Sunday, August 02, 2009

Weekend Report: Shooting.

We went to Iggle Crick yesterday AM. The range was open and practically full when we got there a little after nine.

There's always been a sign there at the entrance to the range areas that says "No Loaded Concealed Weapons Beyond This Point", which I've long thought odd but, hey, IMPD uses the range all the time, so who knows what baroque gun-handling protocols they have. We'd just make it a point to uncover when entering the range area and everything would be okey-dokey, right?

Right. At least up to a point.

Yesterday we showed up to shoot, like we have better than every other weekend for the past year, and I noticed that there were two RSO's there that I'd only seen maybe once before. As Shootin' Buddy and I turned away from the registration table to go up to the line, they saw the guns on our hips and drama ensued:
"No loaded guns in holsters on the firing line!"

"Your sign says no loaded concealed guns beyond this point."

"Well the rules say..." et cetera and yadda.

While teh n00b RSO's and Shootin' Buddy played "Perry Mason and the Case of the Hazy Guidelines", I pulled aside the one RSO I knew and asked him what was up. Apparently the chief RO had usually been pretty casual about the no holstered guns rule with shooters who had demonstrated competency (...and while neither myself nor Shootin' Buddy is being actively recruited by ninjas or SEAL Team 37½, we're a breath of fresh air on a range where the average shooter gets chided for muzzle discipline by an RSO at least once per session) but, yes, technically this was supposed to be a cold range. So I unloaded and showed clear for my guy and apparently Shootin' Buddy had done likewise.

Now the pistol of mine that was so safe that morning eating breakfast at Le Peep and that afternoon at the grocery store was unloaded so it would be safe at the pistol range, too. Raise your hand if that makes sense to you.

See, this is one Lowest Common Denominator "safety" policy that is only going to lead to unnecessary bullet holes. If rigidly adhered to, it means Cletus and Jasper have to fiddle-fart around with loaded guns twice; once on arrival and again on leaving, instead of leaving them safely in their holsters and not touching them. Now, the po-po firearms training building at Iggle Crick is right off the parking lot and has a handy sand-filled clearing barrel, but how many people are going to look for that, much less use it religiously?

Remember: One handy rule for preventing negligent discharges is stop touching your damn gun so much! Think about every story of an ND you've heard: It was somebody holstering or unholstering or clearing or loading or otherwise somehow futzing with the gun, right? It's almost never "The gun was sitting in the holster and went off." Why then, in the name of safety, would you encourage the former rather than the latter?


netfotoj said...

I love it. I shall add "stop touching your damn gun so much!" to my short list of gun safety rules, number one of which is "Keep your booger hook off the bang switch!"

And I second your emotion on Taurus handguns. I work in a gunshop, but I will not encourage a customer to buy one. Taurus took a long, leisurely nine months to replace a defective revolver we received broke in the box. And the shop owner called once a week during that eternity to raise hell. Customer service at its worst.

Hunsdon said...

There you go, Tam. Thinkin' again.

Mr. Fixit said...

I agree, but... Let me play devils advocate.

Let say you are the owner/manager of a shooting range. The range is open to the public, so Jasper and Cletus come to shoot along side the members of Seal Team 20 (Gold Recon!!).

What would be the safest and bestest rule?

I ask because I am a member of a shooting club and the rules are under discussion now.

Mr Fixit

Tam said...

Hey, I totally understand.

The rule back at CCA was simply "No handling loaded firearms except on the firing line."

If you're worried about someone blowing toes off while playing Quick Draw McGraw, insert a codicil about "No shooting from the leather unless under supervision" or something along those lines. But if you live in a CCW state, people are going to be CCW'ing on their way to the range and after they leave; making them clear their weapons while on the range magnifies the window for ND's exponentially. If you must, then at least provide a safe clearing/loading area with a berm or a wall-enclosed OhShit barrel.

Robert McDonald said...

I don't shoot at ranges anymore because of stupid rules. I'm about to start shooting IDPA at a 'cold range' so I'm going to have to get used to the stupidity again.

Matt G said...

First time I took my best friend out shooting, my dad warned me, "Don't let guns dangle."

That caught my attention. "What?" I asked.

"A holstered gun is a safe gun. Put it down on the bench, or put it in a holster, but if you're not shooting it, DON'T touch it," Dad said.

I thought that this was kind of funny to finally hear, years and years and years after having memorized the Four Rules. But it's good range practice. And this was to be the first time that I was an R.O. (I was 17.)

I'm on record as HATING cold ranges and cold matches. They create situations where unnecessary administrative manipulations of the gun are required, and over half the time, a Safe Area is not provided.

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid. . .. .

staghounds said...

1. In the given question example, allow whatever level of loadedness customers prefer.

Then when Cletus and/or Jasper point their pistols at GoldRecon!, he/they become a janitorial rather than administrative problem.

2. Is SB aiming for the Gates prize? Obey now, argue later.

staghounds said...

3. Almost never. Heh.

An untouched gun will "go off" like an untouched spoon will suddenly start stirring your tea.

Captcha ANTALENE- ask your Range Officer if it's right for you!

