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When shooting at public ranges remain situationally aware

5014 Views 21 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  darkmagus
When shooting at public ranges occupied with other people (e.g. not alone) I try to separate myself from others by as much distance as possible preferring to shoot at either end of the shooters lane.
The reason why is because one never knows what the skill, training and mentality of those amongst you might be. Distance is my friend if only to react by ducking, hiding or worst returning fire (!).

Relatively recent examples of this have come to light at two locations in VA where I used to for years go shoot with regularity prior to hitting up the NRA range in the 6 mos. or so prior to my move.

* Shooters Paradise in Woodbridge, VA - 03.18.06
Federal LEO makes negiligent discharge into his own leg upon trying to clear dischaged brass from his shirt.
runngun @ said:
Was at the range today. Saw a guy constantly walking to and from the shooting point with his firearm in hand and using it as a pointing device to show his girlfriend what he was doing or something. I am not exactly sure what. I asked him if he had a holster and he said he did. I asked him to either use it or to leave it on the shooting point. He rolled his eyes and said something like "yeah, OK man."

Well I went on about my business... Found out that later on the guy, a Federal Reserve Officer, caught some brass on the back of his neck and as he was dancing around trying to clear out the brass he shot himself in the can. the bullet, a target round, made a clean exit out the back of his leg....
CBR900 said:
I arrived shortly after the incident. I am a volunteer at Shooters (I run the USPSA program). Everything you wrote agrees 100% with what I was told by the staff. Again, I was told that the person was apparently an active duty LEO. I was also told that he is a veteran who has served our country in combat in Afganistan (for which I am grateful to him - if that turns out to be true). I was also told that the ammunition was FMJ - which was fortunate. From what I was told, the bullet entered his thigh and exited near "the twins" - but did not strike them nor did it hit a major artery. It apparently happened in conjunction with practicing a draw - although it is not known to me whether he was drawing or re-holstering.

As to the "how" - well I think that we are going to have to let that one go since everything short of a reply from the shooter would be speculation.

It is clear to me that this was not a matter of ignorance by the shooter. Our law enforcement personal and our military personel hold themselves out to be trained experts in the safe use of firearms. It appears that this person made a mistake.

Again, without a report from the guy in question, there is nothing else to see here folks, lets move along...
* Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, VA
Man distraught over shooting death of daughter commits suicide at range upon rental of a pistol

Eric Beidel of Faquier Today said:
Teen found shot dead near The Plains
By Eric Beidel - Staff Writer

... Upon learning that doctors had removed his daughter from life support, Mr. Kotzmoyer drove to the Blue Ridge Arsenal, a Chantilly shooting range he visited almost daily.

He rented a .44-caliber Magnum revolver, stuck it in his mouth and pulled the trigger, according to his ex-wife Regina Myers-Shelley, Miss Kotzmoyer's mother.

Mr. Kotzmoyer left a suicide note in his car.

Fairfax County police confirmed that Mr. Kotzmoyer died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound at approximately 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30...
Be careful out there.

- Janq
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Only problem is if a dickhead comes and uses the bench right next to you. Thats what happened the last time I went shooting and ran into an asshole. Although from his performance the safest place to stand other than behind him would have been infron of him.

Fucker couldnt hit a shoot n see target at 50yards with a CAR15. He hit eh paper a few times but totally missed the target with a 30rd mag.
We get teenagers with SKS's shooting from the hip at my range down here.
Well after shooting with a friend for an hour we went into the gun shop and there was this guy with a handgun swinging it all around not watching where he aimed it, I was right behind him putting up the racks and all the sudden he discharged into the floor right next to me.... The owner then came out from the back who is a cop and with his handgun yelled at him to put the gun down, so what does the retard do? he keeps moveing it around and then sets it on the table after getting yelled at again.... I was tempted about haveing a discharge myself because its people like this that give target shooters such a bad name with the anti gunners and get people killed. This was a HP round so it stayed under the rug he fired it into, otherwise it could have bounced up and nailed me.... Naturaly he said I DID NOT KNOW IT WAS LOADED!! The worst part was... he was a doctor..

Yea someone killed themselfs at our range with a rented handgun a few years ago to.
I shoot my FAL from the hip....well bump fire it every once in a while :D
fatcat said:
Naturaly he said I DID NOT KNOW IT WAS LOADED!! The worst part was... he was a doctor..

I'd heard before that doctors were many times more dangerous than guns, but I hadn't thought about the possibility of doctors -- with -- guns!

Makes me wonder if maybe :: he :: was loaded [with pills or something]?

