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On Target: Practice Shooting Range Etiquette


The sport of guns and ammunition continues to flourish, but some things remain the same despite the sport’s history. Etiquette and initial learning is incredibly important – perhaps the most crucial moment to a hobbyist.

Those with experience, highly stress etiquette and the simple yet integral rules of gun safety. Before target training and entering a gun range with experienced people with little tolerance to those who may place them in danger, consider the following information.

Know the 4 Gun Laws

To begin, there are four cardinal rules of gun etiquette.

– Always assume a gun is loaded, meaning approach with great care and caution, not pointing in the direction of people and non-target things
– Never point the gun at anything you do not intend to destroy
– Always be sure of the target (and what is behind it)
– Keep your finger off the trigger until the target is in sight

These are stressed continuously until the notions become automatic, ingrained in a hobbyist’s brain, influencing ongoing behavior.

Listen to Range Officials

Like officers of the law, range officers oversee to maintain the safety and security of goers. Always listen to officials regarding where to shoot, when to shoot, and when to cease. Since guns are potential weapons of destruction, officials act as added layers of protection for all enthusiasts.

Walk Away from Firearms During a Break

Range officials alert goers of breaks or during the changing targets. During these times, it’s crucial for hobbyists to place firearms down, walking away as not to create anxiety regarding those in the target area. Even the slightest notion of those ‘checking’ firearms during these situations creates high tension and anxiety.

Know What Firearms Are Allowed and Where

High-powered weaponry is often hosted outside though some ranges allow rifles indoors. However, check with officials regarding the presence of particular firearms. Like assuming each firearm is loaded, assume you don’t know the answer to questions regarding the range. It’s much more respectable (and safe) to assume you don’t know the answer than to act upon intuition at the range.

Keep to Yourself During Shooting

A number of friends and family members share enthusiasm in the sport of guns and ammunition (Find 223 Ammunition online.), yet at the range, during live rounds of fire, keep to yourself as not to bother those concentrating on shooting around you.

A number of rules may seem strict, yet all constructed to err on the side of caution. While the sport of guns is highly exciting, guns are potential weapons of destruction, and unfortunate perpetrators of accidents that can’t be reversed.

Keep Corrections to Yourself

This insight is likely intended for those with a bit of experience under their belt, yet the basics are sometimes easy to forget. In supplement to ‘keeping to yourself,’ also keep all sentiments of correction and suggestion to yourself until after leaving the range.
Of course, if a peer is placing themselves or others in danger, intercede, but to ensure the utmost safety of others and to maintain concentration, do not interrupt or converse with shooters.

Keep a Safe Distance

Aside from residual auditory effects, keep a distance from a shooter you’re observing for safety purposes as well. Again, concentration is paramount, and any distractions pose a threat to the security of those at the range. Maintaining a safe distance does not interrupt the shooter; it also decreases the temptation of speaking to shooters or offering advice.

One Firearm at a Time

No, you’re not permitted to emulate a Hollywood action star, shooting two handguns at once. That should be obvious. Yet, the ‘one firearm rule’ refers to is the presence of two guns at one platform at the same time. It’s okay to bring multiple guns to shoot, yet do not bring more than one gun at a time to the shooting window. It poses a security risk.

Clean Up

Shooting is a communal activity. Gun clubs and members ensure the legacy of resources by cleaning up after themselves and being respectful of members and rules. Before leaving your assigned window, clean up scraps and residual metal left behind from shooting. The next shooter would like a clean, safe place to shoot just as much as you appreciate upon entering.

Shooting and the subsequent camaraderie is exciting and highly enjoyable for enthusiasts and new hobbyists. However, it’s essential to understand preliminary security insights and to proceed with great caution. It’s okay to be a novice, but it is not okay to proceed with negligence for rules and the safety of others. Shoot responsibly.

Bryan Wenzel has been a gun guy most of his life. After years practicing his aim, collecting, and hunting, he grealty enjoys blogging about this popular pastime.