25 June 19

Indoor Ranges

“Booths” on most indoor pistol ranges are there to “organize” the range.

Particularly with commercial ranges, booths separate individual shooters and allow each to shoot his own exercises, irrespective of what other shooters are doing. There is also usually a table conveniently in front of each shooter, upon which he can place boxes of ammunition, etc

Some such range “dividers” are designed so that they will not permit penetration of typical handgun bullets, but most aren’t!

When running a Defensive Handgun Training Course on an indoor range, I move students forward, into the open area ahead of the booths, since we are all there as a group to do the same thing

That way, I can stand behind the “line” and clearly see all of them at once!

But, there is another hazard associated with shooting within a range “booth:”

Hot brass cases, ejected from autoloading pistols, often strike the divider and then bounce back in the direction of the shooter.

When shooting “in the open,” this happens far less frequently.

Of course, we require of all present suitable eye protection and baseball caps, and we encourage shooters to button shirts snugly around their necks.

Yet, now and then a hot brass case still falls down the inside, front or back, of the shooter’s shirt.

In addressing this subject, we advise students that, when this takes place, to:

1. Ignore it, and finish the drill as if nothing had happened

2. Holster their pistol (or safely place it on the table in front of them) and then step back off the line and out of
the booth

Either strategy is acceptable, depending upon the level of the training course.

The real danger is when a naive student (or range customer) immediately reaches down (forward or backward) in an attempt to get that hot case away from his skin, using the hand that still has the pistol in it!

In so doing, he will invariably point his pistol in multiple unsafe directions!

More than one “range accident” has happened as a result of that exact scenario!

Thus, students and range customers need to be cautioned about this, and of course must be wearing suitable safety equipment (safety glasses, baseball caps, hearing protection).

Booths may be sometimes necessary, as noted above, but I prefer (owing to the foregoing) to get myself, and my students, out forward and away from them!