How common are Range Accidents


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Regen
March 28, 2007, 03:14 PM
I remember seeing a show on Discovery or one of those channels a number of years ago about a poorly designed range that allowed a bullet to escape the trap and come back at the firing line killing someone.:eek:

How often nationally are there accidents at ranges? How often are they fatal? I had heard that there has not been any accidents at a range in the USA in many years, is this true?

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Mikee Loxxer
March 28, 2007, 03:20 PM
A machinegunner I converse with mentioned that there have been accidents and some fatalities at the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot, though I have never seen any corroborating information. I would imagine such a place would be ripe with ricochets.

taliv
March 28, 2007, 03:27 PM
i know of lots of incidents, but i'm not aware of any published statistics, and i'd say proportionally, they're probably in the single-digits per 100,000.

waynedm
March 28, 2007, 03:29 PM
The range I worked at had a few oopsies, maybe 3 in a ten year span. None of the accidents injured anybody. There were a few suicides though. People would come in and rent a gun and go make a mess of themselves.

AJ Dual
March 28, 2007, 03:30 PM
IIRC, the last fatality at Knob Creek was a young girl firing some kind of tripod mounted MG. The recoil pushed it over on her and she died of blunt force trauma. :(

"Firearm related" but not in the way we usualy would think of it.

Amish_Bill
March 28, 2007, 03:48 PM
The only thing that I've seen happen is splatter from close-up steel targets. I've seen this two times. Once gave me a sting on the ankle, the other required my friend to pull the fragment from his hand with tweezers. Neither were particularly damaging.

rhubarb
March 28, 2007, 03:51 PM
The range at which I am a member has been open some 80 years. They say there has never been a shooting injury or death.

Jim K
March 28, 2007, 03:58 PM
Thank heaven there are so few accidents. The antis are just hovering like vultures hoping for dead bodies so they can pass legislation to ban all ranges. The idea is that if there is no place to shoot, no one can use a gun, so guns can be banned.

We all need to keep alert to any danger on a range, to not be a danger ourselves, and to alert the range officials to anyone else who appears to be a danger to himself/herself or others.

Jim

bogie
March 28, 2007, 03:59 PM
Knob Creek:

gun-related: A guy insisted that the minigun folks allow his young daughter to fire the thing. They eventually relented. It was not bagged in well enough, and she couldn't control it, and it got away. It was out of ammo, but still spinning when it hit her.

other: A coupla bubbas decided that things were going to be pretty cold, so they fired up a space heater in an unventilated trailer, and woke up blue.

last fall (non-fatal):

A 20mm shooter ignored some headspace issues, and continued firing. His gun has a head sep, and blows out the magazine, sending shrapnel into his lower body. He can still reproduce.

Bubba back at the campsite decides that he wants to add fuel to a coleman gas stove. He opens it while it was on. Mushroom cloud, and 3rd degree burns. He was drunk enough that he didn't want a dustoff - they took him anyway.

Another bubba decides that people are moving too slowly on the road, and almost runs over some folks. A security guard (Hawk) stops him, and gets drawn on. In the scuffle, Hawk got a shoulder injury (dislocation), and the bubba got jail time.

Last fall was REALLY weird...

hso
March 28, 2007, 05:16 PM
Regan,

Think about the physics of what you think you remember from the Discovery channel show you think you recall. It is more than unlikely that a ricochet from even a steel plate would be fatal since the energy taken up in the deformation of the bullet would reduce the velocity hugely. A minor injury is a remote possiblity, but a fatal injury would be astoundingly unlikely. I'm very familiar with 2 indoor ranges locally that have been in heavy use for decades. The only fatality involved a suicide. There have never been any serious injuries from ricochets. That's hundreds of thousands of hours of use with millions of rounds fired.

News Shooter
March 28, 2007, 05:18 PM
Was shut down a couple of weeks ago because a woman came in, rented a gun and committed suicide.

