If you’ve never visited a shooting range before, you want to ensure you know some simple rules of etiquette as well as safety procedures. A responsible gun owner will always have control over their weapon, but it’s easy to feel too relaxed or too nervous at a gun range and forget some etiquette, or put your safety at risk. Note a few quick tips for your first visit to a gun range.
1. Bring protection
Most gun ranges require you to wear eye and ear protection; this should be safety goggles and heavy-duty earplugs or earmuffs meant for working in noisy conditions. If you don’t bring your own protection, you may be required to buy earplugs or rent other equipment while you’re there.
2. Unpack one gun at a time
It’s not unusual for someone at a gun range to bring several different types of firearms with them for practice, but it’s not in very good manners to walk into your shooting stall and immediately unpack all your guns from your range bag. You’re not at a shooting range to show off your gun collection or to seem intimidating to other shooters, so unpack just one gun and one box of ammunition at a time.
3. Mind your own shooting
Shooting stalls have walls that keep each shooter separate from others, and you want to respect the space of other shooters. Like working out at a gym, other people may not appreciate you trying to give them tips and pointers or bragging about your own shooting. This can interrupt their concentration and seem very impolite. You also don’t want to ask for ammunition or other equipment, as these things are expensive and it’s not up to your fellow range shooters to provide them for you. If you need assistance, ask the instructor or manager of the range, not the person in the next stall.
4. Always keep your gun empty and aim downrange
Just because you’re at a shooting range doesn’t mean you should ignore basic safety. If you still have ammunition in a clip and are done shooting, remove the clip from the gun. Keep cylinders open and empty when guns are not in use. Always aim downrange, even if the gun is empty. Don’t hold the gun while hanging your target but set it down when not in use. Again, you’re not there to intimidate anyone and accidents can happen even at shooting ranges, so always mind your safety and your manners.