Gun range safety opinions please

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by warnerwh, Jul 22, 2022.

  1. warnerwh

    warnerwh Member

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    I've belonged to four gun clubs in my life. In 3 or the 4 the rule was that all firearms were to have actions opened and no rounds in the chamber before people were allowed to go down range. There's one place where all you do is hit a light switch which sounds buzzer and the red lights over head flash. The people do not check with other shooters to see if it is a good place to stop shooting for them, they just hit the switch and go. Btw this is an outdoor range.

    People walk out to their targets immediately after hitting the switch so there is no time to clear your weapon, people's guns are loaded and ready to fire.

    Am I being overly nervous about this rule? If I am please tell me. I would like to know other people's experiences at their gun clubs and if you think leaving loaded guns on the firing line is fine while people are down range. I appreciate your feedback. Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2022
  2. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    I don't think it's a particularly common thing but as long as nobody is handling the guns what would possibly cause them to discharge?

    Not advocating for or against such a policy just asking.
     
  3. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    I would say you're being justifiably nervous. It sounds like a poorly-supervised range.
     
  4. igotta40

    igotta40 Member

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    When cease fire was called yesterday there was a crew with a single AR15 and of the three of them they couldn’t lock the bolt open. The RO did it for them. So aw Heck No I don’t think so.
     
  5. warnerwh

    warnerwh Member

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    It's not a supervised range and the rules are being broken regularly. We have many new members with little to virtually no experience which is what concerns me. It's made me nervous and about an hour ago I've decided I will only use the 50 and 100 yard ranges where the people are polite and safe. I like the plates on the 25 yard range best but we have them on 50 yard range too. It will be more challenging as I mainly shoot revolvers but I will probably become a better shot.
     
  6. jar
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    jar Contributing Member

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    I frequented one range where the rule was guns down and hands off, I was okay with that even if each gun was not open action/chamber empty. As long as the gun is down and no hands near or on it all should be good.
     
  7. warnerwh

    warnerwh Member

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    Was there a RO there?
     
  8. gila_dog1

    gila_dog1 Member

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    That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. What if you flip your switch and walk out to your target and somebody else nearby is fooling with their gun and it goes off? They had it safely pointed down range, but there you are, down range. That's like stepping off the curb at an intersection because the "walk" sign lit up, without looking to see if any cars are running the red light. At my range when you are ready to go down range you wait until it's a good time for everybody else, then everybody puts the guns down. When everybody is finished down range, and are back to the firing line, and they all signal that they are ready, and then gun handling can resume. We communicate with each other and make sure everybody is on the same page. I wonder if the OP could do that at his range? Just look at everybody and point down range, and make sure they see you before walking down range. If somebody keeps handling their guns while people are down range I would sure question that with the range operator.
     
  9. jar
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    jar Contributing Member

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    No RO but lots of signs and the folk always seemed reasonable. I can't think of a single time when folk did not behave properly. Also don't ever remember anyone trying to go down range until everyone had stepped back from the line. Also everyone policed their area before leaving. I can't remember ever seeing spent rounds on the ground behind the lines. Now any brass downrange was fair game when the range was cold.
     
  10. warnerwh

    warnerwh Member

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    Just today I had a guy cross firing from 3 lanes away while shooting at the steel plates I was shooting at. He left his brass on the ground. He didn't like the fact I told him that cross firing was against the rules. He looked at me like who do you think you are. The 25 yard plates are at one end and the 10 yard range is at the other and I've had 2 different incidents where someone felt it ok to shoot at the plates at about a 45 degree angle. It's the attitude that worries me that many of these people have. These incidents are not an occasional occurance, they are constantly happening. Having guns pointed at me a few times also makes me nervous. Maybe these things bother me more because I have ptsd but that's why I asked you guys if I am over reacting.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2022
  11. warnerwh

    warnerwh Member

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    At the 50 and 100 yard range making sure everyone is on the same page is common practice. On the 10/25 yard range more often than not someone just flicks the switch and heads out before you even have your gun put down. I'm used to everyone being on the same page but that is not the norm for the short ranges at this club. When people let each other know what's going on it sure feels nice but unfortunately it's not the norm. Btw that's a great analogy with the crosswalk.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2022
  12. bangswitch

    bangswitch Member

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    I agree.

