Over the past few weeks, I was at various indoor and outdoor ranges with friends as well as coworkers of mine. On every occasion we saw a number of different people who all were equally unique in their own ways. We saw all kinds of people from the new guy who we thought were going to flag every person in the complex to the old man who was yelling about 45 ACP and MUH 1911. I was fairly amazed at the number of different people at the range. I think its a great thing more people are coming into the gun community but sometimes its fun to look at the various categories.
Now honestly, the good old boomer category is probably some of my favorites at the range because you just never know what they will say. Last week, I was at a local outdoor range zeroing a few rifles. The older guy next to me was shooting his decked out Ruger Mini 14 in a laminate stock and silver weaver scope to match. He talked for almost a half hour about how his gun could outshoot anything else around no matter the price.
I shook my head in amazement and continued to soak in everything he had to say. Boomers will typically be wearing the classic IDPA fishing vest and look like a combination of Earl from Tremors and John Goodman from The Big Lebowski. If you happen to run into one of these creatures in the wild it’s best to shake your head yes and agree the 1911 is the best handgun ever devised.
The Tacticool Guy
Now I have seen these guys probably more than any other group. I will even admit, I can sometimes fall victim to this category with my range belt or plate carrier when it’s cold in the winter. Typically, you can spot the Tacticool dudes a mile away with their Crye Precision pants, plate carriers, and tricked out Gucci guns. They will usually talk about their gear and how much everything costs because they are “serious shooters” even if they never took a shooting class before. If you encounter one of these Tacticool dudes in the wild, be sure to compliment them on their high-end gear and say how much you wish you could have something similar as you slowly back away.
The noobie is typically one of the nicest people you’ll meet at the range. They want to get into shooting but don’t always know what to do when it comes to shooting guns. Over the past few months, I have run into a number of different people who decided to buy a handgun or rifle and just wanted to practice on their own. Most of the time, they are hitting the range to become more confident in their abilities before taking a class or some level of training. If you encounter these folks in the wild, be sure to be encouraging and say how great it is they are trying to learn something new. It’s not always easy coming into the gun community.
The Hunting Fudds
Encountering hunting fudds typically occurs the highest right before the opener of gun season. These majestic creatures will typically go on and on about how their high gloss bolt action or double barrel is their prized possession. They will also have a lecture worthy presentation about how bad hunters use semi-automatic rifles and true sportsmen only need one shot. These will also be the people who will constantly yell at you for shooting faster than one round every two seconds because “there are rules against that.” If you encounter these bewildering beast in the wild I suggest bringing up the good old days of Teddy Roosevelt and shooting 22s as slow as possible.
The Hipsters are some of the most unpredictable creatures you will encounter especially in their natural habitats of indoor ranges. They will shoot targets at various ranges as quickly as possible and say hell yeah bro when finished. There tends to be a lot of high fives and camaraderie while being sophisticated. Hipsters will typically have higher-end guns like CZ SP-01 Tacticals or CZ 75s along with the occasional Wilson Combat EDC9 because “it’s classy bro”. If you run into these flat bill wearing, pant rolling, scarf-wearing individuals it’s best advised to talk about indie music and your favorite coffee shops as you plan your escape route.
The Silent Vets
These tend to be in appearance the least threatening but are by far the most dangerous savage beasts you will encounter. Often times the silent vets will give you a simple head nod or quiet hello. If you approach the silent vets they will say hello and often will be polite. If you begin shooting with them, they will often crack dark-humored jokes and often give you the middle finger as a joke. They are often some of the most fun people to shoot with and will occasionally tell hilarious stories about their time overseas. If you encounter these polite headhunters in public be courteous and don’t throw things at them. They tend to be some of the nicest people right with the noobs.
The educators are the wildcard of the gun world. Depending on the person you will get the soft-spoken gun guru who can help you become the next Jerry Miculek. Either that or you will find the guy who read a few articles online and thinks he is the next Larry Vickers to the gun community. Its usually a toss-up but the good ones tend to be extremely helpful and great humans overall. If you encounter an educator at the range I always say be cautious. It’s like seeing a squirrel monkey in the wild because some will be extremely friendly and others will throw their poop at you just to see your reaction. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I’m sure someone reading this will get red-faced and somewhat bothered but this is genuinely a way to look at the gun community as a whole and enjoy the quirkiness that we sometimes see. It’s always great to include more people and look at different perspectives so I hope you guys got a kick out of my observations the last few weeks. Let me know what your favorite personalities are at the range in the comment section below. If you have questions feel free to contact me on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!