Shooter competence - assessment of ....


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P95Carry
March 17, 2005, 09:46 PM
One or two recent threads got me to thinking about this.

I think it fair to say that if I am with or around folks I do not know (gun owners/shooters) - I have to assume some measure of incompetence. This is not to do with any ego thing - ''I am better than you'' ... just the simple fact that there do seem to be way too many gun owners around who really can be a danger. Both to themselves, and others.... the more so on average I think with the ''casual'' shooter/owner as against let's say - ''most of us here''.

Thus I do not feel it is an arrogant approach - more a case of standard situational awareness - preferable to a bullet in the vitals! One instance comes immediately to mind - when I was watching a guy prep' his gear on the line. He ''appeared'' good material. In his forties, and gear that said ''mature long time shooter''.

On watching however, he placed a loaded mag in his semi, and as re racked the slide, proceeded to sweep me and others as he looked around. Not even sure if finger was on or off trigger - but reaction was to bellow ... ''downrange only'' or some such. Got a look of shock from him, followed by a smile of contrition - he at least knew he'd done wrong.

The guys I coach NRA courses with - and a few select others - are about the only folks I'll turn my back on when shooting ... or when they are gun handling.

I don't think it's paranoid - been proved right too many times. Bottom line is it seems to me - a casual glance does not tell you anything about another shooter's competence - at all. So 'play it safe' is the way to go - our vigilance thus can help make up for deficiencies in another's skills, and maybe save a problem.

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NMshooter
March 17, 2005, 10:01 PM
If there is one thing I have learned it is that interest in firearms and attention to details matter more than age, sex, or experience.

The person who always makes a point to keep track of where their muzzle is pointed at any given time is much easier to be around than the person who is overly casual about such details.

Of the two, attention to detail is the one I value the most. It is also something that was hammered into my pointy little head by some very helpful instructors in basic training. ;) I would much rather have someone who pays attention to detail working on the C-130 I am flying on than someone who makes occasional mistakes.

Same with firearms.

jmtgsx
March 17, 2005, 10:07 PM
It doesn't seem to matter if they have the best equipment or appearance, they can still do stupid stuff. I would rather take a new shooter to the range than some of my buddies from work, because I'm focussing on Newbie and I know they're getting the best instruction I can offer.
Whenever I do take a co-worker, it's the ones who profess to know what they are doing that scare me the most and I try to keep a wary eye on them on the line. They look at me like I should lighten up and have fun. They act like they dont like "shooter Jim" as much as "co-worker Jim". Some folks just dont get it.

Stay safe and we'll all have a ball!

chris in va
March 17, 2005, 10:13 PM
I was thinking of getting my friend in a gun safety class soon. He likes guns as much as me, but sometimes he scares me with his gun handling skills.

kngflp
March 18, 2005, 01:30 AM
I have been shooting for a little over a year and I have seen some unsafe things done by people who you would think should know better. I think my gun handleing skills are pretty good. The only problem I have had at ranges is when rapid firing my SKS, the guy honestly thought it had been illeagally converted to full auto, and when shooting IDPA I once tried to pick up the round I ejected when clearing my gun at the end of a stage while I was holstering my gun. The only other thing that might be a problem is how I handle a holstered gun. When my gun is holstered it often is not pointed in a safe direction. For example if I set it on the kitchen counter when I get home and I'm raiding the fridge the muzzle is pointing towords the table. Then I sit down to stuff face and look up to a muzzle pointed my way. This dosn't really bother me...should it? Is a holstered gun exempt from the golden rule?

P95Carry
March 18, 2005, 01:37 AM
IMO a holstered gun is not exempt! I really think that the application of rule #2 should be total at all times.

True of course - the holstered piece is not (should not) be accessible to the trigger finger but - my innate mistrust of things mechanical means I regard the gun as both loaded - and - able to discharge at any time.

May seem crazy but - it is I think a safer way to go - one reason why I am not comfortable with horizontal sho rigs.

Maybe I should replace ''comfortable'' with - anal - LOL :p :D

Fumbler
March 18, 2005, 02:19 AM
I had a friend show me his house gun the other day.
I have never shot with this guy, but I always assumed he was compentent with gun handling.
He racked the slide to unchamber the round, dropped the mag, then racked it again.
Nothing came out so he thought it was empty. He handed it to me and I racked it again. Out popped a cartridge.
He was a little shocked and I said "unless your gun has major feeding issues it should have chambered another round. It didn't eject because you let the slide down lightly the first time and the extractor didn't lock over the rim."
He admitted to not visually checking the chamber.

