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Our annual qualifications for the Sheriff's department are coming up, so I've been hitting the range a little extra lately. I had a chemo infusion at the hospital in the city today so I decided another range trip was in order.

As I walk into the well-run LGS/indoor range, the first thing I notice are two couples. I'd call them "older",but since they appear to be about the same age as my wife and I, the adjective "older" gets left off.......;)

They are all watching the Range's Safety video, so that tells me right off that they have never been to the Range before, as all first-time shooters there have to watch the video. I get checked in, eyes and ears on, and proceed into the range and select my target, run it out to 20 yards and get all my stuff ready (unload the Gold Dots, insert target ammo, get the masking tape to cover the holes after each round, etc).

As I'm getting ready to shoot, the other couples come in, and I'm sandwiched between them, one couple in the lane on each side of me. With my electronic hearing, I can hear quite clearly the conversations...... "I THINK this is how this works, (husband 1 to his wife) Clink, clank, clunk..."Its not working" "Well, try this..." clink, clank, clunk," "Nope!" "Well, try this......." Clink, clank, clunk.....BANG. "Well, I guess that's how it works, do you want to try it?" Clink, clank, clunk (between each shot)......repeat numerous times, with occasional, "well, its not working again"

(I'm thinking about where their muzzle might be pointed)

The story is a bit similar on the other side, "I used to be pretty good at this!" "STOP!! DON'T TOUCH THAT [email protected]# IT!!!" "Oh, OK!" BANG!!!

I honestly thought about offering to help, but being on somewhat of a time schedule, and not wanting to butt in and seem like a nosy know-it-all.......

I finished my courses of fire and departed.....alive and glad for it.
 

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Not fun being sandwiched between two rookie couples.
If it is a single person it is bad enough, when it is a couple there is way too much conversation going on.
I wish people with zero experience would start off with an instructor.
First time range safety videos are like the pre flight safety talk on planes.
No one really pays attention and it doesn’t help you if you are unfamiliar with your weapon.
 

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I would have politely asked if they wanted some "help". If not for their sake for my own. Clink clack BANG!!! Could have been to your head. 5 minutes would probably have been enough to make sure they didn't shoot themselves or someone else.
 

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Well comen since use to be the norm but now days comen since is well uncomen.

I see alot of new gun owners who don't seem to understand just how deadly the gun can be.
I grew up with guns and I guess safety was drilled in my head but I just still can't understand how anybody can't relize don't point the gun at anything you don't want to kill.

My oldest son wife's grandmother told me a story about a evil gun about 4 years ago-
Her brother had come in from hunting and handed her his "unloaded gun with the safety on" and it was pointed at him when she pulled the trigger, she shot him in the stomach and he died. She blamed the intire thing on the evil gun and takes absolutely no responsibility of the shooting what so ever.
Dang evil gun.

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Not second guessing your judgement, but I think I would have cleared my pistol, and found the RO, to give him a heads up. I didn't witness this SO, that'd be YOUR call. AS WE have been speculating, a LOT of "new firearms owners".
 

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So far the only damage caused by poor gun handling is the guy who shot himself in the hand at the range. As long as they're only shooting themselves, I'm not too concerned.
 

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I have been in this position numerous times. I will step back from the firing line, and observe. If they are doing anything unsafe, I will intervene or have the RSO talk to them.

I’m simply not willing to take a bullet for their ignorance.

Often, they will get the hint and ask for help. This is especially true if you put up a target with a good group on it...they will see that and figure you’re someone who knows what you’re doing.

When it comes to safety, you’re pretty well obligated to say something.

Best wishes for your treatments!
 

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I always try to get a lane with an outside wall so at worst I only have a clueless shooter on one side of me.
Make that the right end of the line. Most shooters are right handed, and for some reason, they always look at the left side of their pistol, pointing the muzzle down the firing line to the left. Real problem with newbies, but I've seen experienced shooters do it occasionally, too. It's real scary when they've got their finger on the trigger.
 

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I know one instructor who has been at the local gun shot that's been flagged and he will offer guidance as how to handle the gun then always follows up with if you flag me again I will assume you mean to kill me and act accordingly to protect myself.
It's funny actually to see. You should see the faces cause I swear he is dead serious lol.

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I get a funny feeling every time I go to a range with folks like that around. I would feel funny walking in wearing my heavy vest, but I swear I will never again attend a first time session for new PD recruits. :oops:
 

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So sad that the days of taking "dad's" handgun/rifle/shotgun out and learning to shoot in the back 40 is in the rear view mirror for most!
Come to think of it I learned by myself, dad was always at work or on the tractor, on the back 40. Mom did not like it either. Only had 1 incident, note to self never try to tamp 22 lr's into the cylinder (due to so much dry firing so much the cylinder was peened over!) Had to calm mom down when I walked in with my bloody thumb wrapped up and said, "I think I need to go to the doctor." But at least I followed all the safety rules, the round impacted the trash can it was aimed at and I didn't hit myself with a bullet! Thanks Jeff Cooper preaching Gun Safety in Guns & Ammo.
Oh the folly of youth, how did we ever survive?
 

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I'm glad everything turned out well for you, Chaplain Scott, and for the newbys as well. It's clear we're going to be seeing a bit of this now. I suppose we should look at it as a blessing - at least they are attempting to learn at the range rather than when they need to protect themselves.
 

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An "older" couple (my age!) has decided on the need for defensive arms at home. Neither has first-hand experience with firearms. Husband recognizes that training is necessary, a good start. But to avoid what Chaplain Scott encountered, I really want to get them out in the desert to provide the basics of safe handling as well as to let them handle a range of firearms. Just waiting for our AZ monsoon to hit so fire restrictions on public lands are lifted.
 

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My local range makes everyone watch the range safety video at least once a year and then pass a short test on it. The range has ample RSOs and they seem pretty on top of things.

FWIW, the biggest safety violations I've seen on a range was during a couple of shooting classes, which were not for entry level shooters, at the NRA HQ Range and when I reported the violations to the instructor and the RSO I got shrugs.
 

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Just remembered the worse one I saw as RSO. Our pistol range had 12 lanes, 6 of which were covered. Wasps had built a nest in one of the cover corners. The range was hot and in the middle of a string of fire, a shooter in lane 4 (the middle of the covered section) got stung several times by a wasp. He was pretty cool for the back of the neck, but when the wasp started to go in his ear, he tried to slap it off his head with his in battery, cocked pistol. He was dancing around and I think he muzzled everyone on the range including me.
 

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Craziest thing I ever saw was at a very well run outdoor range with an RSO and a loud speaker system. Shooting was strictly controlled by the commands of the RSO on the speaker system. All handgun positions were full and firing was in progress. A guy all of a sudden walks out onto the range going toward his target in the midst of all that firing. I was close to him so saw him and stopped shooting but most everyone was unaware and continued blazing away. He got all the way to his 25 yard target before the apoplectic RSO got everyone to stop shooting. The guy was very indignant over being told to leave! You just never know what people might do!
 

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An "older" couple (my age!) has decided on the need for defensive arms at home. Neither has first-hand experience with firearms. Husband recognizes that training is necessary, a good start. But to avoid what Chaplain Scott encountered, I really want to get them out in the desert to provide the basics of safe handling as well as to let them handle a range of firearms. Just waiting for our AZ monsoon to hit so fire restrictions on public lands are lifted.
Good idea! Be sure to bring some cool soda targets and such just to make it fun. :)
 
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