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Gun Range Etiquette

Gun Range Etiquette

Gun ranges are excellent places to practice and improve your shooting skills in a controlled environment and also to fellowship with other like-minded people who love guns/love shooting. The benefits of many ranges include the comfort of having well trained staff that can offer assistance with many things relating to guns. At a very good range they will have instructors with a broad knowledge on varying weapon systems, gun cleaning, troubleshooting, and general firearms safety. For a new shooter this expertise is invaluable to make sure that your time at the range is a safe and enjoyable one that will make you likely to return and even make shooting a lifelong hobby. Indoor gun ranges offer the convenience of a comfortable, climate-controlled environment with many having retail stores that make it easy to purchase items you may need. With all the comfort, convenience, and controlled atmosphere that gun ranges provide to patrons shooting is still an inherently dangerous activity. Shooting at a gun range requires a certain decorum from all patrons to make sure risk are minimized for everyone. Below I will dive deeper into a few points that are guidelines to adhere to when visiting a gun range.

1. Carry guns into range either holstered or in a gun case

Want to get your range day started off wrong, either by getting screamed at by the range staff or a visit to the hospital. At many gun ranges you will find the staff open carrying side arms for their personal protection and the defense of those patronizing the business. I can’t state enough how in this setting walking through the front door of a range with an unholstered/unbagged gun in your hand would be a stupid idea. For one it makes you look like a threat to everyone on the inside which may result in a gun or twelve being pulled on you. This is also a reckless safety violation. In the event of accidental discharge of that weapon at the very least there will be property damage, and the worst-case scenario a person is injured or killed.

2. Never go to gun range if you have partaken of alcohol or any other intoxicant

Shooting a gun is an activity that requires upper-level thinking skills and awareness of one’s surroundings. It is an extreme risk to the shooter and all those around them if they are impaired in any capacity. Being intoxicated increases the risk for firearms accidents ten-fold. Not to mention it being a safety hazard, it is unlawful. Even if all you had is one beer, go shooting some other time, it’s not worth the risk.

3. Shoot only ammunition and weapons approved for use at that particular range

Many times indoor ranges have restriction on both the type of ammunition and also the caliber of weapon that can be safely shot at their range. Please adhere to their guidelines, it’s for a reason. One of the biggest pet peeves is people sneaking in steel core ammunition to shoot. Steel core/steel case ammo is tempting to buy and shoot for practice because for the most part it is a cheaper ammo to buy compared to brass. Ranges generally don’t want you shooting the steel stuff indoors for 2 reasons. Reason one is that many ranges collect the spent brass casings and reload/resell ammo and make a profit. You can imagine it might be a bit of a pain to sift through thousands of brass casings to pick out steel cases that are less cost effective to reload and resell. Steel core ammo on the other hand creates a safety issue in that it is more likely to ricochet especially when shooting steel or other hardened targets. For obvious reasons a hot piece of metal indeterminately bouncing around the range at high speed will definitely increase the butt pucker factor. Ranges also often impose limitation on what caliber weapon can be shot while on site. This has to do with what their target backstop is rated to be able to withstand. No one wants a weapon to be fire that creates projectile muzzle velocities so high that the backstop is not effective in safely capturing the round.

4. If you wish to practice drawing from holster, ask for permission before doing so.

One thing about a gun range is that the people that go there have a varying range in firearm safety skill and general firearm knowledge. Also, if you go in any indoor gun range and observe all of the bullet holes in the ceilings and walls its apparent that the general public is not as skilled or as safe with firearms as what they may believe. It is for that reason that many ranges either disallow drawing from the holster or keep your ability to get such practice in limited to their low volume business days/times when there are few shooters around and less risk. If you ask before doing things, the range staff will appreciate your consideration and also are likely to offer you ways to safely get in the training that you need.

5. No rapid fire without permission

If you ever have to use your firearm for self- defense, many know that those encounters are fast, relatively close range, and intense. Precision shooting, taking fine aim at a target and taking your time to take the shot is typically is not what occurs. If your purpose for carrying a firearm is for self-defense, being able to control your gun while shooting rapidly is likely a skill you would want to practice. Be sure to ask the range staff if this allowed before doing such, for one it can be a big safety risk for someone who is untrained and loses control of their gun due to the recoil of multiple rapid shots. Secondly, it can be viewed as obnoxious and discourteous to persons on the range that may be scared beginners who aren’t yet accustomed to the report and concussion of firearms at an enclosed range.

6. Be courteous to your fellow gun range patron

Quite plain and simple don’t be a douche. If you aren’t a beginner in shooting and going to ranges then remember what it was like for you to 1st walk into a range or first pick up a gun. Remember to help others when you can and only when help is solicited. Don’t do anything that makes those around you uncomfortable. If you think the guy in lane 4 has a cool ass gun, don’t take the opportunity when he steps away to get a closer hands-on look. Ask for permission, nine times out of ten he will put the gun in your hands himself. Gun enthusiast love to talk about guns and gear and show off what they have. On another note, if there is a hot chic on lane 2 that is shooting don’t be a creeper and linger around. In short just be respectful of people’s space, property, and rights while on the range and generally it will be an enjoyable time, you might even make a friend or two.

7. Load and unload guns only within the shooting lane for which you were assigned

This is a safety rule to help reduce the risk of injury to those around you in event of accidental discharge of weapon.

8. While on the shooting line, the muzzle of the gun points downrange or toward the target backstop at all times.

Remember the cardinal firearm safety rule “Keep the muzzle of the gun pointed in a safe direction at all times” Welp at a gun range the only truly safe direction is downrange toward the targets. If on the firing line and you need to turn around or ask a question of someone for any reason, place the gun on the shooting bench in front of you, muzzle pointing downrange and then proceed to do whatever you need to do before resuming shooting activity.

LAST and Most Important!

Follow Posted Range Rules and Safety Instructions Issued At the Range At All Times!

Hope this quick list of do’s/don’t will help to make your next trip to the range safe and enjoyable!

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