Justin
March 28, 2007, 05:38 PM
Out of the tens of thousands of rounds that I have personally fired, having spent hours on ranges from one side of this country to the other, and shooting everything from single-shot pneumatic air pistols up to and including belt-fed machine guns, I have never been injured nor witnessed an injury in the manner that you're asking about.

Ricochets have been known to happen, but I've never heard of one resulting in anything worse than a large welt.

Regen
March 28, 2007, 05:41 PM
HSO -

If I remember the show correctly, there was a metal plate at angle to deflect bullets into a trap. It turned out that due to an installation error the plate was at the wrong angle and caused the bullet to arc and come straight down behind the firing line kill one person. I'll try to dig up more details about it.

migoi
March 28, 2007, 05:41 PM
gun related activities always makes me chuckle a bit when I read anti-gun literature saying how guns are the problem.

I've been to many events (range days, training classes, campouts, hunting and fishing days, shooting sports fairs, gun shows) where guns were in abundant supply and participants at time could only be described as very well armed. At none of these have I ever seen levels of rudeness or violence that anywhere near approached the level found at the typical industrial league softball game.

The level of injuries at gun related events seems to be much lower also. I've seen more ambulances called during one season of my daughter wrestling in high school than I have at all the gun related events I've ever participated in or attended.

Go figure...

migoi

MikeH
March 28, 2007, 05:42 PM
It's possible that, statistically speaking, we're more likely to be involved in a car accident getting to the range and back than being shot.

glockman19
March 28, 2007, 05:54 PM
I asked the same question before joining my indoor range and was told, most injuries were minor, hot shell case burning neck, eye, etc... I also asked how often someone gets killed they said, "about one per year, and most are not members, it's the man/woman who doesn't own a gun who comes in for their first time who they worry about." Gun owners apparently, rarely go to the range to off themselves. Most gun owners die of: old age or disease not fatal gunshots.

More injuries occur in the home, or through physical activity than at a gun range. I have found gun owners and regular shooters more safety oriented than non-gun owners shooters. IMHO.

1 old 0311
March 28, 2007, 06:02 PM
A friends father was in town and wanted to shoot. We brought a few pistols to a indoor range. The FIRST round his father shot bounced off the target holder, split his lip, and chipped a tooth. It was the first, and last time, I have heard to this.

Plain Old Bill
March 28, 2007, 06:09 PM
Had a C96 go off out of battery on me- (after lots of $$# spent on making it safe to shoot!) - spent the day getting the casing dug out of my scalp.
Another range a mile away had 2 guys shooting a Walther PP that one had bubba-smithed. He loaded it and propped it on the shooting bench when they went downrange to change targets. It fell over- score: PPK 1 1/2, Bubbas 0.
Range is now closed.
Incredible how often simple common sense range practices are violated.

Mikee Loxxer
March 28, 2007, 06:11 PM
There was an instance covered on a TV show ( Discovery Channel?) where a pistol bullet was either reflected over a berm or was shot over the berm and skipped along a ceiling between two different shooting areas. After freakishly skipping along this ceiling its trajectory became downward and entered a different shooting area striking an individual sitting in a chair (who was not shooting at the time).

Is this the show you guys are thinking of?

DoubleTapDrew
March 28, 2007, 06:15 PM
There was a similar thread here IIRC and somebody cited sources that showed you are much more likely to get killed/injured in ANY other sport (including golf) than shooting.

heypete
March 28, 2007, 06:39 PM
The range near my old house in California (Coyote Point Rifle and Pistol Club -- fun place!) has been in existence since the 1950s or 1960s, and never had an accident when open to the public. Not sure when they're open only to the police.

I believe some people complained that rounds were getting out of the range, but due to the construction of large overhead barriers at the 30, 60, and 90 yard line, as well as an overhang over the berm, that's not really possible. With police approval, the range staff tested these claims and tried to get rounds out of the range (beyond the berm is a dense wooded area and then the San Francisco Bay) and failed. Turns out the rounds that got "out" were unfired cartridges dropped on the beach. Not sure the story behind it, but that's always fun. (At least that's what some of the older guys who work at the range told me -- I was an RSO, but only joined up about two years ago.)

