If you’re looking to test out a new gun, or you want to practice your shooting skills, you should head to a shooting range. Shooting ranges are great places to teach new gun owners basic skills, practice self-defense with a gun and meet like-minded gun owners. Shooting ranges can be anything from a large field with stationary targets to an indoor professional range with automatic targets. There are a lot of rules and regulations that come with firing at a shooting range to ensure the safety of everyone around you, including yourself. It may seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll realize that many guidelines fall under common sense.
Get Acclimated with your Shooting Range
When you take a driver’s test, you have to make sure to check that everything on the vehicle is in order before you start driving; the same goes for using a shooting range. It’s important to locate and familiarize yourself with the safety features of the area before you start shooting:
- On-deck areas
- Entrance and Exits
- Your firing space
- Downrange safety areas
- The limits of your range
- First-aid kit
- Fire extinguishers
Always ask an employee at the shooting range if you cannot locate any of these areas.
Common Sense Rules
As mentioned earlier, a majority of the guidelines for a shooting range come with common sense. These rules are in place to keep yourself and the other shooter safe while using firearms.
- Never touch another shooter’s gun or any other equipment unless they give you specific permission. It’s best to mind your own property at the shooting range.
- Avoid shooting simultaneously with a shooter that is next to you. This way, nobody is distracted while shooting.
- Make sure any equipment you’ve brought, including your gun, is with you at all times. Stay responsible for your belongings.
- Don’t distract other shooters. This includes behaving foolishly, starting conversations while shooting and making loud noises.
- Stay focused when you are aiming and shooting. Don’t point your gun while looking in other directions.
- Never use your gun in any way when a person is downrange. Always have your gun safely set down in a resting position.
The Rules of the Range
The shooting range you are at will also have its own list of rules. The rules should be in a visible area that can be read by all patrons. If you cannot find the shooting range’s rules, ask an employee to walk you through them.
As the shooter, it is your responsibility to know the rules of the shooting range. Always be aware of others and where your authorized targets are. Never fire at another shooter’s target, and always cease fire immediately if your gun malfunctions in any way.
Common Commands at a Shooting Range
The employees at the shooting range will have a few commands they will use when they need to have the attention of all the shooters. Most commands at all ranges are generally the same:
- Load – All shooters can load their guns, but they must keep the safety on and are not allowed to shoot yet.
- Commence Fire – All shooters are ready and can take the safety off their firearm and fire at their designated targets.
- Cease Fire – All shooters must stop firing immediately, and they have to put their gun in a resting position with the safety on. This can be called when there is an emergency situation, someone is downrange or a shooter’s firearm has malfunctioned. It is also the duty of all shooters to call this command if they feel the safety of others are in danger.
In case of a misfire, a shooter should take their gun off of their target and wait one full minute before continuing any action. Then, they should call the attention of a shooting range employee for assistance. Open the misfired cartridge and remedy the problem.
A squib load simply means that a shooter has improperly loaded their gun. This shooter should cease fire, notify an employee, open the gun chamber and properly reload the gun.
It may seem like there is a lot to learn, but with a little practice and patience, remembering the rules in a shooting range will become easy and natural.