A little conflicted

Discussion in 'Range Report' started by mikemc, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. mikemc

    mikemc New Member

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    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, hey...free 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.
     
  2. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member

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    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.
     

  3. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    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.
     
  4. rn-cindy

    rn-cindy Active Member

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    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...
     
  5. Donn

    Donn Active Member

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    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.
     
  6. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    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.
     
  7. JimRau

    JimRau Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  8. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  9. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    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.
     
  10. CardiacColt68

    CardiacColt68 New Member

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    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.


    Sent from my iPad using Firearms Talk
     
  11. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    There are numerous ranges in my area. Two of them are within 3 miles of each other.
    One is a club that charges $120 a year for member and spouse.
    The other is a "public" range that has a daily charge and no membership.

    I can always get a range session at the club with minimum disturbances. The "public" one is crowded and one has to wait to get time on the range.

    I would rather spend $120 and get range time (even if once a month), than $120 (once a month X $10) a year and hope I get range time.

    And where are the new shooters? On the public range.
     
  12. mikemc

    mikemc New Member

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    I fully agree with the idea of helping people out - and I am perfectly willing to do that. I did show the gentleman how to load the mag but, truthfully, I can give him pointers on general handling but I believe the range should be, at least, handling the safety things. The more I think about it the more I realize that he had rented the firearm - he had a tote that apparently only comes with rentals. If the range is willing to rent to a complete novice I would figure that they would be responsible enough to at least walk him through the basics. This is not to excuse myself or others from not helping out but I am far from an expert when it comes to teaching.

    It's one thing to have a person sign a form that explains range safety rules, but if that person doesn't understand the first thing about firearms I would think that the range might want to get involved.

    I really do like this range/shop and most of the folks there are pretty friendly, though I am not certain as to the depth of knowledge throughout the staff. Maybe I'll chat with management - just as a courtesy - to see how they see things and maybe make a few suggestions.

    By the way...this forum is awesome.
     
  13. Donn

    Donn Active Member

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    Helping new guys out? A noble thought, but it pre-supposes any of them are open to your help. What I see a lot of is 3-4 people alternating between the firing line and their smart phone. Sometimes one of them has their girl friend there, trying to show her what's what with his pistol. The other phenomena, at least around here, is in some cases they're speaking a foreign language. If I'm asked, that's different. Otherwise, I'm not elbowing my way in. I'll be back tomorrow.
     
  14. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I guess I have a slightly different take on this. New people are at the range because they want to learn. That elderly gentleman went completely out of his comfort zone to walk into the range and rent the gun. Like many, he was expecting instruction from the range officer and was ignored. Likely he did this either because it was a lifelong dream, or his neighborhood is degrading into criminal activity and he cannot afford to move on his income. Either way, he will probably never return to the shooting sports. An opportunity for a new shooter to love our sport, join the NRA and vote for political supporters is permanently lost.

    I'm not faulting the OP or anyone for their opinion, as safety for our own life should be our paramount concern. But when I first started taking martial arts, and gained my first rank, a yellow belt, my instructor made me start training new students, the white belts. I looked at him incredulously and said, "Train? I'm not an expert!" to which he replied, "you never learn a skill better than when you have to train someone else." Wise words. If you know how to load a weapon, make it safe and safely fire it down range, you know more than that elderly gentleman did, and you both would have been better off for the experience.

    The fault here lies mainly with the ranges and their personnel. They should make training available, as these are deadly weapons. If it is too busy to train, make an appointment for the newbie to return, or ask an obviously competent individual to help out, maybe for a free hour on the range for 15-30 minutes of instruction. I have insisted a range compensate me for my time when I help their customers learn a skill and teach safety rules for everyone's obvious benefit. I train, the newbie becomes enthusiastic as well as a recurring customer to the store, everyone is safe - yeah, they owe me! Pointing out that they placed someone on the range that endangered my life and the lives of everyone on the range is good leverage! If they won't compensate you a free range hour, they are not serious about shooting or customer support - go somewhere else.

    We go to the range to shoot. It's unfair to be expected to waste our time training yet another newb. But if you take the longer-term view, I think you'll find that you are the better for it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  15. chloeshooter

    chloeshooter New Member

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    I'd say given you had 5 hours, your best two choices were to either go to another range or take the opportunity to show a new shooter how to safely operate their 9mm. Everybody has to start sometime, I expect the old guy was worried about self defense as a lot of older folks are these days. Basic gun safety is not all that complicated and if anything else tell the guy that the barrel needs to be pointed downrange at ALL times.

    I have found that when ranges are busy, as on weekends or evenings, there are usually enough RSO's to keep their eyes on everyone. During the day M-F, they are typically understaffed - which makes for some nice shooting but not so much if you are concerned about unsupervised shooters.

    And regardless of what you chose to do, alerting the RSO to the situation would have been a very good idea
     
  16. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

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    The #1 thing I like most when I am at the range is introducing someone else to shooting. I can sit back and not fire a shot and get just as much enjoyment helping someone else get hooked.

    If the guy is asking for help, jump on it. You've been given a golden opportunity to show someone the right way, increase the gun community, further secure your rights, help them protect themselves, make a new friend, and prevent the proliferation of range yahoos. And it's a lot of fun.
     
  17. rn-cindy

    rn-cindy Active Member

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    I like the way my LGS/RANGE has things set up. They waive the fee for Seniors, and Boy/Girl Scout troops that come in to shoot pellet guns...But everybody on their ranges has had some level of basic instruction. Plus the classes are alot of fun...RG teaches most of them, range safety / first shots / advanced handgun. She is not yet certified to instruct CCW class. But does have her RSO cert, and runs a tight ship....lol
     
  18. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    My wife read this and made the point that everyone starts with zero firearms knowledge. Many grow up in a family of shooters and learn as soon as their out of diapers, or have friends or neighbors that they ask for their first lessons. However, as urban areas sprawl and more and more people live in major cities, the chance of "knowing someone" who is a competent shooter becomes harder. Also, major cities are breeding grounds for liberal-think, and someone asking around if anyone's into shooting could get them a shocked look and a response of, "Why would you do THAT? Children are dying because of guns!" Nope, definitely not safe to ask around. There is no book or YouTube video that can train you effectively with a firearm. The obvious choice to find an experienced shooter? The range!

    If anyone wanted to be proactive on this, get your NRA Instructor certification for pistol and volunteer your services once a month to your local ranges. You'll (as ScottA put it) eliminate the range yahoos and pick up clients.
     
  19. mopowerbmx

    mopowerbmx New Member

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    +1 on TekGregs first comment. I don't think any of us on here are experts about everything but we all know more about some things than others. If we share that knowledge then everything works out in the end. There has been a few times people have asked me for help or my opinion on things I knew nothing about or just a little. I never turn down the help but tell the person that I know little about it and let's see if we can learn together. Most of the time we fix the problem and learn more by it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Firearms Talk
     
  20. chloeshooter

    chloeshooter New Member

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    good point. and I believe that as a 'community' it speaks well of us and also protects our interests to make sure there are as many educated firearms owners as possible

    suppose no one helps the old guy and he shoots someone accidentally? the media would have a field day with THAT one!