Being swept at Range


September 23, 2010, 08:42 AM
So on business in ATL and at the indoor local range in Sandy Springs - really nice range. Shooting my AK and couple of pistols yesterday. Guy next to me, friendly enough shooting his AR. First thing that concerned me was that he shot the target at about a yard away blowing paper everywhere... After he was done he was walking around sweeping the muzzle all over the place. Also placed the rifle on a back table with the muzzle faceing toward the viewing area. Since I was next to him I said "ho ho easy with the muzzle". He was friendly again and said he was "done" I ask also friendly to be careful so I wouldn't be "done" also. I shoot at the Tampa WAC and it would be a full on freak out if you did that. We case and uncase at the line with muzzle always down range. I also use a chamber flag in the AK when I am done. There were no range officers present when this went on. It was friendly but I felt uncomfortable asking him to be safe at his home range. When do you keep quiet and when do you say "hey, that's unsafe gun handling" especially when not your range?

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September 23, 2010, 08:56 AM
If someone is being unsafe, possibly endangering myself or others at the range, it's time to either speak up, or leave (maybe both), regardless of where I am.

September 23, 2010, 09:31 AM
Definitely agree with Creade. I have also found that shooters who "sweep" others are typically inexperienced shooters and most of the time will be receptive to constructive criticism. Additionally, the range master could be made aware in a less than obvious manner and he could discreetly rectify the problem. When it comes to safety though, I wouldn't be concerned about being shy to speak up.

September 23, 2010, 09:51 AM
You NEVER keep quiet when safety is subject. You dont need to make a scene but if you have a logical concern about safety you either speak up or get out quick. I will take a butt chewing, get glared at, whatever, if it means I dont get swept or even worse, injured. When in the military one of the first things you are told when at the range is that EVERYONE is a safety officer so if you see an unsafe act do not wait for the actual RO to act. I have stepped in a few times at public ranges when common safety protocol was dismissed, which is another reason why I am always aware of my surroundings. It is also why I now belong to a private club.

A few months ago, I was at a local store picking up some things. Near the back where you can pick up catalog items there is a counter. A gentleman and his older son were there with AR's picking up more accessories. I dont know if he had just put one on but he was swinging that thing all over the place. I noticed where he was pointing there were no people but still kept a very close eye on him. Finally when he went to put it back on the counter he flipped it around and laid it down pointing directly at me. He must have felt a hole being burned in his head, he looked up real quick, saw me glance toward the rifle and before I could speak he gave me the "oops I didnt even think about it" look and swung it back around pointed in a safe direction.

September 23, 2010, 10:05 AM
Making a comment to a person at the range regarding muzzle sweeping or other safety issues is a judgement call. I have seen people who get overly upset over tiny things and people who pay no attention what so ever and trust their fellow shooters that a gun is unloaded or will not fire. For me, I follow my gut when making comments along these lines. But if someone's behavior is making me uncomfortable, I will often say something. But it usually will have to be after more than one "infraction".

I would prefer not to shoot with someone who constantly watches you for safety infractions. It makes me very uncomfortable and I don't want to be around them. You can be perfectly safe and they still watch you.... gets old. The other side of the coin is that you can be habitually unsafe and a few constructive comments are not a bad thing.

Carl N. Brown
September 23, 2010, 10:28 AM
The only sweeping at a range should be with a broom clearing empties or debris.

Muzzle straight up or down range only. When not in use, CMP flag in chamber. No gun handling while someone is down range.

It is better to call attention to safety violations than allow someone to get accidentally shot. Specially if it's you.

September 23, 2010, 10:35 AM
When do you keep quiet and when do you say "hey, that's unsafe gun handling" especially when not your range?
1) Never keep quite
2) If the problem persists, be "not quite" loud enough so management will hear. If they toss you, they are morons and you are better off being out of the place.

September 23, 2010, 10:48 AM
I was discrete and frienly. He said he was safe and aware but was not demonstrated by his actions. I explained I am very safe but expeienced a ND with a Glock .45 that put a hole through the ceiling. I respect muzzle so the only damage was to my roof. It taught me a scary lesson - I told him this story with tongue in cheek and he agreed so I hope I got my point across in a friendly way.

September 23, 2010, 11:46 AM
You NEVER keep quiet when safety is subject. You dont need to make a scene but if you have a logical concern about safety you either speak up or get out quick.