Anonymous said...

Just as at Atterbury I was told that I could "unload in the parking lot". With I-465 as my backstop? With the magic aura of the parking lot giving a proper backstop.

The next time someone tells me to "unload in the parking lot" I'm going to ask which vehicle is theirs so I can unload with his vehicle as my backstop.

Iggle Crick's policy is unsafe and downright dangerous to everyone at the range and everyone driving by the range on I-465. The more people jacking with guns, the greater likelihood that a round leaves the range or enters something that it should not. The greater this likelihood, the greater the liability of the city.

If holstered pistols are so dangerous, why do the ROs who have less training than the patrons carry them?

Cold ranges are beyond dangerous.

Shootin' Buddy

staghounds said...

Agree +100.

I believe it was Elmer Keith who made a practice of keeping ALL guns loaded ALWAYS, even in storage, unless being actively cleaned or handed to others. His explanation was that he didn't want his last thought to be, "Click? I thought it was loaded..."

But actually this promotes very safe gun handling. It's much easier to treat them as loaded if they are.

staghounds said...


Years ago in Knoxville, customer came into a gun shop with a .45 to sell, out of grandfather's trunk probably. In the process of the store owner unloading it, it was fired.

This fifty year old bullet went out the store wall, across a five lane city street, through the glass front of another store, through an internal wall, and between the eyes of another store clerk.

Dead from STUPIDITY.

POINT IT AT THE #$%^&$%$%& GROUND!!!

And speaking of Gates, how about yesterday's XKCD?

Tam said...

Remember, God doesn't like guns pointed at Him, either. :D

"An untouched gun will "go off" like an untouched spoon will suddenly start stirring your tea."

I included that because, sure as night follows day, somebody reading this has an uncle whose buddy's cousin had the sear fail on his Blastomatic 5000 and give him a racing stripe on his right butt cheek.

Anonymous said...

"2. Is SB aiming for the Gates prize? Obey now, argue later."

For the record, I did not say "You're only hassling me because I'm a Black man!" Tam sez that I get extra bonus crazy points if I use this with my next run in with the po-po.

No, did not say that they were racists, but I made the ROs look very foolish by pointing out their own sign. We even walked out to look at it. Tam has a photo and can post it.

Then we walked inside where I was advised about "The Sacred Rules", I then told them to read their own sign.

I asked for rules again, *crickets chirped* and I was finally presented the rules and told only range officers can carry loaded guns.

I then asked to see that RO only rule. More crickets chirped. I then decided Tam would be really ticked (and not just the eye roll that she usually does when I say something) if I got us kicked out. I then asked where they wanted me to unload. I was told the parking lot (yes, the magic parking lot where bullets are converted to pixie dust) and then told the line. I unloaded all my carry guns on the line.

As we were leaving the guy that jumped on me aplogized for his manner of approach. I told him that was fine but I have not had to do this in the year or so that I've been taking Tam to ECPR (and all the while wearing two pistols openly [my third gun is always concealed] with not a single word said to me). As well, this rule was dangerous and as it mandated the handling of firearms in potentially dangerous areas.

I wasn't a complete Yankee jerk, stag. I did give him a constructive idea. I told him to have the city build a fiddle table with a big pile of sand behind it so no one gets hurt.

You know how it is, stag, can't fight City Hall, but you get to make them look foolish and maybe change their moronic rules which endanger us all.

Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

Look at the range rules for Eagle Creek. They demand that you endanger your property and yourself by handling firearms around your vehicle.

Shootin' Buddy

Frank W. James said...

Car Trunks!!! How many car trunks have been perforated due to similar rules at an untold number of IPSC and IDPA matches? When these rules are enforced, everyone immediately believes their car trunk is a safe backstop.

Sudden noise and a leaking gas tank have a tendency to convince some people otherwise.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Tam said...

I'm thinking that if one absolutely must clear one's sidearm under the current conditions then, what with the big berm already available downrange, maybe the safest course of action would be to leave the weapon holstered until one steps up to the line and then unload and show clear for an RSO...

I'm just riffing here.

wolfwalker said...

Okay, I'm going to ask an entirely stupid question. You have been warned.

Is it possible that the rule of "no loaded guns in holsters on the firing line", or the equivalents that several other commenters have cited, was originally intended to give the range safety officer a chance to see how a CCW range user handles clearing their weapon?

I agree that forcing everyone to do this does increase the risk of an accidental discharge. I also agree that there should be a safe area provided. I'm just asking whether the rule itself is as foolish as the commenters here make it sound.

alath said...


Maybe that is the intent, but it still doesn't make any sense.

RO: "Hmmmn, I wonder if that customer knows how to unload his gun. If he/she doesn't, it could be extremely dangerous. I know: I'll make them unload their gun in front of me. That way, if they accidentally shoot me, I'll know they're unsafe."

I think Tam's point is - and it's about indisputable - if you think someone might be an unsafe gun handler, the last think you want to do is add a bunch of extra gun handling to their day.

Anonymous said...

