Scary day at the range


February 16, 2003, 01:50 AM
A local group of shooters came to the range during our IDPA match. So now I know what it's like to have a loaded gun pointed in my general direction.

We decided to stop and stand back (behind solid cover) while these guys (and a few gals) were shooting. Their gun handling was atrocious. A new shooter has a legitimate reason for poor marksmanship but there is NEVER an excuse for poor gun handling. So they may have been new shooters and I will not comment on their marksmanship.

Things I observed within 20-30 minutes.

1. Guy holsters a Sig. Pulls it out and decocks it, and reholsters it.
2. Guy has gun in hand, finger off trigger (thankfully) while other guy goes and resets target.
3. Lots of walking back and forth to the line with a loaded firearm IN HAND. This is a cold range by the way.
4. Guy breaks 180, range has a 180 rule. Several times.

Many folks commented to the RO this was the worst gun handling we have EVER seen. 10-ring and I didn't stick around to finish the match. He had engagements and I didn't want to end up in the hospital since I don't have health insurance.

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February 16, 2003, 02:07 AM
when I find someone who dosen't handle a firearm well (Safely), I will offer to give them a free lesson in basic firearms safety and include some accuracy training. If they don't want to bother, I go to the RO/Owner, and get them removed instantly.:(

To be a lousy gun handler is a problem of ignorance.
To refuse help is a problem of stupidity. :banghead:

February 16, 2003, 02:20 AM
Skunk is being kind by not ID-ing this "group of local shooters." I'll be a bit more specific...they were LEO's from a small local city qualifying and showing off their ineptitde.
What upset me was they're total disregard for safety of not only the civilian competitors & range personel, but of themselves. :rolleyes:

Bob Locke
February 16, 2003, 02:32 AM
Did you guys offer any "help"? Seems to me that may have been the thing to do.

That, or get someone to have them removed from the range if you are not of sufficient standing to do so yourself. What did the RO say/do?

February 16, 2003, 02:35 AM
Law enforcement?

I wish I could say this surprises me. :(

February 16, 2003, 03:06 AM
A range where I used to shoot has a hole in their counter where a rural police "chief" shot it.

February 16, 2003, 03:32 AM
New here. Hello all. Scariest day at the range was when I was down at this farm/range near my place and we were packing up at the end of the day. The farmer that owned the place had some drums he would burn trash and used targets placed behind the benches. I was putting away the gear and all of the sudden there is this bam from the burning drum and everyone is like what the hell was that. Then another bam goes and now we know what is going on. Someone threw rounds into the drum and they were cooking off. Everyone was quick to get behind the benches on the down range side after it clicked that we were being shot at by a burning garbage drum. Only a few cooked off, but everone left there like there was a firefight going on all ducked down and moving to cover.

Jim March
February 16, 2003, 03:44 AM
The good news is, "cooked off" rounds aren't a lethal threat. The very first thing that happens is that the shell expands under the pressure and quickly *relieves* the pressure behind the round. Velocity is just pathetic.

Take a whole revolver cylinder and fill it with shells and toss it into the fire, and you have a whole 'nuther situation. Velocity will still be "low" but plausibly lethal I would think. The shell would be prevented from expanding very far and would form the proper "gas seal" at the back of the cylinder, putting solid pressure on the projectile. Mind you, the shell would come blasting out the back too, probably moving faster than the shell.

Toss a whole loaded gun into the flames, and you'll get a full-on AD, full velocity for the caliber/barrel (plus any rounds in the magazine or rest of a revolver's cylinder will cook off and trash the gun!)

But shells alone? Just firecrackers.

February 16, 2003, 04:06 AM
Yeah we figured it was not that dangerous, but the drum was shaking pretty bad when a round would go off. Not sure what kind of shell was in it, but I didn't feel like saying shrapnel from a burning garbage can with rounds cooking off took my eye out or something stupid. With my luck anything could happen.

February 16, 2003, 04:21 AM
"Guy breaks 180, range has a 180 rule."

I don't know what that means. Help, please.

February 16, 2003, 04:47 AM
Hi, breaking 180 means he turned completely around to face the other direction. Usually, it means he faced the crowd behind him with a loaded firearm.

