If you are planning a trip to the gun range, you will need to keep a few tips on etiquette in mind so that you can stay safe and avoid creating enemies. Shooting is a lot of fun, but making certain mistakes during your trip can get you banned or cause an injury to occur.
Luckily, following the rules is easy and serves to allow everyone to enjoy their time at the range. Some people ignore these tips because they don’t think that the advice applies to them, but range officers won’t hesitate to ban those who follow that path.
So let’s look at some things you should do to make sure your behaviour is acceptable and maintains safety.
Secure Your Firearm
The last thing that you want to do is walk into a gun shop or range with a loaded firearm in your hand.
This will make a lot of people uncomfortable, and it could be a violation of the law depending on your location. So before you leave the house, ensure that your gun is unloaded and placed in a bag.
The bag that you use should be designed for transporting firearms so that you don’t encounter unnecessary problems. When you want the best possible results, keep your ammo and other gear in separate compartments.
Check in With the Range Officer or Shop Owner
When you arrive at the range, you will need to check in with a range officer or shop owner. When you do so, tell them that you want to spend some time on the range and the type of firearm that you will use.
If this is your first time shooting at that location, ask about additional rules and safety considerations that you will need to follow. You must remember that you will be sharing the range with other shooters and that you need to be respectful at all times.
As you are checking in, the officer or shop owner will likely ask you if you need any targets or ammo. Before they allow you to go inside the range, you will need to provide some form of identification. Your fee will depend on the amount of time that you spend in the stall, so you won’t need to pay until you are ready to leave. Checking in does not need to take long, and you will be on your way in no time.
Walking into a live range without your safety gear is the first sign that you are a novice, and you will appear not to have much concern for the safety regulations, which will get you off to a bad start.
When people fire a handgun, the discarded shell will be ejected from the chamber and can hit your face or eyes. Because the shells will still be hot, they can cause lasting damage.
Without taking the proper safety steps, one wrong move can result in blindness. Also, the sound of a gun going off is loud enough to damage your hearing over time. People who shoot on private property sometimes ignore this rule because they don’t notice the harm that they are causing. Hearing damage is cumulative, meaning it will build up over time. If you want to protect your hearing and vision, put on protective goggles and earmuffs before you walk into the range.
Don’t Bring your Cannon
When you go to the range, be sure that the gun you plan to use is not prohibited at the range. For example, some indoor ranges will only allow guns up to a certain calibre.
This is because the infrastructure they have in place might not be able to handle large calibre weapons. The gun range is a business that is people’s livelihoods, so you do not want to cause damage to the place with your new high calibre hunting rifle, that you are just itching to show off to your buddies.
Keep the Muzzle Pointed at the Target
When you get to your assigned stall, you will need to unpack your gear, set up your target and load your firearm. Some people pull their guns out without paying attention to the direction of the muzzle, and that is a good way to get kicked out.
You might know that your gun is not loaded, but other shooters and the safety officer don’t. To avoid getting into trouble, look at the direction of your gun before you remove it from the bag, pointing it toward the backstop.
When you set your firearm on the table, ensure that the action is back to show people that it is not yet loaded. The same rule applies when you are loading your gun and putting it away. No matter what you are doing, keep the muzzle aimed in a safe direction.
Stay Behind the Firing Line
From time to time, people drop their targets, ammo and gear behind the firing line. Experienced shooters know that they can never cross the line to retrieve their items, but those who are new to shooting can forget on occasion.
Nothing that you have with you or drop is worth risking your life, and you will need to wait until the range is clear before you do anything. Even if nobody else is at the range, always speak with the safety officer about getting your stuff back.
Clean up After Yourself
After you spend 30 minutes to an hour improving your shooting skills, your casings will start to build up around you. At some ranges, the safety officer will sweep the shells that people eject, and this service will be included in the price.
However, some ranges require shooters to clean up after themselves, and you will never want to leave a mess behind for others. Shooters will sometimes collect the shells to make new rounds, saving money in the process. These people will often offer to sweep your casings in exchange for being able to keep them.
Respect Your Neighbor
Respect people’s privacy if they are busy shooting in their gun lanes. If you want to chat and make new friends, wait until they are finished shooting and away from their gun lanes.
Also, do not pick up other people’s guns or equipment without their explicit permission. Not only is it rude to pick up someone else’s gun or equipment, but it can be a major safety risk. When you handle someone else’s firearm, be 100% certain that it is safe to handle the weapon.
Whether you are shooting a small calibre or something a little more intense, keeping the right tips and rules at heart will help you and the other shooters to have a good time. As long as you are kind to those around you, they will return the favor, but in spite of our best efforts, we all make mistakes here and there.
If you break a rule on accident, you need to admit that you made the error and resolve to do better in the future, which will go a long way when it comes to maintaining positive relationships with the employees of the range.
A few individuals have trouble remembering all of the safety rules, and if you can relate to that problem, study the regulations and test yourself before you embark on your adventure, and you will be glad that you did.
But most importantly, have fun and enjoy yourself!
About the author: This article was contributed by Joe from SmokingBarrelUSA.com. Joe is a gun enthusiast that started his blog specifically to not only learn more himself, but to also share what he learned with others in the community. SmokingBarrelUSA.com aims to help promote gun safety, debunk some myths that exist today about firearms, as well as help folks to choose the right equipment to suit their specific needs.
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