A hand of man practicing firing using a Glock gun model at the shooting range. Fire glock hand gun.
Previous Post
Next Post

We’ve all seen it. Someone holding a gun incorrectly at the range, sometimes in a way that’s going to hurt when they pull the trigger. Or, more alarming, someone failing to follow one or more of the four rules of firearm safety. As in the photo above.

If you’re at a supervised range, you’d hope the range safety officer would step in when someone does something really dangerous.

Top Gun Range Safety Gun Fail Head
courtesy Facebook and Aim0holiks

But they can’t be everywhere and see everything, particularly at a range with a large number of shooting lanes. In a situation like that, lots of experienced shooters will step in (or leave immediately).

But what if you see something that’s not dangerous, but bad form? A situation where a little help from someone with more experience could help a new or inexperienced shooter? Something like, say, the grip used in the stock photo above.

range train pistol grip teacup

The reality is, lots of people don’t take well to being corrected, no matter how well-intentioned the advice may be. Sidling into the next shooting lane and asking, “Mind if I give you a shooting tip?” might be intended as help, but might be perceived as annoying interference.

We all want to grow the shooting sports and get more people into guns. The more Americans who own firearms and have fun shooting them, the more effectively we can defend and extend the right to keep and bear arms. But tapping a stranger on the shoulder and telling him or her what you think they’re doing wrong may not be the best approach.

What would you do? Do you offer unsolicited help to other shooters at the range?

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. If I’m by myself at the range, I keep to myself.

    If I take a shooting partner, I’m usually the more experienced shooter and I do supervise and offer suggestions.

    If the grip in the top photo is comfortable and working for the shooter, I don’t see any reason to tell him to do it differently.

    • Pretty sure it’s crappy article layout, “above” was likely referring to the picture below where that idiot was pointing his gun at the other dude’s head.

      Another worthless “Staff Writer” filler piece…

      • It looks to me that the “grip” remark actually does reference the photo just above it, and the “really dangerous” remark refers to the gun pointing.

    • Generally the same, have been asked once or twice but not too many people like taking advice from one younger than they are and only know a few younger than I am at the current range.

    • This.

      Sometimes I’ll slide over (pun intended…yah, I went there) and comment on someone’s gun and how it intrigues me. But I never tell them how to shoot.

  2. It’s considered rude and in poor form if they aren’t with you. Unless they’re muzzling me then they get a rather harsh reminder to watch their muzzle.

    Now, watching and giggling from behind the ballistic glass watching terrible skill sets? That’s okay so long as they don’t see you.

  3. I’ve done so a few times and it was generally well received. At least as often, I was just doing what I do and a shooter next to me saw and asked. Always glad to help.

    • Usually don’t give advice, but I got some once on a skeet range, and it was pretty useful. Guy pointed out something I was doing that I didn’t even realize (pulling the shotgun away from my shoulder just as I fired). Improved my shooting, and I appreciated the advice. Helped that it was given in a friendly way.

  4. Most of the time, yes. I see it as part of being an ambassador for the sport.

    Of course, having instructor and RSO certificates help. It also helps if your target doesn’t look like swiss cheese, because your fellow shooters are looking at your target as well.

    Noticing which ones have range-rented firearms / ear protection also helps.

    Even when they are “tea-cupping”. It’s easier to correct when they are relatively new.

    Now, if they revert to thumb behind the slide, or teacup, oh well, that’s on them.

    • OK, I looked it up.

      The guy in the top photo is “tea-cupping.” I don’t see what’s so bad about it. I use a modified tea-cup when shooting a micro pistol, since I can’t get both of my hands to wrap the grip.

      My grip is more of a Weaver, push-pull. The isosceles stance feels strange to me and it’s not comfortable. Maybe one of my arms is longer than the other.

      • tea-cupping tends to.cause one to tghten their grip and have poor trigger control. it also tends to.cause the firearm to rotate out of your grip, meaning your follow up shots take longer or are much less accurate.
        your support hand can support about 60-70% of the firearm, leaving your strong hand to focus simply on a rearward trigger press.

        this doesn’t mean you can’t teacup. but your groups and split times will generally get better with a thumbs-forward grip.


        • I shoot one handed because it’s hard to run shooting with both hands.
          Also it’s hard to steer and shoot using both hands on the gunm.
          Also it’s hard to hold a beer and shoot using both hands on the gunm.

    • Famous last words as the tacticool jerk off in the next lane shoots you. I’ve had to correct people’s unsafe firearms handling of different occasions. I’ve even left the range to call the park rangers, because of the unsafe handling practices of individuals. The rules at our range (county owned-members only) are the first person to the range is considered the RSO, unless they are uncomfortable doing so and someone else is willing to take the responsibility. Unfortunately a couple of years ago a young girl shot herself in the face, at another local range because of bad handling practices and improper adult supervision. The same RSO rules applied at that facility. Everybody’s safety is your responsibility at the range. Especially yours and the people in your group.

