When range rules get broken, it’s usually because of the lack of education and the lack of practice of proper techniques.
Sometimes even experienced shooters get too comfortable in their routines and become lax with gun safety. This is never acceptable. You should always be a good student and ambassador of the universal firearm safety rules.
- Treat all firearms as if loaded
- Never point a gun at something you are not willing to destroy
- Know your target and what’s beyond
- Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target
Follow range rules
Shooting ranges operate on fairly similar rules, but each individual range will most likely have unique rules. If you have a specific question, call the range before heading over. This could save you some time and grief.
Listening to the range safety officer
Range safety officers (RSOs) are present for everyone’s safety. If you follow the firearm safety rules, practice good range etiquette and are always listening for and following the RSO’s commands, you should never get singled out or yelled at by the “mean” RSO.
Slow and easy
Safety is always the No. 1 priority when handling firearms. Once you make the commitment to learn proper gun safety and get some experience under your belt, you’ll realize that it’s the best investment you can make.
Loading and unloading
When you are on a shooting line, there are going to be other shooters next to you. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that the muzzle never points to the right or left of you.
Take extra care when loading and unloading your firearm, making certain to keep the muzzle pointed downrange. If you need more leverage to manipulate the slide, turn your body sideways (versus the gun). This enables you to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, as opposed to pointing it at the person next to you.
During a “cease fire” RSOs require you to unload your gun and lock the slide/cylinder open and then ask you to step behind a visible line on the ground while shooters go downrange to tape and set targets. Firearms are not allowed to be handled during a cease fire. Once unloaded, leave the firearms alone and grab everything you need from the firing line before backing across the line (phone, water bottle, etc.). Cease fires are a good time to chat with the shooter next to you, hydrate, send a text or check some emails. Just do all of this behind the cease fire line.