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I can’t stand it. I can’t stand watching someone at the range shooting like a schmuck. Stupid stance, grotesque grip, terrible trigger control. And yes, I do say something. In fact, my lack of self-disciple on the MYOB front is one of the main reasons I became an NRA handgun instructor. “Pardon me, I’m an NRA instructor. Do you mind if I show you something?” is a lot better than “Hey asshole. Do you know that everything you know about shooting a handgun is wrong?” Same thing, but a lot nicer. Do you share my inability to STFU around shitty shooters?

52 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Intervene If Someone Shoots Like a Schmuck?

  1. Absolutely! If you aren’t looking to improve your shooting then why are you even at a shooting range?

    • Yup, I know a Gunner’s Mate that has a story about that. Most of the time it just wrenches it pretty bad though.

    • I agree. Many people do not like being told they are wrong. I would say something for safety like “quit waving that thing around”, or “Hey babe, with all that cleavage showing I don’t want to be around when you do the ‘hot brass’ dance”.

      • “Let me back up and get the video rolling before you do the ‘hot brass’ dance.”
        —–
        Fixed.

  2. What annoys me is not their lack of shooting ability,but the permanent consequences of their lack of training.After all,not only are average Joes statstically unlikely to shoot in self defense at Right to Carry states but I once shot badly as a beginner myself.Honestly id feel no small helping of hyocrisy “correcting” someone else when I shot worse then the miscreant did starting out.

    As to the permanent consequences I was referring to,it relates to the novice shotter buying more expensive guns to solve their accuracy problem(AKA I need 7.25 XDm to shoot straight) or modifying their sights in some weird fashion to compensate.I have a TA90 which shoots great,and would shoot accurately if the previous accuracy challenged owner didn’t file down the front sight and jack the rear sight all the way right to compensate for their lack of practice.

  3. Not usually (well not directly) . Unsolicited advice giving is the trademark of a range know-it-all if it is based on a single quick observation. If someone’s shooting poorly during a single observation, maybe they are trying something new for the first time, maybe they are trying to work it out for themselves, maybe they don’t want advice, maybe they’re just having a bad day. If you observe them for a good while and see a trend then you may have something to work with.

    Depending on how they are behaving and particularly if they are new to the range I usually just introduce myself, ask what they are into regarding shooting sports, and make some general comment about how shooting is a great sport and I’ve been having fun with it since I was a little kid and am like a nerd about shooting technique. After this brief and friendly interaction I tell them about how friendly everyone is at the range and that they should know it’s totally fine to approach anyone if they have questions. If they solicit advice after that then I cooperate, if not, that’s fine.

    I think the key to approaching someone in a non-know-it-all manner are 1) introduction, 2) ask them about themselves and their goals and interests, 3) suggest your qualifications in a very brief and non-superior manner, 4) invite them to solicit advice, 5) wait.

    -D

  4. If it’s bad technique, then I watch for my own personal amusement. My last outing, I watched a guy bend his wrists back with each shot of his Glock 20 (I know 10mm is a powerful round, but take that recoil like a man, dammit). Highly entertaining. I wondered to myself how long he’d had it, and why he chose the 20 over the 21 (.45 ACP). I guess he had an imminent backpacking excursion in bear territory. Or maybe he doesn’t like money.

    If it’s safety, I GTFO. There was one time a guy kept muzzling those to the left of him as he checked where the last shot from his AK went. He would turn it sideways so that he could get closer to the retracted paper target. I decided pretty quickly that I didn’t want to me around when he put a .30 caliber hole in another shooter.

    • I always take the rightmost lane at the range because most people are right handed and it is common for them to laser to the left when they feel the urge to turn the gun sideways to look at it.

      -D

  5. Nothing ruins a range-trip quite like an advice commissar. Unless someone specifically asks me for tips, I leave folks alone. No sense sticking my nose in an armed stranger’s business.

  6. Safety violations get immediate attention, poor performance on the target is another matter. If the person seems nice and open to suggestion I might introduce myself and ask if they would like a few pointers. If they are narcissistic and generally unapproachable then I mind my own business.

    Goofballs acting like they are in a movie with their guns I move away from

  7. Loaded question. All puns aside, I have a few (very few) rules that are somewhat handy in range-douche situations.
    If a fellow shooter has an issue with style, then I try to mind my own business. When it gets overpowering, I set myself up as the guy looking to improve himself by pointing out how similar our situation is and ask the offender what he/she is doing to correct it. That usually opens up a dialogue that is constructive without coming across as an overbearing know it all.
    If it is a matter of safety, then I observe and ask nicely. If an adequate correction is made, fine. Problem solved. In the rare instance (Only one time so far) that the issue becomes exaggerated by attitude, then my own version of common sense takes over. I can always come back after the douche bag has been kicked out.