Kahr carrier
February 16, 2003, 05:06 AM
Some Leos arent really gun people ,the CHP shoots at the range I go to and some of them a crappy shooters. I remember on one occassion where I saw an Leo with an XD 9 on his belt in a holster and I asked him about it and he draws it from his holster drops the clip and then points it in my direction and racks the slide and out pops a hollowpoint and then he hands me th gun to look at . I didnt say anything while he was doing it because I didnt want to startle him. When I hand his gun I told him what he did and he just laughed it off. :banghead:

February 16, 2003, 07:10 AM
I shoot with the local cops. Lousy shots but they are safe.:o

February 16, 2003, 09:00 AM
Some Leos arent really gun people

Most are not paid to be, and/or required to be good gun handlers.

...I told him what he did and he just laughed it off.

Of course he would. Complacency breeds contempt, and carelessness. After all you weren't shot or killed then, were you?

Most cops do a workmanlike job of gun handling early in their career. But constant possession is often equated by cops as being competent gun handlers. With out testing for that basic skill with a time off/get fired penalty as a possibility, their consideration for gun handling slips away with the years. Consider the Coral Gables Chief of Police in Florida who has had
TWO negligent discharges in one year.

Time to get after the publicly elected officials who govern the police...

Navy joe
February 16, 2003, 10:12 AM
Why were they not invited to leave the range? RO scared of the badge? Needs to borrow a pair. Ignoring the behavior just reinforces it.

February 16, 2003, 12:16 PM
PD was there qualifying. (Poor shooters to boot) EVerytime I brought it up to a RO, i just got :rolleyes: That's pretty much when it was time to leave. I'm just glad I don't live in that municipality. :cuss:

February 16, 2003, 01:23 PM
The few ranges I use to go to, you break 180, and the RO didn't care WHO you were, you got marched in front of the "height poll" and a polaroid was taken, and you are not only DONE, you are BANNED.

If you can come up with an excluse like "I didn't know the rules", well, they sign you up for an illiteracy class, as you were suppose to have read and understood the range rules and asked about any and all that you didn't know.

Before Santa Anita closed; I was a member, and I shot there often; and I can tell you, poor gun handling and poor marksmanship, almost always walked in with a blue uniform... It was as if they were calling out "Here Darwin award, where are you??"

I'm a big LEO supporter; but there is NO excuse for the pistol-gymnastics they try to perform, all the while putting themselves and others in danger.

I was at the range in LA once when an LEO brought a friend there to shoot; and his friend asked him, "can you shoot it 'gansta" style??" In which case, the LEO picked up the gun, and held it sideways and unloaded all 10 rounds in about 1 second, all the while "John Wooing it" holding it sideways... 2 shots hit my target (one lane over) and I said I'm done. I walked out and got a refund for the remaining bullets and gun rental. The RO didn't have the brass to kick out the LEO, but I sure as heck would have.

Of course the SCARIEST range experience I've ever had was at Burro Canyon, a man got his target and started walking out to the line when the LINE WAS HOT!! I started to yell man on field, hold your fire! And a few others did too.. The RO's face was ash white.. You can bet, the guy got kicked off, no refund.. He's lucky to be alive!!

Gun safety, safety first!!

BTW, how come THR doesn't have the 4 commandments of gun safety up in a prominent place??

February 16, 2003, 01:31 PM
BTW, how come THR doesn't have the 4 commandments of gun safety up in a prominent place??

I second that motion. But even more importantly, don't most ranges have safety signs hanging somewhere?

I hate going to public free ranges....there's always excitement around deer season, when it gets crowded with once-a-year rifle owners wanting to get their guns sighted-in. When the rednecks start setting up their gun rests BEHIND the firing line so they can shoot perpendicular to everyone else, it's time to evacuate quickly.

February 16, 2003, 08:28 PM
"Public Safety." :D

February 16, 2003, 08:49 PM
Some Leos arent really gun people

Not some. Most.

To refuse help is a problem of stupidity.

Or arrogance.

Skunk, cheap shot!


February 16, 2003, 09:01 PM
I dont' get most of the kinder and gentler names of LE agencies these days. Public safety really bothers me.

The role of the PD is to support and defend the constitution, not make sure we're all safe.

IMO 'public safety' is a shot in the wrong direction.

Jim March
February 17, 2003, 01:12 AM
In California, there are entire sheriff's offices and police department that are run by flat-out crooks. In some cases by a succession of crooks going back 20 to 30 years. In that environment, when the cop or deputy on the street knows the brass is corrupt, you sometimes see a *majority* of the department either act like utter jerks or worse.

If the top guy in the department is clearly bent to hell and gone, the rank and file have a duty to abandon that deparment in droves, effectively killing it off. The fact that this does NOT happen is one of the worst condemnations of modern law enforcement I know of.

