In the video below, a newscaster newbie gets to grips with a full-auto MAC-10. Without ear or eye pro. We can let the ear pro thing slide — given the suppressor hanging off the end of the Miami Vice relic. But there’s no way Sarah should be shooting that gun — or any gun — without eye protection. The question is . . .

If you were standing nearby, would you intervene?

What about shooters gripping a pistol with thumb-over-thumb, inviting slide bite? Or a female shooter wearing a low-cut top, raising the possibility of the hot brass dance, and all the lack of muzzle control that involves? Or poor muzzle discipline?

Do you correct nearby shooters’ safety violations, have a quiet word with the range safety officer or do you just bail?

70 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Correct Safety Issues on the Range?

  1. I guess I am the only one that doesn’t find eye protection to be an absolute requirement for shooting. I usually wear it and I recommend most people do as well but I am not going to freak out on anyone for not using it. It’s like not wearing gloves when riding a motorcycle. It’s not the best idea but you’ll probably be okay.

    • I’m the same way with eye pro. I’ll remind people they should wear it, but if they just shrug it’s not my problem. Not my eyesight. Kinda like helmet and seatbelt laws, it’s your own life/health.

    • My eyepro has an abundance of tiny impact marks from particulates ejected from the firing chamber of some of the guns I shoot.

    • I don’t correct people unless its in the course of coaching which I don’t do anymore! But! I insist on eye protection for almost everything. Your eyes are money, lost them and you are screwed or life. Ear plugs though… those things throw me off and subtly screw with my internal orientation or some such. Although somewhere between the M2 firing lines and full auto shoot houses, my hearing kicked the bucket anyway, so I don’t bother with ear plugs anymore unless its a 50BMG, then I plug up.


      Not that even 30DBa reduction will matter when the blast is >200DBa

      I’ve seen some real stupids out there using string trimmers, power equipment, etc, without eye protection. I’ve also seen one kid whos eye was saved because he wore it all the time. ‘Never know when mortars might fall.’

    • I give everyone I bring to the range some form of eye protection because if I bring you, you are my responsibility. My range requires eye protection. If someone is doing something I find unsafe for me, I will inform them politely.

      (Earpro is also required, and I always have extra).

  2. “Do you correct nearby shooters’ safety violations, have a quiet word with the range safety officer or do you just bail?”

    I’ve offered some women a few pointers, but in general, I’ll bail *fast*.

    That’s a bit of sore point, especially when I’ve paid upfront…

  3. I’m more bent over the fact that they gave someone who had never fired a gun before a fully auto mac 10 in 45. Did we not learn anything from the Uzi incident?

    • “Did we not learn anything from the Uzi incident?”

      I kinda agree on that, but it wasn’t a short-barrel weapon, there was substantial mass on the end of the gun stabilizing it.

      A compact Uzi full auto? Not smart.

      An SBR on full-auto is a lot easier to control…

      • Also why you should only load 3-4 rounds in the magazine for a first timer. If it starts to get out of control, you should be empty by the time it gets dangerous

        • +1

          I suggest starting off slow, coach, observe, then ramp things up when you’re sure they are ready. Obviously a chat over the 4 safety rules and proper eye/ear pro is not optional IMHO. Teach safety and good habits to start versus trying to fix bad habits later.

          If it’s someone that has never ever shot a gun before I’m not sure I’d start with anything full-auto LOL. If I did then a dry fire, then 1 live round, then maybe 2-3 rounds a couple times. Then only let ’em spray, pray, & giggle once you’re sure they know what to expect and demonstrated they can control it. Obviously if you can help keep control of the weapon like she did here that is always good idea.

          As far as the 50 cal? Well that’s called loosing your full-auto and 50 cal virginity in one day. That nice rock your world, put a stunned smile on your face, concussive blast from the 50 is freedom saying hello. You never forget that first time you send 600+ grains downrange at Mach 3. That look on her face, yeah she’ll be back for more. Merica!

  4. Only if it endangers me or others, like not safely pointing downrange. If Im the RSO, then sure, but otherwise its their business. After all, maybe the dude without hearing protection is already deaf.

    • Inclined to agree. Though hot brass down the shirt, an eye impact, or anything else that might trigger a sudden, involuntary response while still holding a weapon that is presumably read to fire could greatly elevate the risk of a bigger problem that might involve bystanders.