Guido2006
March 28, 2007, 06:53 PM
Its sad, though interesting, that there seems to be a prevalence of suicides with rental guns.

I remember being confused about the policy of places not renting to individual people until I heard about this. I guess they figure you are less likely to "make a mess" if you are there with a friend.

I can only hope that the ranges weren't held liable, although I sure there were plenty of attempts and probably successes to sue them.

Geronimo45
March 28, 2007, 07:21 PM
Think Mikee's got the show right. I saw that too, years ago. The bullet didn't do a 180 - it went over/through the berm and into the roof of the indoor shooting range (I believe it was). Something in the roof deflected the bullet enough to send it down and into the kid's head. Once in a blue moon kind of happenstance.

I expect that suicides far outnumber any other gun range fatalities. As for accidents in general - ROs generally know Cooper's Four Rules, and generally enforce 'em. I think that codifying those rules probably cut accidents more than anything else.

cmidkiff
March 28, 2007, 07:23 PM
I have personally seen:

a .45 slug rebound off of a bowling pin at ~15 feet and hit a guy in the belly... left a welt.

Shrapnel from a 9mm FMJ hit a lady in the neck, it was sharp enough to barely penetrate the skin... required a band aid.

A titanium fin from a muzzle brake on a custom .50BMG broke loose and shot back into a guy's chest. Welt, sore ribs, and what looked like a paper cut approx. 2" long.

That's it... and I've seen a good many rounds go downrange. Probably statistically safer than dancing ballet.

Evil Monkey
March 28, 2007, 07:27 PM
How come every time there's a real accident, the range closes!:scrutiny:

What's up with that?

Or a suicide, now the range is closed! WHAT!?:confused:

Exposure
March 28, 2007, 07:33 PM
I remember the show as well.

I believe it was a complete freak accident where the shooter had a 1911 with a very light trigger. The gun doubled, the first round was on target and the second went over the berm. Directly above the berm were baffles to keep noise down, there was a very small gap in them that the bullet passed through, it then passed through an open door (I think) to the indoor portion of this range, then struck an acoustic ceiling tile which for some unexplainable reason deflected a full power .45 ACP round down and into the young boys head, killing him.

The forensics behind solving the mystery of how that particular round ending up impacting the kid were quite interesting. The shooter was devastated of course. But it actually took some time for all the pieces to come together as to who actually fired the fatal shot.

RNB65
March 28, 2007, 07:35 PM
Was shut down a couple of weeks ago because a woman came in, rented a gun and committed suicide.

Suicides don't count because they aren't accidents. In fact, it appears that suicides at gun ranges are quite common. Haul the body away, hose down the concrete, and get back to shooting.

The range I belong to had a guy get shot in the hand awhile back when his 1911 malfunctioned and went full-auto on him. That's the only gun related accident I've ever heard of there.

distra
March 28, 2007, 07:37 PM
I remember hearing about a range in the Dallas area where a teenager was sitting in the door way behind the firing line and was hit in the head with a bullet that richoceted off the ceiling tile and into his head killing him. The bullet came from the outdoor range that had a poorly constructed backstop that faced the building. The shooter had such a light trigger that he did not realize he had fired multiple rounds. One round went through a crack in the wood backstop, through the steel outer wall, through sheet rock, and richoceted off the ceiling tile with enough energy to be lethal.

RNB65
March 28, 2007, 07:42 PM
I remember hearing about a range in the Dallas area where a teenager was sitting in the door way behind the firing line and was hit in the head with a bullet that richoceted off the ceiling tile and into his head killing him.

Yea, that's the show that several folks above have mentioned. I saw it also. It was a poorly designed backstop, an accidental double tap from a defective 1911, and incredibly bad luck. The bullet took such a strange path of deflections to get inside the building and hit the kid, it was truly a one in a million shot.