    It is incumbent on everyone at an unsupervised range to call out unsafe behavior or rule violations. If the violator wants to be argumentative, notify your club officers, or even the local law enforcement, since you're dealing with people who have loaded guns and no self restraint.. Club members should have a badge in view that identifies them as such. Members are responsible for the behavior of their visitors, too.

    Is this a private club? If so, you need to immediately bring up the subject with the club's Board of Directors. Even with rules in place for safety, the club would have some liability issues if someone gets shot. Range rules should be etched in stone, with no leeway as to how they are interpreted or followed.

    This is how our club works, with our range rules. We have range officers at club events, but not on a day-to-day basis. On those days, if you need to go to the target stands, you ask everyone along the firing line first. Policy is a break every 30 minutes maximum, to "go green/safe", but if a new person comes in, courtesy says to allow them to set up a target when they get ready..

    When the range light is turned to green, a horn sounds to alert everyone to cease fire and make the range safe. There are no firearms allowed on the firing line when the range is safe. All rifles go in a rack and the actions must be open or have a flag in them to indicate empty; no muzzles may be pointing downrange. This rule can be inconvenient if you're sandbagged or in a fixed rest, but it ensures the highest level of safety, because it means no one is on the firing line.

    Once everyone has been to the target line that needs to and is back in the gun house. everyone verifies they are ready to "go hot", and the red light is turned on, green goes off. You are not allowed to load magazines or the gun itself unless you are on the firing line. This ensures no loaded guns off the line. All the rules are clearly posted on all our ranges, so no one has the excuse "I didn't know...."

    We also have cameras on our rifle and pistol ranges that record every day. If there is a report of rule violations the range manager can go to the day and time of the infraction and pull up the video. We've had a few members banned from the ranges, as well as quite a few visitors, who are only allowed along with a member, and then no more than three per member. Everyone, members and guests, have to sign in and out and members are required to have their badges on at all times when on club property. Our club was established in 1939 and we have a waiting list for memberships. Our current membership is around 300. We have a 300 yard rifle range, a 50 yard pistol range, a skeet range, 5-stand range and a 30-position clays range, and an archery range. Our safety record is excellent, I don't think we've ever had a negligent shooting there. I've been a member for 8 years, and am a NRA-certified CRSO. Before I became a member at this club, I had to drive 45 minutes to a municipal police range, which was open to the public on Saturdays only. They had three RSO's there, and if you farted from upwind, they'd throw you out. They were stricter than any of the military ranges I have been on; I suppose it was because of the unknown quantity of civilians they didn't know and how qualified or unqualified they might be.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2022
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  13. warnerwh

    warnerwh Member

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    @bangswitch

    One of my concerns is that someone could get shot with all these newbies. The liability of the club which is private is at stake but also it would be national news if someone gets shot. The last thing gun owners need is more bad press. I'm not the most patient person in the world but when it comes to gun safety nothing else matters. This club has been open about 70 years and nobody has been shot to my knowledge. I've talked to others who feel the same way I do about the short range manners.
     
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  14. AzShooter1

    AzShooter1 Member

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    I would not walk down range until someone said "All Clear". Hopefully it would be a range officer it doesn't have to be as long as no one goes near their weapons after a "Safe" is called.
     
  15. bangswitch

    bangswitch Member

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    True, but the last thing the club administration needs is unsafe handling that leads to a shooting that gets them closed down. More the importance of letting them know what is going on.

    If there are so many new shooters (new to shooting), it should be something the club would want to address, with a gun safety course. They could also require that new members have a basic firearms course before being allowed on the range. Another one of our club rules is that membership requires either a Hunter Safety Course certificate, or their state's Concealed Carry permit. Here in NC, to get a CC permit, a firearms safety course is part of the curriculum to get the permit. It doesn't guarantee that shooters won't break the rules or be unsafe, but gives the club admin more reason to sanction those who can't behave, when they're supposed to know better.
     
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  16. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    No way would I go down range unless firearms are cleared and laying on the bench. I,ve seen enough NDs even at the old small club I belong to. That also means when someone is down range no playing around with sights or scopes. Guns on the bench empty.
     
