Gentleman's Guide to Old-School Gun Range Etiquette

When's the last time you went to a public range and had a horrible day—not because your guns weren't cooperating, but because well-meaning idiots offered unsolicited coaching, handled your stuff without asking, asked questions or "corrected" your form when you were in the middle of shooting groups, or just plain made a nuisance of themselves? If you're a regular at the shooting range, I'll wager it happens to you all too often.

Not so very long ago, guns were regarded as something between tools and musical instruments, and a stranger wouldn't presume to correct one's shooting any more than they'd correct the way you use a crescent wrench or finger your fiddle during the schoolhouse jam session.

Don't get me wrong: There are lots of fine, respectful shooters that are a pleasure to share a range with. I've made some greatly valued acquaintances by sharing a mellow afternoon at the range with courteous gun people. But today, every well-meaning mall ninja wants to show off the tricks they picked up at the local tacticool academy, and even stump-sitting, tobacco-spitting handloaders will heave themselves off their seat if they figure there's something wrong with your ammo—and they're the ones to fix it for you. Trying to spend a peaceful day at the range can sometimes be akin to standing on a fire ant hill and hoping if you ignore them, they'll go away.

Recently some friends and I kicked around what we figure to be the most exasperating habits regularly exhibited by annoying range-goers. Here they are, along with are a few old-school gentlemanly tips to help you be the best range stranger you can be.

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