"Is it possible that the rule of "no loaded guns in holsters on the firing line", or the equivalents that several other commenters have cited, was originally intended to give the range safety officer a chance to see how a CCW range user handles clearing their weapon?"

No, the rule was written by people who have no idea what they are doing in order to provide "safety". It is the Rule of Unintended Consequences--it's goal may be safety but it makes things much more unsafe.

By writing down "no loaded guns" the city believes that is decreasing their liability and play to the LCD, but what they fail to realize because of their ignorance of firearms is that they are adding additional opportunities for NDs and ADs (remember everything single time you load your self-loading pistol [or AR, or 870, inter alia] a mechanical malfunction may transpire) behind the firing line where the bullet may end up on I-465, a motor vehicle or something soft and fleshy.

If one is concerned about the LCD (the Cleduses and Jaspers of the world) then why give the LCDs another HUGE opportunity to do something unsafe by insisting they unload in the fricking parking lot where they can set themselves or each other or a someone on 465 on fire? The rule is moronic and was written by people with no understanding of firearm mechanics or manipulation.

Imagine many people shooting firearms on the line, but the ROs are worried about people with pistols safely in holsters but not worried about people jacking with guns in the parking lot?

Shootin' Buddy

Parallel said...

Our local range open to the public ( operates under a simple policy. So long as a firearm is concealed about a patron's person, no problem. Other than that, all firearms go on the shooting tables pointing downrange.

We don't allow shooting from the holster on the public range, to minimize the number of holes to patch in the roof.

If you want to practice from the holster, then you become a volunteer Range Officer, agreeing to watch the public a couple of days a year. Upon signing a "don't be stupid and by the way this is what defines stupid" agreement, they give you the lock combination to the pistol bays (square ranges).

Gewehr98 said...

I have to politely disagree. As a bona-fide RSO for since 1992, I'm not upset at all by the cold range rules.

Ever been downrange checking your targets when that special somebody doesn't get the memo and sends hot lead in your general direction, causing you to make yourself really small until said shooter gets a visit by the clue bird?

As I would always explain to the indignant, it's really less of an infringement on one's 2A rights than it is keeping a given range's insurance premiums from skyrocketing past the already-prohibitive costs, thereby shutting them down for good. Then there will be some real bitchin' and moanin'.

Call it stupidity if you like, but ask any long-time RSO for examples of same. It may hurt the CCW holder's widdle feelings, but the RSO really isn't worried about that particular emotion in the general scheme of things, trust me.

Tam said...

Oh, this range has a very, very strict policy of not so much as touching a firearm when the range is cold, and I have not problem one with that. After all, I go downrange, too.

Here's the thing: I don't want to be "downrange" in the parking lot when someone's clearing their CCW weapon, when it would be plenty safe if they just left it in their verdammt holster and didn't fiddle with it.

(And I've spent my share of time RO'ing, too. I can still call it out in my sleep: "Cease fire! Cease fire! Everybody place your weapons down and step back off the firing line! Young Mister XXXXX has to go downrange to repair a target carrier and our insurance carrier would greatly appreciate it if we sent him home tonight with the same number of holes he showed up at work with today!")

Ian Argent said...

First time I was at the "local" indoor range, it went cold because someone had managed to drag a .22 rifle off the bench and across the line because the front sight had gotten snagged on the target as he ran it out.

This was highly educational for all the first-time shooters who had shown up for the Basic Pistol class that morning. (While I was there for the course, it wasn't my first time shooting).

The other range I've been to had an incident where a new shooter was ungoing personal instruction, and the boomstick failed to go bang - a teaching moment for "what do I do now?" (wait 30 seconds, then rack the slide, IIRC, was the advice).

alath said...

Gewehr98, non sequitur.

Nobody is objecting to rules against handling firearms when there are people down range. I used to be a member at a rifle/pistol club where the rule was "no handling firearms, magazines, or ammo when the range is cold."

Under such a rule, not only is one not required to unload one's gun on a cold range, but in fact, unloading one's gun on a cold range would be a violation of the cold range rules.

Nobody's saying there shouldn't be any cold range rules. They're just saying that this particular rule is dumb and is more likely to cause an ND than prevent one.

Nor does any of this have anything to do with CCWer's egos or their "widdle feelings." Reasoned objections to ill-conceived rules aren't about anybody's ego, they're about everybody's safety.

If anyone's "widdle feelings" are on display here, I'd say it's those of an RSO who can't tolerate reasoned critique of safety rules.

Gewehr98 said...

Whoa. Why is it a non-sequitur?

I posted that I very much agree with the cold range rules, whether you have a papered iron hidden on your person or not, and my feelings are hurt?

Not even. I gave reasoned discourse, but let me explain my evil anti-2A/CCW hater logic further.

Frankly, I'd absolutely love to either attend or administer a range where it's just CCW holders visiting and shooting. Then I'd write the rules to accommodate them, because they might actually know/eat/breathe/exemplify the Four Rules of Gun Safety - they took a class and passed, didn't they?

