It's a miracle this crew didn't shoot each other - more than once.

It’s a miracle this crew didn’t shoot each other – more than once.

I shoot at a public range in a national forest. It’s beautiful, fun and perfectly safe 90% of the time I go there. Maybe that’s because I only go on weekdays when all the crazy is at work. On weekday outings, if I’m not by myself,  I’m usually accompanied by experienced and safe range neighbors. Today was a 10% day, or more accurately, a 1% day.

Walking from my car to the range, I noticed that the range was cold – people were down range setting targets. Then I saw something freaky. A young lady was at one of the shooting benches aiming a scoped AR down range at one of her shooting partners. He was 50 yards down range placing a target. She was waving him side to side to he could get his target placed in the correct shooting lane.

“No, just a bit more to the left, I can’t quite plug you with this rifle yet.”

“A bit more to the right, I would only graze you if I fired now.”

“That’s perfect, I’ve got you sighted right between the eyes!”

I kid you not. As random as some of my thoughts are, I couldn’t make this up.

Well, maybe I made up the internal dialog to accompany the story, but the guy was down range saying “aim at me and tell me when I have the target in the right place.” I thought I also heard him say, “Have you checked up on my insurance policy recently?” I can’t be entirely sure about that one.

A little while later, after surviving the rifle fire obstacle course, our target dummy started drawing from the small of his back, and in the process muzzle sweeping everyone to his left, followed by everyone to his right, including his two shooting partners.

At least he was using the world’s crappiest holster. You know, one of those canvas deals that’s only slightly better than duct taping a clay flower pot to your belt? It had about the same level of gun security and retention.

That’s when I left. Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day.

If you haven’t guessed already, this trio invested more time bumming a cigarette from the guy in the next lane than the sum total of their gun safety education.

The four rules of gun safety are really easy folks, and require just minutes to memorize forever. That minute or two learning about guns and safety might just help you avoid a lifetime of regret. There are inexpensive and free learning resources everywhere.

Remember, we’re not born with shooting safety knowledge genetically pre-wired – we have to make at least the slightest effort to learn. Buy a book. Watch free videos online. Learn from an experienced friend.

Whatever you do, don’t be proud and think you already know everything – that’s dangerous to you and everyone else.

Rule 1: A gun is always loaded.

Rule 2: Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.

Rule 3: Never let your muzzle point at anything you’re not willing to destroy.

Rule 4: Be sure of your target and backstop. (This does not mean that just because you’re SURE you’re aiming right at your buddy, that it’s OK.)