Sunday, September 12, 2010

"This is my Webley-Vickers 50.80."

ToddG talks about the strangeness of the "monkey see, monkey do" phenomenon sometimes observed at shooting ranges, and most often visibly expressed in terms of a shooter's cyclic rate. This would be where Shooter A comes into the range, perhaps to work on his split times or whatever, and Shooter B two lanes over, hearing the rapid gunfire, starts shooting way faster himself, even if he's not hitting the target at all.

This phenomenon happens a lot, as anybody who's spent a moment examining the walls, ceiling, and floor of a public range could tell you.

This isn't strange at all, at least according to a theory I first heard from Shootin' Buddy. Think about pretty much every internet firearms forum you’ve seen:

Sure, the posts may start differently:

I pulled out my (rare and expensive) pre-ban HK91 with ACOG/suppressed Mk.23…

I fired my (loud and fiery) Mosin M44/2″ .357 stoked with handloads…

I shot that (amazingly skillful) .25″ group/6 second El Pres…

But they all end the same:

…and everyone was looking at me.

As best I can tell from reading the internets, the main reason for owning and shooting firearms is to receive the silent adulation of strangers at the range.

25 comments:

Carteach0 said...

This being reason number one that most of my shooting is done at a private club, where I am usually alone on the range. I can make an absolute ass of myself, and not worry about who just witnessed it.

Wolfwood said...

Yeah, I don't think that's adulation.

atlharp said...

I also hit the range on days when I know I will most likely be alone. One thing that is apparent in my short time of shooting is how ego-centric some shooters can be. Why should anyone care at what rate or in what manner I shoot? That has never made sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I think it's pretty deeply ingrained. Note the rise of "support fire" during police shootouts by other cops with a resulting poor hit/miss ratio.

Al T.

Matt G said...

Funny-- I knocked a jug of water with my pistol at stoopid range the other day and...

Nobody was looking at me, at all.

Now starring, for the umpteenth time in his own movie: Matt G!

;)

Robb Allen said...

I will have you know that I have a 6" barrel for my .357 and the Sound & Fury reloads.

The M44 garners the appropriate attention, however, all by its lonesome.

BobG said...

Haven't been to a range in over fifty years, other than when I got my certificate to get a large game hunting license when I was 16.

Word Verification: hailatio
Not even going to go there...

John said...

If I'm next to a guy who's firing a .223, I sometimes wait until after he takes his shot before I take mine. It's easier to concentrate that way.

Brad K. said...

Tam,

It is the old shower room thing, looking for that . . Prominent . . Stand Out . . Leader Among Men.

Shooting fast must mean the shooter has mastered accuracy, knowledge of self and weapon, and have achieved affluence (for the ammo expended). Not only that, shooting "out of the ordinary" makes one visible - and doing something out of the ordinary by intent takes a certain amount of confidence, of self respect. Of hubris.

Thus people are eager to see an example of excellence, of something worthy of their respect.

Of a poser falling on their face. (It could be the rubbernecking at the scene of the accident thing, too.)

Robert Langham said...

Works in some good ways as well. I insist that everyone clear their weapons when going downrange. Then I start picking up trash, old targets, putting away sandbags, clipping overhanging limbs, et. By the time I leave everyone is doing it.

Anonymous said...

"As best I can tell from reading the internets, the main reason for owning and shooting firearms is to receive the silent adulation of strangers at the range."

Well put Tam, never more apropos than yesterday, when those of us who've done more than put a magnet on our car tend to resent all the "Never forgive, never forget" so pervasive in the blogosphere.
Keep up the good work!

Gewehr98 said...

Unless, of course, whilst at said indoor range, fellow shooters on either side of your booth squawk to the range owner about the blast and concussion of one's Desert Eagle, forcing aforementioned range owner to arrive and ask your's truly if you're about done shooting that particular firearm...

Adulation comes in varying forms, I guess.

Tam said...

G98,

Oh, I used to hate it when somebody would come off the range and complain to me about noise. I mean, they were customers, so I couldn't go full smart-ass and say "Noise? At a shooting range?!? You must be kidding me! We'll put a stop to that!"

The exception to that is when somebody asks me, in a polite fashion, if I'd be conscious of the n00b they're trying to help get used to shooting. I wouldn't want my muzzleblast ruining a new shooter's first time.

LabRat said...

It's a primate thing. I'm sure it's an ego thing too, but mirroring the general tempo of behavior around us is built into the rootkit. It's shutting others out that comes as a challenge...

Joe in PNG said...

I've got to admit that the big part of the fun of shooting a Glock 18 is the looks on all of the people's faces. Makes loading the 32 round mag by hand worth it.

Tam said...

Joe in PNG,

"I've got to admit that the big part of the fun of shooting a Glock 18 is the looks on all of the people's faces."

I'll not lie: Many was the night I announced the closing of the range at CCA by thumbing 10 or 12 rounds into a stick for the Colt 635 and dumping them into the backstop. This got everyone's attention, whereupon I'd announce the Traditional Last Call: "You ain't got to go home, but you got to get up outta here." :D

David said...

I have to admit, normally when I'm shooting I mostly want to be left alone, but my dad has been building a semi auto Bren Gun with at least the partial purpose of getting attention at the range...

Robert Langham said...

At the range here outside town, I usually win with my Kowa 821 on a highpower rifle scope stand. I have the biggest optical device on the line. Any question and I just put on my coat. If the Swedish Bikini Team is milling around I shoot a little offhand at 200 yards.

Crotalus said...

Ahhh, Good ole Walter Mitty. Who else could come up with a Webley Vickers 50.80? Reminds me of... high school! Bleagh! Yuck!

Cute story, though.

Justthisguy said...

I'm really not that good of a shot, and it's been entirely too long since I've gone shooting, so, really, if I do go shooting, I'd rather y'all didn't look at me. Or at least, please, don't point at me and laugh!

Justthisguy said...

LabRat, as someone who thinks he's a bit autistic, I say Fuck That Noise. I shoot at the target and ignore the humans to the right and left of me. (except for being prudent about considering their bad gun-handling skills, of course)

WV: siestr. Yes, Tam you are my siestr.

mcthag said...

While the stories may have ended the same, I've really only posted the odd times that people were looking. I guess I could post, "Went to the range and nobody noticed." (which is honestly most of the trips).

I think that some guns just garner extra attention. For some reason I get, "You're going to shoot that?" when I take the Anaconda to the range. They're always disappointed, mine's a .45 Colt and it's got less sturm und drang than the .44.

Tam said...

"Ahhh, Good ole Walter Mitty. Who else could come up with a Webley Vickers 50.80?"

ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa! :D

Anonymous said...

"As best I can tell from reading the internets, the main reason for owning and shooting firearms is to receive the silent adulation of strangers at the range."

Sometime, we call that public gun porn...

Dann in Ohio

Anonymous said...

It can't be helped (blech - now I'm reminded of jr. high school). Try to find a quiet place to shoot alone once in a while. -- Lyle