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Stupid mistakes and private ranges

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Atom Smasher, May 11, 2012.

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  1. Atom Smasher

    Atom Smasher Member

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    I had the most awful experience today. I was completing the safety eval for membership at a local private range. Basically you show up, the guy asks you some questions about the four rules, asks you to get your gun out showing you know safety, and put 10 rounds into an IPDA target at 10 yards.

    I manage to answer all his questions about safety, pull my gun case out of my bag and open it so that when I do the muzzle is pointed straight at the guy. The gun was unloaded, slide locked back, but still. :banghead: Apparently any safety violation is an immediate stop to the interview, but you can try again on a different day. He almost stopped the process, but I guess he felt sorry for me and let me continue. I get the gun loaded and ready without further incident, and get ready to fire. He stops me, saying my grip was all sorts of screwed up, and helped me get it together. I was also not indexing my trigger finger properly, (I was holding it over the trigger guard, not above it) and was not pulling the trigger correctly. Apparently me taking my time and pulling my trigger finger completely off the trigger was considered bad form. At the end of it he waffled on whether I hit all 10 shots (I put them all into center mass, there were just doubles), but mercifully let me pass and said to show up for the 3-hour entrance class.

    I felt like I knew a few things before this, but came out like I had never handled a gun before, completely shaken in my confidence. I don't know why, but this guy's pity killed me. I'm not even sure I want to join anymore. I mean, it'd drop my range fee costs down to nothing, compared to the expensive indoor range, but I'm now afraid I'm going to show up and get chewed out on all of the minor details I'm missing in my education. At the indoor range as long as you follow the four rules, nobody cares. :(

    I dunno, I just feel really stupid. I know I screwed up, but I think I would've preferred just getting booted than let through because the guy was nice. And are private ranges all that anyway?
     
  2. esheato

    esheato Member

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    No...not even close.

    For one, what does grip/trigger pull technique have to do with a safety eval?

    You're being too hard on yourself. You passed...go forth and prosper.
     
  3. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

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    Private ranges tend to run the gauntlet from do whatever you want to ridiculously up tight.

    I'd say you passed, go ahead and join and just take that guy's comments as advice, try it and then decide if you like it enough to keep doing it. After all, the whole point about going to a shooing range is to get better at shooting. If you already know what you need to work on, you're a step ahead of the guy who has no clue what he's doing wrong.
     
  4. David E

    David E Member

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    I would've stopped the process when you pointed your gun at me.

    You saying: "The gun was empty, the slide was locked back, my finger was off the trigger!!" would simply confirm I made the correct decision.

    If you passed this "safety check" after pointing your gun at the guy, I don't think _I_ would want to join that club.
     
  5. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Sounds like a good leaning opportunity. I hope the OP makes the most of it.
     
  6. Thefabulousfink

    Thefabulousfink Member

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    From what I understand, you opened the case and the muzzle happend to be pointing right at the RO. It might just be me, but I don't generally consider it being flaged if the gun is just sitting there with no one touching it. That changes the second someone puts a hand on it, but by itself it is not much of a threat.

    How many people walk around tables a gun shows? or walk down range to hang targets? at the ranges I go to, rifles are unloaded, but left pointed downrange (right at the people hanging targets :what:).

    In my opinion, proper procedure when opening the case and seeing someone infront of the muzzle would be to turn the case before picking up the gun. As long as you aren't handling the weapon, no harm/no foul.

    But ROs can and do set whatever rules they feel are necessary.
     
  7. Flashcube

    Flashcube Member

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    I think what he was saying, is that when he opened the case, the muzzle was pointing at the fellow. I see no harm in that, just rotate the case away and pick the gun up then.

    Sounds like the R.O. was just trying to give some advice though, take what you will from it. I think most private ranges have similar safety checks for new shooters, I know mine does.
     
  8. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Have you ever seen the "Seinfeld" episode featuring the character known as the "Soup Nazi"?

    That guy sounds like a piece of work. Is he the only examiner? Do all the examiners exhibit the same degree of (whatever that is). If so, chalk it up to the range's desire to keep their members comfortable with each other (putting it in the kindest way I can).

    Solution: Mark the outside of the case with an arrow indicating what direction the muzzle of the gun(s) within are pointing and always put them in with that orientation. No more surprises.

