Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Spectator Safety

While doing some video editing from my 2012 Texas State Limited videos, I saw one of my squad members in my field of view of the camera. In this screen shot from the POV camera I was using, you can see that he is pretty much "down range" of me. Now as a shooter I can tell you that I feel the most comfortable at the range at these IPSC shooting matches. I know that all of my fellow shooters are very safe and have pretty good gun handling skills. I feel much less safe at the public ranges. Too many times I've seen just plain dangerous gun handling by the casual shooter at the public range. BUT, even though competitive shooters are safe, accidents can happen. So when you are watching a fellow shooter burn down a stage, make sure you are directly behind them and expect the worst. For example, they could trip or fall and loose control of their gun or have an accidental discharge (AD) while performing a magazine change. Just keep this in mind.

In the video below a shooter is still taping targets when the RO starts the new shooter. Talk about near death!


  1. "...pretty much down range..."? Wow. I don't know an RO that wouldn't have stopped the run immediately on seeing this.

  2. The stage was an awkward design with the potential for breaking the 180 in a few places. But I see similar instances of this and try to set up my chair and gear in an area that is less likely to be affected by an accident.

  3. When I first saw that video last night on the IPSC Facebook page, I was shocked, as an IPSC pistol RO I just couldn't believe the RO hadn't checked the range was clear before giving the "Load and make ready." command.
    After some internet research it appears (All hearsay evidence from people on internet forums) the poor patcher has quite server hearing problems, and before the video started recording (The COF had already started before the video started, as the shooter had his gun out and on the table for a tabletop start.) the RO had loudly asked "Range Clear?" and received no response from the patcher (because he couldn't hear the RO), so the RO believed the range to be clear and started the next shooter.
    Now its very easy to just blame the RO for not visually checking the range clear, and to be honest ultimately it was his responsibility (Or the stages CRO's responsibility.) however its easy to comment with hindsight, and the stage setup/layout left a lot to be desired (From a safety point of view.) with large white vision barriers blocking the view down range, so as an IPSC pistol RO myself I would like to think I would have done a visual check personally (or positioned trusted personnel to check for me.) but as I was not there I find it very hard to assign blame or condemn the RO in that case.