Going to the gun range can be a fun and rewarding experience. With that being said, it is also important to remember to follow all of the safety tips and the rules provided by the range.
Know the Gun Range Rules
Whether you are a first-time shooter, or an avid target shooter, it is smart to brush up on some gun range rules and etiquette every so often. Every range may have their own particular rules, but we have collected what we believe to be the 10 most common rules and have listed them below.
The Top 10 Gun Range Rules
As we stated before, be sure to review your local gun range rules before shooting. All gun ranges have their own rules to follow. This list is just a general list that is common in most places.
1. Follow the Four Rules of Gun Safety
This is the most basic set of gun safety rules. From day one of shooting, I have had these rules preached to me and for a good reason. If you follow the four basic rules, you should never have a life-threatening accident. I feel obligated to list the rules even if you have heard them a thousand times. They are still important no matter your skill level.
- Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
- Never point the gun at something you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until your sights are on target.
- Know your target and what lies beyond it.
2. Listen to the Range Officer
The range officer is responsible for everyone’s safety on the range. They are the ultimate authority and it is important to listen to them at all times.
Their job is not to stop you from enjoying yourself, but to ensure that everyone is having fun in a safe manner and following the range rules. They are usually an excellent source of knowledge.
If you have questions, they would be more than willing to help you through any issues you may be having.
3. Know the Range Commands
Every range is going to have different commands, so it is good to check with the range officer beforehand if you have never been to that range before.
The most common range command is a ceasefire. This command indicates to everyone to stop shooting and place your firearm in a safe position.
Another common term is commence firing, or the line is hot. That means that the downrange area is clear and you may resume shooting.
4. Never Handle a Weapon During a Cease Fire
During a ceasefire, you shouldn’t handle any firearms at all. Shooters do not want to see people handling firearms while they are downrange changing the targets.
Even if someone is asking you about your new gun, it is best to tell them that you will gladly show them the firearm after everyone is back at his or her stations.
This is the best way to prevent any accidents from happening. Most ranges do not allow you to handle a firearm during a ceasefire and some require you to put a firearm chamber safety flag in your firearm as well.
5. Be Respectful of Other Shooters
More than likely there are going to be a good amount of people at the range shooting at the same time. This isn’t a hard rule to follow, just be courteous and respectful to the other shooters.
This may be as simple as saying hello and giving a shooter enough distance between stations. I usually tell people to follow the golden rule. Firearm enthusiasts are a welcoming community, feel free to reach out and make some friends.
6. Shoot Only Range Approved Targets
As I said, each range has their own individual rules. Some may only allow NRA match targets while others allow you to shoot whatever target that you want. Either way, it is best to check with the range officer, or any range official to ensure that your targets are allowed on the range.
Most ranges have targets available to purchase, and these usually can be used on their range.
7. Follow The Range's Caliber Restrictions
Different ranges are built to withstand different calibers. A fifty-yard indoor range probably isn’t the best place to take your .338 Lapua. Check to see what the range allows, and don’t try to push the envelope. The restrictions are meant for safety reasons, and you don’t want to be thrown off the range.
8. Don't Fire at Target Frames or Posts
Everyone wants to prove they are the best shot by shooting the smallest target, but it is best to refrain from shooting the target frames and posts. The metal ones have a risk of ricocheting and can pose a possibly dangerous situation for all involved.
The wooden ones are easily damaged, and cost the range money to replace. This will keep the cost of the range fees down for the shooter as well.
9. Clean Your Area
All of the brass that is ejected makes for a slip hazard for the next shooter on the range. It is common courtesy to clean up your shells before you leave. Also, please don’t leave trash or your used targets behind either. It is best to clean everything and leave the range in better condition than when you got there. The range safety officer will appreciate your help. If you reload your own ammo, collect your casings before you leave. This is a good way to get free shell casings.
10. Use Common Sense
Most range rules pertaining to gun safety and gun etiquette are common sense. If you even think that it is wrong, it is probably wrong, and you shouldn’t be doing it. Everyone wants to have a good time, so using common sense and following the above rules will help you have a great day at the range.
Gun range rules are important, but so is having fun. Learning and following your range’s rules help ensure that everyone enjoys their time shooting. The next time you visit, just ask an attendant and they would be happy to provide you a copy of the range rules.
Don't forget to check out these popular articles as well!
If you found this article helpful, please share it using the buttons below!