Jay Henges shooting range
Courtesy Missouri Dept. of Conservation
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Any gun guru worth his or her salt will tell you to avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. As someone who’s been to more gun ranges than the average guy, we should modify that adage to account for the risks involved when shooting guns next to complete strangers. Avoid stupid armed people in stupid places doing stupid things.

Oh and don’t be that guy! But if you are, here are the three surefire ways to really piss off other people at a gun range.

1.  Muzzle someone

The Four Rules of Gun Safety direct us to always keep guns pointed in a safe direction. Pointing a gun at someone — whether loaded or not — violates that prime safety rule. And, thus, social etiquette.

Most shooters like to shoot without worrying about being shot. Muzzling someone at a gun range isn’t the best way to win friends and influence people, but it is a terrific way to become a ballistic persona non grata, get chewed out, and possibly ejected.

2. Offer unsolicited advice to other shooters

Speaking of influencing people, don’t do it. I’ve made the mistake of stepping into a nearby lane, tapping a shooter on the shoulder and warning them that their support-hand-over-strong-hand grip was about to result in a bloody case of slide bite. What thanks did I receive? Death stares.

The same thing happened — and then some — when I made the mistake of correcting a young lady’s reared-back stance.

I learned the hard way that it’s best to leave well enough alone. No matter how unorthodox your neighbors’ shooting may be (short of actual safety violations — see above) don’t offer help unless you’ve been asked.

3. Touch a firearm when the range is cold

When the range safety officer (or another shooter) calls cold range, that’s the signal for every one to drop their magazines, clear their chambers, lock their actions open and step away from the firing line. That’s the time all of the shooters can go down range to tape or change their paper targets, paint steel targets and maybe move them to another distance for the next shooting session.

If your range has an RSO on duty, he or she will usually do a pass along the line, making sure any firearms that are visible are clear and safe before letting the shooters head down range. Some public ranges even have a line painted on the floor behind which shooters have to stand during a cold range to keep them away from the bench.

A sure way to get yourself a drill sergeant-style chewing out — and possibly tossed off the range entirely — is to touch a gun (or anything else on the bench) during a cold range. That’s especially true while shooters are still down range.

Some people can’t seem to keep their paws off their gun or feel the need to fiddle with their gear or load magazines at the bench during a cold range. Shoot often enough at a public range and you’ll probably see (and hear) it happen. Don’t be that guy.

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  1. Of the three, we likely see #3 the most at our club. The guys I shoot with, we all use chamber flags with magazines out before calling the line cold and going down range. But sometime we have to share with some people just don’t get it.

    • Is this really a thing? Is it some kind of kindergarten range? When i hear cease fire i put it on safe and let it hang or holster up. I wouldn’t want to shoot around incompetent children who cant be trusted touching a gun.

      • Your comment doesn’t make much sense. On large public ranges, the RSO cannot be expected to have detailed knowledge on every shooters skill and responsibility level. Everyone abiding by the damn rules Keeps YOU safe from people who might not be as safety conscious as you. This is even more important considering the large increase of novice gun owners and shooters caused by the recent unpleasantness.

        If you don’t want to abide by the posted rules, STAY HOME! Or you could always buy your own range and make your own rules.

        • Public range is the last place you will find me. I only shoot with my team. Luckily we have range once a week. Free guns and ammo! Guess when I retire I will ave to take your advice and build my own range.

        • Large public range sounds like a sad place to shoot. Glad I can just go out shooting in the boonies. Still careful of course

      • You seem to be misinformed how the rest of the world operates shooting ranges. I’m glad you have the ability to have more relaxed rules as well as so called “free” ammo, but please take the time to consider the projected audience for this article…the 99% of shooters who must endure the public or club ranges where safety is the #1 concern. The NRA requires the steps described by the author in order for a range to be NRA certified let alone the insurance companies who’d have a field day if someone was injured due to a shooter not following basic firearm safety rules. As was mentioned before, the rules as described ensure safety for all users regardless of experience. Even law enforcement and military ranges operate similarly to what you describe as kindergarten antics.

  2. load magazines at the bench during a cold range

    Is that a no-no? Obviously keeping your hands off your guns is important, but if you’re just sitting at a bench loading magazines, you’re not endangering anyone.

    The wording of the cold range rule at my range is “When the rifle range is called ‘COLD’ shooters are required not to handle their firearms.” Doesn’t say anything about magazines.