Filthy Rich :twisted:
maybe he was trying to create somemore business.
At outdoor public ranges you also have to be aware of people hanging out in the parking lots. They wait for shooters to walk down range to check targets and run up grap the guns, jump in their car and take off.
Jeremy said:
At outdoor public ranges you also have to be aware of people hanging out in the parking lots. They wait for shooters to walk down range to check targets and run up grap the guns, jump in their car and take off.
that is why i usually carry mine down range, and leave everything else locked in the car
I go in groups so there is always someone with the guns.
carney said:
Jeremy said:
At outdoor public ranges you also have to be aware of people hanging out in the parking lots. They wait for shooters to walk down range to check targets and run up grap the guns, jump in their car and take off.
that is why i usually carry mine down range, and leave everything else locked in the car
Taking a gun down range with you is a huge no-no at every CA range I've been to, so we don't have that option. It sucks when I go to the range alone, on the way home from work or something, cause I'm always worried my 1911 or Sig won't be there when I get back to the bench after checking my target.

i just put it in the holster if its a pistol or sling it behind my back if its a rifle, but most of the time here i'm at a range by myself so its not that big of a deal either
carney said:
i just put it in the holster if its a pistol or sling it behind my back if its a rifle, but most of the time here i'm at a range by myself so its not that big of a deal either
On some outdoor ranges, theft is not uncommon. The mark leaves, goes 50 or 100 yards away to change his targets, perp grabs his guns, leaves.

That's why I always keep at least one on me at any range.
fatcat said:
Yea someone killed themselfs at our range with a rented handgun a few years ago to.
wtf is up with that? That happened @ the indoor range I go to about a year ago, now they only rent guns to two or more people or if you have a working firearm in your posession.

jesus people, if you want to do yerself in learn how to tie a noose, It's quiet and a lot less messy.
range ettiquite

Though I'd chime in on this one. After doing a community easter hunt Sat. I decided I'd take my son shooting at the local range. He's 9 and about ready for the control of the range. So in we go with a tz-99 in the case, and a p226 in IWB. I rented a buck mark for him, as This was not a planned event. So were shooting away at the range, my son knows which end goes bang when to put it down, and how to aim. Well the person next to us left after firing his .500SW a few too many times, and in comes what seems to me to be cadets. Well my sons at the bench these dumb asses are using thier sw 4001's as pointers. I asked them to keep them pointed down range and I got the same :roll: in one ear out the other look. They didn't seem to be able to keep thier finger off the trigger had 1 ad that I seen and another that I'm sure was one bfore that( It hit about 4-6 feet in front of them. Well we left immedietly after the witnessed ad, and in formed the rangemaster who hopefully told them to comeback after retraining.
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Yeah I seen a guy get out of his car at the public range and try to pull his Stainless 1911 from the front of his pants. He just got it clear when *BANG*.. he nearly shot his package and feet off. I put away my Walther and my k98 and booked ass out of there.
Ben said:
We get teenagers with SKS's shooting from the hip at my range down here.
god damn that pisses me off when i c or hear that shit teatch your kids to shoot people! all i can say is if enyone seas kids fucking around with guns get them kicked off the range that will get them to take a corse or at least ask befor they do somthing stoopid
Man kills self at College Station gun range (TX)

As reported today by The Eagle (TX):

Updated 6:31 AM on Thursday, June 14, 2007

Man kills self at College Station gun range

Eagle Staff Writer

A 76-year-old paraplegic fatally shot himself inside a College Station shooting range Wednesday morning, authorities said.

College Station police said Robert Wilson's death at Champion Firearms on South Texas Avenue was caught on the range's surveillance footage around 11 a.m.

Two of Wilson's family members were at the range and witnessed the suicide, and another customer was nearby, said Mike Stulce, company president and co-owner.

It was unclear how Wilson was related to the pair.

Wilson had frequented the nine-lane shooting range at least once a month for more than 14 years, Stulce said.

"He was a longtime customer and a good friend," he said. "I'm sad. We're going to miss him, but I understand the circumstances, too."

Crime scene tape roped off part of the parking lot in front of the shooting range Wednesday morning as officers and detectives interviewed witnesses outside.

Employees at nearby stores said they didn't realize anything had happened until police arrived.

Wilson was pronounced dead at College Station Medical Center from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police Lt. Rodney Sigler said.

Authorities said an autopsy is planned.

One or two customers were in the store at the time of the shooting, Stulce said, adding that he wasn't there when it happened.

Stulce said Wilson had a handgun license, but wouldn't say whether he used his own gun or rented one from the firearm range. College Station police refused to release information about the gun.

Champion Firearms requires customers to provide a government-issued identification card and complete a detailed safety information sheet before using the shooting range, Stulce said.

Detective Danny Junek said Wilson had recently moved into a nursing home in the area.

Junek said there was no way for store employees to have known what Wilson had in mind when he entered the range.

"This could have happened anywhere," Junek said. "He knew what he wanted to do, and this was his opportunity to do it."

• Arena Welch's e-mail address is [email protected].

The story can be found at;

- Janq

Lesson Learned: Even when people are together in a group or know each other in the line, still the potential problems at the range do exist.
Imagine being the customer standing next to this he's going to have that sight laser etched in his brain and nightmares for life. :(
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VPD officers suspended after accidental shooting of 5 yr. old boy (CA)

As reported by The Venice Gondolier Sun:


VPD officers suspended after accidental shooting

The Venice Police Department has suspended two of its veteran officers without pay over the accidental shooting of a 5-year-old boy.

