The Reluctant Gun Owner

The Gun Range is one of the the best places to learn to shoot. Every gun range I’ve been to has been staffed with friendly, courteous staff. They want you to be safe and have a good time. If you’ve never shot before, let the range staff know. They will probably give you a quick lesson free of charge. Most ranges also have regular lessons on gun use and safety. At my local range that’s a free one-hour lesson. If you can, I strongly urge you take that lesson. It will help you a lot more than any website or video.

Most gun ranges also have a decent inventory of firearms. You can try out different guns before deciding which one you want to buy.

Because everyone using the range is carrying a lethal weapon, it is very important that you follow common Gun Range etiquette.

  • Gun Range Etiquette
    • Always keep the gun pointed downrange
    • Always keep your finger off the trigger until
      • You’re ready to shoot
      • Your sights are pointing at the target
      • You’re ready to destroy the thing the gun’s pointing at
    • Always keep the gun unloaded until you’re ready to use it
      • Remember, unloaded means no magazine, and no cartridge in chamber
    • Be sure to read the range rules for your range
    • Make sure you have eye and ear protection
    • The gun should be facing downrange at all times, even when you pull it out of your bag
    • Whenever you place your gun on the table:
      • Make sure the magazine is out
      • Pull and lock the slide back
      • Place it facing downrange with the ejection port up, so people can easily see it’s safe.
    • There should never be a loaded gun sitting on the table by itself
    • Align your target so that you’re shooting parallel to the ground and walls. This way you don’t risk shooting into the ceiling or floor or side walls
    • Never pass the gun from one shooter to the next.
      • Put it on the table, facing downrange
      • Fully unloaded
      • With the slide locked back
      • Then step away, and let the new shooter step in
    • Never hand a loaded firearm to another person for any reason
    • Never touch another shooter’s gun until the shooter has given you permission
    • ALWAYS point it downrange
    • If you have any questions, of any sort, ask the range officer

Most gun ranges have commands that should be obeyed. The two most important ones are:

  • Cease Fire!
    • Immediately stop shooting
    • Take finger off trigger
    • Point gun downrange
    • Put gun down immediately
    • Take half a step back and wait for instructions
    • Wait for instructions
    • ANYONE can call ceasefire if they see something unsafe
    • It is recommended to repeat the call if you hear it - so everyone is guaranteed to hear it.
  • Range is Cold!
    • Put your gun down.
    • Do not touch anything
    • Wait for further commands
    • Used by the range officer for things like going downrange to change targets

Continue reading: The Shooting Stance

© 2019 Aijaz Ansari
The Reluctant Gun Owner by Aijaz Ansari is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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