    • I think that’s a no no, hand on mag tends to wander to gun…

      If anything, stepping away from the bench provides a visual all clear to the guys downrange that they won’t get accidentally plugged.

      • I think that’s a no no, hand on mag tends to wander to gun…

        Somehow my hands are not demon-possessed and don’t tend to do that.

        • Mostly it’s a Glock thing. They tend to load themselves and aim themselves for the big toe ….

        • Yours may not….but others…

          When you’re in task accomplishment mode, loading the gun or handling it is just another task at hand, better to just step away from it and prevent an easy brain fart.

        • I have no objection to you loading mags, as long as you stay completely clear of the bench the firearm is on. IOW, have the mag and ammo in your pockets before you go downrange. If no one is within 3 feet of the bench, we are safe.

      • It may depend on the range. The one I frequent does allow this although you have to load mags on the bench, behind the line. They also have a rule that all firearms not in closed cases must be on the shooting bench, mags our with a chamber flag. Cases may not be opened during a cease fire and must be closed as soon as a cease fire is announced. I believe this combination makes it safe as there is no way a loaded magazine will get into a firearm if all instructions are followed.

    • At my local range, the Range Officer calling ‘cold’ means everyone steps back from the bench line by several feet. No one is allowed to be at his bench unless it’s hot. I agree with that rule.

    • In any USPSA competition I’ve ever entered, fiddling with mags when the range is cold will get you pitched out. You can only mess with mags or your firearm at designated stations. Of course, sanctioned competition is different than regular range use.

      At both of the ranges I frequent, when the range is cold, you’re not supposed to be near your bench, including any firearms, ammo or accessories that may be on it. Hard to tell from a distance what someone is up to if they are fiddling around at the bench.

      • At a USPSA match the only place you can’t handle magazines with ammo and/or ammo itself is in a safety area.

        USPSA rules 2.4.1, 2.3.2 and 10.5.12.

        You can handle magazine and ammo anywhere, anytime except a safety area.


    • I think that means *at the shooting bench*. There’s no reason why you couldn’t step back a few feet and simply load magazines sans firearm.

    • The key is at the bench. Nobody is likely to mind if you’re loading a magazine away from the bench, provided the firearm is on the bench.

    • I am a range safety officer and at our range and at the trainings we go to for certification it is always considered a no-no to touch anything related to the gun including the magazines. You have to consider what it looks like to
      The people down range from you. The goal is to create a safe and fun atmosphere and at 100 or 200 yards the odds of me being able to tell if you are handling a gun or just loading mags is almost impossible and worrying about getting shot is no fun. Cold ranges are a chance to take a few deep breaths. Take a sip of coffee. I tend to take notes on my performance shot placement. But touching a gun, a magazine etc. and I am probably going to come over and have a chat with you.

    • If you can load it at the bench, you can load it sitting a few feet away too. No reason to ever put safety in doubt.

  3. “…or load magazines at the bench during a cold range. Shoot often enough at a public range and you’ll probably see (and hear) it happen. Don’t be that guy.“

    Im sorry, can I cut a fart while I’m standing around waiting or is that a safety violation? Don’t handle firearms during a cold range, that’s basic common sense. But expecting everyone to freeze-frame and do absolutely nothing is pretty silly. At my private club — if you want to sit down at the tables behind the firing line and adjust something that isn’t a firearm, nobody is going to have a cow.

    • Depends on the situation, during bullseye matches, the RO will examine each lane that to be sure slides are back, magazines out and chamber flags are in place before calling the range cold. When shooting in an informal setting, I think its fine to load magazines as long as the guns are on the bench and you are doing it somewhere some distance behind the firing line, but it is frowned on at the line itself. It is mostly a matter of courtesy so others can be at ease down range.

  4. Usually that last item. And also frequently a fellow member that thinks the rules don’t apply when it’s just members shooting.

  5. #4) Walk up to the bench dressed like you just stepped off the cover of “Special Ops Fan Club” monthly, with all the tacticool gear, playing the part of amateur firearms instructor and loudly informing your lesser-experienced buddy of all the details of your guns and how to shoot them. Spoken in the direction of your buddy, but loud enough so that it’s actually intended to impress everyone else within earshot. Yet nobody is impressed.

