Your local shooting range is a convenient place to train with your firearm or to test fire a gun you are considering purchasing. While you are likely eager to start hitting that target, you must always remember that safety comes first anytime that you handle a firearm. Keep these three safety practices in mind to better enjoy your visit to the local shooting range.
Follow Proper Firearm Handling
Beginners are always welcome at the range, and there is no better place to learn basic firearm safety. Even experienced shooters can benefit from a quick review on proper firearm handling before returning to the range. Remember to always treat a gun as though it is loaded, even when you are sure that it isn’t. Always point your gun in a safe direction such as downrange. Never put your finger on the trigger unless you are actively engaged with the target and ready to shoot. Lastly, when entering or exiting a shooting range, be sure to always store your firearms in an appropriate case or bag, and make sure that they are unloaded.
Meet With the Range Safety Officer
When visiting any shooting range for the first time, remember that safety officers are there to ensure your safety. During your first visit, they may require you to watch a short safety video prior entering the range. They may also give you a live demonstration of how to properly operate the firearm you will be shooting. This would be a great time to ask any questions about your gun or even any particular safety rules on the range. For instance, if any shooter may command a “ceasefire” or an “all clear” to control dangerous events that may occur. Knowing these “house rules” ahead of time will keep you and those around you safe.
Practice Personal Responsibility
Following proper firearm handling protocols is not the only way to stay safe. You must take primary responsibility for and certain actions to preserve your own personal safety. For instance, you should always use proper eye and ear protection on the range, and cautiously avoid clutter and debris on the floor such as brass casings that may be strewn about.
Stay focused on the firing line. Leave your phone and any other distractions outside. Keeping your mind on shooting not only helps you stay safe, but also helps you refine your technique. Be sure to periodically review your range’s safety rules so that you don’t grow complacent.
It is important to remember that no doubt should go unaddressed nor question go unasked. Your range safety officers are dedicated firearms enthusiasts and are there for you. Go ahead, ask your question. Make yourself at home on the range.