I remember the very first time I went the range, prior to any formal training, I was not so sure about the range etiquette. Obviously I knew about keeping my muzzle in a safe direction, but man, looking at this video, I sure didn’t know anything.
Ironically, after my initial formal training, I realized what a noob I was. And it was quite clear that as I progressed, I understood why these rules were put in place. But sometimes, I wonder if we all truly followed the four rules of safety, do we really need all of those added excess rules?
Here are some of the basic rules of “range etiquette”, of where I found them, I don’t remember. Do you think these are a little excessive?
1. All gun safety rules will be followed. The muzzle of your firearm should always be pointed in a safe direction. Your fingers should be off the trigger until you are on the firing range and your weapon is pointed at your target. Nothing angers a shooter more than having someone carelessly point a gun at them for even a moment. Muzzles should always point down range. When you are packing up to leave and you’ve unloaded your weapon, the muzzle should be controlled and pointed in safe direction.
2. All range commands should be followed immediately. If the range officer (or anyone else) yells, “CEASE FIRE!” That means you immediately stop shooting and generally open your firearm’s action (to remove any chambered bullet), lay your firearm down on the shooting bench, and to be polite step away from it.
3. Do not touch or handle ANY firearm during a ceasefire. This includes picking up your firearm to pack up and leave. If you have walked down range during a ceasefire to change or examine your target, there is nothing more unnerving than looking up range to see someone handling their firearm.
4. Don’t start shooting again until the range officer has yelled, “Commence Firing!” or “The Range is hot!” And, only fire, if you’ve verified that the range is safe with your own two eyes.
5. Don’t go forward of the firing range until a cease fire has been called. That’s just crazy.
6. No horseplay. Bullets don’t play and neither should you.
7. Don’t interfere with other shooters. Don’t tap them on the shoulder as they are about to shoot. Don’t interrupt anyone unless you see they are in some immediate danger.
8. Don’t shoot inappropriate firearms. Don’t shoot black-powder firearms indoors. Don’t disobey caliber or ammunition limitations. If your range doesn’t allow shooters to fire tracers, armor piercing bullets, or .460 Weatherby Magnum elephant guns, they have a good reason. They don’t want to create a fire hazard or damage their backstop.
9. No bloviating. Don’t be a bore offering your unsolicited critique of other shooter’s firearm choice or technique. If you can’t say something nice and you aren’t commenting on a safety concern, hold your tongue.
10. No crazy talk. The range really isn’t the place to vent about the government or your ex-wife and her new boyfriend. If you have issues, consign your guns and go buy a fishing pole. Nobody at the range wants to worry about calling the police due to your musings.
11. Clean up when you are finished. Don’t leave a trashy shooting station for the next shooter. Throw away any ammunition packages, old targets, and other trash that you have generated during your shooting session. At most ranges, you are expected to grab a broom and dustpan and quickly sweep up the used shell casings (commonly called brass) around your area. Some ranges provide a recycling bucket for the shell casings. Other ranges just want you to sweep the brass forward of the firing line so that it won’t pose a slip and fall hazard to other shooters. Range personnel will collect the brass at the end of the day.
Finally, when everyone obeys the basic rules of range etiquette and common decency, shooting at the local community range is a lot more fun.