    If I had a dollar for every guy like that I’ve seen at the range…

    • #5) I experienced this last night. The newbie that is at the range with a friend that wants to touch every rental pistol before deciding which to use, while the line behind him grows. And of course asks insanely dumb questions, loudly, the whole time. And then on range screams his conversation to his buddy.

      I learned this lesson early in life having worked on construction sites from the age of 11. It is, “Shut up, observe, shut up some more, observe more, then ask the question if a little bit of time does not help you answer your own question.”

    • I have not seen that yet. But then again I go when it’s least crowded, tues or wed from my experience. But we still have to maintain SA at the range; experince shooters can make mistakes too.
      Only prob, not really a prob, are those AR Pistols with a brake in an indoor range. I just don ear plugs with earmuffs and I’m GTG.

    • Wrong, its 7.5″ barrel with a brake in .223. The brake helps the life of the can and quick detach/attach, but yeah Its pretty abusive without a can on it, even as the shooter on an open range, for sure headache after 60 rds. Havent tried it in the shoot house yet, you got me thinking….lol it may help my tinnitus and hearing loss compensation go up. I may be deaf, but can hear the cash-registers, chaching!

  6. I agree with and have seen plenty of times all these points made in the article. But there’s a fourth “TOP WAY TO PISS OFF” people at a gun range, and that’s to be an RSO with a serious attitude problem.

    Ranges and RSO’s that will not permit you to pick up your own brass around the bench seriously piss me off. Saw this several times at a large public range near me. I won’t go there anymore.

    Guns are cold, actions open, magazines removed. I’ve been down range and back changing a target. There are still plenty of people down range and I’m using the remaining time to pick up my brass where it fell. RSO comes a running, yelling into a bullhorn when close enough to talk in a normal tone of voice. He’s red in the face and demanding I get behind the line, away from the bench.

    I refuse to play his game. Just calmly told him I’m picking up my brass while the range is cold. He tries to tell me “NO! GET BACK BEHIND THE LINE!”. Now, remember, my guns are laying there actions open and I am not touching any firearm.

    I told him he was welcome to pick up my brass for me and pile it on my bench. He got real hot after that one, told me it’s not my brass if it’s off the bench. I just kept picking my brass up and politely told him he was welcome to buy it from me but short of that, I paid for it and I own it.

    I’d seen other shooters, well behaved and acting safely get chewed out by a couple of different RSO’s there.

    Now I only go to an unsupervised range, or out to open land.

    A good RSO is an asset to a shooting range. A bad one with weird ideas or negative attitude is a detriment.

    • I’m not an RSO so I don’t take it personally, but the RSO is responsible for everybody’s safety, not your pride or feelings. I don’t think anybody lost any sleep or felt any regert (sic) that you didn’t go back to that range.

      • Some RSOs, just like some cops, foremen, and IT managers, have a power complex. It sounds like in this instance the only pride involved was the RSO’s.

        I’m lazy enough, and fortunate enough, that I can afford to leave my spent brass. But if someone wants to keep the brass that they paid for, what’s wrong with that? I’ve been to at least two ranges where the staff have a real problem with people picking up and keeping their own brass. I don’t mean the scavenger who scurries around underfoot collecting all the brass being dropped, I mean people firing a few shots and picking up their own brass that they just dropped. If the range is cold there’s no danger in someone picking their casings up.

        • I agree on both points. Someone who is trying to scoop up all the brass they can scavenge are likely taking someone else’ property. That’s rude .

      • You completely missed the point, but that’s alright.

        The public comments for that range have many similar complaints. It is not about safety, it is about the range or certain RSO’s wanting to take ownership of fired brass.

        There is ZERO safety issue of someone bending over, picking up their brass off the ground when the range is cold.

      • But no one has to be a jerk to keep everybody safe. I know of a public range just like the one mentioned above, and I won’t go there. I will go to one where everybody is professional. I also wholeheartedly agree with the comment on shooting a .50. I once blew a Thompson Contender, laying in its box, right off the bench and on to the ground. Thank God it landed still in its box (it was my father’s). I added a suppressor to my .50 just to contain that concussion, which I am convinced causes conductive hearing loss, even with plugs AND muffs on.

        • ” I added a suppressor to my .50 just to contain that concussion, which I am convinced causes conductive hearing loss, even with plugs AND muffs on.”

