Emergency On The Range: Are You Prepared?

My friend was at a USPSA match last Sunday when the worst case scenario happened. Someone got shot. From what I hear, the match has concrete dividers for the bays. Supposedly a projectile managed to go inbetween a crack between the concrete blocks used as dividers. A shooter was down range in one bay, pasting targets, while another shooter in the bay next door was shooting his stage.

From the stage design, some of the targets were positioned in a way that the concrete wall was used as a backstop.

Back when I was shooting USPSA in NY, the range we used had similar bays just narrower. However one aspect to the concrete bays is that it LIMITED our ability to shoot left and right. We knew better than to set up targets at oblique angles with concrete directly behind them.


It seems the problem is the stage design. There are some targets that are at the right angle that you are shooting directly into the concrete wall. Poor planning. Concrete walls are not supposed to be back stops.They are there in the odd case someone misses and a ricochet is caught by the wall. You are not supposed to deliberately shoot at the wall.

So far the reports say that the victim is fine. There are things to consider when shooting at a range with other shooters such as a USPSA match. Most matches are just a bunch of members of the club who organize and design stages. However some of them do not have complete safety briefings nor medical training for problems. I recall at a recent local match the match director making a point to call out a designated person for just an eventuality. They would be the person to get the first aid kit and authorities would contact them. However how many of us really know what to do? I see some shooters actually carrying tourniquets on their range belts. Nothing wrong with that but it does not help when you get shot in the chest. Quikclot is better than nothing but we should seek proper training. Do you know what to do if someone gets shot?

Edit: names and video removed upon request.

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • Cal.Bar

    Yep – looks like they had the stage set up to be shooting directly into the cinder block wall.

  • Toxie

    well, it looks like they were shooting into the tiny berm at the bottom of the wall, but terrible idea regardless.

    • Nicholas C

      You are only looking at one guy’s point of view camera. Think of other shooters who are shorter or have less experience and are not as accurate?

  • Bill

    As Cal.Bar indicated, those look like they could be cinder blocks, which are nowhere near being concrete blocks and can be chewed through by any number of different rounds.

    But anyhoo: yes. My state LE academy put on a course specific to treating range GSWs. In the post-course evaluation I asked that they expand it to include more common range/training injuries such as anaphylactic shock from insect stings, heat exhaustion and rhabdomyolysis, heart attack, etc.

  • xebat

    Always carry Chestseal, Quickclot, Israeli bandage and torniquets guys !

    • Laionidas

      I recently had to undergo (non combat) first aid training for my work. The guy that taught the course also brought some Israeli bandage, even though it is not part of the average first aid kit. He wanted us to at least know what it was, and how it works. Truly amazing stuff, though only really suited for (upper) limbs.

  • Harry’s Holsters

    At a range I go take training at they do a great job of explaining protocol if the unthinkable is to happen. They cover how to call 911 and what to say to avoid the police clearing the area while still letting the EMTs know they will have to work on a gunshot wound. They also have the address written in a nearby spot in large print where if can’t be covered up. Really smart planning.

    • Bill

      Even if for no other reason than liability, every range should have a standardized protocol, vetted and documented, and an all-hazards incident management plan.

      I included GPS coordinates on our signage and a landing zone kit in case the medics want a helicopter.

  • Harry’s Holsters

    Medical Training is 1st on my list for 2017.

  • gunsandrockets

    Yikes. That incident makes me want to wear a helmet and body armor.

  • Rusty S.

    I always have a GSW kit with me at the range. Also, at large matches I wear concealable armor to further mitigate risk, and I’m always ready to walk if I spot unsafe setups or shooters not being kicked out for unsafe gun handling. If the match or course briefing doesn’t include a plan for medical emergencies, that’s not a good sign.

  • guest

    Concrete walls will do just fine if they are thick enough. They should however be covered in wood to avoid ricochets and bullet fragments.
    No matter the type of backstop the stage/range has to be planned for worst case scenarios.

  • Dakota Raduenz

    Zanesville Ohio or the county thereof.

    Former employer sister company. Good EMS folks out there.

  • Sardo Numspa

    I Always carry a ifak while at the range but only have a rudimentary understanding of any major trauma other than what reading I’ve done with no real world experience . I do however plan on taking a Dark Angel Medical combat medical course later in the year .

  • Anomanom

    Get quickclot or similar clotting compound in the wound (if you have some), and apply direct pressure to keep the blood from getting out. Much beyond that requires proper medical training. Hopefully those xstat syringes will be available soon, which will make wound plugging somewhat easier.