February 17, 2003, 01:45 AM
When I use to live in Pasadena, I was always buddy buddy with the LEO's. They liked my views on guns, and being the only asian with guns in Pasadena (ha ha!) they all knew me.

As far as some of the LEO's have told me, there are two groups. There are those who just "do their job" and go home at night, and try not to widow their wives. They respect the law, and the people.

Then there are those who "dirty up the uniforms they wear" as some of the LEO's have told me. I tend to agree.

Not all apples in the LE tree are bad, but I can tell you the bad ones are quite abundant and the majority, and when they are rotten, they are rotten to the core.

And then... there are the LEO's that scare me.. I'm great friend with the local gunshop owner; and one time I was there; an LEO walked in and said "My department won't give me an HK, and so I'm here to buy one." Ok, so he likes HK's, no big deal. Not something new... Then he says "I'm excited, I'm going to be taking a qualifying test tomorrow!" The guy behind the counter hands him a gun, in which he stuffs "mexican carry" into his pants, and then giggles and says "it fits nicely" and then draws it out, (FINGER ON THE TRIGGER). He was upset when the gunstore owner would not sell him a gun after that little display...


February 17, 2003, 01:48 AM
I dont' have anything against the rookie LEOs, IMO their training officers should be doing a better job teaching them to handle safely.

Who said anything about corruption? I'm talking gun handling here.

February 17, 2003, 02:16 AM
Several full-time members and I chaperone several different security-affiliated organizations during their qualifying at our range. Naval base security, some different CA National Guard units in charge of security at various military bases, and a couple of the security groups for the local nuclear research facilities.

We have a rule-- Rule No. 1: The Range Officer's judgement prevails in all cases or the entire group goes home; no refunds, no appeal--either they change the faulty conduct immediately or the day is done. There is no Rule No. 2. We run the line like a military base, and we are "god" with the final say. One violation of this rule and it is understood that they are banned permanently. We've never had to enforce that, and we're not shy about pointing out gun-handling faults. (Though we have had the County Sheriffs come in and run off a local PD once for insisting he could continue to carry in a horizontal shoulder holster.) I've seen Weapons Training Officers violate the 180 rule. We laugh and joke around a lot, but they know when we talk guns and gun handling, we're as serious as a heart attack. (On the other hand, some of them suspect that some of us carry on the range just to chaperone.)

Your range's Board of Directors needs to hear some complaints from the public (y'all).

February 17, 2003, 02:26 AM

Amen! Being an RO is not like being the Maytag repair man!! You are on alert 24-7 and if you sleep on the job, someone COULD DIE!

RO's with Brass is rare.

When I took a training class, someone broke 180, and my officer drew on him, as he saw finger on the trigger, magazine loaded...

you can just imagine the color on his face when a gun was pointed at him telling him to drop his weapon. The RO said, he had no problems pointing a loaded weapon at someone who is pointing a loaded weapon at him...

RO's with brass is rare; I think it should be the norm, not the exception.

Guy B. Meredith
February 17, 2003, 02:42 AM
Actually, aiming uprange at fellow shooters is way beyond breaking 180. The shooter is supposed to be aiming down range and 180 is the area directly left to directly right from a point on the shooting line on a line perpendicular to the target. Hmmmm. Yeah.

Try again. If the shooter is facing directly down range the line from his direct left to direct right defines the 180--the shooting line. The muzzle of the firearm is not to be directed anywhere on or behind that line. In most cases that also includes straight up and straight down. There are regulations on how much cant the holster can have and how far to the rear the muzzle is pointing is acceptable to limit damage if some poor sap has an accidental discharge in the holster. The AD will of course end the day for that shooter, however.

February 17, 2003, 05:02 PM
I'm thinking a note to their chief is in order.

February 17, 2003, 08:16 PM
Or a letter to the local newspaper. Catch those idiots on video and you've got the makings of a good expose.

With a cooperative local TV station you could rile things up pretty good.

Gary H
February 17, 2003, 08:42 PM
Email to the chief and range would be in order.

I didn't want to end up in the hospital since I don't have health insurance.

I have health insurance, but feel the same regarding getting shot.

February 17, 2003, 09:04 PM
I have to concur those LEO's were on the ignorant side when it came to weapons handling. I didnt have as many problems as Skunk and 10 ring. We were on a different lane but what little I did witness was just as bad as they have described.


February 18, 2003, 12:38 AM
I must have been really lucky when I was in LE. Everybody except management - everbody on the street - were intimately committed to firearms excellence. Hell, your expertise or lack thereof could mean you lived or died. Everybody from other departments I knew of were also pretty good shots, knowledgeable about firearms, range rules, etc. Most were 'gun nuts'.

