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 Post subject: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 3:22 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:32 pm
Posts: 76
Would appreciate input on a debate that has come up at my range recently.

We are a small club and members wear more than one hat much like many other clubs across the country. Most of us do whatever it takes to keep things operational and safe.

We have a dedicated cadre of RSO(s) who have received the appropriate NRA training and certification. On any given day, there is more than one RSO watching over things on our skeet, trap and clays ranges.

What's begun to happen lately, however, is that a couple of our RSOs will work into a squad of shooters and shoot, or will act as a puller on the skeet and/or 5 stand ranges. And while doing so, they'll maintain the position that they are BOTH the RSO and the puller.

At our club we consider safety every member's responsibility and in general, we're all RSOs. But I'm calling BS when a guy with an RSO vest steps in and shoots and / or pulls / scores.

It seems pretty obvious that an RSO cannot do his job while also being part of the process he is supposed to oversee. He most certainly cannot do his job while acting as a puller on a skeet range. It's impossible to provide safety oversight, throw the birds, call the hits/loses all at the same time.

I recently challenged one of our RSOs for doing exactly that and was amazed he could not understand the point I was trying to make.

What are your thoughts?




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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 3:58 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:07 am
Posts: 2232
Location: Paris,Illinois
Bring the problem up at your next club meeting.Establish rules and guidelines for the rso's.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 4:03 pm 
Crown Grade
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Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:41 am
Posts: 2963
Location: Missouri
I agree with the RSO, especially at Skeet where there’s only one shooter at a time.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:52 pm
Posts: 4987
Location: Miami Florida and The Republic of Panama
Our RSOs are also the pullers at the county range I shoot at.

They seem more than capable of keeping an eye on the other shooters safety

while pulling.

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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 4:38 pm 
Crown Grade
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:20 pm
Posts: 22565
How could your RSO not be cognizant of what the squad he is pulling for is doing? Now, if he is supposed to watch several fields at once, I see your point.

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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 5:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:20 am
Posts: 13404
what horrible violations are these guys doing while the safety guy's back is turned? Most guys I have seen shooting know the rules and obey them.

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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 6:38 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:52 pm
Posts: 58
sera wrote:
what horrible violations are these guys doing while the safety guy's back is turned? Most guys I have seen shooting know the rules and obey them.


I rarely see unsafe behavior on sporting clays courses.

The worst I saw was on a 5-stand course. A father was loading his daughter's 20 gauge autoloader and leaving it for her in a rack. I politely told him that guns were to be loaded only when the shooter was in the station and the gun was pointed down range. He thanked me, and we all enjoyed the afternoon. It worked out fine, but it would have beem good to have an RSO around .


There are also times when RSOs can be a little too enthusiastic. My wife was chastised once for removing her glasses to wipe her eyes. We were between stations on a cart path, a good 60 yards from the nearest shooter. Her glasses were off for only a few seconds. It was all a bit silly.

I like having RSOs around, but I suspect there are times when they can pull for a squad and keep an eye on things.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 9:21 pm 
Crown Grade
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:26 pm
Posts: 3074
Location: MO
Sounds a little nit picky to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 10:13 pm 
Crown Grade
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 4:08 pm
Posts: 2570
I hold an NRA RSO certification. I would have lots of questions about the responsibilities and needs for these RSOs based on the information given. That said, if they are needed, shooting while working as an RSO is completely unacceptable.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 10:37 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:34 pm
Posts: 5732
drawdc wrote:
I hold an NRA RSO certification. I would have lots of questions about the responsibilities and needs for these RSOs based on the information given. That said, if they are needed, shooting while working as an RSO is completely unacceptable.


This^. You’re either keeping an eye on everyone, or you’re not.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2020 6:03 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:44 am
Posts: 327
Oldfarmer wrote:
Sounds a little nit picky to me.


What he said.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 9:57 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:33 pm
Posts: 6355
Location: Mascoutah IL
I fail to see the problem. In reality the RSO's at most clubs are not needed to ensure safety; they are only needed to reduce insurance premiums.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 10:20 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:41 pm
Posts: 223
Our club doesn’t use RSO’s. In effect everyone is an RSO. I have seen few safety violations. Most are from inexperienced shooters and a corrected on the spot. Low pressure policy and I have never felt endangered by the lack of an RSO.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 9:28 am 
Crown Grade
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Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:46 am
Posts: 8361
Location: Colorado Springs, Co
sneem2 wrote:
Our club doesn’t use RSO’s. In effect everyone is an RSO. I have seen few safety violations. Most are from inexperienced shooters and a corrected on the spot. Low pressure policy and I have never felt endangered by the lack of an RSO.


