Was I safe or was I in error?


September 7, 2003, 09:54 PM
Ok, I was at the range and got yelled at. Why? Because my handgun muzzle was pointed straight down at the ground with the slide locked back and apparently it was considered unsafe that way. The solution was to point the muzzle up instead. I was always taught that down is considered a safe direction to point, anyone have an opinion? I appreciate strict rules for safety at the range and don't mind being corrected, but I don't see myself as being unsafe in this case.

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September 7, 2003, 10:03 PM
I think it depends on the floor.
Concrete: Unsafe.
Dirt: Safer (watch your toes.)

September 7, 2003, 10:08 PM
Really depends on the area.
But remember, bullets come back down.

4v50 Gary
September 7, 2003, 10:17 PM
Downrange is the safest but consider other things.

First, down towards dirt is generally safer than in the air. To paraphrase an old saying, I shot a bullet into the air, where it went I do not care?. Second, what jhisaac1 says: concrete not safe.

Final consideration - range rules of that particular range.

September 7, 2003, 10:41 PM
I guess it all depends on the range master but generally down range would be the best I'd think.

September 7, 2003, 10:56 PM
Seems that the rules of that range would have priority.
If they seem unsafe, politely question them.
If you don't like the answer, go where you are more comfortable.


September 7, 2003, 11:24 PM
Was the mag in the gun? Bullets in the mag?
If the mag was removed I'd think that having the slide locked back it wouldn't really matter where your gun was pointed. If the mag was in the gun then the RO prolly would have a difficult time telling if the mag was loaded and could have been concerned about a slamfire if you accidentally released the slide. Unfortunately nowdays if you had it pointed down and you somehow fired it and were hit in the foot you could probably sue the range.
Just my 2 cents

September 7, 2003, 11:32 PM
Well, downrange is best, but I was moving from a rear bench to the forward bench. There was also no magazine in the gun.

Standing Wolf
September 8, 2003, 12:07 AM
If you're indoors, floors aren't safe to point at; if you're outdoors, the ground is probably safe, although a.) gravel can deflect bullets, and b.) it's mighty difficult to regenerate toes.

September 8, 2003, 12:17 AM
If you were at Angeles Range, then you broke one of the safety rules that you read when you filled out the waiver. Once you step away from the bench, you must hold the muzzle up. The covered area is concrete and with so many shooters, it isn't safe to point it down. The only way the range officers can be sure your muzzle isn't pointed at someone's feet is if its straight up.

September 8, 2003, 09:01 AM
yelled at?
sorry but you dont yell at people who are holding guns.
my guess is that the RO is some old former navy petty officer who likes to scream and spout off.
i cant stand being at the public ranges and be trying to sight in a rifle...
Breath, Relax, get sight picture, sqeeeeze..

Double Naught Spy
September 8, 2003, 09:46 AM
timbo, muzzle discipline is muzzle discipline regardless of whether the slide is locked back and/or the mag is out of the gun. I think you also forgot to mention that your finger was off the trigger, right?

While undoubtedly true about the slide and magazine, way too many people get shot or injured by guns that are 'unloaded' or 'safed.'

More than likely, you would have been much better off transporting the gun in a rug and where each gun is in its own rug or all fit in one rug. Handling of guns behind the firing line is against the rules at many ranges, hence the need for the rug to bring the gun to the firing line without you having to handle it, put it in the rug, or dropping the mag and racking the slide. Of course, if you were transporting a gun between areas within the range, you have to do it by whatever rules the range dictates.

September 8, 2003, 03:20 PM
I don't shoot IDPA, but I practiced for a while with a fellow who did. One of the rules that he mentioned to me was that when not shooting but changing position etc the rule was "Make Safe" and then holster the weapon. Only after that could the shooter move around the course.

In a game like skeet the participants walk around behind the firing line with the actions open. With the Over/Unders it is easy to see that the gun is broken open but with the autos and pumps it is less obvious that the actions are open. The skeet players by my observation seem to be less concerned with barrel direction but that is one reason why they prefer the actions that break open.

At my club the rule for the outdoor handgun and long gun ranges are that all weapons are always pointed downrange or they are cased. In fact the cases that hold my rifles and shotguns all have an arrow on the outside to identify which way the muzzle is pointing before the case is opened. Our rules are that if you open your case and the weapn is not pointed downrange then you close the case and turn it around.


September 8, 2003, 08:11 PM
Well, to help clarify further, I wasn't even holding the gun by the grip, instead I was holding it by the barrel/slide, pointed down, with the grip sticking out as if it were the barrel, if you can imagine that. In this case my finger wouldn't fit very well into the trigger guard if I tried. Also, I transport it in a case normally, and that day I brought it to the range in the case. I did have to take it out of the case on one bench and take it to the line though, a walk of about 8-10 feet. Unless I was actually on the line, pointing downrange would not be allowed either.

I'm not trying to defend what I did, I just want opinions on if what I did was wrong, I'll correct myself in the future. I just need to unlearn years of teaching that "down" is a safe direction.

September 8, 2003, 11:13 PM
Rather than beat yourself up over whether you were right or wrong,

find somewhere else to shoot.

Some safety considerations and common sense are just fine, but if you find somewhere to shoot that is not crowded and happens to be unsupervised... you can experience true freedom and joy in your pastime .

I don't shoot at indoor ranges. I have never been told I must stand here, I cannot shoot a watermelon, tomatoes are verboten, I need to stand back and wait, blah blah blah.

I park my truck anywhere I choose on the shooting range, use the tailgate as a shooting table, shoot at whatever I want to bring with, pick up the mess, and leave.

If someone happens to be occupying my shooting area when I arrive, I force them to shoot a few of my targets and firearms before they go.

Costs me fifteen bucks a year to conform.

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