Range Hazards? - What are yours?


July 10, 2011, 11:14 AM
What are some range hazards you encounter at your local ranges?

I guess people and guns could be a primary hazard. So I left them off as it is a given. You are welcome to list them as they are a big part of safety and could easily save a life.

I was thinking along the lines of secondary hazards. Those that might be encounter when no shooting is taking place. I didn't list everything, just the short list.

Ants, wasp, spiders and snakes are the critter hazards. Sun/heat, mud and lighting are the environmental hazards. Anything more is range specific.

Wasps nest (paper of mud) under the benches can be a hazard.
The paper wasp love to get on the toilet paper roll in the port-o-let. Most guys don't notice them going in. I try to stay out of port-o-lets as a rule.

I don't see ant piles on the raised shooting points at the ranges where I shoot. I think they must be spraying for them. I still look for them. Ants are just relentless.

I watch for snakes as well. More so where there is some cover. A few ranges here (police) have snakes on a regular basis. One has alligators

I did have a spider hitch a ride in a rifle case. I happened to open it outside for some reason. Big eight legged brown hairy monster thought he owned the space. Now I keep everything closed up better and less available to infestation.

** I attended a class where the instructor addressed safety first off. It went into where are we bringing the GSW and what are we bringing them in. It was sobering but effective. Now I alway have a map to the ranges left at home. I know the local hospitals where abouts. I call home periodically, But on arrival and after departing at a minimum. Everyone knows the others emergency contact info. Knowing where the keys to the vehicles are is easy to do.

Hopefully this will be interesting and educational.

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July 10, 2011, 01:07 PM
Diamondbacks, Cottonmouths and Coral snakes and black bears. We have one named Buddy Bear that comes out whenever he pleases...including during matches. We stop, wait and he eventually wanders back in the woods.

The biggest threat is uneducated shooters.

July 10, 2011, 02:10 PM
Extreme heat (any time of year), 8 shooters firing in a narrow concrete corridor, employees that handle weapons unsafely (Sorry, but your converted Glock 17 isn't all that cool when you're hitting everything BUT the target and I'm seeing a half-dozen ricochets off the wall!) and a steel backstop at the end of the 20 yard lane keeps me from feeling at ease whenever I find myself going to the indoor range.

July 10, 2011, 02:24 PM
I do not have that many hazards. At the indoor range?
The occasional mishandling of a gun I have seen cleared ...
At the quarry?
Falls, sprained ankles, glass and other debris.

That is about it though. Not much worse than the average crossing of a street. 8)

July 10, 2011, 02:51 PM
Heat, mostly. Occasionally, mud, if we get a lot of rain.

July 10, 2011, 03:22 PM
My primary hazard has been in not having cash for the 18 mile drive to the range.

I stay hydrated, so that's not a risk. But, I imagine the buffalo grass out there is tinder-dry in our 'exceptional drought' conditions of late.

Normally, the only other risk is other people over-reacting to mud-daubers, grasshoppers and the like (or standing on fire ant mounds) while handling arms.

Or, for those not educated on jobsites, who fail at basic things like not leaving open canned soft drinks unattended around yellowjackets, then not checking the can before taking a swig . . .

Now, one year, I was at a less-used bit of the line (out from under the overhead) prone on a mat. Got to watch a Sphecius convallis at close range. Not being a cicada, I was nonplussed. The same could not be said for others on the line, S.Convallis is a big brute to see, but not at all aggressive (unless stressed).

Now, roaches and flies, that's different, I've far too good an idea where they have been. Takes a great deal of concentration to not go flittery-a-jibbet with such alit on me.

Oh, and there is a hazard in that there are some people 2.5 - 3 miles away (and at a diagonal) from the range who have claimed rounds from the range have shot up their trailer.

July 10, 2011, 03:43 PM
Heat.... This is AZ.
My outdoor home range has some bees that really like to take a swim in your soda when you're not looking. You learn to shake your can and listen for a buzzing noise before taking a sip. Also, watch out for any local law enforcement, in the last 15 years the only AD's that lead to injury have been the LE boys shooting themselves in the leg or foot. While practicing with their firearms. That last one is simply a friendly jab, thou its true.

