Challenge Accepted: Helping Others at the Range

So, a couple of years ago, I posted a challenge to all my shooter friends to be good ambassadors, and help receptive new shooters. And I was reminded of a fairly recent situation I encountered on my local range.

I was doing my semi-regular shooting time, when I noticed the couple next to me had an AR-15 from the rental wall. The stalls are somewhat narrow, but have ballistics glass between them (you can see a picture of them on this page). This meant that I could see the side of the shooters, but the RSO wasn’t able to (he couldn’t fit, but I was seeing through the glass in the next stall). 

The RSO was doing his best to help give them some basic instructions for safety, but he kept getting drawn off to help others with range equipment issues, and to ensure everybody was following the range rules. As a result, he wasn’t able to help this couple as much as they needed. A full-time instructor who could have provided undivided attention might have been able to.

I put my pistol down, stepped out of my own lane and asked all three if they wouldn’t mind some feedback. The RSO recognized me as a regular, even if he doesn’t know my name, so he knew that I had at least some valid knowledge to impart. Thankfully, the couple agreed to hear me out, and the RSO was relieved that he could go attend other things for a second. 

In short, the woman had the buttstock’s lower point nearly on top of her shoulder, and was making remarks about how much it hurt. I showed her and her husband how to fit the stock into the shoulder’s “pocket” (subscapularis area). which alleviated the pain quite a bit. In fact, I only suspect it still hurt because of the bruising she’d already sustained.

I go back to my own lane, and I see the RSO a few minutes later helping them out with trigger squeeze and sight picture. They pick it right up, but I notice something else they getting a sight picture, then lifting the rifle off their shoulder to take the safety off, re-shoulder, then fire. So I show them real quick how to use their thumb to turn the safety off without changing any part of their firing grip or sight picture.

At this point, the RSO takes off, and says to the couple that they’re “in good hands” with me, and I can see the relief on his face as he heads back to do this regular tasks. 

I give them a few more pointers, show how to properly load while maintaining a hold on the pistol grip, and a few other things. We also talk about using a rifle in home defense. They expressed a lot of gratitude, and I said I hoped to see them at the range again. Turns out it was their anniversary!

I love it. 🙂

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  • Ian Webb

    Just be sure to know the rules at your range. At the indoor range my family belongs to that actually pushes the limits of the posted rules. I haven’t asked why, but I assume it may be a liability issue.