But that's not how things work in the real world. You run a public range or a private range with public hours, and you get all sorts showing up, CCW holders and otherwise. They'll show up, sign the waiver, nod their heads in agreement as you recite the range rules, pay their fee, then attempt to put bullet holes in the facility, themselves, other shooters and rangemasters, sure as shit.

So do you discriminate against the non-CCW permit holders to the benefit of those licensed to pack, and just how well does that go over? What clause to the insurance rider does one add fixing that little oversight?

One of the ranges I worked for had a no-CCW rule, not even for the rangemasters. Violation was grounds for permanent expulsion. It was a damned nice 300-yard range, within reasonable driving distance, clean, tidy, and drew a huge crowd on weekends. No CCW, however, and the club board of directors were firm on it, regardless of how many times as I brought it up as an action item in the monthly meetings - so my CCW piece stayed in the car, but I parked just a few yards from my RO station on purpose. I felt naked, but it was the price of doing business, not unlike going into a courthouse or other posted location.

That's the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Ranges are free to dictate their terms of use, and those terms are often dictated by events or insurance companies. While the Second Amendment doesn't discriminate against idiots (nor should it), the insurance world does. Since we cannot all have our own private firing ranges and call our own rules, guess what?

Tam said...


Relax. You're the only person who's mentioned the 2nd Amendment or CCW permits, here. The rest of us are worried about firearms safety at ranges that demand you unload you iron but don't provide a proper place for doing so.

(And this state requires no training for a CCW permit. It ain't Vermont, but it'll do in a pinch. ;) )

Tam said...


This isn't about feeling "special". If the range was only attended by people who had 600+ hours at Gunsite/Thunder Ranch/LFI/et al, I'd feel safer asking them to unload away from the firing line. It's the untrained people that I wish would just leave their CCW iron in the holster and not touch the thing.

The Freeholder said...

I am so glad that I belong to a members-only range. This issue simply isn't there.

Tam said...

Both members-only ranges I frequent have the same policy in place, at least nominally, it's just that there's rarely anyone about to make a fuss about it if there's not a match currently in progress.

Tam said...

Amend that to "every members-only range I've frequented", and that means:
Riverbend near ATL, ORSA near TYS, and Wildcat Valley, MCF&G, and ACC near IND.

Roberta X said...

One of the biggest issues for Eagle Creek Park Pistol Range is that it operates under the city's Parks Department. The folks there know quite a lot about running a Nature Center or ballfields or even swimming pools but shooting ranges, not so much. I'd be willing to bet the no-loaded-and/or-concealed-guns rule comes from above.

They're tryin', they really are. Heck, they even link to the unofficial site now; it used to be that Indy's Parks & Rec Department tried to pretend the range didn't exist.

With all due respect, the ROs do not make the rules. We have a city range, I'd like to keep it.

zeeke42 said...

My private club has a simple rule. No handling of firearms anywhere but the line, no handling on the line when the range is cold. You can handle ammo and magazines anywhere anytime.

I'm also a Safety Officer at two IDPA clubs. We run cold ranges (I'd prefer hot ranges, but it would be a tough sell for the club officers.). However, we don't let people clear their guns anywhere but on a range. During the safety briefing, the MD will ask if anyone is carrying a loaded gun, and if so, an SO will escort them to the nearest berm to unload and show clear.

the pawnbroker said...

fla was early to the concealed-carry dance, but even predating that, and much more so since, on the front door of pretty much every licensed premises (ffl) you'll see a bold-lettered sign "no loaded firearms".

now in the pre-permit days it was fairly easy to defend such as a simple reminder to unload weapons being brought in to sell, pawn, trade, etc. i'm still a bit haunted by the memory of the frazzled young wife toting a baby under one arm and a closed-bolt '06 under the other coming in to pawn same for hubby. muzzle sweeping everywhere, she struggled toward the counter and i moved to relieve her of her burden. routinely dropping the business end to the floor and opening the bolt to check clear, i was only mildly surprised to see a three-inch deer round go flying and two more waiting to take their turn in the chamber...nothing but a flimsy thumb safety between that old remmie and me, or the guy in the store next door, or the guy going about his business half a mile down the street. chilling.

so i can see where that store policy had a basis in good intent. but do we really want that young mom clearing that thing in her car out front? or for that matter, even the experienced handgun owner clearing his .45 before bringing it in to pawn? so i never had such a sign; just tried to keep my eyes peeled for potential threats, innocent or otherwise.

and since the advent of concealed carry (of which there is a very high percentage of folks who enter a gun sellers store in fla), there is just no sense or justification in such a policy, if there ever was. and even though the setting is different than tam's gun range, for the exact same reasons as those given by her and s.b. regarding either unloading going on in vehicles right in front, or guns coming out of carry places to leave in the vehicle; you just don't want all those paws all over those shootin' irons right where they could do the most harm to innocent bystanders.

keep that in mind the next time you enter a gun shop with the "no loaded guns" sign, or worse yet, anywhere with the big red "no" circle over a handgun on the door or wall of the places you frequent. how many folks are unloading or offloading their iron right in your vicinity?


wv: brapp...ha!

tooldieguy said...

