Stolen Gun(s) at the Range?


Jeff Thomas
January 3, 2004, 07:47 PM
Daedalus's post about a forgotten handgun got me wondering about a potential I've not yet suffered, but been concerned about ... having a quality firearm stolen at the range.

With the high prices of quality hardware, I am always reluctant (read never) to go to the range by myself. Just not comfortable leaving a nice rifle or pistol all by its lonesome on the bench while I go downrange to check or replace targets.

Am I the rare, overly-worried guy? What do you folks do? I end up always taking someone with me, which has its own benefits, of course. But there have been times when a solitary trip to the range would have been enjoyable as well.

I recognize it depends on the range, neighborhood, etc., but really ... what's your experience?

Regards from TX

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January 3, 2004, 08:01 PM
I always keep a loaded one hidden on my person....just in case...;)

Mark Tyson
January 3, 2004, 08:08 PM
The two miscreants in the 1986 Miami FBI shootout stole some of their guns from a firing range after shooting the owner, didn't they?

January 3, 2004, 08:09 PM
I guess you`re talking about outdoors where you could be 300 yds. downrange checking your target? I`m like seeker but a 300 yd. shot with a snub usually doesn`t work.:scrutiny:

Where I shoot I can back the truck close enough to lock the rifle up. Your way is about the best though, a shooting buddy.

Jeff Thomas
January 3, 2004, 08:12 PM
Yep ... talking about outdoors, at ranges of 50 to 100 yards, for example.

The FBI shootout thugs attacked casual shooters out in the Everglades, as I recall ... but that is another good point about informal ranges in the boondocks.

I too keep a loaded pistol on me ... though I would sure hate to rely on that if my adversary had picked up a rifle off the bench.

Regards from TX

January 3, 2004, 08:31 PM
Ahhh, I still have a little faith in humanity, but I don't trust em as far as I can throw em.

I'm usually with friend or friends, but frequently shoot by myself. I, too, carry an extra, unseen, piece.

January 3, 2004, 08:40 PM
You know I have thought about it that situation before. Then I thought someone would have to be really stupid to try and steal a gun at a place where everyone (or almost everyone is armed). I guess its possible but man that is really a recipe for disaster because if I saw you pick up my weapon at a range and I was downrange you wouldnt get much of a chance to explain yourself. I think that by picking up my weapon while I am downrange you have easily given me reason to draw on you unless your a good friend. Even a good friend would have some serious explaining to do if he broke the rules at the range.

January 3, 2004, 09:33 PM
Criminals are everywhere. I was at a large IPSC match some years ago, one of Rob Leatham's guns was stolen off a table in the vendors tent.

January 3, 2004, 10:42 PM
Technology has solved this problem with two magnificant inventions.....

Holsters and Slings.

If there's no one on the line to watch things, there's no one to tell you you cant pack it down range.

January 3, 2004, 10:56 PM
:D In Utah, there is no one else at the my range :D

January 3, 2004, 11:10 PM
I don't leave any gun ever laying around. When shooting with friends we take turns watching them while performing other duties (targets, etc).

January 4, 2004, 09:33 AM
Technology has solved this problem with two magnificant inventions..... Holsters and Slings. If there's no one on the line to watch things, there's no one to tell you you cant pack it down range.

I usually have 5-6 rifles and 4-5 handguns with my for a "fun" session at the range. I don't know if I could make it to the 100yd line & back, much less the 200yd! :D

I've thought about this problem, but there's usually a few folks I know at the range when I go. Lots of "regulars". We keep strangers away from each others stuff.

If I happen to be there alone, I don't take everything out at once. Parking is right behind the firing line so it's easy to get things out of the car when needed.


January 4, 2004, 11:20 AM
About 2 years ago I noticed 2 young punks (I'm sure they were fine young gentlemen, but dressed like Punks) eying an AR-15 left at the table while the guy was down range. As I watched they began to move closer to the rifle and began to look around to see who was watching.

I quickly began to walk towards them and when one of them saw me he quickly poked his buddy and they quickly walked away (acting like they were just out for a stroll.

I told the guy who owned the AR and we both kept an eye on them for the next 10 minutes or so. We watched them closely as they would watch as people went down range, and then approach the line as people were downrange. But they both realized we were watching them so they left (without ever shooting or checking out at the range office.

I will never know for sure, but I'm sure they weren't out to appreciate a day at the range

January 4, 2004, 11:54 AM
If I'm there alone, I carry the gun(s) down range with me. I never take more than one rifle and one pistol at a time anyway.

I've heard reports of people hiding in the woods near the firing line, waiting for people to go set/check targets, and then running out of the woods, grabbing what they can off the bench, and running.... Although I've never known anyone who its personally happened to. I'd be really pissed if someone took an expensive rifle or handgun though, so better safe than sorry... carry them with you at all times if there is no one to watch them for you.

January 4, 2004, 12:34 PM
I wonder if others at the range would even notice if someone walked over and picked up your gun while you are downrange. Seems like we're a lot more "I don't wanna get involved" these days.

Similarly, I often wonder how many guns "walk" out of gunshops.

One question I want answered about the DC sniper case is how John Muhammad was able to steal a freaking Bushmaster out of a gun shop!