  5. Idk, but something about needing two women to handle a Mac-10 with a long, thick black suppressor is stimulating.

    • “…needing two women to handle a Mac-10 with a long, thick black suppressor is stimulating.”

      If you find long, thick black things stimulating, there’s always ‘Grindr’. 😉

      (I’ll be getting my coat and seeing my way out, now…)

    • Fellas fellas, let’s not discount the value of a standard sized white suppressor, sure they ain’t the biggest or thickest, but they get the job done

      • The problem with the white suppressors is they have “Suppressor Privilege” and an overabundance of white suppressors makes black suppressors suffer. Thus, we need Suppressor Justice reforms and I’m proud to call myself a Suppressor Justice Warrior or SJW.

  6. I grew up shooting outside so eye and ear pro was never a thing. At the range I worry more about people not watching their muzzle discipline. I see people gesture with guns in their hands. I’ve tried correcting people but it falls on deaf ears. Thank god the range dividers are steel…

  7. I’m with Oliver: if it could affect my safety, then I comment. If it looks like a noob needs help, I may offer depending on the vibe.

    I’ve not been in a situation where the safest thing to do was leave…yet. I suppose that it’s bound to happen some day.

    • I concur.

      Unfortunately, the 3 stooges in the next lane who did not appreciate my comment about muzzle discipline was reason to leave. NOW!! No RSO to be found and cashier was unconcerned about this when mentioned.

      Not sure I want to frequent the range if they let clown like that in.

  8. If someone is being a danger to others I’ll intervene. If someone is being a danger to themselves I’ll offer up a friendly “hey, I’ve got extra eyes and ears if you’d like to borrow a set.”

    Anything further is Darwin’s domain and I don’t want to step on his toes.

  9. While I do wear eye protection at the range as it a rule. I never wear it in real life situations or when hunting. As for correcting safety errors. Yes I do always every time. My range of choice is controlled by the DNR. There not a range officer on site. The first person there is responsible as the designated range officer. Range control and safety should be everyone’s utmost concern. If you don’t maintain situational awareness regardless of who’s in charge you could be the next accident victim. We can contact the DNR officer if we encounter a situation beyond our control. Which may be the best way for some to handle it. I’ve never been in a situation where a little safety advice has been turned down or taken the wrong way.

  10. Luckily I have my own range out at the farm, so I do not encounter strangers in need of correction very often. Everyone who I invite out there gets a safety speech and directions the first time though.

    • Same here. I expect the rare person who visits or shoots with me, even my wife and family on occasion, that they WILL be safe. Rare that it would be more than two people, usually only one firing at a time.
      I wear hearing protection (to save what the duck blinds, jackhammers and Skynyrd concerts of my youth haven’t taken already) and provide it. Eye protection, I’ve never been super conscientious about it and never had an issue. Would only take one, of course. Comments here have led me to rethink this. STill don’t where chaps when I’m clearing with a chainsaw, though.

  11. I’m almost completely on my own at the ranges I use. I’ll help but it’s more that you don’t shoot ME. LOTS of dumbazzes…

  12. Never shoot at public ranges, so it’s never been an issue. Usually shoot alone too.

    With that said, if it was a safety issue that endangered me, yes I would. Then I’d also probably leave.

    Not wearing eye/ear protection? That’s on you.
    Slide bite? Everyone learns from that the first time.

    You ask for my advice, I’ll give it. I won’t give it unsolicited though.

  13. Absofreekinglutely. My LGS range is 6 lanes and no RSO. Many times I see both newbies and apparently experienced shooters with very bad muzzle discipline. The most common item I correct is when a round of shooting is completed people put the gun down pointed at the lane next to them. It is a very rare trip to the range indeed that I don’t have to correct a safety concern.

  14. Like others here, I shoot almost exclusively on my own property. On rare occasions I’ll skip/forget eye protection, but always have ears on. As an instructor/RSO I have a hard time ignoring other’s safety issues especially.

  15. As an RO for my local club, I have an obligation.

    (So much for clearing cookies and history. I still have to enter my name and email addy.
    Stupid website “upgrade”)

  16. Happily I have the range to myself 95% of the time and the times others have been there they have all seemed competent. I don’t/won’t go to public, a crowded (more than one other group of 1-3) or a range with an RO. That said, in the above situation I’d leave or at most ask if they wanted advice as I left.