I try to NEVER make sweeping generalizations. It happens here sometimes and I am reminded of my generalization. But if that is how you feel, so be it.

September 23, 2010, 11:51 AM

It sounds like you did the best you could under the circumstances. I also think safety is an issue for everyone. As long as you were friendly and he let you know that he was aware that might have been all that was needed. Some folks don't know enough to even realize that they are not being safe. A friendly reminder never hurt anyone, and may save someones life.

September 23, 2010, 12:49 PM
There's a smart way and a dumb way to approach any situation. sounds like you handled it fairly and without confrontation. that's the way.

John Wayne
September 23, 2010, 12:57 PM
It's a problem that too often goes unnoticed or gets brushed off. In my experience, shooters who sweep people with the muzzle of their gun are either:

-in the military

The military guys seem to get the most offended if you bring it up to them. They act like there's nothing wrong with it, and that you're some sort of wuss for even addressing it.

Ragnar Danneskjold
September 23, 2010, 01:10 PM
The military guys seem to get the most offended if you bring it up to them. They act like there's nothing wrong with it, and that you're some sort of wuss for even addressing it.

I hope you used a good primer before you start painting with that broad brush.

September 23, 2010, 01:11 PM
Yeah, us military guys are just careless and stupid.

September 23, 2010, 01:20 PM
My brother, a former Marine, shot me in the leg with a rental pistol at an indoor range.

September 23, 2010, 01:26 PM
"Hey! Watch where you point that thing!" (friendly the first time, a butt-chewing if it happens again)

September 23, 2010, 01:32 PM
My brother, a lifelong civilian, accidentally shot his BMW in the garage...

John Wayne
September 23, 2010, 01:37 PM
Years back, a guy I went to school with joined the Marines. 2 years later, he was killed in a firearms-related "training accident." If it was murder, someone would have been charged, but no, someone accidentally shot him because of carelessness.

A Sergaent I know who recently retired from the Army said he'd seen a soldier shot in the back of the head because of the carelessness and disregard of another soldier.

I purchased a new pistol and showed it to my friend who was in the Marine Corps at the time. The gun I handed him was unloaded, but he did not check the chamber and waved the gun around when gesturing towards things (including me.)

Another friend, in the National Guard, was showing a group of our friends the difficulties associated with shooting a rifle while wearing body armor, using an AR-15 to demonstrate. During the course of his demonstration, the rifle was pointed (not aimed) at a man across the room. Whenever our friend turned around with the AR in hand, the muzzle went with him, at waist height, across a room full of people.

My roommate had a cousin in the Navy who was selling his S&W M&P .40 C before he shipped out. He was the type of guy who liked to dry fire the gun with his hand in front of the muzzle, and did so repetitively, irrespective of what the bullet would have hit once it went through his hand.

A friend in the Marines who recently got back from Iraq showed me several pictures and videos of his tour on his laptop. One video had him singing kareoke, and he grabbed the barrel of a loaded M-16 to use as a "microphone." The other involved a Marine pointing an unloaded M-9 at another Marine's head, dropping the slide and pulling the trigger to see if he would flinch.

Not long ago on THR, there was a case where a soldier blew his hand off because he used a live .50 BMG round as a hammer.

I am not saying that everyone in the military is careless with firearms. It has been my experience, however, that unless an individual goes into the military with a good understanding of safety and respect for weapons, they don't develop it there. The usual response I get from someone in the military that is handling a gun carelessly is an egotistical remark that they're in the military and that because it happens all the time in the military I have nothing to worry about.

My brother, a lifelong civilian, accidentally shot his BMW in the garage...
Unfortunate, but pointing a firearm at an inanimate object that is capable of stopping a bullet, should one be discharged, is completely different than pointing a gun at a human being. A BMW is an expensive backstop, but in this case a backstop nonetheless. Compare the consequences of what your brother did with what Longhair75's brother did--they are not the same.

Ragnar Danneskjold
September 23, 2010, 01:38 PM
That has been the exact opposite of my experience.

September 23, 2010, 01:56 PM
My daughter and I were shooting at my club just last week. It's almost deer hunting season, so lots of people are sighting-in their rifles and shotguns.

