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mikemc 02-19-2014 12:21 AM

A little conflicted
Took my 3 guns to the range today - have 5 free hours to use up - and found myself coming away a bit conflicted. Conflicted as to what I really feel in regard to; etiquette, rights, guidelines, rules...what have you.

While I'm waiting to be checked in I engaged in a short conversation with the group (3 guys) in front of me. We were waiting on the rangemaster to come back to check us in because he was on the range working with an individual shooter. During our chat the guys in front of me pointed out an elderly gentleman (and his wife) who was walking around, rather aimlessly, inside the range area and mentioned that neither one of them had ever handled or fired a handgun - not sure how they knew this but as time went on it became apparent that they (the 3 guys) were correct. I wasn't thrilled about being near a completely novice shooter but, country, right?

The rangemaster comes back and apologizes for having us wait explaining that he had to get out there before that guy (not the older fella - a different one altogether) shot his hand off. He further stated that the guy was shooting a 45 semi-auto and had apparently never shot one before. He was missing the entire back board when he shot and did not seem to understand how to hold a handgun...OK, I'm a bit more nervous, now.

I finally get on the range and notice that the older gentleman was now standing in his stall, which was 2 over from me, but had not as yet affixed a target to the backboard (we use a stapler at this range) nor had he loaded his weapon - he had been inside about 10-12 minutes at this point. I was trying to ignore this but, frankly, I was a little concerned about multiple novice shooters with what seemed like minimal range oversight. When I left my booth to find a stapler the same gentleman approached me with, an empty magazine and one 9mm cartridge, asking me "how the heck do you load this da.. thing?" I asked him if he had ever fired a handgun before and he said that he had not. I showed him how to load a round...then I removed the cartridge and asked him to wait a minute. I went out to the rangemaster and told him that the gentleman does not know anything about firearms or firearm safety and that someone should be overseeing his activities. The rangemaster (a very young fellow) explained that they only had so many people on staff and he just can't teach everyone. He did, however, go out to give some pointers to the novice shooter and also moved me about 5 booths over...a wee bit safer, perhaps.

I don't know that the gentleman ever fired his weapon while I was there - by the time I was cleaning up he was gone - but that is where I am left a little conflicted.

I know everyone should be afforded the right to own and operate a gun, but I am not a big fan of being around potentially dangerous situations. I'm not sure what, if anything, the range should do with these types of situations but I gotta tell ya..not real comfortable with some of the folks looking to scratch that itchy trigger finger.

Sorry for the ramble...I feel a bit better, now.

partdeux 02-19-2014 12:35 AM


The rangemaster (a very young fellow) explained that they only had so many people on staff and he just can't teach everyone.
Wonder if he could afford to have an accident on the range?

I probably would have asked for my money back, and left irrespective of the refund.

clr8ter 02-19-2014 12:41 AM

That's quite the conundrum…I remember back when I knew nothing of handguns, when I was maybe 21, I went to an indoor range. If I recall, 1st handgun I ever touched, a rented S&W 10mm. So the guy asked if I knew what I was doing, and I wasn't sure, so he gave some basic pointers and instruction, and that was it. He didn't seem very concerned. They weren't busy at the time, and he could have given me some instruction, which I was expecting. Personally, if it were my range, I'd insist on supervising for a while until I knew they were ok and comfortable. But, then, that costs money. Another option would be to screen people calling on the phone, and if found out they didn't know anything, to encourage them to show up at a "beginner's night", maybe discounted, with a low-key class before hand.

OP, do you know if the old guy owned or rented? If you own, and can't figure out how to load the thing, you're an idiot, it's that simple.

rn-cindy 02-19-2014 12:45 AM

Thats why im glad you have to be a member at the indoor /outdoor range i go to. It's only $30 a year to join. But assures that everyone has AT LEAST..been through the 45min range safety class...

Donn 02-19-2014 01:10 AM

Much as I like my range time, if it's too crowded, with novices in particular, I take a rain check. One mistake is all it takes. A misguided newbie can kill you just as dead as an al-Qaeda terrorist.

danf_fl 02-19-2014 01:25 AM

I like to take advantage of the situation. I am willing to cut some of my time so others can enjoy shooting in a safe manner.

Next time, help the newb out. Believe me, you will feel good the first time they hit the target after your safe instruction.

JimRau 02-19-2014 01:39 AM

This is why I offer the classes I do. If you are 'brand new' to shooting you NEED individual instruction the same as someone new to driving a car needs this type of instruction. If you have a friend or relative who is able to give GOOD instruction so be it, but if not you need to seek out a professional and get some BASIC instruction.

Rick1967 02-19-2014 02:39 AM

If someone actually asked me how to load their own mag, I would volunteer my services. You can never have too many friends. The best way to make sure someone understands safety is to teach them. I never mind helping if someone asks.

Axxe55 02-19-2014 03:16 AM

we have to remember that owning a gun is a right, and that instruction and knowledge of firearms isn't requirement and nor should it be.

but, also newbies do need to learn. proper and safe handing of firearms is a big asset to all responsible gun owners.

IMO, i don't see teaching an elderly person any diffeent than teaching a young child. the age they enter into guns is irrelevent. what is important is helping them learn and that they have joined the ranks of being a gun owner.

CardiacColt68 02-19-2014 03:25 AM

It seems that a professional or respectable range would mandate a basic level of competence. They are endangering other customers. I would offer to help the new shooter, and then find another range. If they don't value my life or the safety of others they don't deserve my money. Screw them.

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