Home / CCW / Question for Competitive Shooters: Do You Carry to the Range?

Question for Competitive Shooters: Do You Carry to the Range?

Screenshot 2015-05-20 at 6.34.57 PMMiguel posted an article about a doctor that was involved in a defensive shooting this past weekend, who per some reports was on his way to the Mississippi Classic USPSA match. When the victim was attacked, his pistol was in his range bag. Luckily he was able to get to the pistol and get to work on the bad guys shortly thereafter.

This brings me to my question: Do you roll up to a competition with your carry pistol on your person? 

USPSA is pretty strict about this: You can’t fiddle with your blaster outside of the safety area, and you can’t bring a loaded blaster into the safety area, so you’re pretty much left with not carrying to the match, or bagging your carry gun before you drive onto the range and leaving it in your car.

Some of the other local outlaw and IDPA matches around here don’t have a strict safety area, so everyone just holsters up at their vehicles, and I see a lot of folks drop their carry mag, un-chamber the round, and then gear up with the same pistol for the match.

I absolutely HATE leaving a pistol in my car, no matter where I am so in all honesty, I tend to just not carry on my way to a USPSA match, because there isn’t a great place to pull over and unload my carry gun before pulling into the range. What do you do? 

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


  1. For what it is worth, I do not go anywhere without my every day carry gun…which happens to be remarkably similar to my competition gun. Only difference is the comp gun has fiber optic front sight, a mag well, and a slightly lighter trigger. Other than that they are pretty identical. At any rate, depending on the match I will carry my edc gun to the parking lot wherever I can. If it is not possible I find a place closely where I can safely and discretely stop and take off my EDC gun and be on my way.

    What baffle me is that matches do not allow people to unholster their EDC guns in the safe area and put them in into their bags. If the state trusts me enough to carry my gun anywhere, why doesn’t the match? Is it because I have to unholster and unload it? I do that at every stage, so why not in the safe area? I know that in not going to change so I am not suggesting it, but it is just something that I have always found interesting.

    I am also not above carrying something small in my pocket like a Glock 42, and slipping it in my bag at a convenient time at my destination. Not the best solution, but necessity is the mother of invention.

  2. Leave it loaded in the range bag in a closed compartment. Don’t say anything to anyone.

    If you’re going to have a gun, be armed.

  3. Ahh, this takes me back to a happening at the DCWC 3 or 4 years ago that I think some of you might possibly remember…

    I couldn’t state it succinctly at the moment without some additional thought, but my knee-jerk is that not allowing participants to un-holster their EDC in/at their own vehicles seems a little hypocritical. Assuming that many match directors are pro-2A (probably a safe assumption), how can they expect the general public to be comfortable with members of their own ranks handling firearms when the match directors themselves aren’t comfortable with this?

    Another question I have is, can match directors really have a say in what goes on inside a match participant’s vehicle, even if it is on range property? Or, does a personal vehicle still qualify as one’s “castle”? If so, then couldn’t one just un-holster while inside his vehicle?

  4. Carry all of the time or don’t carry at all. How you disarm is entirely up to you.
    I am at an event where I the competitor will run with a gun in my hand and upholstering in my car is a problem how?

    • When you’re running with the gun in your hand one or more people are watching you with the express purpose of making sure you do so safely.

  5. I keep going back to the fact that I am licensed by the state to carry and handle my gun as I see fit. Why then does the match not trust me to do the same? If I a competitive shooter it is likely that I am painfully aware of the safety rules. And like I said, I unholster and reholster my gun at every stage. How many people get DQ’d when they are unloading and showing clear? Very few if any ever

  6. I have to say I don’t see the problem with unholstering and storing your edc gun in the car. Can you (not you in particular) not unholster, unload and consequently reload and holster after the match safely in your car without an RO to supervise? Or better yet have a holster you can unsnap or un clip and take off completely with the gun inside of it? If you can’t manage that, you have no business carrying. Or breathing.

    If a match rules state you can’t even do that, I’d say screw that match. Or just do what you want and damn the rules. As a rule, I don’t follow stupid rules.

    Not carrying to the match is a really bad idea. How would you live with yourself if the one time you needed to defend yourself or another, was on the way to a SHOOTING match, and you had no gun…

    There’s always somewhere to pull over before you get to the match. You just gotta be willing to do it.

    I understand not wanting to leave your gun locked up in your car. There are solutions to solve that. Just like leaving guns at home when no ones there. You mitigate to the best of your ability, and that’s all you can do.

    I’m gonna throw a challenge at you Luke, you’re a level headed dude and I have a lot of respect for you. But please, as someone who new shooters and concealed carriers look up to, start carrying to matches and anywhere else it’s legal, not just when it’s convenient.

    -loyal listener and reader, Jon F.

  7. Let’s make the huge assumption that unholstering at your vehicle cannot or will not be done in a safe manner without being under the watchful eye of individuals associated with running the match one is in attendance for.

    Here’s a potentially dumb question: what’s the concern? That participants will shoot themselves? That participants will shoot each other? (All accidentally, of course)

    Are the match attendees the ones that are calling for match officials to make un/re-holstering at vehicles against the rules? If not, then why are the match officials concerned about it? Family members suing if their loved one gets shot at a match, be it by their own neglect or that of another attendee?

    What I’m getting at is this: is it ultimately ‘liability’ that is behind a lot of these arguably ‘stupid’ rules we have to attend to? How many rules/laws/policies on a daily basis are we asked to abide by because someone somewhere at sometime did something stupid/irresponsible/negligent to damage themselves or someone else, then the liability/responsibility for the results are placed on a third party in court? I.e., hot coffee + ball sack, criminal injuring self when breaking/entering, etc., etc., etc. I think that our legal system definitely contributes to the copious amounts of rules like this that we’re subject to, and to how nervous some people are (rightly) about being held liable for something dumb another person does on their watch.

    What would match officials would say the concern actually is, when it gets down to the bottom line on this issue?

    • Liability, keeping the sport running, keeping the range open, genuinely not wanting anyone to get shot at their range, etc.

      • If someone genuinely that paranoid about someone getting shot at their range, then that someone is in the wrong business. The scrutinizing eyes of match directors can’t possibly prevent something bad from happening in the split second that it takes to happen. It all just seems a little hypocritical. I mean, I understand the liability issue and that sometimes insurance companies force certain rules, but – again – seems like they’re in the wrong business too.

  8. I don’t think it’s necessarily any fault of the range owner’s or anyone in authority – I genuinely believe that if there wasn’t some crazy way that someone could shoot themselves on a range then the range owner be held liable in court, then we would see much more ‘reasonable’ rules.

    • Its not just liability in judicial court that can ruin a range, but also the court of public opinion. We’ve seen one local range go from being a competition venue to only having a very restricted bowling alley pistol range because of a bad reputation.

      • True, Luke – perhaps there’s a little bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ type of thing going on here, where a ‘blame culture’ or ‘liability culture’ has been created by having a judicial system like the one we have. I definitely don’t think that the concerns of the folks we might could label ‘hyper-paranoid’ are totally unfounded. An accident and a slick lawyer are all it would take.

        I personally wish we could do something to take care of our legal system and the aforementioned problems all of this liability seems to cause.

  9. If carry to the match, take off my EDC from my belt and stuff it, holster and all, into my range bag that then comes with me throughout. If I’m not going to be able to do that the gun rides in the holster attacked to the center console of the car for easy access then it goes into the range bag. I don’t unloaded it or clear it, it rests comfortably in my range bag where it cannot be disturbed.

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