Infections at the Range

20-Mar-12 – 10:39 by ToddG

About halfway through my practice session yesterday, a young guy came onto the range and started blasting merrily away at his target with little to no regard for whether he actually hit anything. He alternated between dumping full 30-round mags out of his AR15 and full 15-round mags out of his Glock 19 as fast as he could.

On its face, I have no problem with this. It’s his ammo and his range time. If hosing the backstop is his idea of recreation, so be it.

However, within a couple of minutes the decibel level on the range hit a painful crescendo. Suddenly, half the guys on the firing line were doing mag dumps, all trying to be faster than the stranger next to them. Rounds were pinging off the steel target carriers, the walls, the floor, and the ceiling. Suddenly, everyone had to be shooting mag dumps because they wanted to be as cool — or at least as loud — as the first guy.

It doesn’t matter how fast the Big Loud Noise is happening if you’ve got no idea where the gun is pointed when it goes bang. This is why I teach people that trying to shoot a cadence is a bad idea. You cannot aim with your ears, so your ears shouldn’t be the way you measure shooting success.

The real lesson here is simple: don’t let the guy next to you dictate your shooting practice. Is he shooting faster than you? OK. Let him. Is he working his weak hand only skills? OK. Let him. Either he’s got his plan — which isn’t your plan — or he’s got no plan at all. Either way, you stick to your plan. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to impress or one-up a stranger on the range. It’s just a waste of time and ammo.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

(photo courtesy of

  1. 23 Responses to “Infections at the Range”

  2. Just got back from the range a little bit ago. I woke up at 7am to get there at 730 on a Tuesday. I hate going when everyone else is there because stuff like this happens. I take my time and get clean accurate shots without feeling like I’m on Omaha beach. Sometimes I don’t mind the noise and it doesn’t affect me too much but its just a more pleasant experience. Todd I love your postings and your advice. They’ve helped me become a much better shooter

    By Greg P. on Mar 20, 2012

  3. I call it the “i want to be an idiot too” phenomenon. If only i could convince them to just give me their ammo…

    By iakdrago on Mar 20, 2012

  4. I’ve heard of this. Sympathetic shooting.

    People clap hands, tap feet, and snap fingers in unison unconsciously; we do the same thing with shooting. If it’s not unconscious, it’s close. It can lead to bad trouble too – witness several famous NYPD shootings where one officer opens fire and the next thing you know four cops do a mag dump into someone holding a wallet in their hands.

    By TriumphRat675 on Mar 20, 2012

  5. Sounds like one hell of an expensive pissing contest.

    By Dropkick on Mar 20, 2012

  6. I love the picture. Very appropriate.

    By Eric on Mar 20, 2012

  7. “This is why I teach people that trying to shoot a cadence is a bad idea.”

    I don’t agree. Cadence drills can be a great tool. But I do agree that cadence/metronome shooting is pretty pointless if the rounds aren’t on paper inside an 8″ circle.

    This does fit pretty well with a request made to me at CCA in Knoxville when I was there. They told me that they were fine with me practicing draws and rapid fire. But they wanted me to be low-key to help minimize copycatting.

    By Laughingdog on Mar 20, 2012

  8. Makes me really glad that I have a nearby outdoor rural range. I’ve had to share a pistol range with another member maybe twice in four years. I can’t imagine having to regularly put up with the buffoonery that shows up in my local indoor ranges.

    By Chris on Mar 20, 2012

  9. That was me. Its my fault. We’re working on a new flash mob at the next OWS gathering. It won’t happen again.

    By John on Mar 20, 2012

  10. Since I work at a gun range, I witness this quite often (and I often have to control it). I call it sympathetic rapid fire.

    So I’m doing 2.00s Bill drills, or rapid fire drills with my AR-15. I’m holding my groups in a 6″ or smaller. You’re hitting the ceiling. Stop.

    By Jeremy Pagan on Mar 20, 2012

  11. Unfortunately it’s a lot easier to have sympathetic crappiness than sympathetic awesomeness. Its too bad good practice at the range doesn’t rub off on more people.

    By Nick on Mar 20, 2012

  12. So is it not cool if I bump-fire at AFHF in August?

    By Tyler on Mar 20, 2012

  13. No, because bump-firing is for retards and it makes Baby Jesus weep.

    Must be the week for this. I was at an IPSC match on Sunday, as we were packing up a few guys show up on one of the pistol ranges that is open and start to dump rounds out of various pistols almost as fast as they can, at a hanging 8″ steel, at the 50 yard line.

    They had VERY little success in even scaring that steel plate.

    By Chuck on Mar 20, 2012

  14. Nick’s comment +1

    By hsoi on Mar 21, 2012

  15. This almost always happens at youth shooting events; 50 foot small bore, 4 position, one minute per shot – 20 minute relay time.
    As soon as “Fire When Ready” is heard 15-20 lanes start poppin’ … most everyone is finished with 40 shots in five to 10 minutes.

    By Paul on Mar 21, 2012

  16. This is the time when I used to throw a hand grenade at the end of the range.

    By Kilgore Jr. on Mar 21, 2012

  17. Usually the tiny groups on my target are adequate to shrivel their manhood.

    Granted when I really get into practice with an AR, the sound and frequency could be significantly intimidating to other guys on the range…especially when combined with the tiny groups left on my targets…

    By Johnkard on Mar 22, 2012

  18. Maybe everybody just starts working on following t heir front sights at the same time:-)

    By GA Shooter on Mar 22, 2012

  19. You can’t miss fast enough to win.

    By Gracie from Packing Pretty on Mar 22, 2012

  20. I shoot suppressed.

    By Jamie on Mar 22, 2012

  21. “I try to miss as quickly as I can. That way I hit dead center target sooner.”

    By Swiat34 on Mar 22, 2012

  22. I have experienced the same thing on the range. I always have a plan because I shoot specific events which demands I have certain practice sets otherwise my game goes to **** in a hand-basket.

    My time and ammo is too valuable to play kids games, besides they come and go quickly on the range because they don’t spend their time wisely.

    Good article.

    By David on Mar 22, 2012

  23. Sounds like that could get dangerous fast. Situations like those have me packing up and moving out. No telling what a normally safe person will accidentally do when they are caught up in the moment like that.

    By IsaacL on Mar 23, 2012

  24. “Infections at the Range”

    They make pills for that. Or you can wrap your gun before you use it at a range that you aren’t married to.

    By PPGMD on Mar 23, 2012

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