Gun Range RSOs: Gun Heroes of the Day

We recently published an Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day on some extremely dangerous gun handling at a gun range. A range where the Range Safety Officers (RSOs) were nowhere to be seen. I’d like to take some time to acknowledge those hard-working RSOs who keep us safe at the range . . .

This army of gun safety professionals enable the spread of American gun culture by making shooting fun and safe. More than that, they help new shooters improve their marksmanship and tactics, guiding them towards mastery of the fine art of firearms freedom.

A big shout out to Wayne Buettner, formerly RSO and manager of the American Firearms School. Along with the rabbi, Wayne taught me shooting technique, attitude and self-defense strategy. The Army vet was patient, open-minded and understanding. Thanks Wayne.

If there’s an RSO who’s earned your respect and thanks, name names here. Meanwhile, a TTAG salute to all those RSOs who take their job seriously, helping defend and extend Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.


  1. avatar Carl says:

    Thank you Rand Safety Officers. Rand can get out of control quickly.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Very funny guys. Text amended.

  2. avatar BigDaveinVT says:

    I own a Remmington Rand 1911. Love it but it hardly needs a dedicated safety officer.

  3. avatar RCC says:

    I’ve been at ranges where after a quick look I decided to find somewhere else to shoot. Usually no rso or a I was “special” something and the rules don’t apply to me type (Some have made the news for all the wrong reasons since)

    Plus plenty more around the world where Range safety officers were very helpful and mostly glad to have international visitors.

    I rso at home range for about 20 years now and still enjoy teaching new students

  4. avatar RCC says:

    I was going to throw in the Rand Corperation is everywhere but you fixed the text.

  5. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Why, thank you very much.

  6. avatar Ralph says:

    “Gun Range RSOs” seems repetitive, no?

    1. avatar Eremeya says:

      Not really because RSO is the position/person. It would be no different than saying “Gun Range Owner“ or “Gun Range Cashier”.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        So, gun Range Range Safety Officer isn’t repetitive or repetitive. Is that really real?

        1. avatar Eremeya says:

          It might not sound the best but it’s not grammatically incorrect.

        2. avatar Dr. Vinnie Boombotz says:

          Hi hello! Department of Redundancy Department.

    2. avatar El says:

      If one wishes to make it clear that s/he RSOs on a gun range as opposed to an archery range, it’s really not repetitive, no?

  7. avatar Liberal Prepper says:

    Did a machine gun shoot at a Las Vegas range once. The 4’11’ blond bombshell RSO was amazing. Talk about on task, she was all over any movement of the muzzle from downrange. She had her work cut out for her given the posers the place attracts.You know, like me.

  8. avatar Anon in CT says:

    Maybe this is the old Army in me, but I don’t think an RSO should be helping with technique, tactics, etc. That’s the job of a shooting coach, an OIC (officer in charge) or an RCO (range conducting officer). An RSO’s ONLY job should be safety. Period.

    1. avatar bastiches says:

      You may want to review the link included in the first sentence regarding RSOs handling safety problems. That linked article shows an apparent complete absence of safety.

      The vid from this post is a bit different being that it is of a ‘tourist’ gun range where most customers are there for the first time novelty. Therefore, a personal shooting coach is obviously warranted.

      That said, isn’t there a happy medium for other gun ranges that can help first-time shooters from not muzzle sweeping the entire room? Shouldn’t there be something more than allowing first-time novelty shooters from endangering themselves and others?

    2. avatar pcb_duffer says:

      Agree. I would classify the fellows in the uniform shirts in this video as “Instructors” rather than “RSOs”. An RSO should have overwatch over the entire facility, or some defined portion of this, and not teaching individual shooters.

  9. avatar Ing says:

    Whoever ran the rifle range at the Dry Wash Scout Camp in San Juan County, Utah, back in 1984.

    I took Hunters Education there, earned my Rifleman merit badge, and spent every free second of that 10-day camp shooting NRA smallbore paper targets with an old single-shot .22. (I even passed up canoeing on the lake to go shoot instead.)

    I didn’t know it then, but looking back, that great experience with guns turned out to be an inflection point in my life. Things could’ve been very different without it.

    1. avatar Button Gwinnet says:

      Peaceful Valley Scout Camp, Black Forest, Colorado, 1976. Didn’t even have to give up canoeing, there wasn’t a lake. We paid a quarter for 5 rounds, I remember. Maybe a nickle a target? And fines for hitting the clothespins that held the targets. Back then, I had good eyes and could see 25 yards with those skinny blade sights.

  10. avatar Mark N. says:

    RSO? What’s an RSO? Never seen one at any of the places I’ve been shooting.

    Actually, I do know what one “is” but have never run into one. The indoor range here has a glass wall, but no one seems to pay any attention to what is going on inside the range. The three other places were all outdoors on BLM or other federal land, and people look out for each other. I’ve never had a coach tell me about grip, site picture, or trigger control either, but I’ve done plenty of reading on these subjects, so I can hit what I am aiming for. Usually. Except that day my son and I were trying to hit a target at 100 yards with a 9mm. Too short, too left, too right, but never within three feet. (And then Jerry goes and does it at 1000 yards!)

  11. avatar AndyinMA says:

    Good crew at Granite State in Hudson NH.

  12. avatar Kendahl says:

    The sole responsibility of a range officer is safety. As much as possible, he should try to accomplish that through polite instruction. Deal with incorrigible offenders by banning them permanently from the range.

    My gun club uses range officers only during matches. The rest of the time, everyone is an unofficial range officer. If we observe unsafe behavior, we are supposed to correct it in a polite, friendly, helpful manner. If that doesn’t work, we are to report the offender to the club’s officers. Very likely, you will never see him again.

  13. avatar Patrick (No...the other one) says:

    West Coast Armory North in Everett, Wa. David Toby is the range manager there. His gang is on top of things. In the years I’ve been going there I’ve seen my share of infractions. Invariably the RSO’s are on the spot having a “gentle reminder” conversation before you can say “what in the heck is that wingnut doing?” They make it clear that safety is job #1 there, and I, for one, appreciate it.

  14. avatar Docduracoat says:

    The RSO’s at Delray shooting center here in Florida are a bunch of jerks
    They act like they are ATF agents, responsible for enforcing all gun laws
    The range officers at Markham Park shooting range are also a bunch of control freaks
    I like the fellows at Palm Beach Sheriffs range, but they are actual police officers

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