I don't make assumptions. I look at behaviour and appearance. From that, I make an appraisal of intent and skill, and make a mental note of which are yahoos having a good time punching holes in paper - usually as fast as they can, the marksmen out trying to punch the same hole 50 times and those there to practice "skills".
Old habits die hard, and I want to know who is dangerous and who isn't. Usually it's the yahoos because they have no concept of safe weapons handling. To them - usually, a gun is a 'TOY'.
I've never paid any attention to anyone else at the range. It's like they're not there. There was a fellow there the last time I was who asked about my Kel-Tec, P-11. I let him shoot a few rounds through it, and he let me shoot his H&K, MP-5. That was "interesting."
I'm always interested in the guns other folks are shooting, and will talk to them if they are shooting something interesting. I've learned that my assumptions were mostly incorrect, about who brings what, so I quit doing that. I have made some good friends and met some interesting people this way, like the female Harrier pilot who was one of the most accurate pistol shooters you'd ever see. (I didn't know they had female Harrier pilots before that day.)
I do pay attention to how people behave though, and will comment if I don't like it. Call me an old fart, that's OK. A guy went down-range this weekend before the RSO called "all clear" -- he had called the cease-fire, but someone was having trouble clearing their weapon, so he did not call the all-clear. This guy went down-range anyway. A young Marine, too, from the high-and-tight haircut. I told him about it -- the range owner is a friend of mine and is fine with me doing so -- unpredictable and spontaneous behavior is Not A Good Thing on a firing line.
The last time I went to the range was more than a decade ago. This range was outside.
I almost got shot there by some idiot playing with a shotgun and 00 buck. Missed my leg and blew out the headlight on my old Jeep Cherokee I had at the time. The range was closed a couple years later because a couple people did end up shot there.
I set up my own range. It's a "hot" range and I only take people I trust.
However... see if anyone can top this... I was at a local stop'n'rob havin' coffee. The local gun wacko comes in and starts running his mouth. I told him I wasn't in the mood. See, the only way to get rid of this fella was to show him that you knew quite a lot about bullet design and self-defense in general though he dismissed H2H as "old school." : Anyway, I excused myself to the restroom. I came back out and he had his friggin' Sig out on the table for God and everybody to see, fieldstripped!
He wanted me to put it back together... and it was clear he wasn't going to do it himself. I slapped it back together (should have vacated then and there, in retrospect) and told him to put it away, and keep it put away.
He recently lost his carry permit due to pulling out an AK47 he kept in his truck when he saw somebody with a paintball gun. This was not a case of self-defense; it was a case of STOPPING to say, "Mine's bigger than yours!" He then put the AK away, and when the guy advanced on him he pepper sprayed him.
I never invited him out to my range and never will. He's no longer allowed to carry his industrial sized bottle of OC, his stun gun, handguns, or pretty much any other weapon. The guy is CRAZY!
Anyway... that's the type of person who I don't trust... wannabe commandos and such. I'll have nothing to do with them.
Now, if somebody wants to learn to shoot... I have no problem at all and will tolerate a certain amount of unsafe gun handling as long as I only have to correct it ONCE (as long as it's not totally stupid like pointing it at someone else).
Part rant, part answer, what can I say? Sorry for the rant part I guess.
The reason I started this thread, as I noted, was that I noticed that I started to make assumptions based on what guns I saw people shooting. I also agree with brerarnold that my assumptions are often incorrect. The only ranges I currently shoot at are one outdoor, owned by the local gun club and an indoor range.
One of the last times I was at the gun club range, there was a group there doing some IPSC shooting. I knew a couple of them from the club and from my experience they seemed more into the game aspect of shooting (very involved in IPSC). I later found out that one of the guys I didn
You know, I will say this: people with older guns usually know more than the average bear about guns and shooting. Being partial to revolvers myself, I gravitate towards folks who have .41s, .44s, .45 Colts, single actions like the Blackhawks, etc. There's something about people who like to stuff big ol' rounds into big ol' cylinders that I just tend to appreciate. Maybe they have learned the value of making every round count, maybe it takes a big ol' mind to enjoy a big ol' cartridge, I don't know. Then there's people who pick up brass. Same thing. So I guess I do still have a couple of presumptions after all.