  17. Let’s define and separate a few terms. Safety = the four rules plus a few other common sense things to prevent bullets from going through people. Like don’t walk downrange when people are shooting.

    Personal protective equipment should be discussed separately from safety. Lack of ear and/or eye protection can result in bad things but they aren’t immediately life-threatening.

    Safety violations I won’t tolerate. Improper gun handling likely to cause injury, such as offhand thumb behind the slide or dangerously close to the cylinder gap on a revolver – I will correct that if I have the chance.

    As for personal protective equipment, I’m responsible for myself, my kids and any newbs I might take to the range. Other shooters are on their own.

  18. I saw an experienced guy coaching three family member newbies. He was dealing with a high level of guest interaction, then almost ran out into the range before the all clear was announced. He thanked me when I asked him to stop.

    I once told a woman pistol newbie with exposed cleavage that she might want to zip up to avoid hot brass burns. She didn’t really respond either way.

  19. I won’t tell anyone to wear eye- or ear-pro except someone I’m training. I won’t tell a woman what to wear — that could be deadly. I have given newbies a heads-up about their slide-bite grip, but that’s really a self-correcting problem.

    As for poor muzzle control, as long as the gun isn’t aimed at me, I’ll correct it gently. When the gun is inadvertently aimed at me, I find that yelling “freeze, dirt bag!” and proning out the miscreant usually means that I don’t have to shoot him. Because I’m all about restraint.

  20. I go to a private outdoor range when I shoot, but I usually act as range officer if I’m taking out new people. So yes, I’ll correct safety issues and give advice if I see something that can help.

  21. Was shooting with my grandmother-in-law and the rest of the fam behind the in-laws house once. Her handgun jammed and she turned around, sweeping the muzzle across all of us while trying to clear it. I left. Quickly. I almost tore her CCW permit up myself.
    Even before that incident I didn’t agree with her having a CCW permit. Her eyesight sucks, she’s emotionally volatile, and she’s not a particularly good decision maker.
    My actions (with people I know) depends on the person. Most of the family would take my scolding to heart, but it would have been wasted breath on that woman. To be clear, I like her as a person, but damn I wouldn’t trust her with my life and I’ll never go shooting with her again.

  22. It is interesting there seems to be a common theme above. That helping newbies, not necessarily for safety purposes, but simply helping, seems to be averted by some. I don’t understand.

    • I suspect that many of the folks who say they don’t offer help to newbies have had experiences where doing so was not well-received. I’ve been there, and had what I thought was friendly (albeit unsolicited) advice rejected quite rudely. I’ll still offer help if I get the sense that the newbie in question is open to it, but I can understand how a couple such experiences could sour you on being too helpful.

    • Once I told somebody nicely that he was doing something foolish with his firearm.

      He turned around and pointed it at me. Intentionally or not, he pointed it at me.

      Never engage with fools. That goes double for fools with guns.

  23. If the newscaster were informed of the dangers would she then push for a law to make it mandatory to wear eye and ear protection when carrying? If the gun culture is too pushy with eye and ear protection we may potentially inadvertently cause mandatory eye and ear protection laws to be passed

  24. I don’t correct anyone for anything unless I am being paid for that purpose. I would not correct a bad driver, and they are probably more of a hazard to the public. If someone puts me in danger, I move along. Too many crazies out there to talk to strangers.

  25. When I use the local range I go when few, if any, other people are there.

    Mostly I shoot out in the boonies where I don’t have to worry about other people.

  26. Generally, to each his own. I have assisted someone that genuinely was trying to learn and was making an effort to be careful.

    That being said, if somebody is being reckless, I just pack up and go – no words, no confrontation. And, I have packed up and left after just overhearing some stoopid and reckless statements, before any shooting even had a chance to start. Stoopid people, stoopid places…..

  27. I’ve been on the receiving end of “special help”. A range master at a local range did not care for the technique I use in racking my slide (pull slide back while pushing gun out. He attempted to correct me by coming from behind, unannounced, and reaching both arms around me to take control of the gun. Scared the daylights out of me. Unfortunately for him, my first reflex as a result of his surprise reach-around left him with a broken nose. Not intentional on my part, just an instinctive reaction. Feel bad about it to this day.

    So the lesson here? If you’re going to assist or correct someone at the range, put some thought into how you’ll approach them.

