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I recently helped IDF vet and TTAG writer Ron Grobman put this video together — in the sense that I participated in his night fighting course. ‘Scuse the pun, but it was a real eye opener.

Moving and shooting is hard enough. Moving and lighting up your target and shooting accurately and then going dark and moving again (to cover or concealment) is even harder.

More than that, maintaining range safety in the dark during low and no-light training is an enormous challenge. Which Ron and his team tackled with consummate professionalism.

I’ve experienced that kind of “safety first, last and always” instruction many times. Trainer and former Navy SEAL Jeff Gonzales at The Range at Austin has that wired. The SIG Sauer Academy, too. And then . . .

I’ve worked with trainers who were either overwhelmed or distracted, who missed bad muzzle discipline and other egregious range safety violations. The worst? A police qualification session at the American Firearms School; an officer felt free to rack his gun with the teacher downrange.

But by far the worst has been unsupervised “training” by non-instructors. I once watched, horrified, as a group of gun guys goaded each other to draw their pistols faster and faster, with lousy technique.

What’s been your experience of training safety, both professional and unsupervised?

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  1. Sorry. Im one of “those” guys.
    I’m a safety a-hole. If I see something wrong I give gentle advice. If they are on my range and do it twice, I’ll kick them out without remorse.

  2. Meh… historically, I’m much more concerned about non-firearm related training safety. The number of times I’ve caught idiots doing stupid shit with lasers is far larger than with firearms.

    As for night training. You don’t even need a gun for that. Just your preferred lighting / NODS system and a dark house. I spend at least one day per month with my dominant eye covered with an eye patch so that moving with a PVS-14 won’t throw me off.

    • ” I’m much more concerned about non-firearm related training safety. ”
      Same here. I’ve never seen anyone shot during training (stateside) but I have seen broken legs, arms, ankles, concussions, a head injury that required surgery, and tons of other burns, scrapes, punctures and cuts. When I act as the EMS for a range, I bring a little quick clot, and a whole lot of splints and basic bandages. And ice, because people are dumb.

      • I roll with the instant cold packs. Not just because they’re convenient but because about nine months ago I ordered four packs on Amazon. The seller screwed up and sent me four cases of the things totaling 64 cold packs but only charged me like $7.00.

        I tried to give them away by the case to the hospital, fire station and some volunteer groups. No one would take them because they didn’t order them themselves and therefore couldn’t be sure they’re genuine. Now I go to the local kiddie soccer and football games to pawn them off on coaches.

  3. I reserve my concern for everyone who’s “good” at firearms or firearms safety, or “really knows it”.

    Bad things happen to everyone eventually, if you don’t think so, i think you’re more dangerous than most.

    I beg for constant double-check / reminders and constant humility to avoid ‘humbling’.

    Training safety faux pas? Bunch. Every one (including mine) occured when I or others ‘knew’ something. Complacency kills, 2nd. I’ve seen people taunt someone who’s racked a round out of their previously “cleared” weapon at the clearing barrel, and the next two laughing idiots did the same darn thing. Keep each other safe, thank each other for a cross check. Forgive what you all survive, and press on.

  4. Saw a deputy sheriff get escorted of the KC Police Dept. range for failure to follow instruction. It looked to me like he couldn’t handle the stress of qualifying (yikes).

    The 25mm rounds for the chain gun on a Bradley come in plastic cassettes and you have to link them into a belt. The links are big, stiff and it’s generally no fun. Private Scruffy came up with an ingenious solution – use a loose training round like a hammer to bang the links together. Results were predictable. He hit the primer on his “hammer” and wound up shooting his buddy with a training AP round. Surprisingly, the buddy actually survived.


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