Public Range Good Practices

Tam has some good advice on public ranges, where you’ll, generally speaking, encounter the worst gun handling. I’ve been to public ranges in a few states. Southwestern Virginia was the scariest, in terms of safety, though I’ve had people muzzle me at some of the PA ranges too. Thankfully, the really dangerous types seem to be pretty rare.

But it was the Pennsylvania Public Ranges System where I first encountered a mall ninja in the wild — all black outfit, what looks to be body armor but probably isn’t, black ranger hat, thigh holster, wrap around sunglasses, and tactical shotgun — obviously a skilled and valuable member of Food Court Team Six. It was after that I joined a club, so I can’t say for sure whether this species is becoming a more common sight at public ranges.

10 thoughts on “Public Range Good Practices”

  1. Not a huge fan of PA public ranges. Among other things, there aren’t enough range officers to keep the idiots in line. Even worse the only people I’ve seen get written up were doing awful things like loading more than 3 rounds or wearing guns in holsters. Not doing awful things like muzzling the shooting line or walking downrange while the range is hot.

    Delaware seems to be better. If there isn’t a range officer, the range isn’t open. If you start being an idiot they’ll teach you (if you’re a new shooter) or kick you off. Unfortunately the shooting range doesn’t have much range, steel ammo is forbidden, and you’re paying $5 an hour so shooting all day isn’t an option.

  2. I’ve certainly had some people at the local National Forest range make me nervous – once to the point of packing up and leaving – but in general the people here are pretty good about safety and observing hot/cold range states.

    On the other hand, I generally turn around and go home before I even start if there are more than a few people there. I just don’t like even mildly crowded ranges. I may not be seeing a fair sample.

    Of course, my favorite range is the one in my parents’ backyard. Roughly 100 yards from the back porch to the target, with a backstop of stacked railroad ties backed by a 6′ thick mound of earth. Oh, and the only people I have to worry about are the ones who taught me gun safety. I can actually relax and get completely “into the zone” there, whereas at a public range I’ve always got that little bit of focus that’s on everyone else rather than my shooting.

  3. I agree with Jeff. I won’t go to Targetmaster in PA because of some of the things I’ve seen there. The range staff are also kind of rude, which is sadly understandable.

    Ommelanden is pretty good and the RSO’s are friendly and will quickly and politely correct any infractions. (not that I’ve seen many there)

  4. I would take a hundred so-called “mall ninjas,” dressed in whatever attire they desire, hogging every lane at the local range, standing room only, over a lone gun snob casting judgement on all who walk before him. If nothing else, the enthusiasm shown by “mall ninjas” is good for commerce. Gun snobbery helps no one in any way, and keeps people away from shooting (and thus, understanding its value).

  5. As my friend Gunnutmegger pointed out, in CT, range time can be a bit pricey. Even at the good public range (Blue Trail, which you’ve written about a number of times), you can find the occasional idiot. Our favorite was a guy in tactical pants, a skin-tight white muscle shirt, with a double gun shoulder holster and an SKS with no shoulder stock and the biggest banana clip I’ve ever seen.

    He and his buddy were shooting it while standing, on hand on the pistol grip, one on the bottom of the magazine. These yahoos were so dangerous, that it was the first time I felt the need to pack up and go find a range officer.

    Of course the other fun part was that CT still has an AWB – his gun was not legal.

    We joined a club pretty soon thereafter.

    While I can agree to some extent with Nick, I’d rather have a gun snob next to me with safe practices than the Sgt. Fury wannabe shooting like it’s a free fire zone.

  6. I guess I have it pretty good as a LEO in New York… Definite lack of mall ninjas. Up here (southern tier) there are more hunting rifles than black rifles and their owners are pretty responsible. All the ranges in my area are private, but that doesn’t stop the ‘yahoos’ from coming to them. Biggest fault: shooting up the target stands they bring and leaving the remains there, or shooting at soda bottles and leaving them forward of the 25 yard line. Oh, and then there’s the jackoffs that leave their 9mm, .45 or .223 brass. I really hate them ;) .

    Listening to everyone else, I guess I have it pretty good…. Even for NY.

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