  5. Correct other shooters, no. I’m not likely to say much of anything unless safety becomes a serious issue.

    If someone needs help I will gladly lend a hand. That has happened a time or two.

    I have been to ranges where serious safety concerns get ignored and I end up never going back. But that is rarely a problem.

    • I have offered advice especially when they are a danger to themselves & especially ME. Some folks need correction especially the idiot who got shot in the head at Range USA in MERRILLVILLE,IN. True story bro. I correct my elderly buddy(I guess I’m his guru) but he’s still careless. I’m worse at the gym where I DO know it all🙄

  6. I am often correcting the use of their, they’re, and there, and I have given up on the apostrophe rule entirely.

  7. I rarely step in unless someone is doing something that is seriously dangerous. Typically, if someone is merely being a little casual in how they handle their firearms, I mention it to an RSO, if one is, available or just quietly move or leave if not.

    I have, on a small handful of occasions, done something like put a hand on a muzzle pointed somewhere other than down range and said something like, “That is a loaded firearm, isn’t it? Whether it is or not, most people here will assume it is. You might want to avoid pointing it at them.” Most of those type interactions have turned out ok. Many are inexperienced shooters and some appreciate a little insight into range safety and etiquette.

    One time, after being repeatedly flagged by a guy who was having issues with FTFs in his rifle, and kept trying to clear them by laying the rifle on the bench pointed parallel to the firing line, I said, “If you point your rifle at me again I’m going to point mine at you.” That interaction was less cordial but, dude kept flagging me with a loaded, and apparently mechanically deficient, AR.

  8. Dont offer advice but have received some. I appreciated it, but I’m not really one of those macho types so…

  9. You know, this topic is a two way street. I was at the public range off Springhill Rd in the Appalachicola National Forest. Two guys shooting next to me looked like they were patterning a shotgun. Except, they were shooting a 6″ S&W model 17, a 6 1/2″ 29 and an 8 3/8″ 27. They had been complaining loudly about the sights being off on the revolvers. I had kept my peace. During a cease fire I put up a silhouette target at 100 yards. When we went hot I began to load my 4″ Ruger Security Six HB. Stainless. I guess they thought I couldn’t hear them through my hearing protection. One said to the other, “He’ll never hit that from here with a pistol.” (A Security Six is a revolver, but that’s another story.) I dropped my muffs and asked if they had $20 they wanted to lose. After a little spitting and sputtering, no. I sandbagged my weapon, placed the top of the front sight level with the shoulders of the target and squeezed of six SA. When we walked down range I counted them off. Six in a saucer about the belt buckle. They asked if would try their handguns. I put six from the 17 in a silver dollar at 15 yards from a rest. I said, “Nothing wrong with the sights. It’s your trigger control.” Years later I did the same thing with many deputies having trouble qualifying. Everyone wants to blame the sights. Should you offer to help, or just let them keep fucking up? In fact, have you ever stopped and help someone change a flat tire that didn’t know how to use their jack? Yeah, me too. What’s the difference?

    • The difference for me at least is that I don’t particularly wish to contribute to the proficiency of someone that gives me negative vibes. Years ago a passel of knuckleheads occupied a couple lanes to my right. They had an AK, pistol caliber carbine, several large frame pistols, and no eye and ear protection, or targets.

      These bozos were literally just jerking triggers and turning money into noise. I took pity on their girlfriends and passed out some disposable ear plugs but ignored the chumps so long as they did not muzzle me or the rest of my party.

      I absolutely will help another in the pursuit of knowledge and skill and was introducing a young lady to shooting that day. But I let knuckleheads walk on by.

      • BASHer,

        Had I been in your situation, I would have done the EXACT same thing.

        And I share your mentality about when you will and will not contribute to someone’s proficiency.

    • Gadsden Flag,

      Okay, that settles it: I am heading to your locale this winter or spring so you can teach/train me how to shoot slow and careful single-action on a rest and achieve group sizes of a saucer at 100 yards!

      You may have read my recent comments where I mentioned that I have a large-frame .44 Magnum revolver and I want to harvest white-tailed deer this season with it. So far (without any formal training and almost no practice) I can put all six shots into a 6-inch steel gong at 50 yards. That is slow and careful single-action shooting from a mediocre rest on a picnic table at a cousin’s rural property. I would absolutely LOVE to be able to put all six shots into a 6-inch steel gong at 100 yards. Heck I would probably even be quite happy being able to put all of my shots into a 6-inch steel gong at 75 yards.

      • me too. sandbags would help. unsupported, paper plate at 25yds is about where i’m at. and i’ve had that thing since ’84.

