Monday, October 3, 2011

Rambles from a Range Officer

So, I'm no longer in a European country (I went to Germany about a month after my tour in the UK for work was up) and I'm glad for it. Fun places to visit, I like home.

Kinda makes me sound rather settled, and I guess I am.

Anyway earlier this week I read a bit from I Aim To Misbehave on how to properly and legally (in broad strokes) hold a protest.

Good stuff. Don't ask me why, but it got me thinking about pet pevees I have as a volunteer Range Safety Officer at the local indoor range (, if you're interested)

So, some general rules to follow that aren't necessarily in the handbook, or the briefing, and shouldn't be because they common (uncommon?) sense.

1. The RSO/RO isn't the bad guy. He's not there to ruin your fun, he's there to reduce the liability of the range and make sure everyone goes home as intact as possible. Its a shooting range, you're using a tool, but its a dangerous tool, and some people think they know a lot more about guns then they do. I know a smattering about guns and a lot about the guns I own. I like being safe. I'm a volunteer. When I tell you to do something, do it - the first time, because I don't want to kick you out, I want you to have fun, but I will do the first if you aren't being safe, and you won't come back, if you're that bad about it.

I can do that, and I will.

2. If you're new to the range, if you're new to firearms, and all this stuff - *say* so. I'm going to figure it out within five minutes of watching you shoot if you've never picked up a gun before. Be honest. I'll *help* and you'll have more fun - and learn more then if I have to come over and correct you later because you're doing something unsafe.

3. Don't lie to me. Especially if I keep the range open longer for you. When I'm the RSO, its my name on the paper, and the building is my responsibility. Don't say you're just going to crono some rounds, then bring in friends from a side door and then tell me you're all RSO's so I can just go home. It doesn't work that way. We're supposed to be closed. I was nice. I don't care if you're buddy's on the board. The board will back me up. They might scold me later, but that's their business. You don't want me to have to report that I had problems with your organization, whatever it is, because we've tossed orgs before, and while we don't *want* to do it, if you don't follow the rules, we will.

4. Don't sigh when I tell you to put your eyes and ears on outside the range. The Range is hot, that means that weather or not there are people in there, there is no control to when those people chose to fire. They may be you're eyes and your ears, but I'm not going to be held liable by some ambulance chasing attorney because you are dumb.

5. There is only one safe direction to point your firearm at the range. And that's at the backstop. If you have to do maintenance on your firearm at the line, and the muzzle goes any direction but down range, I'm ging to call you on it. I've seen people point guns at themselves, at their legs, at the floor at the person next to them. Most of the time the only person they would hurt is themself. But I don't want you to shoot yourself anymore then I want to get shot.

I will say something. If its bad enough I will call a cease fire, and then *everyone* will hear my say it. Think people. Please.

6. Before I was an RSO, I used to think some of the rules we have at the range were dumb, or at least excessive. I'm now an RSO, and the responsiblity for what happens at the range and what happens in result of your actions is on *my* shoulders. And I'm one guy, monitoring up to fifteen active lanes at a time. They make a lot more sense from my position then they might from yours. I highly recommend you try it sometime - because we always need more volunteers, and it will change the way you look at safe handling. The most important piece is still between the shooters ears, and it might be annoying some of the restrictions we place on you - but they exist to make *my* life, and your life easier, in the long run. If you want to complain, do it to the board, not me. Or take the RSO class, and try a busy weekend shift yourself.

Your view will change too.

Have fun, stay safe, shoot straight.