          I’m inclined to agree with that assessment. I’m no fan of being near a .50 BMG unless I’m doubled-up…

    • The two local ranges within driving distance from me have never allowed for picking up your own brass, in the 25+ years I’ve been shooting. The ranges collect it all for additional income by selling it to reloading outfits. When I visited an indoor range in the Midwest a few years ago and asked an employee if it was okay for me to pick up my brass, he looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said “of course…what a weird question”. I then explained that I’m from SoCal and have never been allowed to pick up brass, and he laughed and said “okay, that’s why”.

      When I go to the desert, though, the brass and shells all come back home with me.

      However, I agree with Richard that the RSO has an important job of safeguarding everyone present. I’ve met my own share of bad attitude numbskulls, but someone bending down to collect brass in front of the line would get my attention, too.

        • Behold, the poster henceforth known as Quasimodo, who – like his misshapen, hunchbacked, snaggle-toothed, bug-eyed mutant namesake – waddles around the room thinking he is doing a great service, but is actually repugnant to all. The slobbering sycophant All Hail is now Quasimodo.

          Hail Quasimodo!

        • Fan Club, I’m not so sure of that. Hail makes me chuckle. I suspect he is well kept, wears a tunic, and works hard to drum up applause, certainly not a “squire”, but an “attendant”. I’m kinda jealous of Haz, not too many people have a village idiot all to themselves, no insult intended to real attendants.

      • Does the range take brass from Revolvers ?
        I would use a net next to me to catch it all just to make a point that it’s mine to do what I want with it. Unless the range is free they need to make money some other way.

        • I suspect it’s only directed toward picking up anything off the ground. The closest range is almost $20 per person per visit, and always full. I should have bought some land and opened a public range…

          BTW, with that $20 I/we can pay for the gas necessary to travel out to our favorite spot in the open desert, where there are no (enforced) rules.

    • agree with you. “Range Nazi’s” are a thing, and one such incident cause a group of new shooters to completely get turned off and decide the gun club thing just wasn’t for them. There are infractions and then there are INFRACTIONS. This criticism goes for official RSO’s, but mostly I see it from random shooters too who take it on themselves to be a bit more prickish than the situation calls for. In the situation I referenced, someone’s guests were picking up spent brass adjacent to a shooting position but still behind the firing line. Not in front of the firing line mind you, but in between one position and the next and were no more forward than any shooter was. Some crusty old dude went full range nazi and things went sideways from there. Range Rage is kinda like Road Rage, only far more potentially dangerous as everyone has guns lol.

    • Enuf, you’re just wrong. If the establishment rules include staying behind a line while the range is cold, what makes you special so you don’t need to follow the rules? Is there some reason you cannot wait until the range is hot before you police your brass?

      • You are not paying attention, who said anything about policing brass while the range was hot?

        The RSO was going apeshit because of anyone picking up brass that hit the ground, and doing so when the range was cold.

        And there was no rule about the range keeping all brass, the RSO invented it.

        • Eric, you are still not paying attention. When the range is cold there is no wrong side of the line for cleaning up. Otherwise you never would clean up, would you? You wait for the range to be cold and clear for targets and clean up. How else do you collect your stuff that’s on the ground? When the range is hot? How does that work?

        • You keep accusing everyone else of not paying attention when you’re clearly the only one who was confused. If you continue to stay out of public ranges the world will be safer, so I genuinely thank you for that.

    • Spot on, totally agree. After 25 years at a variety of ranges, the biggest problem ever encountered wasn’t newbies or nosy patrons. It was two rogue RSOs at one public range where there was a good old boy mall cop culture problem. Every other RSO had ever met until then was within their rights and the rules when advising me nicely or not. It’s obvious when you’re dealing with a petty authority abuser and when they’re representing themselves as an authority and not the range with regard to the rules and safety.

      Of course rules regarding brass was just one of the flags I’d noted with this type. Multiple encounters of enforcement and/or citing ‘safety’ concerns you’ve never heard or read anywhere that just seem to be a preference of one RSO is another. Turned out the strange rules regarding brass pick up were the first clue, the RSO was later fired for collecting brass and selling it. So, if in doubt about what an RSO is saying, obey while on the line, but never hesitate to directly check with the range director on up afterwards.