  10. I will immediately “correct” a serious safety violation.

    If it looks like someone is struggling and frustrated (and not serious safety violation), I will very humbly and politely ask them if they would like some pointers. If they answer, “no,” then I politely wish for them to enjoy their range time. If they answer, “yes,” then I proceed with whatever tips or pointers that I can share.

    My personal opinion is that it is never rude nor in bad form to humbly and politely offer assistance to someone who is struggling and frustrated–and then honor their response whatever it is. That applies to all activities.

    • Uncommon, if you can keep them in six inches at fifty yards you are “good to go.” I can’t teach you anything. However, you are welcome to visit. Make it during hunting season and I’ll give you the opportunity to put those skills to work. Let me know if you want my PX.

      • Gadsden Flag,

        Thank you for the feedback. I was expecting to be in a really good place (career/business-wise where I would have ample time/opportunity for rest-and-relaxation) by the end of July this year and then life happened. I am scrambling to get all my proverbial ducks in a row by the end of November. If I manage to pull that off, I will make it a priority to head to your neck of the woods and take you up on your gracious offer.

        Caveat: my parents are advanced in age and in somewhat poor health. They could take a turn for the worse at any time and that would mess up my life plans significantly.

    • Uncommon,

      The limitation at this point may be the ammunition and not you. Try some 44 Special and different bullet weights & brands. The twist rate of your barrel may slightly favor one particular load.

      Alternately if you or a (highly) trusted friend hand load this would be a great time to work up some slight variations.

      • BASHer,

        Thank you for your response. I will be returning to my cousin’s rural property in a few weeks. I will bring a few different ammunition choices (bullet weights and muzzle velocities) and see which one produces the tightest groups.

        Unfortunately, I do not have room at my home for handloading equipment and I don’t know anyone who handloads so I am stuck with factory ammunition. The good news in that regard is that there are quite a few options in .44 Magnum which factored into my decision to go with .44 Magnum in the first place.

  11. I do offer a word of caution when I see someone about to injure themselves. Several times I’ve actually stopped an unwary shooter from ripping skin off their thumb or worse with a semi auto due to improper hold. I’ve seen too many people get hurt that way and then not want to shoot anymore because of embarrassment or fear of injury.

    I also will speak up if someone at the range is doing something dangerous such as…. muzzling the line or me, standing by the benches during a cease fire (Range rule with good reason) and even stopping people from putting up targets that are DOWN RANGE during live fire. Yes, that has happened more than once in the 15 years I’ve been going to the same range. And actually happens a couple times a year according to the RO’s.

    Otherwise I leave people to their pursuits. I’m always willing to help a fellow shooter if asked though.

  12. I’ll help if they ask for it or they’re about to hurt themselves, like putting a th8mb behind a slide. There are so many grips and reasons for.different grips that I’m not going to preach for one without knowing their needs. Heck, I’ve been to ranges where the RSOs throw fits if you correct people on safety issues instead of tatting to the RSO and letting them do it.

  13. I don’t do anything to ‘correct’ anyone unless its a serious safety issue and the RSO doesn’t catch it for some reason. For example, the guy/gal who suddenly turns around away from down range with a loaded gun in their hand to talk to someone else and the RSO is looking the other way at the moment I might say “Whoa there, point it down range!”

  14. At the club I belong to the members tend to be older and keep to themselves. If they’re asked for advice, they cheerfully give it. However, some of the RO’s can sometimes be a pain in the ass with unsolicited advice unrelated to safety concerns. I politely listen and then ignore these “pearls of wisdom”.

  15. A few years ago when new shooters/owners began to be everywhere, I started butting in. often it was the boyfriend with limited skills. Many times it was a female new shooter, with a difficult gun. Approached properly and gently, it’s been positive every time. I also use it as a chance to let them shoot my gun(s) to expand their experience.

  16. I keep to myself unless I see someone with a rare or very cool firearm. When they are done shooting, I walk over and talk to them. But I rarely offer advice. I go to the range at least once a week. Frequently am asked if I can teach someone how to shoot. I usually bow out with tact, as most don’t take this activity seriously.

  17. I travel 40 minutes to go to a nice modern well managed range even though there is a gun range/store less than a mile from my home. The nearer range is always packed, but it has no RSO’s, only store employees occasionally peek in on the shooters. I’ve shot there and when the rounds go downrange and hit the backstop material they spark which means they are not doing maintenance. I’ve seen some scary stuff going on there and will never go back. I just keep hoping they will sell the place to someone safer, but they are making a lot of money there. Don’t these places get inspected by anyone?

  18. I had to stop a buddy from pulling the trigger while his thumb was on the backplate of the slide. Parr of me was this is going to be fun to watch, but the other was don’t let him do it… the angel prevailed.

Comments are closed.