Bingo! {hs#


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 10:51 am 
Crown Grade
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 4:08 pm
Posts: 2570
I have never been to a shotgun only range that has RSOs. Usually they are only used on rifle and pistol ranges, where they are needed. I got my certification because the presence of an NRA RSO is required for shotgun instruction for the Boy Scouts. If a club doesn’t need them, they shouldn’t have them. If they do, even if it is just an insurance requirement, the RSO should be doing their jobs, not shooting skeet. If an incident does occur and it is discovered that the required RSO was not doing his job, and that was allowed by the club, it will be just as bad as not having one, maybe worse.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 11:37 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:27 am
Posts: 3084
Location: North Central West Virginia
In my shooting experience, most violations are made by new shooters, unaware that what they are doing is a safety issue. Once they are told, and the proper actions explained, it's usually not happening again. I haven't seen anyone knowingly committing violations, although I'm sure there is the occasional jackass that needs removed from the range.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 11:35 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:36 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Nebraska
I see RSOs at shotgun ranges to be more of a resource and source of information as situations come up and new shooters have questions or need training. I see no problem in letting them shoot or pull. At most clubs there is zero or minimal chance of shot leaving the range IF they are properly laid out and members are shooting 7.5 shot size or smaller. I avoid shotgun ranges where the RSOs are constantly barking nonsense at people for things that truly have nothing to do with safety. Many seem to have little skill or experience in pointing a shotgun - they just love a little bit of power and authority.

RSOs at outdoor rifle ranges are in a totally different role. They are there not just to keep the participants safe, but to ensure that no round leaves the range. This is a 100% proposition that could easily lead to a death if even a single round leaves that range.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2020 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 7:25 pm
Posts: 8999
Location: Louisiana
I don't see a problem with the RSO pulling for the shooters. He can monitor them while doing so. The RSO shooting too? Not a good idea IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 11:51 am 
Crown Grade
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:41 am
Posts: 2963
Location: Missouri
I am an RSO at our club. As others have mentioned , the range encourages certification to reduce insurance premiums. The enticement is special privileges at the club. We have rules about when we can shoot and when we must observe. The rules are well thought out. And in my opinion, just the presence of the RSO flags encourages everyone to be more respectful of the rules.

So my advice to the OP is to learn what his club’s rules are. And if he doesn’t like them, lobby to get them changed.


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 Post subject: Re: Range Safety Officers
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 12:14 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:46 pm
Posts: 1710
Location: SW Missouri
upland refugee wrote:
I see RSOs at shotgun ranges to be more of a resource and source of information as situations come up and new shooters have questions or need training. I see no problem in letting them shoot or pull. At most clubs there is zero or minimal chance of shot leaving the range IF they are properly laid out and members are shooting 7.5 shot size or smaller. I avoid shotgun ranges where the RSOs are constantly barking nonsense at people for things that truly have nothing to do with safety. Many seem to have little skill or experience in pointing a shotgun - they just love a little bit of power and authority.

RSOs at outdoor rifle ranges are in a totally different role. They are there not just to keep the participants safe, but to ensure that no round leaves the range. This is a 100% proposition that could easily lead to a death if even a single round leaves that range.


I don't see the need for an RSO to be as much about rounds leaving the range (especially in the shotgun scenario) but to stop other non safe acts like (but not limited to):

1. loading guns when not on the firing line.
2. ensuring muzzle awareness is observed and no one is getting flagged
3. horseplay nipped in the bud (no running with a firearm for example)
4. Any specific local range rules enforced (like only load 1 for singles in skeet as opposed to loading two. I have seen local range rules go both ways)

While I agree that on a rifle range that a round leaving the range could lead to death, shotguns shooting #7.5 shot and smaller can still lead to death too. Not because the shot left the range but because someone was careless and blasted someone at point blank range which is what the RSO should be looking to prevent. The danger of a shotgun shouldn't be downplayed. Maybe you didn't mean that, but your whole post seems to infer that shotguns are child's play and that the real danger lies at the rifle range.

If the RSO is shooting, he can not monitor the rest of the squad. While he is standing on station 1 of a skeet field calling for high 1, he can not stop Joe Blow behind him and to his right from stuffing shells into his gun in anticipation of shooting next, mishandling the gun by pointing it at other shooters (unintentionally), forgetting to put on his safety (if he has one as some target guns do not or they have been disabled), and then putting his finger inside the trigger guard and causing an accidental discharge taking someone's life. All this could happen out of view from the RSO standing on the pad at station 1 or any station for that matter. 1 and 7 would be the most dangerous as the house would block the RSO's view of those behind the edge of the house. So no, the RSO can not shoot and also do their job. As for pulling, they would be in a better position to see and stop violations but still could be distracted while observing the engaged targets for a chip and then looking at the score sheet to record the score. My opinion is that if you are going to have someone with the title RSO, that's what they should be doing and nothing else. Otherwise, don't have a dedicated RSO and rely on squads to police their self and hopefully the more experienced shooters will keep newer shooters in line.




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