OK, I freely admit that I'm spoiled. (I just didn't realize how spoiled) This morning, I drove to a range where I am a member, unlocked the gate, set up my targets, and proceeded to work on my draw, followed by some practice on Todd Louis Greens FAST drill and concluding with some shooting while moving. I had the pistol range all to myself. When I was finished, I picked up my targets, policed my brass, and locked the gate behind me. I can't imagine having to follow rules like "no drawing from a holster, no rapid fire" etc. How do you guys practice your drawstroke, split times, etc. when you have to follow those rules?

Somerled said...

The truth may be that someone from the cop shop may have had a mishap that alarmed civilians somewhere within range of an errant pistol bullet.

I know of four police ranges near hear that have either been shut down, moved, or have had millions of extra safety features added because police officers have managed to loft bullets over massive berms to threaten the populace.

I was present once when an officer, who suddenly decided to try shooting the head of a B-27 target from the hip with her 9mm while standing on the one-yard line. The bullets flew up over the extensive berm, across a four-lane highway, and landed amongst workers laying down a new metal roof. They weren't hit, but they were sure pissed when they called the mayor's office.

Civilians with guns, law enforcement officers with guns--the average citizen would be shocked to know civilians often prove to be better trained and thus safer with firearms.

James said...

Our (members only) range has the "cold range" rule, but the rules regarding transporting weapons to/from the line are simple.

Weapons may be transported to the line at any time, but must be either [a] action open, magazine removed (if applicable) or [b] cased. Their definition of cased includes holstered. Once you get to the line, you do not handle your weapon except when the line is hot.

Perhaps you could suggest a similar rule be put in place there?

loneviking said...

It's amazing reading these comments. The range I frequent is a public one with no RO, and believe me, the range is hot. Loaded weapons on hips, CCW's, and loaded weapons all around. Now, everybody will lay their rifles or handguns on the tables when the range is going cold to allow folks to check/change targets. Most everybody will lock the recivers and slides back before going downrange, but there's no RO to enforce this. Most shooters are redneck, country folk types who've been shooting since we could walk. And I can't remember the last time that we had an accident at this particular range. I'm just amazed at the cold ranges, the rules, the RO's and the accidents. I never would shoot at a place like that!

Tam said...

"Most shooters are redneck, country folk types who've been shooting since we could walk. And I can't remember the last time that we had an accident at this particular range."

Well, we're all kind of citified and new to firearms, so what would you expect? ;)

Jeff the Baptist said...

Is it possible that the rule of "no loaded guns in holsters on the firing line", or the equivalents that several other commenters have cited, was originally intended to give the range safety officer a chance to see how a CCW range user handles clearing their weapon?

No. It's there to prevent Cletus and Bobby from blowing a hole in the roof, the target stands, other shooters, or themselves while playing Wild Bill. Since the range rules have to be consistent for all shooters, it gets applied to people who are competent to practice presentation drills.

But you're right. The "no handling guns on a cold range" rule ought to take precedence over the "no guns in leather" rule. Or they need to find an isolated area where the gun can be cleared safely.

Boat Guy said...

I don't want to get into the "been an RSO since dirt was new" kinda thing. Suffice to say I've been one a LONG time and am all for "hot ranges" and long ago concluded that the more times folks have to "clear" the potential for an ND goes exponential. At some times I'd swear about half of the shooting I've heard in "combat zones" was into "clearing barrels". At "Orange" Gunsite I recall the rule was "We don't care what condition you're carrying as long as you're holstered." Words to live by.

wrm said...

If I were Benevolent Dictator for Life, all ranges would be hot.

But if someone manages to shoot himself or someone else, the press would have a field day "they all walk around with *loaded guns*!!11!!" and the range would be closed.

It's a big thing, being responsible for what happens at a range, and I'm glad other people are prepared to do that. I do my best to try to keep them happy :-)

Tam said...

Some people seem to be confusing "hot range" and "360-degree shoot house".

A hot range, at least as I understand it, means that the pistol in a holster may be loaded. It doesn't mean you can handle guns while the range is cold or handle guns anyplace other than the firing line or even that you can shoot from the leather. Wal-Mart is a "hot range" if you live in a CCW state; you have no earthly idea how many of your fellow shoppers are carrying loaded guns.

What I want to minimize is people handling guns. If Cletus goes to draw from the leather on a range when he's not supposed to, there's an RSO there to do something about it. Who's RO'ing in the parking lot when he's clearing his guns to comply with the sign?

Rick R. said...


So you've been an RSO since 1992? Yay for you -- you're special.

I've been a carded RSO since 1988. I've been an assistant (uncarded) RSO since I was a kid in 1982. I've trained RSOs and certified them. I've ALSO been (and am currently carded as) a range safety officer for things ranging from handguns through demolitions and 155mm artillery (I do NOT have my air-ground or air-air tickets, nor do I plan on getting them as I'm not an aviator).

I understand rules about no drawing and firing from the holster. I, too, have painted over the scars in the floor and patched the holes in the roof when the police or rent-a-cops used the range I worked at for qualification. I've watched a police sergeant send his S&W 1006 sliding downrange because he went bowling on his draw and whacked his wrist against the lane divider wall.

