Awareness and accountability are key to a successful shooting session.
A day at the shooting range can be relaxing, stress-free, and a great opportunity to bond with others. However, target shooting is serious business for many, and it is very important to keep in mind these common courtesies when at the range:
Always observe safety rules and procedures.
Gun ranges have spent a lot of time and energy making sure the experience is safe for all. Rules such as always staying clear of active shooters, checking the safety of your firearm, and making sure to never point a gun at anything but the target are very important. Do your part to minimize the risk of serious and sometimes fatal accidents.
Only assist others when asked.
It’s nice to be helpful, but some people just want to be left in peace. Don’t gather around other shooters unless specifically given permission; it can distract them and become annoying. If you notice someone needing help, don’t rush over immediately and fix their problem. They may need some time to clear a jam, fix the staple gun, or load their magazines. However, if there is an imminent safety threat, then either speak up yourself or pay a visit to the instructor.
Pay attention to the time.
Most shooters are very courteous about observing posted time limits. Make sure you are one of them. If the range is relatively empty, then check with the instructor whether or not more time is permissible. However, if the place is swamped or if other shooters are clearly waiting to practice, then move along after your allotted time.
Hands to yourself!
This should go without saying, but I’ve seen many, many people stroll up and get handsy with others’ firearms. Don’t be that person. It’s rude and discourteous to your fellow shooters. If given permission, than by all means, go for it. The same goes for nudges, pats on the back, and other nonverbal communication. It can become too much for the active shooter, who is extremely focused on their target.
Don’t be a slob.
Clean up your brass and staples. It is never okay to leave spent casings lying around on the floor, just waiting to trip up the next shooter. You likely found the range clean when you went in, so keep up the standard. The experience should be fun and engaging to all comers, and it takes everyone to pitch in and do their job to make that happen.
Follow these tips and others to ensure that your shooting time is a great experience. The firearms community is a welcoming and knowledgeable group. Show proper respect, and you will be reciprocated!