    My question is, given that it is an organized shooting match, why didn’t they have an ambulance on standby at the site? They keep ambulances on standby for (non-shooting) sports matches and concerts, and no one is generally employing dangerous weapons at those. Seems like kind of a reasonable thing to do.

    • Nicholas C

      Number of people. Concerts and sporting matches you have thousands of people. Local matches maybe 40-50 shooters. Even big 3Gun matches you may have a couple hundred. But those usually have a dedicated medic on site.

      • Anomanom

        Even if it’s not a dedicated ambulance, hiring an off-duty paramedic or two would seem prudent given the nature of the event. I’m not judging, as it may simply be something that no one thought about needing because the situation never came up.

      • Joseph Goins

        I’ve been on standby at two USPSA/IDPA event with my ambulance. It was fun.

    • CommonSense23

      Just adding quickclot to a chestwound can the make the situation worse for the first guy who actually knows what he is doing.

      • iksnilol

        What do you do in case of a chest wound then?

        • Porty1119

          Chest seal, manufactured or improvised. If you’re dealing with an open/sucking chest wound, you want air to be able to escape but not enter, to avoid collapsing a lung. Quick-clot has way too many potential complications for me to consider it.

        • Mike

          There are only 3 things to do here is the wound described, cover the wounds, support the patients respiratory effort and get to definitive care ASAP. Stopping external bleeding means nothing here. Real bleeding takes place in the chest cavity and no quick clot is gonna stop that.
          I am the director of an 80 bed ER at a Level 1 trauma center. Patients like the one here will typically be in the trauma bay for maybe 15 mins then off to the OR.
          There is plenty of good free training in most regions of the country, Red Cross or local ems will offer classes etc.

          • Some fire departments will offer training as well.

          • OJS

            Excellent suggestion

          • AE

            Absolutely right Mike, get them to ER as soon as possible. However knowing how to apply an occlusive bandage is still important especially some ranges that are very rural and distant from the nearest hospital.

    • Bike races in WV, with 50 or more have an ambulance on call, although I think that is a USA Cycling policy.

    • Riley

      I would imagine them thinking nothing will happen or the added expense each time.

    • Joseph Goins

      You would kill him if you did that to his chest (my assumption is “chest” means punctured lung cavity). But what do I know. I’ve only been in EMS for 12 years.

      • Anomanom

        Fair enough, learn something new every day.

  • flyingburgers

    I thought the number one cause of serious illness and death on a range was heart attacks, far more than gunshot wounds. So before QuikClot and trauma kits, it’s more important to have aspirin, training to recognize the signs of heart attacks, CPR and AEDs.

    • Mark

      Huh. Never thought about that. But it is, after all, a hobbie dominated by old men who eat lots of red meat.

      • OJS

        A better ‘Heaven’s waiting room’ I can’t think of right now.

    • DB

      What? You’re saying people die from things OTHER than Guns? Say it isn’t so! Seriously though, hope the person with the heart attack is good to go, and had to through some cynicism in there for the IDIOTS!!!! Just caught one of my rifles trying to crawl up on my bed by itself again!! Wish they’d stop that!!

  • iksnilol

    I’ve got duct-tape, some toiletpaper, God knows how many (legal) pills and popcorn in my trunk. In other words, I am set either for a good weekend or for a gunshot.

  • Porty1119

    I keep an Israeli bandage and other non-GSW gear in my pack’s IFAK, and do have some CLS training. I think I have a better idea than most about how to proceed, but am still far from an expert.

  • CommonSense23

    Do not trust walls. Don’t have ranges or kill houses set up where live fire is shot in the direction of other shooter. NSW lost a guy a while ago to the assumption that the walls in a killhouse were bullet proof. It’s called minimizing risk.

    • ZQuel

      They could also just use something like dirt berms, or tires filled and surrounded with dirt berms. No chance of anything getting through those.

      Also, in USPSA, IPSC, or most action sports, there is this thing called the 180 or 90 which adds to a stage designer’s ability to setup challenges, and that means that if there’s bays beside yours, at some point you or another competitor will have shot in each other’s direction.

      Proper berms and the range/club maintaining the berms means it’s not a problem. Problem here was the use of those concrete blocks, or allowing the shooters to shoot towards them. Can already see the cracks between them just looking at the video.

  • Pistolero

    At the risk of looking like a mall ninja, or heaven for bid a scary militia man, maybe every competitor should invest in and run around with a plate carrier with at least some Kevlar and maybe even some SAPI plates in it.

