I just returned from the southern chapter of the local indoor gun range.
The reasons for my visit I’ll detail at another time. I wanted to write about something else that happened while I was there.
While shooting, two gentlemen came to the adjacent lane to shoot. I overheard one of them express their newness, in asking the RSO for some help in how to load the gun. Yes that was a red flag to me to be more aware and mindful of what was going on a lane over. But to the range’s credit, I’ve been seeing RSO’s actually in the shooting area actively watching what’s going on. I must give them credit for that improvement.
Afterwards, I was able to talk with those gentlemen for a bit as they were parked next to me. They are new and very eager to learn. Of course I gave them a KR Training pen and disclosed my assistant instructor status there. We went back inside to look at a few things, and here’s where I winced.
The guys behind the counter… I guess they’re used to being muzzle swept all day and are jaded and don’t think anything of it, for they had no problem walking in front of the muzzle of the gun I was helping the gentleman look at. One guy behind the counter chimed in, and as this was their house I just let him talk and did my best to keep my mouth closed. To his credit, he gave a lot of good advice. He was spot on about getting a good holster. He recommended larger guns and not compromising. And much of what he said was pretty good stuff. That’s a welcome thing to hear, as all too often the guy’s behind the gun counter don’t know what they’re talking about and dole out bad advice.
But what bothered me the most was his gun handling.
I should have counted how many times I was swept by his muzzle. I’ve been muzzle swept enough, and I still don’t like it and still don’t take it casually. Maybe in my case I know the guns are loaded, and in the store they reckon the guns aren’t, but that’s a little too much complacency for me (Cooper Rule 1 and all that).
The store clerk took what I assume is his carry gun out of a bag, to show his Raven holster to the customer. He was very casual in the handling of the gun. I have no idea if the gun was actually loaded or not, but we all (should) know Col. Cooper’s Rule #1, right? I will assume it was loaded with one in the chamber tho, because the way he spoke implied it was his carry gun, there was a magazine in… and so I’m pretty sure it really was loaded. But again, it doesn’t matter — rule 1.
And that’s why it bothered me even more with how casually he held the holstered gun… with one hand on the grip, and the other hand holding the muzzle. And he kept doing it… just a fiddling thing, like you know how you might punch your fist into the palm of your other hand? it was a motion like that, punching the muzzle of the holstered gun into the palm of his other hand. Just one of those mindless things where you’re keeping your hands fiddling with something, but wow…. what’s Col. Cooper’s Rule #2? And NRA Rule #1?
I was all ready to be impressed with how things are improving at the local indoor range, and then I saw this sort of gun handling.
The thing is, this customer was coming to these guys for answers. It’s completely understandable for customers to expect gun store clerks to know something about guns. The trouble is, when you don’t know anything about guns, you don’t know if the information you’re getting is good or bad… but based upon what you expect — gun store should know about guns — these newbie customers are going to take what you say AND DO as gospel.
So come on… you know people are coming to you expecting you to be the expert. Behave like one. This is not just what you say, but what you do. Walking in front of muzzles, not respecting safe direction, fiddling with loaded guns behind the counter, violating fundamental gun safety rules, violating your own store policy (that big sign at the front door about all actions must be open…). I was all set to be impressed, but was just let down at the end.