As we were shooting, I noticed a father and his two kids behind us with their rifles/shotguns uncased. I put my gun down just to see exactly what was going on and noticed that they were loading slugs into their shotguns right behind us!

Needless to say I quickly, loudly and politely asked that they move to the line if they wished to continue loading their shotguns. While the father quickly realized his error and apologized, we left the range shortly after that incident.

September 23, 2010, 02:03 PM
Whoa guys........Retired Military here......please post accordingly. :D

Full Metal Jacket
September 23, 2010, 02:26 PM
there's morons at my indoor range that load the guns at the back table and walk them to the firing line, despite being against the rules.

a few of those imbeciles have swept me with the muzzle too....:cuss:

the gunshop owners will say something if they see them, but they usually don't.

September 23, 2010, 02:30 PM
I took my girlfriend to the range for the first time (NRA in Fairfax). She was a little spooked walking in but I had spent the evening beforehand showing her how to correctly hold and aim each firearm we were taking. As we were doing this we pretended that my fireplace was downrange and she should handle each piece accordingly.

In the end she aced the safety test and didn't have a single safety hiccup while on the firing line. She even told me she really likes my S&W I'll have to hide it :uhoh:

September 23, 2010, 04:51 PM
What bothers me even more when I make a serious but friendly comment about sweeping is when I hear "it's ok, it's empty."


September 23, 2010, 05:04 PM
I've taken a few guests to the (indoor) range to shoot for the first time.

We go over safe handling at home, then again at the range.

Then I watch over them like a hawk, esp when moving from bench to back table. I often have my hand on their wrists at such times even tho I also eject mags at the line first.

This is another thing that I think just develops...and develops quickly... with proper training. I always carry my gun pointed is a solid habit, even in the house when going to another room to dry fire.

I've only been shooting a year and the safety rules were the first things taught to me and since they were all I ever knew, became quickly ingrained as habits. So IMO when you see people sweeping or with fingers on triggers, it shows a lack of 'proper' training or major carelessness.

Another note: sometimes you dont realize you are sweeping. When I joined IDPA practices, I found out I was regularly sweeping my own hand when I reholstered. I only use a holster for IDPA (I purse carry) and hadnt been taught any holstering techniques, just practiced at home. Those IDPA practices have been invaluable for many reasons.

September 23, 2010, 05:16 PM
I just posted in the 'hobby' thread and wrote down cowboy mounted shooting. Made me think of this thread again.

You want to talk about 'swept!' Wow, it takes some getting used to. The .45 cal loads are small blackpowder loads and only go 10-20 feet. Many people who get into the sport arent experienced shooters. Safety is taught, but not to the same extent.

You see guns pointed all over the place! People do shout reminders and such....because you can hurt yourself or your horse.... but still...sometimes it gives me a good start.

September 23, 2010, 05:21 PM
I agree IPDA/IPSC is some of the best training, I really see it in my kid who I would trust more than most adults. What got him to the range was too much Airsoft which I thought (IMHO) was detaching him from the reality of firearms and since I have a case full of them it was that time. He does look a bit down on his friends that play with "toys" now ;)

September 23, 2010, 05:35 PM
Indoor range also has a gun sales counter.

While shooting down the range, I turned and looked over my shoulder through the glass (not bulletproof) and a customer was aiming an AR-15 at me. :what:

Maybe he wasn't aiming it directly at me, but from 25 feet away I sure couldn't tell that.:cuss:

I spoke with the range owners about it, and they shrugged it off, saying "You're right, but since we handle them all the time and know they're not loaded get used to it."

I politely but firmly told them I didn't get "used to it" and, framing my argument toward their interests, reminded them that it created a huge liability for their business.

September 23, 2010, 06:05 PM
I get on their a** when they do it to me. They can get their panties in a wad if they want to, but I bet they are more careful afterwards. Anyway, they need to hear it, even if the only ones learning from it are the other shooters around listening and thinking, gee, what an idiot, I don't want to be that guy. (No, not me, the idiot who swept me. :D)

September 23, 2010, 07:02 PM
I have no problem at all in giving somebody instruction on that. It happens, sometimes totally innocently and if so, often they're embarrassed and apologetic. Sometimes they don't get it or don't care. In that case I head for the range officer. Given that I know them all and the usual suspects in such a behavior are NOT regulars over there, I get an ear. They're not big on tossing people out, but they almost always get people's attention and it's enough.


