For many people, the shooting range is a place to escape to, and firing a few rounds after work or as part of some leisure time can be therapeutic. this is as long as it is a safe experience. Although accidents and injuries are rare, certain things can be done to make the time at the range more enjoyable, and safe.
Because you can never be too safe around firearms, we have compiled a list of some of the easiest ways to stay safe at the range. These are tips that anyone can benefit from.
Keep That Finger Off The Trigger
Unless primed and ready to shoot during aiming, it is best to keep your finger off the trigger. Although you might be facing the right direction, it is always a good idea to leave the trigger alone so you don’t misfire.
Never Point Anywhere But The Target
Learning and maintaining good habits is a huge part of staying safe at the gun range. One of the most significant is to only point where you intend to shoot and the rest of the time, keep the firearm pointed to the ground.
Protect Your Ears
Although most gun ranges offer some form of protection when firing in a noisy range, the decibels tend to reach anywhere between 120 to 190. This varies depending on the weapon of choice but considerin that hearing loss can start when exposed to 85dB and above, it is vital to wear ear protection. The best way of ensuring you are using a quality brand and model is to invest in your own.
If you expect to be a frequent visitor to the shooting range, then be sure to pick up the best shooting ear protection possible.
The range is no place to start daydreaming so it is vital to always have your wits about. The sound of rounds being fired can mean that this is unlikely but listen out for the sound of someone shouting ‘ceasefire’ and duly comply.
Keep The Gun Unloaded
Until the range has been declared as the ‘hot range’ keep your firearm unloaded. Before entering and exiting the range, firearms must be empty with the magazine removed, and safe to protect the user and those in the vicinity.
Don’t Modify A Gun
Because they are mechanical objects designed to be used in a certain way, it is never a good idea to modify a weapon. This can make it dangerous to use and a lot of the time, any warranty will be void as a result of a modification. Qualified or not, any temptation to make modifications to a gun should be avoided, why risk ruining a perfectly good gun?
Understand The Rules
Every shooting range has the same general rules that must be adhered to, but there are also unique rules depending on the state. Consider local law, learn it before you enter the range, and make sure that you read any safety instructions thoroughly before getting started.
Treat A Firearm As If It Is Loaded
Even if you know it is not, it is always good to make a habit out of treating every firearm as if it is loaded. This can be the one you are carrying into the range, a gun that someone is pointing to the ground, basically every weapon you see.
Stay Within The Range’s Confines
It doesn’t matter where you are, whilst. in the range, every shot must be aimed at the designated target. This means you cannot aim at someone else, shoot towards the ground, and only in line with the firing line. A stray shot can endanger others and the round could end up just about anywhere unless fired correctly.
Don’t Rely On The Safety
Although it is there for a reason, it is always best to assume it is not on and act with caution. Not only could the safety be on when you think it is off, but it could also be faulty even if on. Placing it between positions is also not a sensible idea since this doesn’t guarantee protection. A firm jolt or jar can cause safety to come out of position and for the firearm to fire so not only should a user not rely on it, they should keep the gun unloaded when appropriate as mentioned above.
Listen To Your RSO
A Range Safety Officer is going to be available, especially to any newcomers which means there is always an opportunity to ask questions. On the other hand, anyone in the range must listen to their instruction at all times. They are the voice of safety at the gun range so it is best to pay attention and listen out for the RSO.
Keep The Range Tidy When It Is Safe
The recycling areas are available for any spent brass but it is also important to ensure that any trash is also placed in the relevant receptacles. If you need to move to pick up any items, only do so when it is safe when an RSO tells you. At this point, always stick to the walkways if moving downrange and know where the prohibited areas are so you can stay clear of them.
Only Use The Correct Ammunition
This is a vital part of staying safe at the shooting range as using the wrong ammunition can damage the gun, and cause injuries to the user and those around. Firearms are designed to be used with specific ammunition so make sure the one about to be used is correct. It is always best to stick to the standard recommendations to ensure better gun safety,
Wear Eye Protection
Not only can certain types of shooting eye protection help the user to shoot with accuracy, but they are particularly beneficial when shooting outside. Even in a range, it is not uncommon for gun parts such as springs to pop out when cleaning or disassembling a weapon. Every target shooter should have a quality eye protection of their own so they fit comfortably.