Anyone that follows me on Facebook knows that every week I go through messages to my page and answer one question I get from someone random. The beauty of my page is that due to its nature I’m never short of people triggered by my love of shooting, however once in a while I get a genuine question from a shooter that deserves a little more attention than my usual one paragraph reply to social media and this question was one of those.
The question was as follows,
“I’ve joined a club and can’t say I’m loving the experience. Everytime I turn up (name redacted) who is an R.O won’t leave me alone to just shoot. They are constantly telling me how to do things like how to hold my firearm etc when I didn’t ask and it’s really pissing me off. Have you any advice Mike?”
Well the answer to that is simple but I’d like to explore it a little.
R.Os are there for one reason and that’s to insure that range rules are followed and that people are operating safely at the premises to avoid any unwanted accidents. I don’t think anyone can complain about their purpose, however dependant on who it is some people can take this role too far and in some instances become a pain in the ass.
Unfortunately it sounds as if you have encountered this and your R.O has fallen into the latter category. My advice is don’t let it put you off shooting altogether and if they are harassing you when you aren’t being unsafe then speak up and say so.
I’ve had similar experiences myself in the past with some who I think meant well however range time for me is my time. I don’t like people getting in my face and telling me their way of doing things, I don’t want shooting tips from people I didn’t ask or to be constantly interrupted when I’m trying to focus and enjoy the simple act of pulling a trigger.
That being said a range is a great place to ask for help or advice and I recommend if you are having issues to ask around and see what other people do to counter any problems you may be experiencing.
Unfortunately for some wearing a dayglo safety vest in their own minds makes them shooting experts and that it’s their way or no way. For example I had someone once interrupt my shooting time to tell me I was holding a revolver incorrectly when loading it. As I said I don’t like being interrupted when it’s something petty so I said thanks for the advice and continued loading it the way I was comfortable.
Now I wasn’t being unsafe, the muzzle was pointed down range and in a safe direction, it’s just they preferred holding it one way while I did it another way.
As I squeezed the last round on target I made my way to the loading area to reload. I was again interrupted to be told I was still holding it wrong in their eyes. I again said thanks for the advice and continued loading it the way I was comfortable and made my way to the line again.
On the next return to the loading area he decided to interrupt me again to which I responded with the words, “unless I’ve done something unsafe please stop interrupting me and let me load the damn thing the way my arthritic hands are comfortable.”
Now while they took the hump at this I was then left alone to do what it is I was there to do and that was to shoot in peace and unwind.
The point of me telling you about this incident is that it’s OK to speak your mind if you feel you are being wrongly targeted by someone at the range and while advice can be appreciated it’s not always warranted or indeed wanted.
What works for one might not work for another and it’s part of the fun of the sport to find what works for you. As long as you are following safety protocols and any range rules it’s nobody else’s business what you do. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, just try to be polite about it. Unless of course the situation requires you to be less polite.
I’ve seen many people put off by a club atmosphere where a little authority is abused or lauded over others, it’s unnecessary and let’s be honest nobody likes it. Our sport is small enough as it is without pissing shooters off with people on power trips.
That being said I know a lot of R.Os that are really good lads and they genuinely stay out of people’s way unless they see something dangerous and that’s the way it should be. My own club I’m in at the moment has some lovely people at it, friendly, sincere and willing to give good advice when asked. Speak to someone if you feel you’re being singled out when it isn’t called for and good luck with your club.
All the best for the future
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