  28. I do not put personal protective equipment at the same level as unsafe gun handling or sweeping those around you. Personal protection is just that; personal. Me personally, I always wear it and bring enough for those I bring to the range, but would not say anything to others on the range.

    I equate lack of eye & ear protection to someone not wearing a helmet when they ride a motorcycle. That is their call and hurts no one but themselves outside the whole insurance cost debate.

  29. Eye protection is a must.

    BUT, if one woman instructor was teaching a female newbie how to shoot, I would not barge in and start lecturing them on “the right way.” One must, at least to some extent, know that such interference may be unwanted and/ or unproductive.

    Just my two cents.

  30. It depends on the situation. Usually there is no assigned range officer where I shoot so members must police themselves. We do have a club VP that checks on the ranges but he is mostly looking for nonmembers and idiots shooting up the wooden target frames. If looks like a situation where the people are receptive to practicing good range etiquette and I see some unsafe practices I will say something. If I see someone’s kid standing there with fingers in their ears, I pass out ear plugs because I can get them for free. Most people I have encountered appreciate instruction on safety. If they continue to act unsafe after that, I’ll leave and they are on their own.

  31. If it’s poor muzzle or trigger discipline, absolutely. If it’s poor shooting technique or not knowing how to work the weapon in question, usually, unless they’re doing the tough guy cowboy hat barbed wire tattoo thing, because those guys typically don’t want to hear it. But I’ll always correct things that pose danger of serious physical injury.

  32. Usually only when it impacts my safety or my wife. Otherwise, unless it’s something that might lead to serious bodily injury, I let it go.

  33. I often shoot without eye and ear pro, not always not even the majority of the time, but often.

    I also ride my bike without a helmet and dont always buckle my seatbelt. Drank out of the hose as a kid and played on the jungle gym made of metal with exposed screws over nothing more than dirt.

    Safety is always a good idea, but lets not follow the left’s example into hysterical worry.

    Most people do many dangerous things and make it home at the end of the day. Always a good idea to minimize it for your own safety but just dont go crazy over it.

  34. It is never a good idea to shoot without eye or ear protection, unless it is a life or death situation.

    But if the next person over wants to go blind, deaf, or both, it’s no skin off me.

  35. My gun range (inside) won’t allow shooters or spectators in the bays without eye and ear protection. Of course, they will gladly sell a shooter or spectator ear and eye protection.

  36. If it affects my safety, or the range’s health, I’ll intervene, but if it is too big a problem to fix, I’ll leave. For instance, I talked to a range officer and got a guy some coaching when he was using the sights incorrectly, and shooting the ceiling. But when a bunch of 20 year olds had a cavalier attitude about safety and were laughing about how they had tried to load a magazine backwards, I figured the problem was too big to correct personally and left.

    Generally at my range though, the RSOs are good about figuring out who will need a little one on one time to be safe.

  37. Depends. I do most of my shooting at a club these days, with fulltime RSO’s and some strict rules.

    Generally, I prefer to speak to the person directly. I think it’s the friendly and courteous thing to do: keeps them safe, keeps them from having an incident filed against them by the RSO.

    If I think the person is an idiot and won’t listen when I offer some friendly advice, then it’s a judgement call on how dangerous their behavior is. If they aren’t wearing hearing or eye protection, fine. Let them suffer the consequences. If they are doing something that might get somebody shot, then I’ll bail and speak to an RSO later. Our club has zero injuries (other than scrapes and bruises at IDPA matches) and we want to keep it that way. Let the RSO and the safety committee handle people who refuse to see the error of their ways.

  38. I was at the range when a Dad had his 65lb 11 year old girl shoot his 30-06 with a scope. I saw it going down and wanted to say something but didn’t.

    It ended up being a bloody mess. She got the worst scope bite I have ever seen. She bled like a stuck pig. She was sobbing, asking her Dad if she was going to die. The Dad felt super bad. I might have relished hearing his side of the conversation when he called the wife. I could tell She was so pissed off.

  39. I once mentioned to one guy that he is aiming his AK 47straight at me. The owner replied: “It’s not loaded!” and to prove it he squeezed the trigger. Still aiming at me.
    Last time I went shooting I mentioned to next lane shooters that shooting at full size figure target at 3 yards will make them to hit the floor of our indoor range. They didn’t thank me. They didn’t flip me off. They did move their target further down range. I call it a win.

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