The suspensions came following a lengthy Internal Affairs investigation into a shooting incident at the police range. The victim is the stepson of Officer Billy Masters, whose gun discharged as he was cleaning it.

"Officer Billy Masters was suspended for 160 hours without pay (one month) and Sgt. Joe Whitehead was suspended for two weeks," Police Chief Julie Williams said. "The way I feel about it is, corrections have been made and now we move on."

Serious mistakes

Williams, in a telephone interview, reiterated what she stated in the nearly 100-page IA report.

"Serious mistakes were made by each of them," she said. "We sustain five charges against Masters and four against Sgt. Whitehead."

Whitehead, as VPD range master, was held accountable for not ensuring that proper range protocol and firearms safety procedures were followed.

Among the five sustained claims against Masters was this one stated by Williams in the report:

"It is my conclusion that Officer Masters acted carelessly without regard to those around him when he accidentally shot another person.

"This incident could have been prevented if Officer Masters would have followed proper training procedures and gun safety protocol. Officer Masters did not follow basic rules of firearm safety posted in the training facility observable from the area where the shooting took place."

According to police documents, Masters was cleaning his Glock 23 semi-automatic .40 caliber duty pistol at the police shooting range Nov. 21. His wife and 5-year-old stepson came to watch him shoot.

Masters was disassembling the weapon (a normal procedure prior to cleaning) and didn't realize he still had a round in the chamber, the report stated. The gun accidentally discharged.

The bullet hit the boy in the left hip area. He was airlifted to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. He was released the next day.

Disciplined over affair

Five years ago, Masters was involved in an affair with another VPD officer's wife. Both officers are still with the department. Masters was disciplined by then-Chief Jim Hanks.

Hanks originally recommended that Masters, who had then been with the department 10 years, be suspended for five days without pay.

The affair and the disciplinary action caused widespread dissension within the department. Many officers felt Hanks was too lenient with Masters.

A VPD review board recommended that Masters, who also reportedly pulled a gun on the other officer over a matter not directly related to the affair, should have been suspended for 15 days without pay.

Lie detector

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Venice Police Internal Affairs unit investigated the 2002 gun incident.

The victim officer took an FDLE polygraph that proved inconclusive. An IA polygraph, however, showed he was telling the truth about Masters pulling a gun on him.

The two officers had been best friends for 18 years.

[email protected]

Source -

- Janq
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I was at target masters about a year ago shooting some pistols... I came to the range with little ammo thinking that I had more than I actually did... so I pop off some rounds and discover that I'm out of ammo... The range sells ammo, but it's expensive and there is a walmart very close by that sells value packs of winchester white box for about half the cost of what the range sells it for... so I figured I'd leave the range, get some ammo, and come back (I know the guy that works there so he let me extend my lane time since I was only there for like 5 mins, I told him I'd be back in like 30 mins or so)... So I leave, go to walmart, get couple thousand rounds of 9mm, .45, and .40 (all together)... I always buy a bunch since they are always out of stock, so when the do have it in stock I take advantage of it... ANYWAY... About an hour passes by the time I had left the range, bought my ammo, and returned (yeah, took longer than I thought) and upon returning to the range, the place is SWARMING with cops... I walk up to the front door holding my briefcase and ammo can and the officer at the door stops me and asks if I work there, I tell him no and explain why I'm there (that I returned from a previous session)... He tells me to turn around and go home because the range is closed until further notice...

I was like, "Wtf?" They wouldn't tell me why... I figured the place got robbed or something crazy happened since there were cops and fire trucks and shit all over... I couldn't see anything other than police interviewing folks and they were basically telling me to get the hell out of there so I couldn't snoop around...

Fast forward to the next day, I show up to see what happened and talk to my friend that works there and he tells me that a lady came in, rented a pistol and lane (in the SAME FRIGGIN BAY THAT I WAS IN EARLIER) and shot herself in the head and collapsed right there at the number 2 lane (I was at lane 6 )... No one noticed that she committed suicide until a worker walked in and saw a woman laying on the ground... He said that it didn't look like there was blood... She had long black hair that was spread out on the floor masking the blood. I'm not sure what kind of pistol she used, but I'm thinking it was a small caliber gun.

They have since made a rule so that you cannot come in alone and rent a gun, you have to have someone with you to prevent these suicides.

I dunno man, that kinda screwed with me for a while knowing that if I had remembered to grab that ammo which I originally planned to bring, but forgot at home, I would have been right there next to her in that bay when she blew her brains out... She wouldn't have waited for me to leave because I would have been there for a while, and according to the guys that worked there, she basically just walked in, the bay happened to be empty, and she killed herself... Fuck... I don't know what I would have done if I would have witnessed that... She was just a troubled woman with some temporary problems, but she had a permanent solution.
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