I don't know what kind of training the LEOs in your areas received, but it sounds pretty deficient. None of us would have made it out of academy acting the way the cops did in this thread. Were they all from cities by any chance? I wouldn't be surprized.

February 18, 2003, 10:14 AM
Yes they were city LEO's and all from the same city.


February 18, 2003, 11:47 AM
What I saw both amused me and saddened me. I was careful to not go "watching" and left the lanes they were in ASAP.

It's a publice range. LEOs have "the right of way." I don't think that they even considered removing the offending individuals.

Sometimes you forget, I suppose. These people are not police to shoot things/people, which is good. But, they should at least know proper gun handling from "T.J. Hooker."

February 18, 2003, 01:06 PM
I'm one of a group of all-volunteer chaperones. The dire legal costs and consequences for an AD (somebody choose--accidental death or accidental discharge) are so high that I won't be challenged on my range policies. In that regard, I think my colleagues are just as intolerant. I know that if something bad happens because I was lax, somebody's gonna sue the club and the Board of Directors, and sooner or later they'll get around to suin' me, and I didn't save all my life to make somebody else's life easier because I didn't have the balls to spank idiocy.

Questions are always welcome, with discussion back and forth if procedures are asked to be changed, and I think we're pretty amenable (hell, we've let'em cut loose with full auto M-16's whenever they have to for qualifying, and we're not out in the woods by any means...). We (at least, I) are not gruff nor belligerent in our treatment of any shooter when we RO; unless we sense that our gun-handling instructions are being ignored or taken lightly. To my knowledge, only 2 qualifying LEO's have ever been banned (and that was for the day only) for poor gun-handling; they were allowed to return on other occasions after they demonstrated familiarity with the weapon in question. In both cases they didn't ignore us; they just couldn't concentrate on gun-handling procedures well enough while handling an obviously 'new' weapon. One was a petite woman who kept pointing her M-16 over the hill while hot, and the other a man who swept twice, the second time, his own feet while shotgunning.

The hot shots and their attitudes don't last very long; we won't tolerate it. That's LEO or not.

We're a public range, too. NO ONE has the "right of way" except the RO. I've been a regular visitor to 4 public ranges; I've never seen LEO's shoot among the "common" people. That is, they've never come in uniform so everyone knows who they are and just taken a couple of stalls. They seem to always come as a large group (necessitating they shoot on a "closed range") or incognito.

In either case, LEO status doesn't give them any special gun-handling privileges whether they're amongst each other or out in public (except the aforementioned private [and approved per shooter per stage] full-auto practice). That these bozos Skunk mentioned were out in a local event and they were identifiable somehow as LEO's doesn't change the fact that the RO is 'god'. That range needs new RO's; I wouldn't shoot there until at least a new policy was enforced. The current RO's showed how lightly they take their task. They're watching my back when I shoot, and in general, public shooters handle guns at least as poorly.

If it was acknowledged that these LEO's came as a group, and more than one objected or disdained the gun-handling instructions, the ranking officer (if there was one) should have been pulled aside privately and threatened with an immediate and permanent ban of his department unless a deferrent attitude towards the RO's gun-related decisions was displayed by ALL. If no one admitted to being the senior officer, then the individual violators should be banned for the day, immediately on their next violation. In both cases, letterhead should be used (naming names and badge numbers) to inform the department chief of the action, with a copy kept by the gun club's secretary.

If the violators won't comply and leave, tell them you'll "cold" the firing line and dismantle the event or call a different Law Enforcement department--County Sheriff, State Troopers, any other armed entity will do. If you have to make the call, just say a 'contentious man with a gun' will not follow instructions at the range. You'll get a pretty quick and serious response. When we had the 2 belligerent local PD's put out (the violator [horizontal shoulder holster w/ cocked and locked] and his partner, both undercover), 2 Sheriffs in 2 cars showed up to do it in 3 minutes. I'd have thought embarrassment woulda been enough to make them comply with the range rules.

February 18, 2003, 03:40 PM
Some Leos arent really gun people

I think you are wrong -

the vast majority of badges are not gun people!

February 18, 2003, 03:59 PM
Some of the worst gunhandling I've ever seen outside of a gun show (I'm as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs when it comes to shows) was at an LFI-II course where members of the Virginia Bureau of Prisons fugitive recovery team (I forget their actual designation) was there. Not only did most of them fail the PPC qualifier course which they were shooting to show us how it's done, but they also violated every rule of gun handling.

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