Proper Gun Range Etiquette for the Beginner

As a gun owner, almost nothing is as fun as going to the gun range with your buddies and testing out your new firearms. A shooting range can provide a valuable space to meet up with friends and find a sense of community. If you’re new to owning a gun you may be a little bit intimidated about going to the gun range. Don’t fret though! With the proper gun range etiquette, you’ll be ready to have a great time on your first trip to the gun range. Let’s start with some of the basics.

  1. Check the rules before heading to the range
  2. Check-in before shooting
  3. Proper gun range terms to know
  4. Keep your gun secured until you are ready to shoot
  5. Have all necessary equipment required by the gun range
  6. Don’t point your gun at anything you do not intend to shoot
  7. Respect any direction given by staff

Check the rules before heading to the range

Although there are some baseline similarities between gun ranges, each one is different. Outdoor ranges and indoor ranges differ in a couple of specific ways (with an outdoor range you often have to set up your own target). Therefore, one of the best things you can do for proper gun range etiquette is to look at the rules before going. They’ll often cover things like:

  •   Safety requirements
  •   Age limits
  •   Ammunition and guns allowed
  •   Protective wear you should bring
  •   Any waivers you might have to sign
  •   And more!

Check-in before shooting

Almost all shooting ranges will require some form of check-in before allowing you to enter facilities. This is so they can monitor the firing lane capacity and make sure everyone stays safe. They may ask you to sign some paperwork and register which guns you are bringing in to shoot. Always be cordial with the staff and respect the rules.

Proper gun range terms you should know

While at a gun range there are certain key phrases that you may hear. All of them are highly important and are to be followed to the letter. We’ve got a couple of examples, but each firing range will probably review these terms with you upon entry:

Ceasefire: when a staff member or person at the gun range yells ceasefire, all shooters are required to stop firing. You will unload your gun, lock your slide back where you can see that the gun is unloaded, place it on the table and stand back. A staff member will then go across the firing range checking for an issue or problem. It’s also important to note that anyone can yell a ceasefire on a gun range if there is a problem on the range. That could be anything from your gun jamming and you needing help, to a rowdy individual. A ceasefire is called to keep everyone safe.

Firing Line: Simply put, the firing line is where the shooter stands to fire their gun. You do not go past this line, and when a ceasefire is called you step behind this line. There is usually a painted line or marked-off area that will indicate the firing line.

Firing Lanes: A firing lane represents the small area in which a shooter occupies while firing his weapon, often referred to as a shooting booth. You will have clear glass on either side of you and a small table to put your things on.

Hot or Cold: the term “hot” refers to firing on the gun range. For example, a staff member may say that the range is hot, which means that there is active firing going on. When a range is referred to as “cold” it means that there is not active fire going on at the moment and shooters have unloaded their weapon. A staff member may say that the range is cold so new shooters can come in, or so someone can go downrange. Downrange meaning past the firing line to where the targets lay and beyond. This is only done by staff members, and it Is usually to fix an issue or target.

Commence Firing: An instructor will tell you to “commence firing.” At this point you can safely load your gun and start firing at a target. There are variations of this saying that a staff member will tell you before you enter the range.

Follow all of these rules without question for proper gun range etiquette. For a more visual guide check out this video by the National Shooting Sports Foundation:

Keep your gun secured until you are ready to shoot

Do not under any circumstances come to the gun range with a fully loaded gun. Usually, this is means for immediate dismissal, and even sometimes banning you from the range. Instead, have your firearm locked in a gun case unloaded. You will then present this to a staff member who will check your things and then let you into the shooting range. However, you may not take out your gun until you’re in the firing lane. Only after you are told by a staff member to commence firing can you load your weapon and start firing.

Have all necessary equipment required by the gun range

Proper gun range etiquette means staying on top of things and being prepared. A shooting range may ask that you bring:

  •   Forms of identification
  •   Gun range membership card
  •   Gun case for your weapon
  •   Protective glasses
  •   Protective earmuffs

At the same time, there are a ton of gun range accessories to choose from that may be helpful. A couple of those are:

  •   Extra ammunition
  •   Range tote or bag
  •   Gun cleaning kit
  •   Shooting bags
  •   And anything else you might need!

Don’t point your gun at anything you do not intend to shoot

It is imperative that you do everything in your power to prevent accidents. That’s why there are such stringent rules at a shooting range. One of the essential rules of gun ownership and proper gun range etiquette is to never point your gun at anything you do not intend to shoot. That could mean a person, target, or even the ceiling. Always be mindful about where you are pointing your gun in and out of a range. Always keep your muzzle pointed downrange at your target. Never pointed at a friend or other person. If you do, you will get kicked off the range, and most likely banned from the establishment. At the end of the day, people’s lives are at stake.

Respect any direction given by staff

Lastly, always respect the staff and safety officers who run the gun range. They’re not only there to keep others safe but you as well. Follow all commands given by them while on the range and you’ll have an amazing time.

Are you looking for a gun range in your area? Want a range that prioritizes safety and offers training for first-time gun owners? At Spring Guns and Ammo, that’s our specialty. We offer a premium shooting range with experts who can help keep you safe and make you a better shooter. Contact us today to find out more!

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