July 10, 2011, 04:57 PM
Yep Heat i AZ july can be tough if you like to shoot. You really have to love shooting to go out in 115-119+ day, guns just never cool down

gun addict
July 10, 2011, 05:06 PM
people, a bunch of guys showed up at the range without shirts yestoday shooting their high point and jenning (jamomatic) sideways, i'd take heat and wasp over that anyday

also hot brass but that's nowhere as bad as when we're on the firing line in the Marines

July 10, 2011, 05:16 PM
Up my way, it's deerflies. It's hard to concentrate when 10 of them are buzzing you.

July 10, 2011, 06:11 PM
Wasps, ants, and spiders? These are really that big of an issue?
We have rattlesnakes out here and scorpions, but I've never seen one. Knock on wood.
Biggest hazard for me when I go out shooting in the desert (not a range) is nimrods who don't understand that they need to have a good sized hill as a backdrop.
Went out to my shooting spot one day, heard gunshots in the distance, ignored it, as it is normal. Walk to set up targets, bullet whizzes past and kicks up dirt 10 feet away from me. Promptly got in my truck and got out of there.

July 10, 2011, 06:32 PM
Obsidianone, I run across the same nimrods down here in the deserts surronding the valley. Every couple of years I run across some dimwit that thinks its acceptable to shoot down a traveled trail instead of into a hill. I cannot understand how someone is so dense that they really think its safe to do such a thing.

July 10, 2011, 06:37 PM
The indoor range that I go to has been pumping in 100+ degree air from outside. I am finding it unbearable. Heat stroke unbearable after a couple hours of heated shooting.

You'd think that for one of the largest indoor ranges I have ever seen (always busy), they could afford air conditioning or at least something better than a couple box fans here and there. I may go somewhere else until the winter.

July 10, 2011, 06:58 PM
Mine was the tools playing with the firearms. :uhoh:

July 10, 2011, 07:03 PM
Outdoor range - Ticks :-(

Indoor ranges that aren't careful about accumulation of unburnt powder have had flash fires when unintentionally ignited. None around here (fortunately).

July 10, 2011, 07:33 PM
yeah the bugs are out hard

July 10, 2011, 07:40 PM
Heat (at least the lobby is AC'd)

Lead ingestion ( Indoor shooting is fun!)

Getting distracted out of my good habits by a good conversation. Both serious risks, only the first one is dangerous though.

July 10, 2011, 10:47 PM
"Wasps, ants, and spiders? These are really that big of an issue?"

Only if they get you. Then some people have bad allergic reactions.

Wasp are pretty easy. If you leave them alone they leave you alone. Problem occurs when somebody doesn't know they are there. Hornets can be worse.

Ants will tear a person up. They have a way of getting a swarm on you then commence to biting all at once.

Spiders are low on the list. We do however have brown recluse, black and brown widows.

I'm in S.E. LA. so scorpions are not problem.

I have had the pleasure of being in deer flies - what a treat! Gnats are a ton of fun too.

We shot at a camp a while back. We drove through orange trees, then pasture, then to the marsh. Gnats, mosquitoes and full auto into a backstop with a bee hive. Alligators were watching from canal.

One range I used to frequent was a borrow pit. The debris on the ground included glass, sharp metal and boards with nails. It was unregulated so some wild stuff would happen there.

July 11, 2011, 12:01 AM
Last range trip was seriously disturbed by two bees who wanted to make friends. I was lining up to shoot my rifle on the bench when I spied one actually hovering in front of my chest behind my shooting hand. never got stung, but took some of the fun away, not to mention valuable time before the temps here in Southern AZ climb to furnace levels. Range opens at 7AM, sun is already high up by then summer time.
I never ever bring soda to the range, cold water in a clear container only.

Tim the student
July 11, 2011, 12:04 AM
Eh, not much. Heat and cold is part of the game, and not exclusive to the range.

Maybe angry otters I guess.

July 11, 2011, 12:13 AM
West Texas here.

Fire ants are everywhere. I got tagged on the kneecap the other day. Didn't ruin the day, but I'm glad I had some ice in the cooler to apply to it.

Thorns...everything has thorns. I'm totally serious, every single bush has giant thorns. My son (4yo) didn't understand when I was always telling him to stay on the road....until he stuck a giant mesquite thorn through his shoe and into his foot. Now he listens. ;)

Supposedly a lot of snakes around but I have yet to see them.

