How not to look like an idiot at the range.

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How not to look like an idiot at the range.

by Sean Parnell

So, you bought a gun 

Part 1: How NOT to look like an Idiot at the range

In our last installment, we talked about buying a gun.  Assuming you are now the proud owner of a new bang stick, you are ready for some trigger time. It is important to realize that owning a pistol and being proficient with it are two different things.  In fact, they are the difference between life and death.  The only way to become comfortable with your steel is to go to the range.

Unfortunately, besides the gun store, the range is the second most intimidating place for a virgin pistolero. Why?  Because it’s full of douchebags. The only place I have ever witnessed a greater collection of morons is at the gym. Let that sink in for a second.

The range is a sacred place that offers the ability to hone your skills. The most important thing to remember is:  If it is your first time, don’t be intimidated- everyone has been where you are now. A wise man once said, “the longest journey begins with a single step.

Safety:  Like I said before, most people at the range have no idea what they are doing. It’s kinda like sex, practice makes perfect.  While most ranges do a decent job screening people coming through the door, the safety aspect is on you. 

If you have already gotten your concealed carry you know to treat every firearm like it is loaded.  I’m going to go a step further, and offer some BIG BOY RULES:

  1. Never point your pistol at something you don’t plan on breaking, buying or killing.
     
  2. Never put your finger on the trigger until you are pointed at your target.  If you don’t believe me, and want to see what happens go to YouTube and type in Firearm Fails.  99% of the time, a pistol fired because some dumbass pulled the trigger.
     
  3. Set attainable goals or train like you fight.  Most gunfights take place between 5 and 7 feet.  Think about that when you go to the range and see people trying to snipe targets with a .38 Special.  If you are just there to screw around, then by all mean, feel free to stop reading, but if you are serious about mastering your firearm you have to build a foundation.
     
  4. If someone wants to see your pistol, make sure you hand it to them with the magazine out, and the chamber locked to the rear.  If someone hands you a loaded firearm, it is a dead giveaway that they don’t know what they are doing.
     
  5. Check to make sure your firearm doesn’t have a magazine in it, and the chamber is locked open.  Sound familiar?  There is a reason- because you don’t know these people. Just because you are at the range, doesn’t mean the person next to you isn’t a psycho or a serial killer.  It also doesn’t mean he or she knows what the hell is going on.  If you are handed a firearm, repeat steps 4 and 5.
     
  6. Do NOT EVER WALK DOWNRANGE- EVER.  The caveat to this rule is if you are taking a class somewhere, and the instructor tells the entire class to move as one unit to the target line.
     
  7. Don’t try some stuff you just saw on YouTube.  Pretending you are Wyatt Earp at the OK Corral is the best way to shoot yourself in the leg.  Trust me, I’ve seen it.
     
  8. If someone does walk down range, put your pistol down, and step back.  It is hard to explain why you shot the guy, decked out in multicam, in the back.  Instead, wait until he or she comes back to the firing line and give them your best, “Are you serious dude” look.
     
  9. Avoid anyone who smells of booze.  The flip side is, don’t go to the range smelling of booze.
     
  10. Remember: No one outranks safety.

Evan West