Range Safety Advice Needed

The Goose

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I was at the indoor range on Saturday and ran into a situation for the first time. A gentleman came in with, what I assume was, his two sons (late teens, early twenties). They took turns shooting a new looking Ruger .22 pistol. They finished up about the same time as me and packed up first. I actually thought they had left the range. I packed up my bag and when I turned around I realized that they were still in the room, but back behind the red line. They were having some discussion regarding the Ruger and had taken it out of the case. I cringed a little, but headed for the door. Then as I watched they began trying to do something with the gun and the barrel was completely out of control and then was aimed at me. Frankly it freaked me out. I exited quickly and as I glanced back one of the sons braced the muzzle against his belly in an attempt to manipulate it somehow, I was not clear what he was doing. They were just pointing it all over the place, with the action closed.

Needless to say I was appalled, but I was even more appalled at my lack of reaction. I felt enraged and wanted to scream at them to just stop and put the damn gun down, but somehow I just did not react. I knew I could not just let it go, but I just felt at a loss of what to do. They put the gun in it’s case and walked out into the general lounge. At that point I approached the father, I realized that I was actually shaking because I was so upset.

In the calmest voice I could muster I said:

“Would you mind if I gave you a little constructive criticism on safe gun handling?”

He said that he welcomed any help I could give them as they were all three new to shooting. So I told him that they were making some really bad and extremely dangerous mistakes. I proceeded to spend a fair amount of time going over safe gun handling and range rules. They were very receptive and polite. At the end the father thanked me for taking the time and being so patient.

So although I felt pretty good about the end result, I knew I just reacted way too slowly. Someone could easily have been injured because of my slow response. I have never experienced anything like this before and it will never happen again. I WILL NEVER REACT THAT SLOWLY AGAIN, EVER!

So my question to all of you more experienced folks is how does one handle a situation like the one I described. What would you do?
 

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Getting muzzled would have pissed me off and I would of have had a hard time remaining tactful like you did. It sounds like you handled it as well as one possibly could have.
 

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I would have reacted like you did but much sooner. As soon as you saw them handling the firearm behind the line is when you should have spoken up. Freaking out on them would not have done anyone any good seeing as you found out they were new shooters. Hopefully they'll heed your advice/warning/instruction and seek more of the same in the future.
 
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I agree that your reaction was correct but it should/could have been quicker. I don't think that firearm safety is something that anyone should be hesitant to enforce.

In all honesty my gut reaction if a muzzle was pointed at me probably would have been along the lines of shouting, "WHOAH!" While jumping out of the way. Then a lecture on firearm safety. Hopefully your indoor range has the basic safety rules printed prominently on the wall. If not, that needs to be corrected.

You would have been within your rights if you gave the guy what-for, but I think it sounds like you handled it well, and thankfully, nobody got hurt.
 
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Good to bring it up Goose. This is a great place to reality test whatever's going through your mind when it concerns something of this nature.

I think you handled it as best you knew how. I don't know about you, but I hadn't given much thought as to how I'd react (or even should react) given the scenario you posted. It's a good thing you're still around, though, to be able to evaluate how you might respond differently next time (while hoping there isn't a next time).
 

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So my question to all of you more experienced folks is how does one handle a situation like the one I described. What would you do?
I think what you did was very good, just do it faster and emphasize muzzle control. You might also mention that waving the muzzle around like that really scares other people.
 

dreppucci007

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I think you handled it well, Steve. I agree with Jen that shouting a nice loud "WHOOOAAAA!" and jumping out of the way would've stopped them in their tracks and gotten their attention. You did the right thing by giving them a lesson, and it's good that they seemed to listen instead of seeing you as preaching.
 
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Well done! Don't be too hard on yourself. Next time you'll react quicker. And having read your post, I will too. Thanks for sharing.

matt
 

dwarven1

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Good call, if a little late, Steve.

I can understand the delayed reaction though - sounds like you got caught completely by surprise. The good thing is that now you know what can happen you won't have such a delayed reaction when it happens again.

I hope you pointed out to the son that he was courting a .22 slug to the belly by what he was doing...
 

KMaurer

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You handled it well.

It's also a great object lesson in the way the mind works. Somethings we simply don't want to accept at first, like somebody pointing a gun at us, so we stop and over-analyze the situation before reacting. It tends to happens exactly the same way when TSHTF. [sad]

Ken
 
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I was at the indoor range on Saturday and ran into a situation for the first time. A gentleman came in with, what I assume was, his two sons (late teens, early twenties). They took turns shooting a new looking Ruger .22 pistol. They finished up about the same time as me and packed up first. I actually thought they had left the range. I packed up my bag and when I turned around I realized that they were still in the room, but back behind the red line. They were having some discussion regarding the Ruger and had taken it out of the case. I cringed a little, but headed for the door. Then as I watched they began trying to do something with the gun and the barrel was completely out of control and then was aimed at me. Frankly it freaked me out. I exited quickly and as I glanced back one of the sons braced the muzzle against his belly in an attempt to manipulate it somehow, I was not clear what he was doing. They were just pointing it all over the place, with the action closed.

Needless to say I was appalled, but I was even more appalled at my lack of reaction. I felt enraged and wanted to scream at them to just stop and put the damn gun down, but somehow I just did not react. I knew I could not just let it go, but I just felt at a loss of what to do. They put the gun in it’s case and walked out into the general lounge. At that point I approached the father, I realized that I was actually shaking because I was so upset.

In the calmest voice I could muster I said:

“Would you mind if I gave you a little constructive criticism on safe gun handling?”

He said that he welcomed any help I could give them as they were all three new to shooting. So I told him that they were making some really bad and extremely dangerous mistakes. I proceeded to spend a fair amount of time going over safe gun handling and range rules. They were very receptive and polite. At the end the father thanked me for taking the time and being so patient.

So although I felt pretty good about the end result, I knew I just reacted way too slowly. Someone could easily have been injured because of my slow response. I have never experienced anything like this before and it will never happen again. I WILL NEVER REACT THAT SLOWLY AGAIN, EVER!

So my question to all of you more experienced folks is how does one handle a situation like the one I described. What would you do?
Last night I was at Manchester Firing Line after dropping some folks off at the airport. It was a harrowing experience! Lots of people who had never shot before... but they all had seemingly experienced people with them.

At one point I turned around to see a guy, finger on the trigger, closing the action of loaded revolver. This thread came to mind immediately and I walked right over and corrected him, firmly but politely, told him not to load unless he was at the line and to keep his finger off the trigger. He was very apologetic and seemed gratefull someone told him the etiquette of the range.

Matt
 
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