      A second RSO at the same range obviously had problems as a bully. He harassed me at one session to the point of appearing unstable. An 8 year veteran Marine on the range came up to me, expressed his concern about the RSOs behavior, the ‘rules’ cited, defused the situation, watched and kept the guy away from me the rest of the session.

      After another encounter with the same guy I had a legally infused conversation with the much more reasonable range director. As suspected I’d been doing nothing wrong.
      This was followed by incident documentation in e-mail conversations, her review of range video and follow up. Made it clear my next steps would involve law enforcement and contacting the range DNR run legal staff. Her concern was running a public range people wanted to come to use.

      Neither of these guys and a couple of their RSO buddies are there anymore. Totally flushed out and replaced by guys/gals anyone would consider a normal RSO at a range.
      The old cartel had actually been driving away other good volunteer RSOs. Now the facility and staff are the best range have ever frequented. Safety and compliance with those running the range comes first. But never let suspect situations with RSOs go unaddressed or unchallenged administratively. That would be un-American.

  7. I don’t know of a single supervised range in my area, which includes one indoor range and some developed BLM land. The indoor range has mechanized cable pulleys, so it is quite rare for anyone to go down range. If it isn’t busy, I reload at one station and shoot at the one next to it.

    • “I don’t know of a single supervised range in my area, which includes one indoor range and some developed BLM land.”

      Consider yourself blessed. A ‘Range Nazi’ can make your blood boil in nano-seconds…

  8. The fastest way to really piss off other shooters on the line. Bring a Barrett 82 with the arrowhead brake and shoot.

    Another rifle to annoy someone on the right of you is to shot a SKS or an AK.

    • First time I shot my .50 cal, I just didn’t know how much muzzle blast it would generate. I warned the bench rest shooter next to me that I was about to touch one off. The blast actually cleared small loose items off his bench, including his precision-tuned empty brass that we was reloading, one round at a time, at the bench. Yikes! I apologized profusely and moved a few benches away (he had set up next to me, initially, not the other way ’round.)

      As an NRA instructor, I’ve been swept by hot guns by newbies numerous times. You have to use it as a teaching moment the first time and not get too belligerent about it. Second time in a session, I tell them if they point their gun at me, I get to point back. Third time gets them ejected from class. Only had to do that once – guy was flatly irresponsible, and couldn’t be trusted with a firearm.

      • I have also experienced the .50BMG with muzzle brake. The gentleman politely set up on the extreme right-most bench. I’m looking at him. I walked over and politely asked him to let me know when he was ready to fire, so I could take a position 15 yards behind him. I’m wearing double ear protection. It all worked out.

        I go to an outdoor range that is $20 for the entire day. Tends to slow things down so we can think more about safety and politeness.

    • That’s a byproduct of builders who don’t know what they’re doing. Loads of AK’s & SKS’s are over gassed right out of the box. Always have been, & at this point in time, looks like they always will be.

      Buy imported, never domestically produced by the way, U.S. companies don’t know their bottom exit hole from a hole in the ground where AK’s are concerned. It’s not a problem with AR’s, but a bad AK build firing out of battery can kill or maim the operator. It’s not worth the risk.

    • .460 S&W XVR with the built-in muzzle brake is ungodly loud with an epic fireball too. Far louder than any rifle I have heard fired with our without a muzzle brake, with possible exception of a .50 BMG. Yes I have one, and no idea why, but it makes me giggle when I touch off the full power stuff-though I feel compelled to warn everyone next to me on the range before doing so out of common courtesy.

      • or hitting you with authority if it bounces off a partition 😉

        My Px4 in .40 does a bang up job sending hot brass off to the side too, not as spectacular as a rifle but certainly with more force than my other pistols

        • First time I shot a 1911 a case bounced off the partition and hit me in the temple with enough force to draw blood.

          And my FN 1910 throws a .32acp case almost as far as the bullet. Even just manually cycling it with dummy rounds.

      • My mini chucks them about 1-2 o clock, was just thinking how happy that makes me not having to clean up after it…

  9. “….stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things.’

    That is the definition of public gun ranges which is why I never set foot in them

  10. Be a brass hound without asking.
    Drop F bombs around women and young children.
    Ask to clear the range for targets every 10 minutes.
    Leave piles of brass, empty boxes, and shot targets when you leave.
    Hit the target carrier, ceiling, or anything else but paper. Twice.

    Just a short list for now…..

