One of my favorite things to do (after shooting) is talk to Mrs. Ahab about some of the more “colorful” characters that I get to encounter at the range. Since I’m in a lighthearted mood, I’m just going to list the major players that I’ve had the pleasure & displeasure to meet. Please note, the vast majority of these are just caricatures of certain types of people that I’ve met, some are good and some are bad.
- The Bullseye shooter – This guy is definitely a good person to be next to on the range. He keeps mostly to himself, shooting the tightest groups he can. Usually packing a .22 target pistol and a target type 1911a1. You’re most likely to encounter this fellow at a private range than a public one.
- Tacticool Teddy – We all know this guy. Most often seen wearing a thigh holster with the latest and greatest CQB Tactical Destroyer and 3,276 extra magazines secreted in various pouches, slings, and body cavities. He’s not really a bad guy to shoot next to, if you don’t mind constant rapid fire from the other booth. I usually see them at public ranges more than private.
- The Couple – This has been me on more than a few occasions. Pretty straightforward, and it’s often a nice sight on the range to see someone teaching their significant other how to handle a firearm. 19 times out of 20, I’m glad to have them on the point next to mine.
- Mr. Unsolicited Advice – Yes, I know that you’ve taken pistol classes directly from the ancient Siberian Pistol-Fighting Monks. I understand that you can teach me how to print one hole groups at 25 yards from my CZ52 during an accidental slamfire. Honestly though, most people don’t appreciate unsolicited commentary.
- The Cop – This person is a cop. They’re practicing with their duty weapon. Good for them.
- Revolver Man – My all time favorite person to shoot next to, because if I’m lucky, I’ll get to shoot one of their cool revolvers. This guy has more revolvers than I’ve got exes that hate me. Just piles of wheelguns, single actions, double actions, it doesn’t matter. This guy has ’em all. This is my favorite guy.
- The Kid who has Seen too many movies – The sights are on the top of the pistol, son. I’m glad you’re here and your shooting, because bullets going downrange is good. I’m not going to offer you any advice either (because I don’t want to be that guy); but really it would help if you used the sights. You might start to hit the paper.
- 2nd from last is That guy that gives you the weird vibe that you just can’t explain but sweet jesus he is really giving me the creeps – I’ve only run into two of these, but they were very, very memorable. Two different guys, two different states, but for some reason both of these guys made all the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I had the urge to look over my shoulder constantly while they were at the range. Just two creepy, creepy guys.
- Our final contestant is Me – You’ll find me at the range. I’m quiet, and I keep mostly to myself. As I explained it once to my wife, going to the range is my place of peace. I shot NRA Collegiate pistol in college (duh), and since that time I am never more relaxed than when I’m shooting. I shoot to get away from my job, I shoot because it’s fun, I shoot to practice a skill that has saved my life. Most of all, I shoot because I love the sport. My universe contracts at the range until it’s just my sights, the trigger, and the target. If I could do one thing for the rest of my life, I’d shoot.
I love going to the range. I have met some truly interesting people there, and I’ve even made a couple of good friends. I really do enjoy the people at the range, because most of them are really good folk. On the line, everyone’s a shooter. I don’t know why you’re at the range today, but I’m glad to see you here. Those bullets you put into that backstop mean that our hobby stays alive for that much longer.
If you asked me “What Would John Wayne Do” when The Duke’s at the range, I’d tell you that “The Duke would shoot.”