January 4, 2004, 01:32 PM
My range time is specific to one or two guns, no more. And never more than one on the line at a time. The other is always cased and locked in a vehicle until needed. Normally a friend or family member remains at the shooting position or it gets carried with me.
I too also carry an unseen pistol in case the range needs to go hot in the other direction.

January 4, 2004, 01:59 PM
"Daedalus's post about a forgotten handgun got me wondering about a potential I've not yet suffered, but been concerned about ... having a quality firearm stolen at the range.

With the high prices of quality hardware...."

Heck I wouldn't even want aCHEAP piece of hardware finding it's way into a thief's hands.

With my luck, some jerkwad would steal my $99 .32 auto, blow his own hand off with it and then sue ME.:rolleyes:

January 4, 2004, 05:22 PM
one of our club members had an HK33 diappear out of a car at the range many years ago. Never saw it again, and it never turned up in recovered stolen property either. Police said, "we'll overlook this one, but if this happens again you're going to be looking for a new sport."
Another member (different club) had two .22 pistols stolen from the clubhouse, I think, just before the pistol ban. He drew six months in jail for looseing them, a pretty remarkable achievement to actually draw jail time for a first offence.

January 4, 2004, 06:13 PM
I always go with someone so we can take turns changing targets.
One of my shooting friends has a bad habit of firing a few rounds with a rifle, then leaving it on the bench to go to the pistol range for a while.
When I asked him about it he muttered something about the 03 kicking a bit, so he needed a break.
It's a good thing it was a busy range with lots of honest people using it.:D

January 4, 2004, 09:50 PM
I guess there's a benefit to shooting old, blue revolvers and .22 bolt actions - nobody wants them, especially the younger guys. ;) John

January 4, 2004, 10:42 PM
During line break, I walked out to check my target, and returned to find one of my M1A magazines stolen :cuss:

You'd think people would me smarter than to steal from armed people :cuss:

January 4, 2004, 11:18 PM
I guess this is one benefit of shooting at a state-run (conservation dept.) range. The range rules are terribly restrictive, but between the officers on the line and those in the booth, they do a great job of monitoring what's going on. Each booth has a "gate" (retractable nylon strap) which is closed unless you are entering or exiting the booth. Anyone reaching into the booth when the line is cold will get quickly and sternly reminded not to do so. The officers on the line walk the line and personally inspect the arms in each booth (making sure they are propery racked and unloaded) at each cease fire.

I get real tired sometimes of hearing people get reprimanded (or getting reprimanded myself) for benign stuff, but it does force a person to be diligent in their safe gun-handling practices. It does remind me, though, that these guys are always watching. Not that somebody COULDN'T sneak away with someone else's property (gun or otherwise), but you'd have to be pretty bold to try to do so under these watchful eyes.

Captain Scarlet
January 5, 2004, 11:39 AM
several years ago when I went down range a nosey guy picked up my
M1A while I was down range without my permission, I started putting
signs on my table saying "DONT TOUCH" the guy said he just wanted to
see who made the rifle?

another time somebody stole several stripper clips of 7.62x39 ammo off
my table while my back was turned and I was down range.

now I usually lock it in my trunk when Im down range and just leave the
shooting mat on the table or sand bags, anything of value gets locked up
unless I have someone to keep an eye on my stuff.

rock jock
January 5, 2004, 05:35 PM
My local club has a number-coded automatic gate. That keeps most of the BG's out. But I usually carry a handgun at the range just in case.

January 5, 2004, 05:39 PM
I live out sort of in the woods, can shoot anything I want within three miles of my house. This summer I went down to a local spot and was setting up targets while waiting for my shooting buddy. A low rider car slowly passed by, there were five thugs in it, they carefully eyed me (52, white hair, 5'10, 180), then drove on. I continued unpacking but loaded a BHP and stuck it in my belt. I heard four car doors close down the road, then saw them strolling my way. Toboggans pulled down to their eyebrows, red sweatshirtss, hands in the center pockets, just when they were about 30yds from me my buddy came driving up. Ken is 6'2, has more hair than Jedediah Smith, and got out of the truck wearing two pistols. He looked at me standing there, looked at them, said loudly" What's this ****", pulled out his .357 S&W and fired two shots at the target. Then he walked over to me and stood there with gun in hand. I had drawn out the BHP. They executed the most perfect about face I've ever seen, walked back to the car, and drove away. I don't go shooting by myself anymore.


January 5, 2004, 05:44 PM
I always keep a loaded one hidden on my person....just in case...

Same here.....

January 5, 2004, 10:08 PM
I go shooting with a friend almost exclusively, just for the extra pair of eyes. Although there have been times that we both go downrange at the same time to check targets, I guess I will have to sling those rifles next time. I guess the gun range is one of the places where we are lulled into a false sense of security.
I have never had anyone paw at my guns while my attention is a little divided, but sometimes people come slinking by the firing line and look at the rifles in a way that kind of makes me uncomfortable. I do not know if it is just me, but sometimes I get the feeling I am getting "cased" by some of the visitors.
But then again if someone breaks out a real nice M1 or G3 at the range I do plenty of gawking myself.

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