Gun Safety | Range Safety and Etiquette
Whether you’re a beginner or an old guru, having proper range safety never loses importance. Even those of us who grew up with firearms can use a refresher now and then, because it only takes one mistake on the range to put one helluva damper on your day. GC has always been incredibly devoted to championing the rights of gun owners, but those gun owners also need to deserve those right by exhibiting safe and responsible practices.
When at the range, always remember to keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. This seems like a no-brainer, because it is. But just last week we were at the range watching a guy who clearly had a lot of training, yet was waving his piece dangerously close to other range members without even realizing it.
Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
Ready to shoot means your sights are lined up and you’re ready to go off.
Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it. Unloaded means completely unloaded: there’s nothing in the magazine, the magazine is out of the gun, there’s nothing in the chamber, there’s nothing in the cylinder.
Ask for help if you are unfamiliar with the operation of your firearm. Whether you own or rented it, don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for help in using your gun. Keep in mind that one firearm is different from another, requiring varied ways of handling and operation.
Be sure to read the range rules before going on the range. All shooting ranges have these but if you don’t see them posted, ask for a copy and read it carefully.
On shooting ranges, eye and ear protection are mandatory. Everyone knows how noisy a gun can get so wear ear muffs and/or plugs. These will protect you from ear damage. Shooting glasses keep gun powder/dust, chips, falling shot or cases away from your eyes.
Before handling any firearm be sure the muzzle is pointed down range. Practice this over and over until you are always aware as to where your gun’s muzzle is pointed. And be sure that you are always in control of the firearm’s direction.
Guns should be unloaded and facing downrange anytime they are not in use. It’s always better to avoid untoward incidents, especially when many people with powerful weapons such as firearms come together in one place.
Unload your firearm before changing targets, shooters or loading magazines.
Unintentional or accidental discharge is one of the greatest risks in the range so whether you are replacing your target, letting a friend test your new gun or just changing a magazine, make sure your firearm is completely unloaded.
Never hand a loaded gun to anyone for any reason.
This is a very important reminder and can never be stressed enough. There is always the risk of getting shot at or the shooter hurting himself.
Never cross the firing line for any reason. Obviously this puts your life in great danger.
If you need to go downrange, wait for a cease-fire and instructions.
You can tell the range officer and wait for him to give the signal or call for a cease-fire yourself.
Align your target so you don’t shoot the ceiling, floor or other targets.
Make sure your muzzle is directed at the center of the target to avoid shooting other objects.
Cease fire! Finger off the trigger, gun downrange, wait for instructions.
When you hear this call, stop shooting, take your finger off the trigger, point the muzzle downrange, and rest your elbows on your ribcage.
Anyone can call a cease-fire. See something unsafe? Call a cease-fire!
Whenever you notice something out of the ordinary, shout “Cease-fire!” right away. Remember you are not only protecting yourself but others as well.
Watch this video below to get an overview of range safety and etiquette. It covers all the basics you need to know. If you already consider yourself a range expert, then this video will be a great reminder – a refresher on proper range safety and etiquette.
To watch the video on YouTube, click here.
So what do you think about this video? Are you ready to take your firearm to the range? Is this what you’ve been doing the whole time, or did you learn something new? Let us know in the comments.