So today I again visited my local public indoor gun range. Not that I enjoy going to such venues mind you, but simply to get in some time in what limited facilities these ranges allow. In doing so I had another example of why public gun ranges can be both an intense sense of irritation to many – but also a vital necessity.
While partaking in these open shooting venues, it’s not uncommon to run into a number of individuals who often lack (1) any civility, or (2) etiquette in firearms and/or indoor shooting (a.k.a. The Urban Commando). In previous commentary I once read on another forum wherein one individual went on an approx. 1,000-word tirade because of his inability to handle the people or their odd quarks at these ranges. But today after practicing some snap drills I stopped and waited to talk to the woman in the shooting stall next to me. See, I try to be as considerate as possible when shooting my AR in such a confined space, to include the flying brass that can sometimes go over the partitions and drop on unsuspecting people (one of the many reasons I am not a fan of this shooting locale). So when she had safely stopped and cleared her weapon, I asked her if she was having any problems with me shooting next to her or the brass. Come to find out not only was she a relatively new shooter, but she needed assistance as she was renting an unfamiliar firearm and becoming frustrated. Now I will sometimes opt-in as a Range Safety Officer at where I prefer to shoot at Asymmetric Solutions, so I was more than happy to assist. But then I look down the firing line and there’s no staff or range safety present. BIG red flag in my book. I explained to her the firing sequence, how to load her ammunition, and then over-watched as she took the proper measures to safely fire through her magazine. Turned out she was considering purchasing this model of firearm and one of the staff was supposed to be helping her. A few moments later in appeared the range safety/staff member who was “supervising” the range via the CCTV behind the store’s counters and had seen me assisting her (keep in mind there is approx. 3-5 employees at this part of the gun range at any given time so I have no idea why there were never any present on the firing line – one reasons there were two Urban Commando’s blasting away with 45 ACP).
Look – I know just as much as anyone that often in these public gun ranges you run into the full gambit of enthusiasts and social strata. But fact of the matter is if you can’t handle dealing with the variety of people you encounter in the world (or more specifically public gun ranges), then you might not be one who has the patience or responsibility to own and operate weapons as well. Because even though some folks on the firing line can be downright rude or ridiculous (that’s right Johnny Rambo – blast through all that 45 ACP ammo in 15 seconds. The sound your brass casings make hitting the floor is money in my reloading pocket), there are still many new or novice shooters out there that need the mentorship and guidance of those with the experience and patience to help them. Without those novice shooters themselves becoming masters in their craft, then there will be no future in the firearms community or the 2nd Amendment. So next time you feel yourself getting crowded, frustrated, or downright pissed – take a step back and recognize you might be the problem and maybe introducing yourself might wind up helping the situation more than you had thought.