  8. I’ve never liked busybodies so I avoid being one. Don has it right. Making yourself available for questions allows the “novice” to solicit your advice based on his own desire to learn.

  9. It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.
    — an old sales axiom.

    I’ve also learned to keep my own counsel and mind my own affairs in life. An exception at the range would be a safety issue.

  10. I only answer questions when asked by the newbie I’ve brought to the range. Otherwise, MYOB.

    Someone who is truly interested in becoming a good shooter will do the necessary research or work with someone they’re willing to listen to. All other is folly.

    Remember, the only perfect shooting stance in a gun fight is the one that allows you to survive.

  11. It’s all about tact. If you say hey there I noticed your stance and trigger control is shit let me show you how it’s done in a condescending tone then of course that won’t go over well. It would probably be better received if you go over and are like why don’t you try shooting this way because … and see how it works for you.

  12. Only for safety. Last week I had to stop a guy from jacking up his thumb pretty bad (it was over the beavertail on his new 1911). Guy thanked me and asked for some advice as this was his first handgun after many years of rifle only shooting.

  13. I like the guy up to the 2:07 mark shooting the XD, every shot he dramatically muzzle flips on purpose. Fool. Extreme close ups of guns in and out, look how bad ass shooting guns is. hurr durr..
    Same with the Glock from about 2:37 to 3:13.
    Shameful… Watch out guys, got a bad ass over here.
    I dont think I get that kind of muzzle flip out of .357 magnum hot loads.

    • He’s a kid shooting with both right and left trigger fingers. Give him a freqking break! Good Lord.

      • oh well, by all means pardon me.
        His shooting was perfect, stance, everything. He was perfect and Im an ass for pointing out he cant control a small caliber handgun.
        Lemme guess, it gave him a mild ass whuppin’

  14. I don’t like strangers sticking their noses into my business, so I don’t stick my nose into theirs. If I see someone doing something that’s unsafe, for me or for them, sure I’ll say something. Otherwise, leave ’em alone and let ’em have fun. If they were there to listen to me, they’d be paying my fee.

  15. If i think someone needs help, I subtly bring my targets back to the line and leave them exposed for observation. Quite often that is the opening for someone to approach me for tips and advice.

  16. Never been shooting before but I know I’d certainly appreciate it if somebody offered some helpful advice if (when) my shooting sucks!

  17. New reader, first time poster. I’m just getting back into shooting regularly after take almost a decade off (life just got in the way, it happens sometimes) and had the range manager at my local range correct me several times last week on my first trip to a range in 10 years.

    As long as the person isn’t rude, I don’t mind people telling me what I’m doing wrong or how to improve. But I’m all about self improvement in general so others’ mileage may vary.

  18. The sales pitch is everything, isn’t it. I am a very very novice shooter. I love to shoot, own one firearm, and each time to the range I can either absorb everything I see, and hear or further entrench a bad habit I don’t know about. The folks with a little pedigree and good intentions have been very helpful with my stance, grip and groupings.

    But, the bossy guy who just knows better than me isn’t very well received. I know why this is. I’m a former tennis pro. Played, taught, coached. Some times what I see on the courts makes me want to scratch my eyes out. You can get a feel for who is receptive to a tip or two and who thinks they know better than you do in about 20 seconds.

    I hope I do run into you at a range. Maybe you can help me with a tip or two. I will never stop offering tennis advise. I owe the sport too much to allow players to get injured or frustrated from bad results and bad technique when a simple tip can help them out.

  19. I’ve helped out several people who didn’t have a clue and they were happy that I gave them a few pointers. I’m always polite and I don’t make them feel like idiots, and it seems to help them shoot better. Everyone that I’ve offered help has always thanked me and no one has told me to get lost or MMOB, yet.

  20. I only say something if there is a safety issue. Even then I report it to the range staff so they can deal with it.

  21. I will usually intervene if someone’s sticking their thumb behind the slide. Seen too much blood, don’t need to see more. I also intervened the other day when I saw a guy racking the slide of his handgun between each shot, because he was under the impression that was necessary, and was of course dumping a live round each time. Otherwise, if it’s just bad shooting, usually not. Unless someone’s obviously distressed, shaking their head at their target, and I’m not too busy, then I’ll lean over and mention, “I’m an NRA certified instructor. Would you mind a tip?” But if they look like they’re having fun despite not being able to hit the side of a barn from the inside, I leave ’em alone.

