can even be the RO if you so decide. Because anyone can drive up to the range and start blasting there were a couple times i was nervous about my fellow shooters.

Here is one that stands out.

This particular pistol range is about 30 yards down a hill from the place where you park and secluded from the road and rifle range. I was shooting some revolvers alone and three guys came down with a plastic grocery bag full of ammo and 2 stainless semi-autos (they looked like rugers). They were younger about 20ish, and wearing urban style clothing (sideways hats and baggy jeans) which doesnt bother me but was quite out of place at a rural pennsylvania shooting range. I made it look like i was inspecting my revolvers while they started to shoot, they didnt turn to ask if i was ready or even really acknowledge me. With no ear or eye protection they just started blasting, it was scary to watch them. No grouping of shots, random paper hits, even at 7 yards.

After they finished their first mags i asked if i could go change my target. Because i usually leave my guns sitting action open on the bench, I kept looking over at them as i walked out to change my paper. Whenever i went downrange at least one of the guys would stay at the firing line with their guns. After about 2 or 3 trips down range I started getting a bad vibe. I didnt like someone standing by the guns while i went downrange (if i wasnt alone i probably would have felt fine as long as my buddy stayed at the bench while i went down to the targets).I figured it was time for me to leave. I didnt want things to be awkward, because ive found that sometimes people are fine until YOU start acting weird. I knew i had a 100 foot walk back to my car and started to think, "what if they try and take my guns? or worse?" So while they were reloading, i slipped my 1911 out of my IWB holster under my shirt and with 4 quick double taps emptied the magazine. I proceded to slam in the second mag, run the slide home, and give them a quick glance. All three were looking at me. I grabbed my range bag and started walking back to my car, still holding my gun in my right hand. I didnt reholster until i got back to my car. Needless to say i was fine and might have overreacted, but I dont like to take chances around ignorant people holding firearms. Since then I have joined a private range and have not run into any problems at all.
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Old September 12, 2007, 12:38 AM   #5
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Strangers? Hell, I've had friends scare the hell out of me.

Took a novice friend out shooting. He's one of those know-it-all types... I went over the rules of gun safety, finger off the trigger, keep it pointed downrange, etc, etc...

He nodded while I spoke but I had the impression that he wasn't really listening.

I let him fire my Kel-Tec Sub2000.

He fires ten shots, then turns around with a grin on his face and starts to walk back toward my girlfriend and I, back at the table. With the gun pointed at us. Finger on the trigger.

I screamed at him to point it at the ground.

"It's empty!" he whined. "I counted ten shots!"

I took it from him and emptied the rest of the 33-round magazine at the target.
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Old September 12, 2007, 02:23 AM   #6
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I'll never forget the two guys next to us at the range one day who due to their ethnic heritage were of a slightly shorter stature than the intended user of their newly acquired M91/38 rifle. After discovering that the rifle was not only a little unwieldy but that the recoil of full power 7.62x54R milsurp was a bit more than they expected, they decided to finish off their ammo by hip shooting the rifle. I will say that while the Mullet Man target hanging 20 feet away went unscathed, the ceiling tiles above the fifty foot line didn't. Including one tile in MY lane.

And then there are the ranges where the RO just doesn't care.
Once they get your membership fee you cease to become important.
But the moron who only shoots once a year gets treatment because they actually make money on him. But once again once they get his money he's off the radar.

A friend of mine was shooting at a local indoor range (the one I don't work at) when he noticed part of the ceiling coming down in at the seven yard line in the next lane.
He steps back to see what going to and watches the shooter practicing double taps with a 9mm. Except that the shooters is closing his eyes after the first shot so he never sees where the gun is pointed for the second shot.
Over a dozen double taps with FOUR hits on a B27 and only 1 (eins, uno, one) of those was in the black.

As he goes out to alert the RO (who is too busy selling anmmo and targets and having people sign wavers that he NEVER looks into the bays) the guy rapid fires an entire magazine. By the seventh shot (out of nine) the gun was straight up and the eighth round took out the overhead light.

The resulting conversation went like this.
"Um, the guy on lane six just shot the ceiling."
RO "Yeah that happens a lot"
"No. I mean he just shot out one of the lights!"
RO "Yeah that happens too."
"But you don't understand, he shot out the OVERHEAD light. The one right ABOVE the firing line!"
RO "Yeah that happens. Not much we can do."
"Well I'll sure as hell never shoot here again!"
RO "I understand. Suit yourself."

The "Fashion Calibers" seem to come and go but when all is said and done everybody comes back to the forty-five.
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Old September 12, 2007, 10:50 AM   #7
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Does shooting with strangers make you nervous?


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Old September 12, 2007, 11:17 AM   #8
Magnum Wheel Man
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I have my own range, so it's my way or the highway even with my friends...