    • “Leave piles of brass, empty boxes, and shot targets when you leave.”

      How is that being a ‘Brass Hound’? I consider Brass Hounds the vultures swiping other shooter’s brass, even when the shooters are still there.

      If I walk onto a public range empty of shooters with fresh brass on the ground, it’s Christmas for me…

  11. I take a perverse pleasure in always choosing a lane upwind from the barbie gun fanboys. A colt 1847 generates an impressive amount of smoke for a handgun.

  12. These things are routinely done at my range. I had a teenage girl swatting at a bee while holding a gun pointing it at everyone and her father was oblivious. During the cease fire they want mags out action locked back and a chamber flag inserted and to step behind a line and not touch anything on the table. This is too much for a lot of people. It’s unnerving people can’t take simple direction.

  13. #18. Go all “Leo Getz”/Joe Pesci; Lethal Weapon 2.

    Revolver? You’ve got a wheel gun, whatta youse, an old timer? Lookit dis guy, an old flatfoot’s six shooter….

  14. Another one to watch for is the people who step right up to the line (and if the range owner doesn’t have extended partitions) and their ejects kick over into your face or at least your area.

    Sometimes that brass can be hot and it could catch you in the face or down your clothes and even get past your eyewear.

    So step back an arms length so that your ejects hit the partition wall on YOUR side and not into the person next to you.

  15. There are 25-30 shooting stations on the local rifle range. Please choose the station next to me and my children to start launching sonic booms with your Mosin Nagant. Oh, and please also ignore that we have electronic earmuffs on, are speaking in a normal voice to one another, and continue to yell at us because you cannot hear.

  16. Yeah my best friend was at a large local range on the weekend and watched as some fellow touched off a round from his ar into the stomach of a guy 4 feet away from him and his fiancé. Happened when they called a line break and the idiot didn’t know how to unload his rifle and was doing it with the barrel pointed back towards the people.

    I never again went to the range on the weekend and with Covid having everyone off work it’s just as bad weekdays now.

    I just joined a private range that’s a little farther away but totally worth it.

  17. I’ve never been to a gunm range. Unless you call twenty to thirty people down at the Cottonwood river blasting away. That was fun, bar-b – ques going, liquid refreshment, the ground covered in .22 brass like a graveled road. Then I moved, years later I went back to visit my old haunts and somebody, probably the county, had it all fenced off. That’s to bad because people used to have a lot of fun down there. There was an old car someone had crashed in the river, the hard part wasn’t shooting the car but trying to hit a spot that wasn’t already shot. No range officers, no rules and nobody ever got shooted. That was in1979, these times are changing and “they’re” taking all the fun away. , , I’d think what would really piss somebody off is if they said,” you wanna shoot my gunm?” And then you hang it up and shoot it.

  18. I was at the range many years ago and there was this guy who bought a Remington 870 that must of had a hard action. He was to the left of me and every time he pumped the shotgun he would turn the barrel 90 degrees to his left and covered the guy to his left with the muzzle. This guy warned him once and the second time he was muzzled he got up and took away the idiots shotgun. He gave it to the RSO and told him to kick the guy out. The rest of us at the range backed him up, so this idiot had to do the slut walk out of the range,

  19. Muzzling. #1 with me. Also in a gunshop. Never a problem with RSO. In fact I’ve had very little interaction with any RSO except for getting complimented the 1st time I shot my AR15(I asked him for any tips).

    • +1 #1. Been muzzled/swept twice. Not fun. People forget they’re holding something more deadly than a rattlesnake, get distracted, and violate Safety Rule #2.

  20. Running a Mosin carbine…..with a muzzle brake. That will piss off just about everyone at the range….after they have recovered their hearing.

    • After 50, we don’t recover our hearing. Buy the best hearing protection you can afford. Maybe over-spend a little bit, because your hearing doesn’t come back.

      Ask me about the three tones I hear – always – in my right ear. Lawnmower, aircraft engine (120 Hz), and pistol blast (before I bought premium hearing protection.) And all their 3rd harmonics.

      • “Blessed” with tinnitus for decades since taking my ear pro off too early at a small indoor range. Overtones.

  21. I think the first time I was close by when a Barret .50BMG rifle was being fired was at the Elzy Pearson range in Casa Grande, AZ. My daughter and I were at the last bench on the left, these guys set up at the last bench on the right, up against the berm.