I am not impressed with your argument.

Forcing people to finger-fiddle guns CAUSES negilgent discharges. That is WHY clearing barrels were invented.

I have watched DOZENS of people blast one off while administratively loading or unloading a weapon -- usually becuase they're the kind of moron you wouldn't want drawing form the holster anywhere within one terrain feature. I've also seen true ADs (rather than NDs) from guys I would (and have) trust with my life, or teh lives of my family.

Leaving loaded guns alone does NOT cause negligent discharges. ESPECIALLY if they are in a holster.

Let's be clear here -- guns that that DO NOT go off in the parking lot or the entrance to the range are a GOOD THING. Guns that crank off rounds anywhere but downrange at a valid target with a safe backstop are a BAD THING.

If you MUST have a "no loaded guns on the range, except when actually firing", then you MUST have a "gun handling" point where people can SAFELY clear their weapons before coming on teh range and SAFELY reload before leaving, where an RSO can SAFELY OBSERVE them to ensure everything is OK.

A clearing barrel is BARELY adequate -- a clearing barrel inside a horseshoe berm, in case Elmer Fudd blasts one off when the muzzle is NOT in the shooty hole is better.

Steve R said...

I RO'd yesterday at the public range here. Holstered is considered cased, but once it comes out of the holster, it stays out till the shooter leaves. CC or not, doesn't matter.

Had a kid (14) accidentally turn a handgun (slide was back on an empty mag) sideways as he set it down while I was standing just behind him to the left. I leaned forward, put my hand over his, and turned it back forward. Let him know gently why what he did was incorrect and showed him who he pointed it at (his dad). No true harm was done (remember, the slide was back on an empty mag), but he got the point (and a look from Mom when he turned around). I doubt he'll do that again.

Generally, our range "requires" guns to be unloaded, actions open when the ROs go downrange to replace targets. I had one guy yesterday who was shooting a bolt-action with an internal mag. I asked him to unload it, and when he voiced an understandable objection, I asked if he could simply remove the bolt. He did, and that was good enough for me FOR THIS PARTICULAR SHOOTER. I wouldn't necessarily let an obvious noob do it (but then again, maybe I would), but this guy, yeah. He understood my concern, and since he didn't have to eject the rounds to make me satisfied, he was happy enough.

Rick R. said...


I can dig your rules. ESPECIALLY for a public range where no organized "draw from teh holster" event is going on (those need different rules, and a helluva lot more safety officers).

Steve R said...

I should add that one RO stays on the line while the other(s) go out and post new targets. All shooters stay back a couple of feet from the benches and no one touches any guns, even people just showing up to shoot. We have them leave their guns in their cars till the range goes hot.

The guy shooting the .308 above was at the last active station, so I just stayed down at that end and talked with him while watching up-line until my wife finished posting new targets.

When RO'ing, I try to take into consideration the shooters' apparent experience and attitudes. Some obviously need closer supervision to keep a safe range. Also, I don't know it all, and I know I don't, so I often learn new things as I walk the line and talk with some of the older shooters or people shooting odd firearms. Often I get offers to try out their guns. Which is fun, if the line is otherwise light with experienced shooters.

Rick - Yeah, shooting from the holster isn't allowed on the public range. Too easy to screw up with other shooters too close to the sides. The range I shoot IDPA at has all shooters in the queue at least 6' behind the active shooter, and no crossdraw or shoulder holsters are allowed for competition. Can't keep from breaking the 180 degree rule they have.

staghounds said...

SB, I was just goofing on you, you are a model of probity.

I, being as white as can be, actually HAVE used the "This is because I'm (or he's, when dealing with a difficult Euro-American) black, isn't it?" comment. At the right moment, it can definitely ease things up.

Go for it, you should get the crazy points. Extras if you say it's because you're a black woman. And I DARE you to say gay black woman.

Anonymous said...

I'd think if the issue were an insurance one, the rules would be consistent. They aren' least not here.

I know of two indoor ranges that have no problem with loaded, holstered firearms, concealed or otherwise. Holstered is considered safe.

I know of two other ranges that have prominent signs proclaiming "no loaded guns". Needless to say, I don't go to those ranges.

Heck, there's even one gun dealer who doesn't even have a range on premises that has a "no loaded guns" sign on his door. Luckily, he's an ass and his prices are too high so I wouldn't patronize his business anyway.

The point being, I don't think it has anything to do with insurance. I think it has to do with people not thinking things through well enough. It's "conventional wisdom" not to allow loaded guns, so they don't. And don't even consider the ramifications, logic, or unintended consequences of the decision.

montanabob said...