  22. There are ways to do this that don’t make you sound like a buttinski jerk. You could start up a conversation about the firearm, or ask how they are doing (accuracy-wise). I have helped run our local range for several years, and most people are happy to have help if they are approached right. Just remember, nobody likes a smartass know-it-all. I try to approach the new(ish) shooter as if I were the one on the receiving end of the advice.

  23. On a related note, I’m shooting in my first IPSC/USPSA event tonight, a Tuesday-night pistol league put on by a local club. You can be sure it’s gonna be an “eyes and ears wide open, mouth fvckin’ shut” situation.

    On another related note:
    When I was five years old, my parents were brilliant.
    When I was 10, they knew what they were talking about.
    When I turned 13, they became so stupid I couldn’t believe it.
    When I turned 25, they suddenly became gifted with knowledge and wisdom I could only dream of.
    I asked my dad, “Where the fvck were you when I was a teenager and needed good advice that also made sense?!” Dad smiled, handed me a beer, and said, “I hope your kids are just like you” with a knowing smile.

    I thought about that, then asked, “So, what did you do to Grandpa and Grandma to deserve me?”

  24. It’s situational…usually only for safety issues. Ever since being swept by a loaded, cocked .44 during one impromptu range visit, I’ve learned to stay in my lane at the local range when I don’t know the other people and their vigilance for gun safety.

  25. Perhaps TTAG should have a proper technique segment similar to the equipment reviews.

    I am keeping this video as “What not to do video” for future use

  26. I try to avoid confrontation with armed people as a general rule but this past weekend I almost had to break my own rule. I was at the range with my brother in law, he was shooting and someone on the opposite side of the range was showing off his .357 mag to someone. Well lowe and behold, the guy proceeds to aim the gun, cylinder closed and I believe loaded RIGHT at me while tea cupping it and showing it off to this guy. He did this for about 60 seconds, waving and flashing the gun around,Totally oblivious as to where the muzzle of the gun was aimed as he swept not only me but 2 or 3 other shooters as well. I was real close to marching over there and having a little talk with the guy about watching where he points a fricking loaded gun. The momentary OH CRAP I SWEPT YOU incident is one thing but I have never seen such reckless disregard for firearms safety at a range.

  27. I would say if it is a friendly environment and it should be of course you help. We are all there to improve our skills.

  28. If I see something unsafe I’m saying something immediately. Otherwise I make a judgement call and may ask if they want some advise, but I won’t just walk up and tell them what I feel they should do. Usually they are happy to accept advice and thankful for it.

  29. Used to be a NRA instructor for rifle, pistol, shotgun, black powder, etc. Used to teach both adults and kids. Was always happy to help people at a range, for nothin’.

    I’m no longer an instructor.

    If I see someone doing something stupid at a range, I leave. I don’t want an earful of attitude from twerps at a range, and heaven knows, I don’t need the liability that comes with trying to teach an idiot something.

  30. It wasn’t at the range, but I was at the LGS browsing around and the OFWG (owner I believe) behind the counter “corrected” my grip. Apparently, I was gripping way too high so he kindly showed me the Teacup Hollywood Weaver. He told me that you actually get more control if you grip the gun lower. Good grief. I just kept my mouth shut. If he was joking he is the king of deadpan.

    Moral of the story: make sure you know WTF you’re talking about before offering advice.

  31. About the only time I’m at the range with other people is when I RSO for our club or help with a safety class. (other than that I do my shooting when the range is closed) When I RSO I generally make it a habit to offer suggestions on safety, grip, stance, and other aspects as I see are needed. But with the exception of safety issues I always offer my help before interjecting my opinions and knowledge. Most people are appreciative of the advise, but occasionally you run across someone who has seen every John Wayne movie made or is a master blaster on HALO or Call of Duty and just doesn’t want to listen. If so then I just let them be, as long as they stay safe.

  32. I was a weapons instructor in the Marines and I cringe when i see someone doing something wrong. At the same time I won’t intervene unless it’s unsafe and a potential for injury.

    BUT the number one thing that will make me explode is uncle bob usually swinging a .44 mag or .500 who was taught by his father who was taught by his father the proper way of shootin’ and is shooting a 10″ group at 7 yards lean over and try giving someone advice.

    I actually had said individual while my girl friend was shooting and i was standing right behind her try adjusting her stance and posture. I respectfully said EXCUSE YOU AND PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR TARGET.

