If you’re new to gun ownership, you will undoubtedly want to know how to get the best out of your firearm. It doesn’t matter whether you own a pistol or you’ve recently purchased a shotgun; you need to know how to handle it, use it, and maintain it.
It’s no secret that one of the best ways of achieving such goals is by brushing up on your skills at a gun range. Your first time (and hopefully subsequent times) at a gun range will be fun, but it’s vital you know there is some etiquette to follow at gun ranges.
Here are a few essential gun range etiquette hints and tips you should know and keep in mind before you set foot at such a facility:
Keep Your Gun in a Case
Arguably the most crucial step to remember, irrespective of the gun range you enter, is that you should always keep your gun in a case as you enter the facility. If you enter a gun range with a ‘naked’ gun, you will make staff and other gun range users uneasy.
You should also ensure that your firearm isn’t loaded in the case. Entering a facility with a loaded, naked gun is never a good idea in any circumstances and could even lead to you getting removed from the gun range.
Review and Follow the Rules
When it’s your first time at a specific gun range, you should always review their rules and follow them without question. Each gun range has particular rules, and while they’re often listed near the shooting area, many gun range websites will also have their rules online.
For example, if you damage any property at the gun range, you may need to pay a fine. The rules will also state obvious things to follow, such as never pointing a firearm at someone, whether it’s a friend, another patron, or a staff member.
Treat the Range Officer With Respect
The gun range officer or manager is the person that oversees all activities at the facility. Their job is to ensure everyone is following the rules and to help people if they have any questions or problems.
All decisions made by the range officer are final. If you become disruptive or argumentative, the range officer may escort you off the premises, and you could likely get banned from that particular gun range.
Know How to Handle Your Firearm Like a Pro
If you are familiar with handling firearms, including the one you wish to use at the gun range, you can probably skip this section. However, if you’ve never used your firearm before, or one like it, you should consider getting professional training.
Many training courses take place at gun ranges, and the facility can even provide you with details of people they recommend for tuition. The last thing you want to do is use your firearm improperly and potentially risk the safety of yourself and others at the gun range.
Bring Proper Safety Gear
Another vital piece of gun range etiquette advice to keep in mind is that you should always bring the proper safety equipment with you at each visit. At the very least, you should enter the facility with ear and eye protection.
If you’re new to firing a gun, you will quickly realize that doing so is nothing like what you’d see in the movies. Guns are extremely loud, and it’s common to end up with hearing loss when you fire guns without any protection.
Stay in Your Lane
In most cases, you will have your own lane at the gun range. It’s considered poor gun range etiquette to disturb people in other lanes, especially when they are trying to fire. Plus, you should never touch anyone else’s possessions unless you have specific permission to do so.
If you don’t stay in your lane or keep disturbing other participants, the range officer may remove you from the facility and potentially ban you from future visits.
Know What to Do in a Ceasefire
Lastly, at any point during a session at your gun range, the range officer or another participant can call for a ceasefire. When a ceasefire gets called, everyone must stop shooting, unload their firearms, and lock the slides or cylinders open.
They must then place their firearms on the bench and step back from the line of fire. You must follow all those steps as you won’t be allowed to return past the line until the range officer gives the okay.