Are your Firearms Instructors Qualified?
There was a tragic incident last week at a firearms range facility in Texas where a presumably unqualified instructor made a significant error in judgement and shot a fellow staff member. Here are few things to look for when you evaluate the safety procedures of your training provider.
1. Did they conduct a detailed safety brief identifying procedures, responsibilities (to include yours as a client) to prevent range accidents, and explain the procedures to respond to an accident?
2. Did they identify the location of on-site medical equipment and explain the process for requesting emergency medical assistance?
3. Did they identify range specific or evolution specific hazards and inform you of exactly what part of safely controlling for those hazards do they expect you to do?
4. Did they explain range commands so that everyone participating speaks the same language for that exercise?
5. Is there someone dedicated to observing and enforcing safety standards (Usually called the Range Safety Officer or RSO)?
– If it is a single instructor, they should demonstrate first and then have you shoot, shooting at the same time you are means no one is looking out for safety.
6. Are there any obvious hazards that the instructor failed to identify?
7. Is there an effective method of accountability and control of the downrange area?
8. Does this person have adequate experience to be running a range?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No” or if you are uncertain, you should ask “why” at a minimum. If the answer is inadequate, you should ask for a refund and leave. Relying on luck, chance, or even skill is inadequate and irresponsible – you and the instructor need to have a solid plan to both avoid incidents and to deal with a gunshot wound or injury on the range if it occurs. If your instructor says not to worry about it (insert any reason or justification here you want), they are flat out irresponsible and negligent. I have heard a number of arguments about “scaring” clients, “don’t plan to fail,” and more BS then you can probably imagine as to why safety briefs are inadequate.
Range Safety is the joint responsibility of everyone on the range. If the person managing the range fails to inform you of your part in the process, chances are they don’t understand the process themselves. Plan to succeed by mitigating every hazard you can, and plan to survive if your ability to mitigate is overcome by circumstances!
Have fun & stay safe out there!
~ Aegis Academy