The new hotness

Sometimes we take safety too far and progress into doing things that are unsafe in the name of safety.  Todd is talking about hot/cold ranges and makes a great point:

I simply take a different approach towards teaching and towards safety. From my standpoint, if you can’t be trusted with a loaded gun in your holster, you can’t be trusted with a loaded gun in your hands.

Word.  I understand cold ranges from a liability standpoint, and I understand them from USPSA/IDPA’s point of view on them as well.  However, after the last couple of years, I’ve really started to believe in the Gunsite philosophy on hot/cold firearms, depicted at left in signage.  A holstered pistol is a safe pistol, and keeping yours in the holster whether it’s hotted up or cold is the safest thing to do.

I actually agree with Todd in that if you can’t be trusted with a loaded pistol in your holster then perhaps you shouldn’t be on the line training yet either, as you’ve clearly not mastered the fundamentals of firearms yet.  I’ve been on ranges where people have had hot guns and I’ve been fine with it, and I’ve also been on ranges where people have had hot guns and it has made me uncomfortable because of the person with the loaded gun in the holster.

Ultimately though, I’m in favor of “loaded guns in holsters” provided that you’re not touching the gun while it’s in the holster.  That’s the safety issue.  Constant administrative loading and unloading of guns without proper safety protocols can lead to sloppy gunhandling because “I’ve done this 1000 times before”.  Running a class with hot guns is perfectly safe, provided the instruction is up to snuff.


  1. Yep, good advice. hearkens to Tam’s great safety rule of “Stop touching that thing!”

    Cops never have NDs while they’re riding in their cars, or having a cup of coffee in a shop, or walking a beat. They have the NDs in the morning when they charge up their piece, in the evening when they put it to bed/clean it….or any time in between where they are unholstering or reholstering the piece.

    Best to just put it in your holster, and leave it there until you’re ready to fire.

    Also if somehow a range where all guns are holstered is still somehow a “hot range”, why haven’t all the conceal/open carry fearmongering come true, why is there no blood in the streets, and dinner conversations being drowned out by the cacophony of gunfire?

    1. As an example, my carry gun is already loaded when I put it on in the morning, and it’s loaded at night when I take it off. It stays loaded while I’m sleeping, and has yet to magically jump off my nightstand and blow someone away.

      Holstered pistols are safe, so leave it in the rig unless you need it!

  2. I’m a volunteer RO for my local pistol club, officially we just run the stages, unofficially we’re expected to keep an eye on everything that happens on the club range. We’re an open club at a very popular range. So there are often new shooters that come down for a match. I feel more comfortable being a cold range, because it’s a barrier so we can get to know a shooter BEFORE they reach the firing line.

    I would much rather spot an unsafe behaviour while showing a new shooter where the safe zone for gearing up is than to see that behaviour at a stage when I’m the one 3 feet to starboard.

    Nearly all of the shooters I see are 4-rules safe, but I am not willing to risk my ass for the one in a million that isn’t. We simply have to go for the lowest common denominator because we can’t readily separate new shooters from the old guard.

    1. I’m okay with cold ranges for USPSA/IDPA type matches, and even with public ranges in the sense that people shouldn’t be running around doing unsafe things. But the point is valid: if I can’t trust you with a loaded gun in your holster, I don’t really trust you with a loaded gun in your hands.

  3. I won’t be campaigning to make my club a hot range, but it’s a fair point. If I can’t trust you to move a gun from your truck to the range without an AD/ND, I really can’t trust you next to me on the line.

  4. Cold ranges are far more dangerous as one has to continually dick with your guns.

    I find it odd that cold ranges rarely have fiddle tables or sand barrels. “Just unload it in the parking lot” is the safe advice I get (ah, force fields of safety that surround ranges).

    1. The range where I shoot (Atlanta CC) is a cold range. However, we have safe areas for unloading guns, and SOP is to gun up/down in the bays facing the berm.

  5. Related question for you:

    I’m from Texas, with CHL. Several years ago, I was in Chicago (sans personal H&K 40), and stopped at Outdoor World where they were offering the chance to shoot a variety of handguns. I chose to try the H&K Mk23 45cal. After a 5 minute safety discussion (and a display of my CHL), I was given all clear and handed an unloaded Mk23, with a full magazine handed to me seperately. I inserted mag, racked a round, clicked safety to off, and fired one round. I then decocked, engaged safely, and placed the weapon on the table in front of me (pointed downrange) and turned to ask to have the target wound to me so that I could see accuracy before firing again.

    I was declared “unsafe, unsafe” and escorted from the building. NOT ONE PERSON would explain to me what they claim I did wrong. I followed up with a call and was told “we don’t have a record of that”.

    Tell me: What did I do that was unsafe? Should I have removed magazine and unloaded the round before placing weapon down? I truly don’t get it.

Comments are closed.