Kaylee
March 28, 2007, 07:55 PM
The bullet took such a strange path of deflections to get inside the building and hit the kid, it was truly a one in a million shot.

Yup.

Much like the four rules, it takes multiple infractions to add up to an injury. A shooter not familiar with the pistol, possibly a bad range design (I don't recall the details), and a freak trajectory.

I don't know as range suicides are exactly common, especially when many ranges have already taken steps like requiring memberships or "multiple people in the party" guidelines. Of course it still happens occasionally, but if someone's gonna suicide, they're gonna suicide. If not at a range, they'll figure another way.

-K

Sisco
March 28, 2007, 08:02 PM
We had a private range on the company property where I work. Key word there is "had". As in past tense. It was used quite a bit by employees of the company and other guests for almost 25 years without incident.
One day an employee was practicing with his Glock and shot himself in the leg. According to the report he was re-holstering it and the thumbreak on his holster got caught up in the trigger guard. When he forced it into the holster it went off. (That's his story and he's sticking to it).
Not only is the range now closed down but the entire 10,000 acres has been closed to hunting, even with shotguns and bows.
Knee jerk reaction by corporate lawyers.

DDrake
March 28, 2007, 08:07 PM
This is something I always wondered about. When I first bought my 10/22, I was shooting it (only been to the range maybe 2-3 times) and I got hit in the chest (noticible, but defidently not painfull). I look down and pick up this split-up-slug with what looks like wax in it, and also almost burn myself picking it up. Anyway, the slug was huge... like something that would of come out of a shotgun.


I don't know that much about other firearms other than the 10/22 and the PX4 9mm I own .... so I still have no clue what that thing was that hit me. I should of asked, but I just decided to keep on shooting.



Anyone know?

freakazoid
March 28, 2007, 08:50 PM
Knob Creek:

gun-related: A guy insisted that the minigun folks allow his young daughter to fire the thing. They eventually relented. It was not bagged in well enough, and she couldn't control it, and it got away. It was out of ammo, but still spinning when it hit her.

other: A coupla bubbas decided that things were going to be pretty cold, so they fired up a space heater in an unventilated trailer, and woke up blue.

last fall (non-fatal):

A 20mm shooter ignored some headspace issues, and continued firing. His gun has a head sep, and blows out the magazine, sending shrapnel into his lower body. He can still reproduce.

Bubba back at the campsite decides that he wants to add fuel to a coleman gas stove. He opens it while it was on. Mushroom cloud, and 3rd degree burns. He was drunk enough that he didn't want a dustoff - they took him anyway.

Another bubba decides that people are moving too slowly on the road, and almost runs over some folks. A security guard (Hawk) stops him, and gets drawn on. In the scuffle, Hawk got a shoulder injury (dislocation), and the bubba got jail time.

Last fall was REALLY weird...

I went to that one, my first time ever. :D I actually witnessed the one where the guy got hit by the shrapnel, and I also got it on film, I'm glad to hear that he is doing well. I had heard about the guy getting burnt and the one about the guy hitting someone. There was another thing that had happened. This guy was walking back to the lower parking area at night and he went to step on the bridge but stepped into a whole and fell into the dried out steam.

10-Ring
March 28, 2007, 08:54 PM
I've seen a few. Mostly shots to the ceiling or into the bench -- thankfully not into people!

cwmcgu2
March 28, 2007, 09:31 PM
How come every time there's a real accident, the range closes!

What's up with that?

Or a suicide, now the range is closed! WHAT!?


If the antis start thinking like suicidal Islamic terrorists they could close down all the ranges country!

HammerBite
March 28, 2007, 09:32 PM
I used to shoot at Coyote Point 1964-70. I don't think anything could get through those sand filled overhead baffles.

I remember once someone complained about "rifle wads" on the beach. Turns out they were cigarette filters.