    Their KABOOMS didn’t hurt us or anything, many yards away. Still you felt the concussive wave from the brake, that made an impression!

    There were people closer though. They grabbed their stuff and moved over to the pistol range.

  22. Glad I belong to a private range. Everyone has a monetary interest in keeping the ranges squared away and brass picked up for the most part. Every so often someone will bring a clay over to one of the rifle ranges and shoot at that instead of a actual target, leaving all the orange colored residue.

  23. Usually when people start acting crazy around me I break out my Hakim in 8mm.

    That clears out the lanes next to me very, very fast. Only reason I bring that rifle out otherwise, it unfortunately breaks extractors every other round it feels like, even with the gas system adjusted.

  24. Had a guy yell at me once for lack of warning before sending some .44 mag downrange at an indoor range. Had to shout back over the background gunfire my apologies at not noticing we were in a library.

  25. This one applies to rifle ranges but not checking with the rest of the line before blowing it cold or walking down range without going cold. I shoot a lot of Palma and there is nothing worse than getting your jacket, hat glove and glasses on, hooking the rifle, getting in position to have someone blow it cold before you get a shot off. Or being in the middle of a string and doing the same thing. Also difficult to see that dumbass walking down range while in position.

  26. Party snaps are fun to have when Cold range is called. Glad there are plenty of abandoned sand pits in my area. No RSOs to get in the way of real shooting.

    Big boy rules for me.

  27. I had triple bypass about a year ago. About 6 months after, I went with a friend to an indoor range. I was shooting a 1911and not paying much attention to the urban cowboy beside me firing a pistol and wearing all his tactical gear. Not paying attention until he whipped out an AR-15 and started banging away. It was not the noise so much as it was the concussion. I had to immediately exit the range as I literally feared the shock waves were going to disrupt my heart grafts.Someone later told me, he probably had a muzzle brake, which, even now, I know little about. The two commercial ranges in my area, both have multiple ranges. In my opinion, they should put rifles and pistols on seperate ranges but they appear reluctant to want to use two range officers, when they can get by with one. I think one day this is going to come back and bite them.

    • Many ranges do have a pistol and rifle set of ranges. I ask if I can use my scoped .44 at the rifle range so I can check the scope settings at 40 and 50 yards. It’s practically a rifle as far as noise goes. The Pistol range is 25 yards and quite far from the booming rifle range.

      Some guy had an AR Pistol at the pistol range and it was terrible. While technically a pistol it was really out of place. Fortunately he didn’t bring a case of ammo.

  28. On the brass problem, I’ve seen some folks come up with a clever solution. They use some PVC pipe and some shade cloth. They put a frame sized to the bench, shade cloth lashed to it and clamp it to the bench with carpenter’s clamps. So all their brass hits the cloth, falls to the bench. The cloth is not stretched tight, it’s loose so it won’t act like a side-ways trampoline.

  29. I flat out will not shoot at any range that has an RSO. Thats for the same reason I am grateful they made my pet peeve #2. I’ve been shooting most of my life and spent 20 years in the military. The last thing in the world I need or want is some old pfart with yellow glasses and a vest full of patches coming around giving me unsolicited advice. Eventually they get the idea they aren’t wanted, but sometimes it takes way too long.
    I shoot at an unsupervised public range nowadays. I’ve never seen the safety violations described above and most people are courteous and friendly, and safety conscious. Once a college kid stole one of my targets right in front of me, but his friend made him put it back and apologized. He was in the guard and took his friend out for his first time shooting. Seemed like a nice guy so I let it go.

    • “…unsolicited advice.”

      Last time out to the outdoor range (run by the Michigan DNR) with my son and grandson, some old dipshit came up and start giving my son some unsolicited advice on how to shoot his M&P .40. That just pissed me off, but my son was too polite to tell the old dipshit where to go. Not all “brass” is cartridge cases.

  30. Always practice the Four Rules, and Rule Number Zero. “Never willingly associate with stupid people.” That’s about 95% of people so you need to be a self starter as it were.