He learned 2 things that night: always visually check and if he's gonna chamber a round in a gun that he intends to defend himself with then he'd better make sure it's in battery.

cracked butt
March 18, 2005, 02:56 AM
and when shooting IDPA I once tried to pick up the round I ejected when clearing my gun at the end of a stage while I was holstering my gun.

I got called on that one too last year, I had no idea that I was doing something wrong until a guy pointed it out to me. No dog is too old to learn new tricks.

pax
March 18, 2005, 03:16 AM
Chris ~

The list of people I really relax around while shooting is short indeed. (Only two of my children have yet earned that distinction -- and all five of them are safer on the range than most adults I know.)

Teaching newbies is hairy, but by far the worst, most dangerous gun handling I see comes from old guys who think they know what they're doing. It is truly amazing how many terrifyingly unsafe habits can creep in over the years when a guy isn't paying attention.

I see a lot of folks who don't believe the gun is always treated with the respect one would give a loaded weapon. If I turn around and find your gun pointed at me -- even if you think you know it's unloaded -- I'm going to be a mite cranky. Yes, yes, I know you're just getting it out, or just putting it away, or just checking this one little thing, or just ... ah, heck. I don't care what the excuse is. If you do not treat every weapon as if it is loaded at all times, you are a safety hazard and I don't want to be around you.

An old guy trick: racking the slide while it's pointed along your own left forearm and incidentally at every other person to the left of you on the line.... Please don't do this. It Bothers Me Greatly.

Another old guy trick: nice that you're wearing muffs today, sir, would you please refrain from reaching up to adjust them while the gun is in your hand? Thank you.

Newbie trick: getchyer finger off the trigger. Yes, I mean you, Yes, I mean now, and Yes, I mean completely outside the trigger guard.

No longer a newbie but not yet experienced trick: No, it is not good enough to lightly rest your finger at the front of the trigger guard -- whaddya think your hand will reflexively do if you lose your balance? Yeah, it'll clench. And just where will your "it wasn't on the trigger" finger going to go when your hand clenches?? Oh, yes, right onto the trigger. Get it all the way out of the trigger guard, please, and resting on the frame.

</rant>

pax

pax
March 18, 2005, 03:21 AM
and when shooting IDPA I once tried to pick up the round I ejected when clearing my gun at the end of a stage while I was holstering my gun.

I got called on that one too last year, I had no idea that I was doing something wrong until a guy pointed it out to me. No dog is too old to learn new tricks.
I think I got called on that more than once in my first shooting class. It's a hard one to learn.

But it makes sense. A surprising number of people really-and-truly cannot go to the ground safely with gun in hand. They forget to watch the muzzle, or they swing their arm back as they bend down (sweeping everyone behind them), or they bend their arms and half rest their elbows on their knees when getting back up (sweeping everyone to the left of them).

In a crowd-control situation, it just makes good sense to forbid going to the ground while holding a gun. There's no real need to do it, and the number of folks who can't do it safely far outweighs the number who can.

pax

ScorpioVI
March 18, 2005, 07:28 AM
and when shooting IDPA I once tried to pick up the round I ejected when clearing my gun at the end of a stage while I was holstering my gun.

I'm an IDPA-certified Safety Officer, and it has always baffled me why people care so much about a freaking 15-cent round. It never fails, everytime we run a match or event someone, will always try to pick up a round without holstering first.

"Unload and show clear."
"Slide forward."
"Hammer down."
"Holster."
"Range is safe."

Nowhere in there does it say "pick up your 15-cent round and your $20 magazines". It's a bad habit for a shooter to get into.

GEM
March 18, 2005, 11:23 AM
I have been horrified at public ranges.

1. Guy is down range putting up targets and the RO says: Range is clear, Open fire. Much yelling saved that guy's underpants.

2. Old dude continues (Pax - old guy comment) to sight down the range during a cease fire. I tell the RO. Old dude says: Grummmphh - I know what I'm doing.

He continues to do it and his son has to yell at him.

3. Guy walks up with a Glock 22 slightly out of battery asking for help as it is jammed. Gun is in his hand in a firing grip.

That's not counting the sweeps.

I'd rather shoot alone or in supervised situations.

Jayman
March 18, 2005, 04:32 PM
Sadly some of the most lackadaisical gun handling I've seen is from some of the most experienced shooters. The night before some major matches, when everybody's in their rooms practicing draws and dry firing, there are some competitors' rooms I won't go into.

"Yes yes, I know it is supposedly empty, please don't point it at me."

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