Thoughts on Joining a Range Club ~ Warning! Long!!

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Thread: Thoughts on Joining a Range Club ~ Warning! Long!!

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    Thoughts on Joining a Range Club ~ Warning! Long!!

    So I am joining a range club. It shall remain unnamed. In my limited ten year experience with ranges, it is the nicest one I have seen. I did belong to an indoor range in Tucson and it was very professional in terms of help and safety.

    This club is much more extensive in terms of ranges, equipment, size, acreage, etc. It's also been around a very long time. They offer just about every imaginable shooting options for men and women. Before anyone flames me, read the whole thread. From the very start it has been an ordeal. Applying for membership online has been an unusually difficult process. They want as much info as you can give them backed up by documentation. There is a required work program you must attend before voting on your membership. You must attend several monthly meetings. All of this must be verified. You must be an NRA member. I gave my number and expiration date but they want the actual card, in person. It takes a minimum of two months before you are voted on, and only when you have completed all the requirements. It's kind of like applying to college - you give them a hundred bucks to apply but there is no guarantee you get it and you don't get your money back.

    You must attend a two and a half hour safety briefing, half class, half range, followed by a test. If you show up late, you can still attend but you are responsible for the missed time (i.e., better find out what you missed cause it will be on the test). The meeting started exactly on time. For me, honestly, the instructor reminded me of my basic training drill instructor. No chatter, no cellphones, and he would call you out if he thought you needed it or stop you mid-sentance if he didn't like your answer. Yes, I understand why it is what it is, but I had to do a self talk several times to stay out of trouble. Seriously! As I told my wife this morning. I could have won the argument and been looking for another place to shoot. LOL!!!

    What I picked up from this range club is that the administration is no-nonsense. It's their way or the highway and they have no problem telling you that. Incidentally, every range (and there are a bunch) has a motion-sensor camera that records everything. Evidently, it comes in handy for safety violations or "he-said/she-said" accusations of one member to another. Also good for litigation in range accidents (and there have been a few). Now, my problem (MY problem) has been the militaristic approach of the elected members towards the newbies. It's clear that we are not members, we are member-applicants and treated accordingly.("Dial 1-800 WAAAAAHHH)

    HOWEVER! driving home from on of those meetings recently I had an epiphany. Yeah, I know. You all had that epiphany three lines into this monologue. It's a shooting range, dipstick! There are at least a dozen ranges and hundreds of members. There is only one Safety Range Officer for the whole place. WE are the safety range officers. We have lead flying everywhere. You are encouraged to call out any unsafe practices. "Cease Fire" means just that. Anyone can call it, everyone will obey. And, just like the Army, you can get killed in basic training and you can get killed on the range. I have seen personally, and heard through DC, nightmare stories of public ranges where yahoo's were sweeping, loading, walking, and firing in every type of unsafe manner.

    This place is incredible. Clean, well-maintained, and the some of the safest range defense barriers I have ever seen. I heard they just put a quarter million dollars into one set of ranges this summer. They have every right to choose whom they want (in regard to safety) and to check out your certifications. Imagine letting some guy run a Boy Scout shooting day because he "said" he was an NRA qualified Range Instructor only to find out he was full of it. Try and litigate that puppy if there was an accident. Anyway, I am swallowing my pride, recognizing why they do what they do, and hope like heck I get to be a member!
    wingryder and aus71383 like this.
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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Hehe, yeah, usually once the ball gets rolling on letting stuff slide, it keeps going and it sounds like they've had enough. Seems most people that violate safety rules have some sort of excuse or exception for doing so. Used to tell people straight up, before they finished "I Don't Care". Also have to explain to people that they are range "commands" not "requests".

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    Sounds like a club I'd enjoy being a member of.
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    Sounds nice... but I guess I prefer my local range, it's like my own back yard that I don't have to maintain. :) If I'm not the only one there I'll usually just come back later, it's less than 2 minutes from my house (5 by golf cart). :)

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    Tell them you know SIXTO. That will get you in, and you bypass all the Misc BS!

    Here's hoping it's a painless and swift process for you.
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    I use a public (county) outdoor range 45 minutes up the road. Conditions there range from obscene (guy shooting thru his hand) to rediculous (having to reassemble my Glock so I can lock the slide back and make it safe (?). But it's a decent range and kept up. Another range is much as you describe. Many rules, a lot of which have nothing to do with shooting/handling of firearms. Both, being outdoors, are too hot and humid for me much of the year.

    One indoor range is an absolute dump, have to buy his ammo, etc. The other is relatively new, maintained, but so small that people stomp all over my brass before I can pick it up (I know you reloaders hate that).

    I hope your application goes thru in short order. I yearn for the days when I could go out to the railroad tracks running across the wheat fields and blast away to my heart's content.
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    Sounds like a great range to me!
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    VIP Member Array suntzu's Avatar
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    I am with the folks that like local county ranges. The one in NH (which I hardly went to since I had my own land) had no RSO's. It was a 1oo yd long range with a hill as a backstop. The member cleaned up after themselves and when target stands needed to be maintianed someone would just do it. Hours were dusk to dawn. Trap twice a week for 5 bucks a round. Yearly membership including fishing was 35 dollars a YEAR.

    Don't need no fancy things. Actually, all I require is a backstop LOL.

    BTW: I know of no accidents or injuries at the range for over 40 years (according to the old timers)
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    Distinguished Member Array Hoganbeg's Avatar
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    Ideally, I'd shoot in a secluded area with a good backstop where I can practice defensive shooting and moving. I police my own (and others) brass and trash but those places are getting harder to find. If I'm at a public or private range with other shooters I prefer strict adherence to the rules. I don't mind playing by the rules. Range rules keep us safe. RSOs have the right and duty to kick out those who don't play well with others. I've been to too many ranges (no more than once each) where rules were posted and then ignored, with "Cease fire" treated as a suggestion and even argued over. I like the idea of the members being well-vetted as it tends to impress upon them the seriousness of the situation.

    Yours sounds like a good'un!
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    Quote Originally Posted by aznav View Post
    So I am joining a range club. It shall remain unnamed. In my limited ten year experience with ranges, it is the nicest one I have seen. I did belong to an indoor range in Tucson and it was very professional in terms of help and accident. !
    You went over the mountain, eh?
    aznav likes this.

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    Distinguished Member Array lchamp's Avatar
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    We just joined the local police range. They stress safety and always have someone watching the lanes. This is good...

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    I like clubs that stress safety with no exception. I don't like clubs that act like they are doing you a favor by even letting you in the door. I much prefer my own land where I can move and shoot as fast as I want without fudds giving me the stink eye.

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    Distinguished Member Array lchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tubadude View Post
    I like clubs that stress safety with no exception. I don't like clubs that act like they are doing you a favor by even letting you in the door. I much prefer my own land where I can move and shoot as fast as I want without fudds giving me the stink eye.
    Unfortunately, we live in a neighborhood. Can't use our own land...a range is next best. No wilderness here like we had out west where we could go plinking easily.

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    I'm all for safety when it comes to firearms. I have no problem with a lot of the policies you describe, but treating you like you're worthless before you get in and taking your money just for the "privilege" of applying and waiting at least two months just to get an answer...get over yourselves.
    remington79 likes this.

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    Distinguished Member Array lchamp's Avatar
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    Local ranges here have been pretty friendly and safety conscious, too. I got tired of the 8-10 bucks an hour charges, so we joined the local police range and can shoot "free" six days a week for a year.

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