Well, here's a thought. Why do you insist on carrying loaded firearms to the range? When I go to the range, the guns go in a range box, the ammo goes in the box, guns are loaded at the range, fired, unloaded and returned to the box......empty. Do you feel much more manly having carried a loaded weapon to the range? Oooo, good for you. I think that loaded, holstered weapons off the firing line are bad idea. If you feel the need to be macho and walk around with a loaded pistol in an "open" carry mode then please go home and do it. People do stupid things, all the time. That's what makes us people. Don't think it can happen to you, guess again bud. I've seen two holes shot in walls of houses with guns in the hands of people that "knew what they were doing with loaded guns". Hell, I've done a stupid thing--with an unloaded pistol. Something bad, at some point, WILL happen to EVERYONE around firearms. Minimize the theatrics, quit playing Assault Hero and leave the loaded guns at home or in the car. Don't bring them to the range just to carry around. Leave it in your Porsche/Z3/Hummer/P.O.S. truck or whatever else your middle age/ middle 20's/old age life crisis dictates you must have.

Tam said...

I am amazed that it took a whole 49 comments for Tooly McToolerson to show up.

Anonymous said...

montanabob, are all the fire extinguishers in your home empty?

Where I live we carry guns. These guns are loaded (see Rule #1). I feel no more manly than the police who carry guns.

Cold range rules are unsafe as these rules mandate unnecessary gun handling. In the Eagle Creek parking lot the rules mandate gun handling with I-65/465 as one's backstop. This rule is foolish and danger to my fellow citizens.

Shootin' Buddy

The Freeholder said...

Montanabob, one good reason for carrying a loaded gun to the range is because Bad Guys know what ranges are and what people bring to them. There have been incidents of people being robbed of their guns by folks who followed their "I live in White" selves home and robbed them in their driveway. Stupid, but it happens.

I always have a loaded gun and a couple of spare mags in the vehicle when I go shoot. Most of the time, they're in the vehicle because they're on me, and I'm in the vehicle. It's that whole CCW thing.

Rick R. said...

Montanabob --

Again, teh "guns that aren;t being fooled with don;t go off by themselves" applies in teh parking lot as well. In fact, if someone has an AD or ND, it's probably BETTER they have it on the firing line than out in the asphalt or concrete parking lot.

Why would I have a loaded pistol on when I go to the range? For teh same reason that I would have one on when I stop by Mickey D's for a fat pill -- becuase Bad Guys don;t call ahead for appointments.

I also recall what my partner told me when I started working at the gun store at 21. "Rick, the absolute most likely times you will see a Bad Guy in this line of work are when you show up to open, and when you are staying to close. They don't want money -- if they wanted money, they'd hit a grocery store on Friday night. They want untraced guns, and this is where the guns are -- and they're gonna kill every witness here, so the cops don't have a good description. That's you and me, kid."

Gyuess what, Montanabob? The parking lot of a public range, ESPECIALLY one seperated from teh firing line by a berm, bushes, or a fence, is another place one can scopp up a crapload of guns -- and where, in YOUR perfect world, every single gun out there will be unloaded. Plus teh fact that when you're toting your gun case, ammo box, and range bag, your hands are too damned full to change that fact any time before your new friend is at slide lock.

Grow up, and admit to yourself -- a lot of us don't really give much of a damn about your once a year trip to the range to blow the cobwebs out of your duck gun. We're there to hone skills that are supposed to keep ourselves and our families if everything goes wrong one day.

Along that line of thinking, we ALSO realize that, unlike duck season, mugging season is NOT scheduled in advance.

Ian Argent said...

Saw somewhere recently someone's suggestion to get a couple of the quick-detatch holsters so that when removing from belt to stow you didn't have to unholster. (Caleb's I think). Wouldn't fix the issue at hand, but it reduces the amount of times you have to touch metal.

(WC: chingshe - wasn't that one of the curses on Firefly?)

montanabob said...

Hey Rick, I shoot every week and there are plenty of loaded firearms around my house. So stick that up your ass. Don't appreciate your attitude. I just don't see the reason for loaded carry, concealed or not, at the range. If your range is so dangerous that you feel like you're going to be attacked/mugged on the way from your car to the shooting line maybe you should 1. Find a new shooting range. 2. Check into a psychiatic facility, it would appear your paranoia needs medicating. or 3. STAY HOME, my god man, there could be aliens right outside your door waiting to get you when you walk out to get the paper.

Wow. And I still don't see the need to carry loaded at the range, open or concealed. Really. My point is why. Oh, paranoia. Can't reason with that, so will have to check out of this discussion. I forgot all you self made urban commandos live in a constant state of fear that someone is going to attack you. I don't, the paranoia is in check. I shoot, reload, collect guns and enjoy my past time. I have a CCW. There are loaded weapons in the house-no kids-. I carry, a 25 auto. And I do shoot it fairly regularly. If the need arises to start shooting in a confrontation then I guess we'll have to see if that is enough. Guess I'm not as manly, paranoid or urban commando as the rest of you. I feel better about myself for that too.

Tooly McToolerson checking out now. Up yours too, Tam.

Tam said...

Oh, cry me a river. You were the one who started with the 'tude, throwing around psychiatric diagnoses, sport.

Rick R. said...

Sorry Montanabob -- but you comment indicates you haven't the first foggiest notion about CCW.

The fact that you now insist you DO have a CCW and carry regularly doesn't change that. Nor does the fact that you claim (and I have no reason to doubt your claim) to have a crap load of guns at home.