TRIGGER51B
March 28, 2007, 09:51 PM
I have never heard of an accident at any of the ranges I have been at. Though there was an incident at a gun show in springfield MA. An anti gunner had gone in to the show went to a table were an ffl had some shot guns I guess from what I heard he loaded a shotgun with a round that he brought with him when no one was looking then asked to see the gun and discharged the gun in to the ceiling. One of the guys that went with me to the show was a cop and got the skinny from the cops on detail.

aerod1
March 28, 2007, 10:03 PM
I will be 63 years old in two weeks and have been shooting most of my life. I have never witnessed an accidental shooting either at the range or off the range. I hope I never do.
You guys have two weeks in which to pick out my birthday present. Another 1911 will do just fine!:D

joe4702
March 28, 2007, 11:08 PM
After several suicides, an indoor range I sometimes use won't let you rent a gun if you are alone and didn't bring a gun with you. The theory being someone coming to the range alone and sans gun MIGHT be thinking of suicide (if they already had a gun, why would they bother to come to the range to off themselves?). Don't know whether they've had any more suicides since this policy went into effect.

FieroCDSP
March 29, 2007, 12:44 AM
an accidental double tap from a defective 1911

I've seen this one as well, but I think I saw it on Court TV one night. The gun wasn't defective, he lightened the trigger to drop time on his strings. I think they eventually nailed him for neglegence because the gun was unsafe after he modified it.

Sven
March 29, 2007, 01:20 AM
I was at Targetmasters in Milpitas (a bit of an interesting place to shoot sometimes... lets just say I don't wear red or blue when I shoot there) when a revolver with bad timing shaved lead, which flew through the tiny gap between the baffles and hit the side of my glasses, leaving a big nick in the lens. If I had just been wearing glasses (without side protection) I might have a different sense of depth perception.

Another freak story: my buddy and I were shooting our pellet guns from inside his little cottage in Palo Alto (using the house as a sort of silencer). I took a shot, it hit the target 25 yards down range, hit the wood behind it, and came back and hit me dead center in the chest relatively hard... the pellet then fell to the floor. What are the odds?

We started wearing eye protection at that point. :)

That's my story™.

mountainclmbr
March 29, 2007, 01:24 AM
Never had or saw a shooting accident. Have had two traffic accidents where 16yo drivers made left turns into oncoming traffic (me), resulting in head-on collisions. People should focus on the big risks and ridicule those trying to make up scairy, but rare risks.

Remander
March 29, 2007, 01:54 AM
a revolver with bad timing shaved lead, which flew through the tiny gap between the baffles and hit the side of my glasses, leaving a big nick in the lens.

I had a .44 mag do the same to me while a friend was shooting. We were teenagers banging cans in a dump, and I was standing to the side of him several feet away. A metal shard lodged in the skin under my left eye. Removed it with no damage done, just a little blood, but lesson learned. Close call on the eye.

I have also had lead splatter from steel targets and hit me or others shooting in the area. Usually it was just a slight sensation. But one guy took a 9mm splash-back from a steel-plate rack between the eyes, and it left a red welt.

Notes: Don't stand to the side of a revolver shooter.
Wear eye protection!

hqmhqm
March 29, 2007, 02:03 AM
My club was shut down for a year when a round escaped the range and embedded into a house behind it.

The local police force had been given permission to do training there, and they apparently were having some kind of party while shooting. :mad:

That's the only serious incident that was related to me about the club.

cbsbyte
March 29, 2007, 03:37 AM
Thankfully I have not witnessed any accidents at a gun range. I have witnessed plenty of unsafe saftey conditions, and weapon handling that made me consider only shooting at clubs with fulltime range officers.

On a side note, the Smith & Wesson Shooting sports center, in Springfield MA has had a few sucides over the years when they allowed people to walk in off the street and rent a gun. People would use it for a quick way to end their problems. They now have full time range officers in the shooting area.

TRIGGER51B
March 29, 2007, 06:42 PM
My club was shut down for a year when a round escaped the range and embedded into a house behind it.

The local police force had been given permission to do training there, and they apparently were having some kind of party while shooting.

Was this in MA.

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