  17. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I have been to ranges where I was truly concerned for my safety when some other shooters were present. A range in my area where anyone who shows up and wants to pay the fee can shoot comes to mind- poorly ran and poorly maintained, I used it a couple of times after I first moved here. That place and more than a few of the people who shoot there need lots of rules and a high level of direct supervision.
    Where I train now is a world-class operation, used by SOF units, specialized LE, etc. which also hosts some pretty serious matches of various types. Membership is selected- members are vetted and briefed in detail on safety standards and expectations, and you pretty much need to know someone to "vouch" for you, or have some credentials to be considered. What this results in is a facility to do things within safety parameters that would not be allowed at most ranges, with a group of shooters diverse in interests and of varying skill levels- with no range control/safety officers (except obviously during matches or live fire exercises in the shoot house). Shooters are able to easily and respectfully share bays, apparatus, etc. and de-conflict amongst themselves. I have even shared some time on the firing lines with some of the military guys training- some who I knew from before, others I had just ran across there. In a few instances, I even helped them repair equipment or use mine when theirs failed. In the 5 years I have been training there, I have only had 2 issues- both with LE users who were training there. In one case, I was training in an area the LE "operators" weren't even supposed to be using (or had paid the applicable fees for the exclusive use of that area) and I had to show them how to read the layout of the range and the training calendar, and in another they (same agency, different day and incident) disregarded the safety protocols (lowering a flag and activating a siren- and there's nothing wrong with taking a trip on one of the gators available for member use too to insure the cease fire is acknowledged) and went down range while other sections were active, and only reacted when they realized they had people in an impact area.
    I guess, my answer is that the standards that apply for those at the most basic level of shooting aren't necessarily what is needed for more advanced users, with acknowledgement of the various levels in between. After all, the conduct of basic level CQC/urban combat training violates, or at least "bends" many of the rules imposed on most "flat ranges". A less experienced shooter in a 3 gun match may likely be disqualified in the first stage for some sort of safety violation from outrunning his headlights in a much more complex environment vs the state mandated CCW class he may have taken previously. Where it becomes a problem is when there is a huge disparity in levels of experience at the same venue, and not everyone is on the "same page of music", suddenly multiple hazards surface. Like putting a 16 year old with his brand new driver's license on a professional track.
     
  18. Mark_Mark
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    Mark_Mark Contributing Member

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    The best Range I been to was in Charlotte NC, Black Stone. It had bullet proof section in between lanes, Electronic target retriever, 3-4 different rooms so it didn’t sound like a combat zone.

    Worst Range, public Federal land ranges… BAD!
     
  19. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    I have seen rifles with triggers so crisp and so light that, if you bump the stock, it will fire. I don't think it's common, but it answers your question.

    To the OP, you aren't being paranoid. I wouldn't shoot there.

    None of the ranges in my area have RSOs. Well, they do, but they either sit in their office drinking coffee, or they're off doing some other task. It's pretty much a free for all. People will usually ask and wait a few minutes to do a cease fire. People will usually cut short a string to let some go place a target stand.

    The problems arise during the cease fires. ilbob asks:

    People simply will not...not handle their guns during a cease fire. It's as bad as teens and their phones. It is very common for me turn around from my target and see someone handling a gun. I've seen a dad point a gun at is own son this way. I had a State Trooper point his service rifle at me. It's crazy. They just. can't. leave. the gun. alone.
     
  20. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    I don't go down range until cease fire is announced, all guns are down and actions are open or flagged.
    You do what you want.
     
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  21. film495

    film495 Member

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    sounds dicey. but, going down range with other shooters there I don't know would give me pause ...
     
  22. PWC

    PWC Member

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    I'd tell mgmt why you are asking for a refund.
     
  23. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    I would not shoot at that range. I am a Range Safety Officer at a large, outdoor range. Adequate warning is always given for shooters to have time to shoot remaining rounds. Then actions are opened, bolts locked back and shooters are required to step away from benches, back behind a painted line. I walk the line, look at each firearm, then turn on flashing light and allow shooters forward of the firing line to check targets. No one is allowed to approach benches or touch firearms while anyone is down-range. I would not shoot at your range, or walk down-range. I have seen simply AMAZING things from inexperienced shooters.
     
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  24. drband

    drband Member

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    My local DNR range is carefully supervised— to the point that the RSO checks every bench to make sure all weapons are locked open at the breech and all mags are out of the guns. Other than that, they stand back and watch while everyone shoots.
     
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  25. Night Rider

    Night Rider Member

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    Based on this post you are not overreacting at all. You need to find another range.
     
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