My brother-in-law has a garage full of expensive tools, but that doesn't make him a mechanic, craftsman, or carpenter.

I DO NOT carry because I think I will need protection at any given moment. If I could PREDICT when and where the Bad guys are going to be -- I wouldn't go there in the first place. (If I absolutely HAD to go someplace, knowing it was dangerous -- I damned sure wouldn't be alone, and I damned sure wouldn't be relying on a handgun. Since I'm not on the SWAT team and I haven't worn my blue rope in years, I prefer to leave planned confrontations to the current crop of professionals, with the taxpayer funded weapons, ammo, body armor, teamwork, commo, and loggy support.)

When I carry (my job prevents that a lot of the time, as I work for .gov in the DC area), it's BECAUSE I cannot predict when and where something bad is going to happen.

Unlike you, I seem to have misplaced my crystal ball.

Now, perhaps you have the luxury of going straight from your house, to the range, and back home again, with no intervening stops.

Me? I occaisionally DO STUFF when I leave the house. Including stopping for a burger, buying some ammo at Wally World on the way to a range, etc. Given that I choose to live out in the sticks, driving to a public range is not a "spur of the moment" thing, and I hate to spend a half hour up and a half hour back to do ONE THING ONLY.

The question IS NOT "Why does Rick feel a need to carry a loaded weapon to a firing range?"

The question is, "Why does MontanaBob feel so terrified at the thought that someone around him MIGHT have an inanimate object sitting safely in it's holster that he INSISTS that everyone in the vicinity be put at risk of death by REQUIRING unnecessary and unsafe gun handling?"

You know -- I'm quite willing to clear the weapon, if the range rules require it. No problemo. Be THRILLED to oblige.

I only insist that the range then provide a SAFE place to unload when I arrive and then reload before I leave, keeping in mind that the overwhelming majority of accidental or negligent discharges occur when loading or unloading a firearm.

And I refuse to allow YOUR pathologically unfounded fears prevent me from being lawfully armed on the way to or from the range.

Again, I refer you to that crystal ball thing -- perhaps you could enlighten us as to which brand and model you favor, and where you ordered yours? Becuase we'd ALL love to have one so we could be cool like you.

Why, MontanaBob, do you insist on INCREASING the danger of accidental and negligent discharges?

Why are you so paranoid about harmless machines that don't do anything when they are LEFT THE HELL ALONE?

Why are you so terrified that inanimate objects will somehow decide to anitmate themselves that you will knowingly and willingly endanger EVERYONE in the near area to keep your pants-wetting (but as realistic as my 4-year-old's fear that the Big Bad Wolf might get get out of her dreams and into her bedroom) terror at bay?

Requiring patrons to clear their HOLSTERED weapons does not make things safer.

It makes things MORE dangerous.

Unless you have a designated clearing zone, specifically laid out to EXPECT NDs in stupid directions.

The parking lot does not qualify.

Rick R. said...

Ian Argent --

Hey, quick on/off holsters are a great idea IF you plan on disarming and rearming while you're out.

Two caveats --

1. You planning on leaving a loaded gun in your car while you're at the range? I'd prefer not to do that unless necessary (the only gun I've ever had stolen was stolen from a locked car). I mean, there's times and places where you gotta do what you gotta do, but I prefer to minimize exposure. If you DO go this route, you need to consider a hgolster that you can take off fairly unobtrusively from the driver's seat, like a paddle.

2. Sometimes, your carry mode isn't going to accomodate an easy on/easy off holster (like a paddle), unless you had a special holster for planning to arm/disarm in your car. For example, in the summer, I find that IWB is the only practical way to go. (Well, there'a always fanny pack -- but they tend to scream "I've got a gun!!!" to anyone with three functioning neurons. {grin})

Even with a Milt Sparks SSII or a Bianchi, it's a PITA for me. My wife pretty much is "shoulder rig or nothing", due to body configuration (see above for "unobtrusive" as to why a shoulder rig may not be best for this prupose).

Now, if a paddle rig works well for you, or you've got some other easy on/easy off (but secure) rigs, great.

My solution if I know I'll have to be playing musical CCW, is to usually carry a wheelgun that day. I'm a LOT more confortable loading and unloading a revolver in the driver's seat than I am an autoloader.

That's generally how I handle traveling interstate, since 90% of the time, the best route to anywhere (even other parts of Virginia) is through Maryland.

Of course, this only works if you have a revolver and rig you feel comfortable carrying.

Ian Argent said...

I suppose it was an academic question. Until I change states or the 2A is rammed down throats I can't be permitted to defend myself. Nonetheless I collect opinions on the topic.

Rick R. said...

Well, when that happy day arrives, let me recommend a battery that involves at least a mid-size (like S&W K frame) .38 Special or .357 Mag revolver with a tube from about 3" - 4" as a staple, right up there with the .22 LR (auto or revolver) for cheaper practice.

While I'm a John Browning fan, wheelguns have their places when traveling, sleeping, or just sitting around for ages.

Vord Verify - "Liess" Gollum giving a DNC speech about GOP opposition to health care "reform".