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Range ettiquite/safety question

Apr 28, 2005
Red Sox Nation
Feedback: 4 / 0 / 0
Today was the third time in my life that I've been to a target range, so I'm obviously new at this stuff. I recently joined a club and one of the rules they taught us noobs was that when the red lights go on, you do not touch your firearms. Makes sense to me.

So today I brought my daughter to the range and we were by ourselves and having fun shooting my 226 and my P22. Another guy showed up and started setting up a rifle. A short while later I asked him if he wanted to set up his target, and he did, so we flipped on the lights, we went to change our target, and we waited for him to get back. We resumed shooting and the next time my daughter and I went out to change targets, as we were walking back the other guy pulled a target pistol out of his bag or case and put it on the bench. This was while the red lights were still on. I did notice that his pistol didn't have a magazine, but the action wasn't open. What he was doing appeared to be against range safety rules but I didn't say anything to him about it, thinking I'm the new guy. The more I thought about this today the more I think I should have called him on his infraction, because I'm just really anal about safety, especially when my little girl is around.

Am I out of line in my thinking? How would you have handled this situation? Thanks for your input.

Yes, he definitely violated range safety rules. You should have gone over to him and very politely pointed this out to him.

If he apologized and assured you that he won't do it again, fine. If he got belligerent about it, you just do your best to get his License Plate No. or badge number (if the club uses them) and report it to an officer of the Chief Range Officer.

There is no room for these kind of safety breaches. "ALL guns are loaded at all times" and should be treated as same, that's the rule that avoids the "I thought it was unloaded, I don't understand how it just went off" injuries/fatal shootings.
I agree. I have had to say something to people at our range before. And I've never had anyone get "All up in my face" when I did say something.

They pretty much all would just say sorry, I wasn't thinking, etc.

One good thing about my club. We have a red line, and a yellow line painted downt the range.

Don't go in front of the red line when we're shooting. Don't go in front of the yellow line when we're safe. And the yellow line is far enough back that you can't even really reach the table if you wanted too.

We're all Range Safety Officers when we're shooting.

No one shoudn't be able to tell someone something that is making them nervous when they're at thier club.
At my gun club there are lines painted on the floor that are more than an arms length away from the firing line. When a cease fire is called or anyone is down range you have to stand behind the line and leave your unloaded and safe guns on the bench.

To help avoid confusion in the future you might want to suggest (or volunteer to do it yourself if you have some time) that your gun club paints some lines down for that purpose.
You're new; and in this situation, that is NOT a liabilty.
The rules are fresh.

The range is no place to be overly concerned with being polite. If someone messes up, you need to politely call them on it. Think about it, if someone REALLY messes up, it can become deadly. Everyone needs to be clear about the rules, and whether you're a "newbie" or seasoned shooter, anything less than 100% compliance is unnacceptable.

Just be polite (as in any social situation) and things will generally go pretty smoothly.
Be safe, have fun. :D
On the other side of the coin...(and I'm NOT condoning what that guy did).... the range I frequent has a long bench 5-7 ft behind the benches & firing line. I had my 17 yr old stepson on his first range trip, and was trying to explain the lining up of the front and rear sights to him. When I made the mistake of putting my thumb and index finger on the last 1/2 inch of stock on a rifle that was obviously empty & safe AND facing the parking lot on that rear bench to roll it just enough to give him a view of the sights, some toolbag at the end of the line started reading me the Riot Act. Now, obviously I was technically wrong and probably should've just waited the extra couple of minutes, but HOW you admonish/ correct someone goes a long way too, I've also since seen this tactless monkey yell and scream at other people many times since....must be his joint [roll]
Several years ago there was a guy (I'll call him Mr X) shooting on the 100yd range who insisted on making minor adjustments to his equipment whenever shooting was stopped for someone to set-up/change/retrieve targets, little things like adjusting sights or sling. Another shooter (Mr Z) who'd noticed this from downrange had politely asked X three or four times not to do it, since it was a violation of range rules and tended to make people down range nervous, since it's difficult to verify that a firearm is really unloaded and safe from 100yds away. Mr X never reacted badly to this criticism, but simply forgot about it the next time someone was downrange.

Finally, Mr Z was changing a target and looked back to see X doing again. Having had enough, he drew his carry gun, removed the magazine, cleared it and locked the slide back. He then threw a Weaver stance back up at the empty end of the firing line and shouted for X to drop the gun and put his hands on top of his head. Mr X suddenly realized he wasn't the only person in the universe and casually put the gun down. Mr Z didn't let up, ordering X to put his hands on top of his head and step away from the gun. Mr X started to get a little nervous, since he couldn't tell that the gun pointed vaguely in his direction was ceared and locked open, and did what he was told.

Rubbing it in, Z ordered him face down on the ground, which X (by now beginning to wet himself) promptly did. When he got back to the line, Z (his gun now re-holstered) asked X why he was down on the ground, since the gun was never loaded or pointed at him. As he got up, X angrily said that ther was noe way he could tell that and just what the hell was Z trying to do. Z simply said, "now you see what I've been trying to tell you."

(who definitely doesn't recommend this approach, even though it makes a good story)
KMaurer said:
(who definitely doesn't recommend this approach, even though it makes a good story)
Very Effective! But Z is lucky that X didn't dial 911 after that! Z would have been arrested and lost his LTC and firearms FOREVER.
KMaurer said:
I suspect that everyone else at the range would have denied that it ever happened.


If I had been there I would have denied everything, and made counter Accusations. :D
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