I've got an old nieghbor thats a detective on a big city force, who used to come over & shoot once in a while, after they closed down the PD range, after one of the neighbors a 1/2 mile away began getting repeated 223 rounds entering thier house...
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
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Old September 12, 2007, 11:22 AM   #9
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The range where I shoot is kinda "rural", as in there are often no range officers, and sometimes I'm the only person on the range at all... which can get a little eerie out there in the forest.

Once I was doing some pistol practice with some friends, and a two young guys (who I'd seen before, they were OK) showed up with a rather "fast" looking girl. I think she might have been a stripper or something, and they'd taken her shooting to impress her with their G-Lock. Anyways, she takes a look at all the hardware on the shooting benches and says to one of the boys, "this would be a great place to come jack guns!", "Jack" being strippertalk for "steal." I thought to myself, Skanque is right, there was about $5000 worth of weapons laying around. Ever since that sentence, I've kept a loaded pistol holstered on my hip every second I'm at the range, even when I'm changing targets (which is technically against the rules, but the range officers have seen it many times and haven't said a word.) I try to keep aware of what's going on behind me as much as possible, the cars and people that show up. I pull off my ears whenever it's quiet. I don't leave magazines and ammo near weapons (don't want a b/g arming himself with my stuff.) Plus I drag a friend to the range when I can.

Another time we were sighting in hunting rifles, my friend had brought his dad, and his dad had brought his lawyer friend. Now Mr. Lawyer is one of those very loud and proud guys who has all the best and most expensive weapons with all the accessories, but who cannot field strip or clean any of them and never took hunter safety or any other gun class, but thinks that his Texas heritage gives him superior genetic experise on all things firearms-related.

My friend's dad was sighting in his 30-06 off a bench, and we were standing to his left, when from about ten feet directly behind us the blast and noise of Mr. Lawyer's 7mm hits us all in the back of the head. We all hit the dirt, and look back, and Mr. Lawyer is standing there grinning with the rifle in his hands. We all started shouting at him at what an idiot he is, and he retorts that it was perfectly safe, all he had done was shot over my friend's dad's shoulder, the bullet must have missed his right ear by at least a foot. BTW Mr Lawyer's 7mm was of course scoped, and we all know what superior peripheral vision a scope provides.
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Old September 12, 2007, 01:12 PM   #10
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I'll leave

dwatts47: Sir; you and I must suffer alike. I'm battle scarred, and am convinced that there is an idiot waiting to show some-one how bright, and gifted they are.
[smart-sassed intended]

My general approach is to hang back, and just watch for awhile. I can always tell if I need to leave. For me it isn't about Macho; it's about enjoying my time without looking over the shoulder.


By the standards of most
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Old September 12, 2007, 01:52 PM   #11
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This is an odd thread. My range has fantasticly open policies, but also extremely safe ones. Every member is considered a range officer for their guests, but MUST Not shoot while they are shooting - they must act as range officer even if their guest is Mas Ayoob.
Video cameras record activity and any unsafe behavior goes before the board. Members wear badges with their ID# so that unsafe practices can be reported anonomously, prompting a review of the camera tapes. This may sound a bit harsh at the surface, but the club is 98% responsible, friendly and helpful shooters. Tapes are never reviewed unless there is a problem.The worst we've had in years was a ND in the cleaning room. Someone racking their slide to clear a jam. The entry system records your time in, enhancing the record keeping.
The club is open 24/7/365. It's clean and well maintained. I simply wouldn't belong to an unregulated club. What's to stop a drunk from deciding to go shooting? Not for me,thanks.
Only the ignorant find ignorance to be bliss. Only those of us who know better will suffer from it.
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Old September 12, 2007, 02:24 PM   #12
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Am I off base to be a little , well jumpy at a public range with shooters I don't know?
Heck no. You ought to be nervous!

My general approach is to hang back, and just watch for awhile. I can always tell if I need to leave.
That's a good idea. I think I'll start doing that, too.
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Old September 12, 2007, 02:50 PM   #13
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It's interesting, maybe something about me but -generally- at the unmonitored ranges I go to people start following my lead as far as behavior goes. Things like everyone yelling "downrange" before they go and keeping guns pointed in the right direction and so forth.

But yeah, I tend to be really um, observant, when someone new comes along. If they're cool so am I, if not I try to educate, if they don't/won't listen then I'm getting the hell outta there!
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Old September 12, 2007, 03:05 PM   #14
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Not really.

The indoor range where I shoot is closely monitored. The gun handling rules are carefully outlined and explained to all new shooters. The staff monitor all activity taking place at the 10 stations and intervene immediately if there is any unsafe activity.

Haven't seen anything there in the year or so I've used the range that would make me uncomfortable and I seldom know any of the other shooters.
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Old September 12, 2007, 03:27 PM   #15
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We should all be so lucky as to have a video taped, 24 hour range to enjoy.