    More to the safety point: Did you attempt to pick up the gun while it was still pointed at him? Did you re-orient the case to point the gun away from him before touching the gun? Did the gun sweep anyone else during the process? If the answers are "Yes" and "No", respectively, you did all that could reasonably be expected.

    Keep in mind that every gun has its muzzle pointed somewhere at all times. Every time you take your gun out of wherever you store it, the muzzle sweeps around and will inevitably sweep any number of people on any given day.

    Bad form? or a disqualifiable offense? Is it something that would get you thrown out of the range if you continued to do it.

    I am asking if the corrections he suggested were matters of style or coaching? or corrections in order for you to pass the test?
    Waffled? Once, when qualifying on the M-16 my examiner simply gave up trying to count my bulletholes since there was not enough paper left in the center of the target to locate them. Mind you, I had plenty that were not centered, but none on the target edges. If you are accurate enough to produce a good group they shouldn't quibble over doubles. To prevent the question from arising at all, they should just set up 10 targets and have you put one round in each.

    I recall the actor Fess Parker, playing Daniel Boone. He was in a shooting contest that his opponent claimed he (Boone) had missed the target completely on his second shot. Boone simply walked to the target and dug two balls out of the single hole in the wooden target.

    Possibly your examiner wanted to see how hot-headed or nervous you got when he questioned your accuracy?

    I hope everybody cares. At my range, we police each other, as politely as we can. There are some variations in style, some of them substantial (my shooting buddy comes ALL unglued if someone even picks up a magazine or a cartridge when the range is cold). He got really nervous when a a guy was practicing draw-and-aim drills (empty gun, range was hot and he obviously knew what he was doing, with a timer and all). But that is how my buddy was trained (in the U.K.) as a policeman (on of the minority who went armed on duty).
    Don't feel stupid. This could be (as I hinted before) some kind of a hazing ritual, or just this examiner's style.

    We have a range in Anchorage where the Ranger Officer would harangue shooters over the loudspeakers for perceived infractions, misbehaviours, whatever. Just rude, and, to my mind, not conducive to range safety, much less necessary.

    If this guy is a curmudgeon, I am not sure if I would want to be in his club. If he is kindly, though, I would be grateful for his wisdom. How do you see him? How much influence do you think he will have over your membership experience?

    Good luck

    Lost Sheep

    edit: when I started typing this, there were no other posts. Now I'm post #8
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  9. coalman

    coalman Member

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    Passing is not failing. We can all improve and avoidance is not a step towards improvement. Regardless, it's a hobby and it's supposed to be fun.
     
  10. Nushif

    Nushif Member

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    I would say grip, trigger technique and group size are utterly disconnected from safety, unless they send bullets over a berm. Just based on that I would doubt this guy's ability to be an impartial observer of safety practices on their own.
    As for a gun being locked open in a container, with visibly no magazine in it "flagging" someone ... I doubt this guy's ability to go to a gun show without having an anheurism.

    Sounds like you answered your own question there. I appreciate nice and tight safety. I don't appreciate a hostile or zero defect environment. I leave that to gameshows on TV, for "entertainment" purposes.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  11. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Basic safety stuff I understand; it's important, and we all want to have a safe and fun experience at the range. I don't like guns being pointed at me, but then I also understand that some people become mindless safety drones, and create ridiculous scenarios in their mind just to sound like they're being safe (ex: I saw a thread here on THR once where people were discussing the safety issues associated with a cased firearm or holstered gun pointing generally in the direction of other people, while in the case or holster -- lets not go nuts, here!)

    The rest of the stuff suggests (to me at least) that this club isn't the kind of place where I'd enjoy being a member. He may not have liked your form, but if you were safely shooting your weapon and not openly soliciting advice from him, there's really no reason to act like your form is of major concern during a safety interview. To me, that initial interview suggests that you'll have to endure constant "coaching" from range officers or members, and probably won't be able to shoot the way YOU want to. If you are seeking coaching, that's fine. But, it sounds like they have a bit of an elitist attitude to me.

    But, I wasn't there, so I can't say for sure.