  • Jeffrey Scott Boyer

    Word of warning to everyone Quik clot is not the best and is only used on the extremities i.e. Arms and legs. There is better stuff available because of the thermogenic action of Quik clot. Ascherman chest would have been appropriate for this wound. I personally carry an individual patrol officer FAK with tourniquet, cheat seal and I added Israeli bandages. Used ACE bandages on a knife wound to the upper left chest with 5×9’s underneath. Hey it worked but I’m a ghetto medic. so get training, accumulate your supplies and steel yourself for that unfortunate time when you have to use those skills stay safe out there

  • Ghost930

    If your shooting firearms at any kind of event, there should always be at least one person there with at a minimum EMT level training (two would be better, you know the old adage one is none, two is one), and at a very minimum two are three military grade blowout kits. A full combat trauma bag would be better. Have a plan in place, know where the nearest hospital is, and have 911 or EMS on speed dial, as well as the local ER, especially if you are in a rural area (as is often the case with ranges). Don’t have an EMT or better in your club? Go recruit one. Tell them you will buy them free ammo, let them shoot for free, whatever (surprisingly, a lot of doctors love shooting, find one), just make sure they are there for events (and they aren’t the one accidentally shot……Murphy’s rules of combat you know). Firemen, and nurses are good also, let them shoot, buy them lunch, it works every time. But also, give a class for your club members, in today’s world, knowing a little combat trauma is probably a good idea for all concerned. Just some thoughts.

  • RaunchyDawg

    Just an FYI to all those saying use quick clot, when you use such a product it burns into and melds with the flesh to seal the wound. It requires surgery usually to remove and actually can cause more damage to the area than a typical wound dressing. In a limb, eh. But on the trunk, think twice about it. If it’s all you have to save the life then use it. But just grabbing some quick clot and relying on that to be your first aid go to is lazy and irresponsible. Get training.

    • Riley

      That was the old formulation, the new stuff doesnt heat or burn.

      • RaunchyDawg

        Well thats good to know

        • RaunchyDawg

          It’s still lazy and irresponsible to not know how to treat a GSW without quick clot if you shoot avidly.

  • Swarf

    So what is a good source for that level of first responder training?

    I don’t want to pay for full EMT training, but something more than CPR and band aids.

    • Riley

      Check with the local community college or red cross

  • ParaLarry

    Just like any indoor match you must design to avoid shooting in to the walls and only in to back stops (berms).
    The third stage in the video is probably where the shot came from. The low angled targets are backed by dirt at the base of the walls and are probably safe. But the stacked targets were obviously backed only by the concrete, especially the upper target. You can see the concrete dust flying off the wall behind the target.
    Very poor stage design.

  • Riley

    Well said you can go through multiple ways to approach the situation, unless you get actual hands on and evaluate the patient its just tossing around guesses.

  • tomassino

    in other sports, people wear protections, maybe its time to start to wear some degree of protection, is more desirable a bruise than a hole in the chest. Compressed earth can be a better alternative than cinder blocks.

  • George Meimaridis

    Something similar happened at the IPSC world shoot in 1993 at Bisley in England.
    Bays were separated by rail sleepers standing vertically. There were small gaps between the sleepers. On one stage, a mover was protected from shoot throughs
    by a vertical metal plate. A shooter from our squad hit the metal plate and the bullet was deflected, went through the gap in the sleepers, and hit an RO who was pasting targets on the stage next to us on the side of the head. Fortunately, although there was profusive bleeding, the wound was not too serious. The victim was helicoptered out to hospital.
    The obvious conclusion is that there should never be gaps in the berm.
    Also, at least for for major matches, an ambulance and EMS should be available.

  • M1911

    They never should have placed that target in front of that concrete wall. The match director should lose his accreditation from the NROI.

  • Joe

    First Aid: FM 4-25.11
    Google to find a Combat Life Saver bag, or at least the items contained within.
    It’s basic, but very easy to teach/learn, and deals directly with different GSW scenarios.

  • OJS

    I pack a Bible.. just in case.

  • nick

    Our range is in a remote area ( remote is defined medically as more than a 45 minute amb. response time) We have a pre-surveyed landing point for helo evac, and the GPS location on file with the air amb. team.

    I have a WEMT cert, as the RSO, all my coaches have at least a WFA ( Im going to put a plug in here for our certification body, Wilderness Medical Assoc., good solid outdoor medical training…non tactical, but, tac’s not needed here, just good outdoor trauma training)

    We have three kits, two at the firing point, one, secure and protected at the target end ( think of it, target change order is called, folks are down range when badness ensues…all your kits are 300 to 600 m, or more round trip run…)

    Defibrillator as well at the firing point. Our kits are home assembled, with items like the IDF’s superb tourniquet system, and lots of pressure bandages. We also have a few tampons as well, good for non cavity wounds .

    evac / transport vehicle always on firing point ( mostly our litter equipped BV -206)

    Well, thats our set up , hope that helps?



