Incredibly unsafe pistol demo?

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Last month in the Russian town of Tarusa, IDPA shooters held a public demonstration of their sport and allowed the local to give it a go. I must admit I was shocked to see that the demonstration was done out in the open, from an elevated position, with people, vehicles and boats behind the targets!

If you look closely, there appear to be people on the other side of the river.

The guns appear to be real, not airsoft or air guns.

Google Translate is a crude tool at the best of times, but I think they are saying that it was safe because the boat pictured above was 200-400 meters away from the firing line! I looked up the probable location on Google Earth / Maps and I think at best the boat was 200 meters, probably less.

According to Hatchers Notebook, the classic text on ballistics, a .45 ACP and .38 Special round can reach as far as 1200 yards ( 1097 meters ) if fired at the right elevation!

Am I missing anything that would make this safe? Can any Russian speakers please read the forum thread and let us know in the comments if they were doing anything that made it safe.

UPDATE: trigger288 says in the comments that the pistols are loaded with low powered rubber bullets, which are only dangerous up to 50m.

Hat Tip: Дмитрий Кочетков

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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2 of 26 comments
  • Heath Heath on Aug 22, 2009

    Thanks, Matt!

  • Maxx Maxx on Sep 06, 2009

    I found only one pertinent opinion.
    That IPSC/IDPA deom should be prepared in a regular firing camp.

    Regarding the range of those so called guns, what to say. They are built to stop the agressor at 7-10 meters. OK, at that range the damges can occur but at the matter fact their pourpose is to stop the agressor and to avoid to be harmed by an injust and violent action.
    I own in my collection some of those weapons, here in Romania those guns are legal and can be even carried concealed by anyone as long is over 18 year age and has the right authorization from the police.
    I boght from Kishinew, Republic Moldavia, FORT 12P and a revolver Schmeisser 820 AE , both of them chambered in 9mm [.380], one in PA other on R. Along the years I owned and a Walther P50T, a Walther PP, a Mauser HSC 90 and lately a Rohm RG88, all of them chambered in 10x22T
    rubber bullets all. But those ones I sold them.
    I am using them in IPSC/IDPA contests and of course, I can use them for self defense.
    Testing them [FORT 12 and Schmeisser 820 AE] I can tell you that even after 10-12 meters are not harmful, under that distance the damages can be serious. Just think that Yellow Pages was pentrated to page 400 at 9 meters with both of them.
    Here are some results: one rubber bullet at 0,9 grams launched with 320 meters / second can develop 59 Joules. That is not a joke at all.

    As the conclusion, those weapons are built so that cannot fire the real rounds and the ammo with rubber bullet is not considered to be dangerous as long you are using the gun in a right way and NOT IN A PUBLIC PLACES.

    The people from that boat was not in danger not for a second and the officials that organized that demo in public has a single circumstance: the exercise was held on the top-hill place, so, no way that in less then 100 meters to meet somebody ... :).

    If there is somebody that want some links to see our tests, it has only to leave here a message.

    By the way, I have founded here in Romania the Romanian Self Defense Club and the website is the website with our resources.