    The private range I belong to is pretty fun. Safety is taken seriously, and people aren't really afraid to correct someone if they see them doing something stupid (head up butt stuff can and does happen to all of us at one time or another, especially if we shoot regularly). But, aside from following basic safety rules, our range pretty much allows us to do what we want:

    We can shoot all calibers, including full-auto. Rapid fire isn't prohibited. Steel is allowed. Long and short range shooting is allowed. Edible targets are allowed (pumpkins are popular in the fall). We can even shoot Tannerite and whatnot at this range. It's a good group of people who are mostly laid back. Every now and again I'll run into a mouthy know-it-all, but that doesn't happen very often. But, I got a good vibe for this place from the outset, and that vibe held true for the overall culture of the club.
     
  12. Twmaster

    Twmaster Member

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    Hopefully leaning to the right.... :neener:
     
  13. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    +1

    An unhandled gun pointing at someone is not a safety violation--as a look in the pistol display case of almost any gun store will tell you. I think there is even reasonable argument that a handled gun with the action open pointing at someone is not a safety violation (given how often I see that done, perhaps unavoidably, in gunstores), though I do think of it as one.
    Or he realized it was something worth mentioning, but not a safety violation.
    There are some grip techniques that qualify as safety violations: support thumb over the firing hand using a semi-auto, so that the thumb will get cut when the sllide comes back. Support hand forward of the cyinder gap on a revolver.

    As to the finger indexing high when off trigger, I've been called on that one--maybe mostly because an index at trigger level makes it more difficult for the instructor or RO to tell that your finger is indeed off trigger. There are some theory reasons for the high trigger finger when off trigger, too--Mas Ayoob teaches the high index, and considers it a matter of safety.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  14. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    There are folks that know their stuff about certain things but are lousy teachers. Sounds like your Range guy was a micro manager.
     
  15. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

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    Your grip should not be his concern. You should be able to hold it sideways and shoot with your middle finger as long as you're doing it safely :D

    I did a safety eval at the end of my CCW class (run by my private range actually) and it was all of; load the gun, shoot the gun, all without sweeping yourself or anyone else. Pretty easy. No one cared how accurate I was (that's why you're at a range, to practice) or my grip/stance.
     
  16. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    You are being far too hard on yourself. You should make it a habit to work out a system by which you know in what direction the muzzle of your gun is pointing when you open the case. Not because an unloaded, locked-open-action, gun is a safety hazard just lying there (as other said, gun shows? gun stores?) but because it helps you avoid the more serious screw-up of picking it up from the case like that and flagging someone "for real." Develop the habit of setting the gun case down with the muzzle downrange (the arrow on the outside of the case is a GREAT idea!) and that will assist you in having a smoother and safer range experience.

    The rest of the stuff sounds like pretty sound coaching points, and you probably should incorporate many of the principles he showed you. But they aren't really safety issues (aside from the trigger finger index -- but that one's minor) and shouldn't have anything to do with whether you're "in" or "out" with the club.

    You'll never get to be comfortable and proficient with your weapons if you don't get out there and shoot, study, and learn. You're in (sounds like) so go continue with your training and practice.

    When you've developed your own mastery of the practice, remember this guy and his words and way of expressing himself -- and be a BETTER teacher than he was! :)
     
  17. Atom Smasher

    Atom Smasher Member

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    So I've definitely learned- there is now a prominent piece of tape on my case labeled "Front Towards Firing Line" :D

    As for the micromanaging, in hindsight I actually appreciate it. While it wasn't the best teaching method, I've run a ton of dryfire drills since and actually feel much more stable in my address to the target. As for the trigger pull stuff, it's just going to take practice. The indexing was a good point too. I've had no formal training, just an Army buddy showing me general stuff; I'm definitely going to join, and I think it will be a rewarding experience in the long run. As long as I can tell the difference between "this will be a good coaching experience" and "I need to tell this guy to back off", I don't think I'll have too many problems.

    The RO was actually pretty cool, I think he just takes safety very seriously. Hopefully I didn't make too much of a negative first impression :)
     
  18. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    Well let me say first and foremost pointing ANY gun at another person is unsafe including self-defense which should be unsafe for your attacker. :eek: It is not possible to determine what happened in the O.P.'s case as he does not provided a description of the setting. Sufficent to say the O.P needs to be more aware of the muzzle direction.

    I don't see how comparsion to a gunshow is fair since the guns in gunshows are unloaded. Well, usually, er occasionally, er maybe. One does not have to look very far for examples of gunshow shootings.

    As for the coaching what is the motto and mission statement of the club? Is it good ole boys are us please pick up you beer cans after you are done shooting or is it a group of serious gun owners intent on improving their marksmanship and gun handling skills while promoting gun ownership?

