My Top Ten Shooting Range Peeves

AR-15 OneThis just in from a fellow member of the Wild Bunch, a nigh-unto twenty year e-mailing list of which I am a proud member:

1) If you see a parent teaching a child (especially a little one) how to shoot, have some consideration about what you do. We agree your .308-muzzle-brake-enabled-tacticool-rifle is the bomb and the cyclic rate of your booger hook is impressive, but do you have to shoot right next to us? Really? Have a heart – move down the line, or do it later! Do it for the children! . . .

 2) Suppressors are civilized and if you can own one – get one. You can do without one more cool gun – get a silencer instead. Plus it’s a great way to get new shooters started and focused on marksmanship basics. When you shoot suppressed you start to realize how much nicer a range experience can be. An added benefit is that you don’t keep yelling at your buddies after the hearing protection comes off.

3) The range signs say “EYE AND EAR PROTECTION AT ALL TIMES” for your benefit. So, put them on before you get to the bay. Don’t walk up to the range without them just because it happens to be quiet. And keep them on when you’re there. There’s really no good reason to take either off. If I care about your eyes and hearing (and you’re a stranger) more than you do, you’ve got a problem.

4) At a self-policed shooting range, calling “CEASE FIRE” once then walking forward of the firing line immediately is stupid. I kid you not, I’ve actually seen guys bleat once then start walking while the firing line is still busy. Bonehead, you’ll be getting a Darwin award shortly. Common practice and courtesy is: a) loudly call for a cease fire, preferably a few times, b) give everyone a moment to unload actions and remove magazines, c) gather items needed from the bench, d) step back and away from the firing line, then e) announce the range is clear…before anyone walks forward.

5) At a self-policed shooting range, when there is a cease fire and the range is cold, it doesn’t mean you can touch the bench, anything on the bench, anything near the bench, or anything remotely next to the bench. Back it up and stay back. I recall a few years ago an older teenage boy was sitting at the bench during a cease fire. He had his lever gun action closed and pointed skyward while the rest of the line was down range completely OK with him sitting there. Crazy!

AUG6) When sighting in a rifle at a public range, do everyone a favor and buy/bring/borrow a spotting scope or, minimally, a pair of binoculars. It never fails to amaze me when the new rifleman brings his rifle, targets, and ammo, but not a means to visualize his hits. You may think it’s totally legit to call a cease fire every five stinking minutes so you can walk out and check your bullet holes, but the guy who’s got only an hour to shoot, well, he’s not thinking highly of you. Maybe somebody will sell a super cheap pair of throwaway binos someday that you can give to these types; kind of like that advice to have a few bucks wrapped around something heavy and kept in your pocket so you can toss it at a potential robber.

7) I understand there may be times when shooting a mag full from an AK or AR at pistol ranges needs to be practiced or maybe as a starting point for a newbie…but aren’t there diminishing returns after an hour and a case of ammo? Sure it’s your right but seriously? Get thee to the rifle range already and then show everybody what you can really do at distance; if you can that is.

8) Call me crazy, but if you have an equal number of holes outside of your primary target as you do inside it, I think you may want to work on the basics. Just a tad maybe? The same applies if the target stand is more wobbly after you shot than before. Similarly, I never understand shooters who keep shooting at a target that has more holes than paper on it. I’m a tightwad, but perhaps you could spare another target once in a while?

9) The guys who think it’s funny to have their unsuspecting female counterparts (particularly those who’ve never shot before) shoot a .500 S&W revolver, a .50AE Desert Eagle, or any belted magnum rifle offhand. Are these guys just not the lowest of the low? Correction. They’re actually one small step above those who do the same, then record it and post it on YouTube.

10) During a CHL shooting test is not a great time to be asking the instructors how your gun works.

In all seriousness, let’s be safe, let’s exercise our rights, and let’s be considerate to our fellow shooters (and soon-to-be-shooters).