My home range does screen against drunks, etc... but unfortunately there's no I Q test on a 4473 form, so we're forced to watch someones actions to determine whether theyre "dangerously unknowledgable" or just new to the sport.
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Old September 12, 2007, 04:00 PM   #16
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My brother almost caught a face full of bird shot while a casual friend swung his shotgun around. We don't throw clays with him anymore.
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Old September 12, 2007, 04:50 PM   #17
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I'm thankful that the indoor range I usually shoot at has someone walking back and forth the entire time, usually when there's renters out there who might not know what they're doing. They're very attentive.

Last time I had a malfunction, I automatically dropped the mag and kept it pointed downrange the entire time while clearing it. As soon as I did, yes, the "watcher" was right behind me, but to give a thumbs-up and smile. I have no doubt that they'd have stopped anyone who was doing it wrong instead!

Also, someone whose sprayed fire was wandering to another lane got an immediate "CEASE FIRE! Lane nine, safe and leave your weapons and come to the lobby!...all others may resume fire." ...and then that person only came back out to pack up. They do a good job.
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Old September 12, 2007, 05:23 PM   #18
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Yes; I get nervous. But the level depends on the range. The one I usually go to is very regimented and they don't mind immediately and forcefully correcting anyone that needs it. Lot's of rules and procedures. I feel pretty comfortable there.

The indoor handgun-only range I occasionally visit is more lax and my level of comfort declines a bit. But since no need to go downrange, it's tolerable.

Went to a rural one near my brother’s place and I admit to being pretty nervous. The one RO could not possibly cover the rifle and pistol ranges and he appeared to be pretty busy just trying. Don’t think I’ll be going back there.
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Old September 12, 2007, 07:10 PM   #19
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Did, now I belong to a private range, feel safe knowing that that people around me take there shooting seriosly enough to pay for a membership.
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Ebrio quid faciamus nauta :barf:
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Old September 12, 2007, 07:29 PM   #20
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I see some scary shooters! Make me nervous nearly every trip!
I was a RO for CVHEC for three yrs as a way to get free range time and I strictly did not allow Draw from holster or any "john wayne S$%t" One handed firing over your shoulder while standing sideways! I Instructed shooters that "If you can give me a practical application for what you are practicing, you may do it" not many could! The quick draw had to stop after several rounds hit the pavement at the shooters feet! I practice Drw from concealment regularly in all my carry methods, But not on a crowded range and Not with my finger on the trigger right out of the holster!! The new range here has 2" BP Glass in each stall and actual 1/4" armor baffles on the walls and ceiling to protect lights! You may shoot all the way up to .50 BMG if 25 yds with that rifle gives you pleasure! Lots of machine gunners in there so it gets a little sketchy at times but I have not seen any act that I would throw one out for!
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Old September 13, 2007, 06:35 PM   #21
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Not unless they are shooting at me.
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Old September 13, 2007, 06:52 PM   #22
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The past couple years I've been shooting at an outdoor range with (count 'em) ZERO rules. You can shoot anything you like, at anything.

The weekends are usually the busiest. Sometimes I've gone up there and found a few very unsafe/unsavory types doing the gangsta thing and waving their gun around like a movie star. More than a few times I've had to duck and go have a talk with them. Usually though it's just the local good ol' boys with their jacked up Blazers emptying a few magazines from their cheap AK's or randomly firing off some 12ga.

Honestly though the worst times I've had were with either the LEO types bossing everyone around or the class 3 dealers commandeering the range for their impromptu full auto shoot. I set out a couple targets for myself, they proceeded to make swiss cheese out of it, and I didn't even get to fire one of their PRECIOUS weapons.:barf:

I try to go during the week now. Cheaper anyway.
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Old September 13, 2007, 07:56 PM   #23
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We should all be so lucky as to have a video taped, 24 hour range to enjoy.
A lot of ranges around, but I chose this one for that very reason.
Not unless they are shooting at me.
If they don't keep their gun pointing downrange, they just might be.
Only the ignorant find ignorance to be bliss. Only those of us who know better will suffer from it.
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Old September 13, 2007, 09:06 PM   #24
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Strangers? Hell, I've had friends scare the hell out of me

I can honestly say that here in relatively rural Ohio, at the indoor range I use, I have never once felt that other people were acting in an unsafe manner. For whatever reason, location, the owners vetting process or whatever I feel perfectly safe at this range.

The same can not be said of the family farm on holidays. I have cousins who have been shooting virtually from birth and they are scary dangerous. I don't let my kid shoot with my cousins or uncles.
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Old September 13, 2007, 10:20 PM   #25
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The one range I mostly go to has only 5 lanes. So fairly small, and easy to see everyone if you wanted. Plus its pretty much empty most the times i go anywho..

It's just nice to scope out which range works best for you. Took me a few weeks to feel good about this one being its size, and how popular and at which times I could go and be alone.

Just like owrking out at the gym, I dont go right after work, too many people, so I tend to go around midnight, just a handfull of people to watch me look goofy:barf:
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