  31. At ANY range ALWAYS double up with plugs and phones. (advice given to me by a 25 year range officer who is half deaf ‘cos he JUST used phones!) I use Decibullz custom fit plugs that filter through voice so I can hear voice clearly through my electronic Peltor 3m 500’s phones……very few bangs will now p.. you off……

  32. People need to realize it takes time to reinforce training. We need to be patient with eachother and reward obedience with incentives and punish rule breakers. Doesnt mean getting angry. People need kindness but firm discipline. Disrespecting range officers and rules means losing privileges. If people desire to use the range they need to sign an agreement of membership and club rules and be held accountable to those rules.

  33. RSO’s are a necessary evil, unless you have a private range with some reasonable training requirements or a very small public range. You will eventually get a dangerous newbie or experienced idiot or putting others in danger. Beyond the possible death or injury, the legal liability would close the range in the aftermath of an accident. Very few new ranges are being built, we need to preserve what we have. Personally, I give the RSO a break even if they are a little bossy at times.

  34. One day a friend and I were plinking with .22 pistols at a range and a guy wearing a Blackwater T-shirt on the lane next to us leaned over and said “you could really annoy someone with that”. He then proceeded to ask if I wanted to try his M&P .45 which I then proceeded to use to hit the smallest of the targets he had. I set his gun down and went back to my lane with him standing there slightly dumbfounded that I knew how to handle a gun.

  35. 4. Don’t be the range asshole. Once I was at the indoor range with only one other person, and I could tell right away he had a real attitude problem. The whole time he was there, the negative vibes were just pouring out from this range asshole, and he never had anything to say that wasn’t insulting and intended to humiliate other shooters (namely me, since I was the only one there for him to pick on).

    I’ve been shooting for 35 years. That day, I was trying out a brand-new revolver, shooting at 25 yards, because that is the only distance we can shoot at, in my club. I know, it sucks having to sight-in a new handgun at 25 yards (75 feet), but we have no choice in my club. To make it even harder that day, this new revolver was a tiny little, short barreled, .45 Colt hand-cannon, the Ruger Vaquero Sheriff’s model (or shopkeeper’s model) .45 Colt with only a 3.75″ barrel and non-adjustable sights. For those who don’t know it, on these cowboy revolvers with non-adjustable sights, they’re often made with the front sight too tall, meaning straight out-of-the-box it will shoot to low, because when you sight it in, you’re supposed to file down the front sight until it’s on target. I knew this, but I forgot to bring a steel file with me to file down the sights. On a revolver with only a 3.75″ inch barrel, like this one, even if the sight is only 1/32″ too high, it causes a huge difference downrange. It was a Ruger Model 5151, which I do not recommend for target shooting at 25 yards, the strange-looking little hand cannon you can see at this link: https://www.ruger.com/products/vaqueroStainless/specSheets/5151.html

    As I expected, the new hand cannon was shooting way too low at 25 yards. Since the sights were non-adjustable, and I hadn’t brought a steel file, I had to apply “Kentucky windage” or holdover, aiming above the target to try to put the shots on target at 25 yards. The range asshole noticed me missing the target at 25 yards, and walked over to give me some unsolicited advice. I tried to explain to him that new cowboy revolvers usually shoot low when straight-out-of-the-box, that the only way to adjust the sights is to file them down, and that I didn’t have a file with me so I was using holdover and shooting high, but he just kept insulting my aim.

    But that wasn’t the worst part. When one of us (I forget who) called a cease fire so we could check our targets, I cleared my gun, inserted a chamber flag, then asked the range asshole if he was clear so I could go downrange. The range asshole asked me, “Is my gun clear?” I thought maybe he was a novice and he honestly didn’t know whether his gun was clear, so I walked over to his stall, saw that his pistol had the magazine out and the slide was racked back on an empty chamber, and informed him, “Yes, your gun is clear.”

    The range asshole snidely replied, “No it’s not.” Then he picked up a chamber flag, stuck it in his gun, and announced, “Now, it’s clear!” just to be an asshole, as if I hadn’t been shooting for 35 years and knew when a gun was clear. I was using a chamber flag myself, so I don’t know what his point was — it’s not like I didn’t know how to use a chamber flag. I’d thought he honestly didn’t know if his own gun was clear, but instead he was trying to ask a trick question just to prove he was an asshole!

    The whole time he was there, the negative vibes were just pouring out from this range asshole, and he never had anything to say that wasn’t insulting, so I quickly wrapped up my range session and left to get away from this range asshole. I’ve never had such a bad experience with any other shooter, but this asshole was determined to find fault with everything!


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