I've met the scorpions but they were in my house, not at the range.

Ohh..the unceasing heat. We had a good run of 105+ for a while in June. Absolutely miserable after 10am. The gun would never cool down and I was sweating just lying on it. I was enthralled when Midway changed the color of their shooting mats from black to OD.

I think that's about it...

July 11, 2011, 12:25 AM
I never saw thorns or otters coming.

I need to google Sphecius convallis.

July 11, 2011, 12:29 AM
Ticks were the problem yesterday.

Heat and cold this is Kansas. Yesterday it was right around 100 degrees today 103. In December and January well last year it got to -11 degrees.
My deer rifle performed well in both extreams.:D

July 11, 2011, 12:43 AM
Well, I really ought be more specific, it's not the wasps and hornets in actual attack of a person--but those people who respond to wasps and hornets with high-pitched screeching and St Vitus' dancing about, all without having rendered the arm they are carrying safe, first. (If equipped with a laser, the club-style light show is equal parts pretty and horrifying.)

WNTFW, S. Corvalis is the Pacific Cicada-killier Wasp. Looks like a yellow jacket, only more orange, and about 2x, 3x the size of a paper wasp. It's big enough to dig a burro large enough to entomb an adult cicada. It is also large enough to fly carrying a paralyzed cicada. Looks like some sort of scary prehistoric wasp, but is quite timid. Will be found near where there are woods with seasonal cicadas.

Drought in Texas has decreased the number of cicadas, which has made S. Corvalis a more common sight. And the "hate all bees and wasp/hornets on sight" crowd reacts poorly. Which then agitates the really, really big wasp with a whopping great big stinger designed to puncture cicada exoskeleton, to act in self-defense.

Now, I've been to some places made Central Texas seem as barren as an operating room. I'm not a giant fan of creepy-crawlies; but I also have a repertoire of not-flinch to overcome "make small girls noses and flail about uncontrollably" reflexes, too.

July 11, 2011, 01:24 AM
I'm a member of a private club with a very large range waaaaay out in the country, great place. I'd stopped by one night on the way home from a road trip for work to use a porta john and pick up some brass by flashlight, and I was accosted by a pair of rather perturbed badgers. They had a den in one of the side berms of range #4, and I guess I interrupted their evening.

July 11, 2011, 01:27 AM
I knew what you meant on the folks panicking.

I did a web search on the Cicada Killer. That wasp looks beefy. I am amazed at how loud cicadas are. They were very common here, then disappeared, but have reappeared.

I am no insect expert.
A few years back I noticed a mud dauber would patrol my garden. One day I saw him go after a spider and the spider went evasive. Since then I learned how they will paralyze the victim and put it in with the egg (of correct term) So to give the larvae a food source. Several wasp species do that with spiders and caterpillars.
I did see a thief fly in action. That is something you would not welcome landing on you. It was also nice to find out that ovipositers are not for stinging.

I used to see mutilladae (velvet ant, cow killer ant) but rarely see them now. Of course I spend less time outdoors and things have become built up over the years.

July 11, 2011, 01:29 AM
I am starting to think I have is pretty easy. Virtually no mammal threats at all for me.

July 11, 2011, 10:33 AM
-Cow Pies everywhere, which can stink awful in the summer time - you don't wanna lay prone in that!
-Spiders...in IL only a few can really do much to you, but I just absolutely hate them/fear them. Brown recluses get their name from hiding in dark undisturbed areas, like the underside of a shooting bench. Their bites can seriously mess you up.

July 11, 2011, 10:40 AM
In the following order,

Noise (plugs/muffs)
Flying debris (safety glasses)
Trip hazard (check area before setting up/remove or mark)
Heat/cold stress (any time temps above 85 or below 40 cool-down and warm-up areas are needed/appropriate clothing/fluids)
Irritating plants (keep mowed/long pants/Ivy Block/wash if contact made)
Noxious and venomous insects/arachnids/snakes (keep area mowed and clear of debris/long pants).
Gunshot wounds (cold range/don't tolerate unsafe behavior)

July 11, 2011, 10:48 AM
Broken glass everywhere from the dolts who think shooting glass objects is cool - even behind the benches and in the parking lot

July 11, 2011, 11:07 AM
I agree with a lot of those mentioned, and also, I would add tripping hazards to the list. Basically anything that could cause you to lose control of the gun is something I view as a hazard. I have seen a couple inexperienced shooters do the brass dance, or something similar if a bee gets on them, but I have seen a lot more people trip/fall. One of the clubs I shoot at recently had a structural 2x4 sticking right out into a traveled area of their "shoothouse" that is set up currently for IDPA stages, etc; luckily I did not see anyone trip on this, but noticed it had been removed the following month, so... good to see that was accomplished before something bad happened.