    Big difference. It sounds like the O.P. has not had formal gun handling instruction and has some sloppy habits. Hardly a major fault. I find that when I start having shooting problems going back to the basics and practice them corrects them. Some faults take someone else to spot like cross eyed dominance.
     
  19. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Did you read the opening post carefully? The only time the gun was pointed at anyone was when he first opened the case and realized the muzzle of his unloaded, locked-open gun was oriented uprange. That's exactly how things would be at a gunshow. A gun, lying on the table, not being handled, locked open. Had he picked it up that way, things would be different.

    As it is, simply turn the case around before you pick up the gun.

    The arrow on the case keeps you from doing that, but many gun cases don't give you a visual cue of which way the gun will be facing inside.

    If I'm using a hard-side rifle case, I've often got two rifles in it, facing in opposite directions! One or the other is going to be facing uprange when I open it. Its no big deal. Pick up the rifle that's pointing downrange, check it clear, and place it on the bench or in the rack. Then turn the case around so the other rifle is pointing down range and repeat the process.

    Now, when working with a new shooter, I certainly understand a little heightened tension and a word of precaution. New folks sometimes don't think and grab the gun instead of turning the case around first. No experienced shooter should make that mistake, but the OP was a new shooter going through an orientation and safety session. The RO was right to be concerned and was also absolutely right NOT to penalize him since he did not actually make the safety violation.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  20. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    Did you read the opening post carefully? The only time the gun was pointed at anyone was when he first opened the case and realized the muzzle of his unloaded, locked-open gun was oriented uprange. That's exactly how things would be at a gunshow. A gun, lying on the table, not being handled, locked open. Had he picked it up that way, things would be different.


    The exact location is not described in the O.P.'s post. As you say a unloaded gun with the slide locked back is safe...unless a pesky loaded magazine sneaks into gun somehow.

    You just can't trust those sneaky little buggers. They even manage to sneak past gun show security and cause all sorts of excitement.
     
  21. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    O..k... he did say he was at the range, and he was about to shoot 10 rounds into an IDPA target. So I'm guessing he was actually on the line at the range.

    However, that really doesn't matter. Even if it was on a table at the safe area in the club house, if he's asked to open the case and the RO is standing at one end of the case, there's a 50/50 chance the muzzle will be pointed at him when the case opens. Don't touch the gun, and turn the case the other way before picking up the gun.

    Unless your case is contoured to the gun, or you put an arrow on it (which is cool, but I've never EVER seen anyone do that yet), you cannot possibly tell which way the gun is facing until you open the case. If the RO had that big a problem with it, then he should have taken the precaution not to (flippin') stand right there at the end of the case where the muzzle has a 50/50 chance of being.

    If he'd left the gun partially loaded, I'd consider that a MUCH more serious safety violation (regardless of which way it was pointing!) than not being sure of the orientation of the gun within the case. Since the RO didn't chew him a new exit strategy, I don't think he left it loaded.
     
  22. Atom Smasher

    Atom Smasher Member

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    Nope. I keep loaded magazines in my range back, but there is approximately three compartments between the closed case and the mags. So they'd have to be pretty sneaky indeed!
     
  23. memphismark

    memphismark Member

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    I wouldn't give it a second thought. I've never been in a gun store or gun range, in my life, that at some point I didn't feel a little out of sorts, and I've grown up with guns all my life. I ate my cereal as a todler with an 'ankle strapped' 9mm! I don't know what it is about gun store/range guys. They seem to keep a lot of people off kilter. I get it, that idiots and knuckleheads come in there establishments from time to time and do stupid things, but the attitudes of some of these guys can be appalling. They think everything has to be done there way or the hi-way, and they 'Lord' this power over us. Very cocky some of them. Very cocky. You'll settle down after the protocol of that particular range sets in and you'll be right at home in no time. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, let someone else take away (in effect) your right to shoot till your heart is satisfied. It's the greatest thing on the planet! YOU GO BOY! YOU GO. memphismark :fire: :neener:
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  24. CountryUgly

    CountryUgly Member

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    Take the RO's advice for the muzzle direction deal for what is was, just advice. Unloaded, locked open and in a case the gun was a threat to no one that's why he let you continue. As far as the rest of it don't sweat it and just go shoot.
     
  25. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    Sounds like they will be too uptight for you to have any fun there.
     
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