September 23, 2010, 07:11 PM
I'm old and and have lasted this long by caring about gun safety. Two yrs ago with nothing else to do went to a state(W&F) range to shoot some of my varmint rifles. No range oficer(Budget Cuts!). The yahoos that showed up there you would no believe. The person that finished it had a SKS with 30 shot clip (no russian stuff at home but have M1A,CETME,AR15, etc.). He turned to the bacl of the firing line and inserted a loaded 30 rd clip in turned and swept me with the rifle. He was 3 benches down from e so I said in a not unfriendly voice to remove the clip -clear the action- put the rifle on the bench pointed downrange. I told him at that point he was free to load and shoot as long as the line was "HOT". He then turned and swept me with the loaded rifle again without doing what I had asked. At that point I asked him if he intended to shoot me. He responded "no". I then told him that I had been shot once and did not care to be shot again and if he swept me one more time with a loaded weapon I would respond in kind with a loaded varmint rifle with 4 oz of trigger pull. Who knew what kind of horrible accident could happen? It was a radical display from a old man (68 then) but I just tired of people who show no concern for their fellow man. RANT OVER!

September 23, 2010, 07:30 PM
Evidently the instructors that teach our service members have many varying methods to teach muzle dicipline. I distinctly remeber a guy sweeping a sargent while in MCT, and the next thing that Pvt knew, he was staring at the sky with a screaming headache. NDs/ADs happen, and by deffinition NOT when expected/wanted. Any time the business end of a firearm is involved, it is imperative that attention be payed to where it is pointed. I would definatly say something if somebody was being careless/unsafe with guns in hand. Any sort of irrisponsible activities that an anti can doccumant is just one more thing that can be used against gun ownership.

September 23, 2010, 09:13 PM
spend 30 minutes in the office with a few plain clothed detectives, then realize you have been swept over a dozen times with loaded guns, more if they carry a backup. or the people that cc with a shoulder holster...paranoid yet? you should be. I was swept hundreds if not thousands of times on the fields of battle, by more friendlies than I can count. If I notice the sweep, I move if I can. If there are to many people at the range, I leave. I don't expect everyone to know what the %^$$ they are doing with a firearm. How many times has my neighbor swept me with a loaded firearm from within his house? I will quit now, I am scaring myself.

September 23, 2010, 09:31 PM
Did I miss something? I thought at one time there was a list of board members at Gpal. I cannot find any reference to it now when I visit the gpal site. Can someone please provide a link?I don't think it counts if the gun is secured in a holster (that covers the trigger) or a case at the time. :rolleyes:

September 23, 2010, 09:55 PM
I attended an outdoor expo at a state park here in Nebraska this past weekend. One of the attractions was a trap range. Everything was free so we jumped in line to shoot a few clays. While we were at the front of the line one of the "range officers" placed one of the shotguns in the crook of his arm, barrel up. He let the barrel droop pointing it straight at everyone standing in line. Since we were at the front of the line both my uncle and I made fairly loud comments about pointing the gun in another direction and having a little muzzle discipline. None of the other range officers seemed to take note.

We shot our clays and began to walk away. As we were doing so, I looked back and watched the same guy lean over the barrel of one of the shotguns as he pulled it out of the rack. Unfortunately, Darwin wasn't at the expo that day. :rolleyes:

September 23, 2010, 10:24 PM
If it was murder, someone would have been charged, but no, someone accidentally shot him because of carelessness.

Murder requires intent. An accident, no matter how negligent, is not murder.

Many of us have had loved ones killed by someone else's negligence or stupidity. Today's society deems that it is no big deal. Trust me, it's a big deal to me..but I appear to be in the minority. :mad:

September 23, 2010, 10:33 PM
The only ranges i have access to here are actually hunting areas that DLNR, turns a blind eye too (for the most part). So far pretty much everyone ive met has been quite safe, even the folks youd expect to be idiots have tended to keep there guns down range and practice safe handling (checking chambers not withstanding). Maybe ive just been lucky, or maybe its the fact that there ARE no range officers here so every one has to take care of there own.

September 23, 2010, 10:52 PM
Getting swept at the range is nothing compared to having someone turn off the cease fire light while you're still downrange.

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