I used to wear worn out running shoes when shooting IDPA (didn't want to mess up new shoes in the dirt, you see) and over time came to realize this was not a good idea, since by the time they were beat up enough for me to consider them shooting shoes, the tread was pretty much worn off, and a slick bottom is not good for most of the surfaces on which I shoot. I got a dedicated pair of trail running shoes, which are essentially running shoes with a knobier-than-normal tread pattern, and these are perfect for action shooting in my opinion. They have upped my grip considerably, and are still light and cool. However, during a walkthrough I am still looking at how good the surfaces are in areas where I will likely have to stop quickly. I think bad footing is just as dangerous as any other factor we can think of, if not more so.

July 12, 2011, 02:30 AM
I forgot: There's a member-only outdoor range where the odd Bubba or bored/intoxicated teen-to-mid-20's will do something crazy like put a bullet in a compressed air tank (including propane... and once acetylene) or shoot glass things. Like CRT TV's and monitors. Or fluorescent lightbulbs... Cuz nothing goes better with broken glass than mercury vapors.

July 12, 2011, 02:33 AM
Wasps, snakes, heat stroke & stupid people.

July 12, 2011, 07:56 PM

Oh, and no plumbing.

July 12, 2011, 11:57 PM
Obsidianone, I run across the same nimrods down here in the deserts surronding the valley. Every couple of years I run across some dimwit that thinks its acceptable to shoot down a traveled trail instead of into a hill. I cannot understand how someone is so dense that they really think its safe to do such a thing.
I swear, the sun does weird stuff to people out here. You just don't encounter the melted brains anywhere else like you do here.

July 13, 2011, 12:09 AM

On a sweltering day, we stopped a club match early with 2 stages left to go. Energy levels were down, even among those who kept hydrated and were suitably dressed. When stopping early was suggested, we agreed it was better to stop now than carry on with an increased risk of gunshot injury due to heat stress.

I don't know how the military stay sharp in the hot climates in which they serve. The enemy, otoh, is well acclimatized to heat stress.

July 13, 2011, 12:10 AM
Those blue plastic barrels shot all to Swiss cheese...

After dragging one around several times at one of the outdoor pistol pits at my local FOP Range last Summer, the Black Hornets' nest inside it duly dispatched an emissary Kamikaze to sting me on the middle knuckle of my strong-hand.

The nest achieved the desired effect, as I was then done shooting for the day.

July 14, 2011, 02:13 AM
Water after we had some tropical style rain storms flash flooding soon occured.The range and the road it was on were completly flooded for two months due to this .I went down one day to look and the range wasn't even visable just a rush of water going by.Other than that I guess i'm lucky the range is well maintained by odnr just don't leave your targets down range as you won't be welcomed back.

July 14, 2011, 08:06 AM
Not many. I seldom go to the range anymore but when I do, I get there as the sun is rising and I'm usually gone before anyone else arrives. The only real danger may be from the people who live just up the road that I wake up so early.

July 14, 2011, 08:09 AM
Water after we had some tropical style rain storms flash flooding soon occured.The range and the road it was on were completly flooded for two months due to this
The Delaware State Park range? Fun place. Seemed to be under water more than it was open for a long time this year.

Hunters are the weirdest thing I've seen at that range in the past few years.
Last year, I saw two deer hunters start walking on the top of the backstop/berm...while people were shooting and rounds were hitting the dirt just below them. Duh? Aware much?
Did they stop walking on the backstop then? Nope. We did stop shooting toward them though. Some folk just beg to win Darwin awards.


July 14, 2011, 08:23 AM
Little Green Men! :eek:

July 16, 2011, 12:06 AM
No sir It was the deer creek range.They couldn't open the spillway to drain the water because it would flood the scioto more and put peoples lives at risk down stream.

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