  • Jeffrey Scott Boyer

    Per my departments protocols we do not use Quik clot on a thoracic injury. Paramedic 19 years and EMT for 23 so there

    • Joe

      Quick Clot in powdered form = bad idea.
      Quick Clot Gauze = Lifesaver

  • Aaron E

    Our range has 3 Trauma kits readily available with (1) tourniquet, (1) Isreali bandage, (1) Koflex bandage, (1) package of kerlix gauze, and (1) roll of medical tape in each kit. Every officer has been trained in the use of these items. Each police vehicle has a Trauma kit and each officer is issued an extra individual tourniquet.

    Don’t go shooting without proper trauma supplies and knowledge of how to use them. Most public Fire departments or ambulance services will teach you just ask.

    • AE

      Oh and we put these Trauma kits together with a Bkackhawk med pouch for only around $70.

  • AE

    Chest seal is now on my must have list.

    One of our newly selected firearms instructors went to an NRA Law Enforcement instructors course. Unfortunately they allowed armed security to come as well. One security guy was obviously not familiar with his pistol or holster. Sure enough he shoots himself through his thigh and then through his calf (same shot). The femoral artery was at least damaged if not severed.

    The range was in the middle of nowhere a good hour + to the nearest hospital. Thankfully one of the LEO students was a combat medic recently returned from the sand box. He had one of his personal tourniquets on the guy almost before the gun smoke cleared, and was yelling at the NRA guy to call for a helicopter.

    The NRA guy was fumbling with an antiquated first aid kit and warning that a tourniquet would cause the guy to lose his leg.

    Medical training and supplies should be updated just like our firearms training. Don’t expect someone else to do it for you regardless of any titles they may have.

  • mazkact

    “There are some targets that are at the right angle that you are shooting directly into the concrete wall.”
    I would just have to respectfully decline to shoot the match.

  • Zog

    Haha, funny story. That first picture for the article is a place called “Iron Sights” in Oceanside, CA and my Corpsman buddy treated his first gunshot wound there because some idiot instructor there decided to show off his 1911 and proceed to shoot himself in the leg. After all the commotion, everyone was fine (no life-threatening injuries) and my buddy and I got to shoot free for the whole day (saving us about $500 between the two of us).

  • Cmex

    Well, with my EDC I carry a tourniquette and a roll of gauze will me everywhere, some I’m ready all the time in case someone gets shot.

  • BigFED

    Nothing like having the right equipment at the right time! The last range shooting that resulted in some one being injured is proof of that. It happened so fast!!! It was unfortunate that in spite of having the right equipment at the right time, the victim didn’t make it! We were told by the doctors that he might have survived if we hadn’t used the tourniquet on his neck wound! TRAINING COUNTS!!!

  • Dragonheart

    When I started shooting in the IDPA we had a fellow club member that was a medic. He carried a trauma bag in addition to his gun bag so his bag was always just seconds away. I though this was a fantastic idea and he helped me set one up and now I do the same, my trauma bag is next to my gun bag. Virtually everything you need is available on Amazon.

    Our medic told me that with a gunshot there are basically two types; one that kills instantly that you can do nothing about and one where you bleed out. He said on the latter if you can stop the bleeding until transport then the odds are the patient will survive. I would suggest every gun person put their own bag together because a rag in the car is not going to do much good when seconds count.

  • BigFED

    Many years ago, several local LEO/PDs used out indoor range for training or qualification. We let them use ½ of the range since it was separated by precast concrete wall. floor to ceiling. Baffles protected (allegedly) any equipment that was down range, including overhead. At first they just did quick, minimum qualifications. No problems. Then they wanted to go tactical and developed stages where the officer would traverse a course down range! After one session left few, if any, lights working, we walked down range to see shy. The lights were busted in their sockets and could ONLY sustain damage by the officer almost shooting directly up at the ceiling!!! And then they wanted to start using their sub-guns!!! HAHAHAHA!!!

  • Mike Lashewitz

    I will admit that I am not prepared for this. But then I learned last week that criminals showed up at the range I go to and killed one of us and stole his weapon.

    Boggy Head Range

  • While I would like to have an improved AFAK style medkit, I haven’t had the budget. For folks like me, there is a cheap and easy way to improve a basic first aid kit. I keep a half box of tampons in my first aid kit, along with extra gloves and a couple printed cards with instructions about what to do for GSW. Tampons are made for plugging bleeding holes and they come with a built in way to both insert and remove. They are also handy for cleaning shotguns. They are light, and also handy if you have ladies in your crew.