  33. I went by a Bass Pro Shops to check some ammo prices before going to the range. I observed a man and his wife considering the purchase of a S&W Sigma SW40VE. Based on their questions and their immediate acceptance of the salesman’s claim that it was the most affordable and reliable self defense gun on the market, I figured they were pretty new to the whole gun thing. But hey, you have to start somewhere, so I didn’t think anything of it. I proceeded to the range, which was only 2 – 3 miles away. Not half an hour later, in walk the couple from Bass Pro all ready to test out their new Sigma. I kept my eye on them, as I do with everyone else at the range, and noticed that the husband was about to fire the gun for the first time with his thumb firmly planted in a vertical fashion on the rear of the slide. I stepped forward to intervene and politely warned him of his impending mistake. He was very appreciative and eagerly listened to all of my advice. I let him shoot several of my guns and showed him a few techniques. All in all, I think I saved him from something that might have ruined his perception of shooting and instead gave him a pleasant first-time experience.

  34. Did anyone else notice the top the first shooter was wearing to the range? I thought she was going to end up doing the Hot Casing Dance.

  35. I remember when I first started shooting. I probably looked a lot like the people in the video. I think trying to be instructive is a guaranteed way to alienate new shooters, embarrass them, and insure that they not come back. So, no, I don’t interject myself unless there is an unsafe situation, or unless I am asked.

  36. If they’re being stupid, let them be stupid. If their stupidity is dangerous and I’m able to notice, then odds are that others are noticing as well. It’s very easy to throw someone off a range by committee, so giving them a verbal reprimand when they deserve it isn’t going to do anything to harm your rep with others on the range, unless they too are all schmucks. Often the only reason they don’t hear it from anyone else before they hear it from you is because you are the only one to have the balls to go up and say something. The worst that could happen is a belligerent attitude on their part, which merely sends them one step closer to being voted off the island.

  37. I know that I don’t mind getting advice as long as the person doesn’t approach me with a crap attitude, in that case it is like “well why did you approach me in the first place?” I am young and don’t have nearly as much experience with firearms as some of the people around here so it isn’t like someone is trying to correct a method I’ve become proficient with over 15 years. Of course even I will do something if it’s a safety issue, whether it’s point it out to them if they seem like a newbie or tell someone in charge if they look like they are doing it for fun or look like the type to turn anything into a “you wanna take this outside broooo!!1!” situation.

  38. I’ve seen quite a few of you say “as long as they’re safe” you’d do nothing…. Next time you’re at the range do yourself a favor and look up. Usually you’ll find more than a couple shining examples of “oops”. Unfamiliarity fades into overconfidence with some people quicker than you may expect. That can be an ugly(and dangerous) combo. The newbee you didn’t help this week may be the range asshat next week just because he has some “trigger time” and has thus deemed himself “good with guns”. That complacent, overconfident asshat is very likely to be the one who puts an “oops” in your ass next time you’re at the range.

    I try to avoid being the know-it-all at all costs and never just butt in with my opinions but I do try to use the situation if at all possible to go over at least the first rule of gun control(in passing) and welcome them to the sport(hobby, addiction). You may be surprised to find how many people buy a gun and have never even heard the “rules”, I’ve seen it more than I’d like.

    If they’re un-approachable or unreceptive I’ll move on but at least I feel I tried.

    There seems to be no shortage of knowledgeable people posting on this board and I for one would appreciate that knowledge passed down to the next group of shooters whenever you can.

  39. IF it is a safety issue; answer’s YES and Specifics of HOW depends on Shooter’s Safety violation. EXTREMES as Range Officer go from being on a Rifle Range watching the firing line, having called a COLD Range (no guns touched and all shooter’s stand minimum distance back from firing line (Police 100 yard rifle range had 10′ back), not listened to by a shooter who picked up his rifle and began shooting BEFORE “Range is Hot” command was given. Personally grabbed that shooter’s rifle and forced his rifle muzzle forced upwards while yelling- Two shooters were STILL DOWNRANGE putting targets up- even at six positions away both could’ve been easily killed.

    The other EXTREME: working as Stage RO during major State Cowboy Action Shooting Match (where being SAFE is Rule #1, and rule #2 is see rule #1, etc), having watched a shooter make one (minor) safety violation and politely mentioning safety violation to shooter when alone, not well received by that shooter; who repeated the safety violation at the Next Stage, forcing this RO to report Major Safety violation to the Event’s Match Director (end result by match rules resulted in shooter’s being expelled from Annual Match (shooter did make issue easy and hard to argue against Safety Call by this RO since angry Shooter had an AD, blowing 45 caliber hole through that Stage’s loading bench).

    NOT Safety Issue; usually depends on circumstances/shooter’s age-appearance and general attitude etc. on the firing line; THEN by making light of his ‘gun malfunctioning on him like that gun type’s done with Others’ and wasting lot of overpriced ammo…etc. shooter’s response and attitude determines where it goes from there- advising of Qualifications etc. Telling or Giving advice to strangers is normally not received very well REGARDLESS of what anyone is doing.

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