Video: Gun Range Safety and Etiquette — A Beginners Guide

By Dave Dolbee published on in General, Safety and Training, Videos

Going to an established range is one of the best ways to be introduced to the shooting sports. While getting your start in shooting by going with a friend or family member who is already an experienced shooter is always recommended, shooting at an established range with a professional Range Safety Officer (RSO) or certified instructor is your safest option.

New shooters are often—quite naturally—a bit intimidated. The RSO adds to that. It is like being back in school with a teacher looking over you just waiting for you to slip up, so they can pounce. That is the RSO’s job. That is also how everyone finishes the day safely. Don’t worry, everyone one of us, whether new to shooting or experienced, have all earned the sharp tongue of the RSO. It is not done to embarrass you; it is done for safety and to impress a lesson.

That being said, few of us will do what we know we should; we’ll head off with a friend, half listen to the instructions, and start shooting. However, before you do, while we have your full attention, please watch the following video from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

Range Safety and Etiquette

Are you a new shooter? Do you have a story of when you first started shooting or a safety tip for new shooters? Share your answers in the comment section.

SLRule

Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (17)

  • Rick H

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    I agree with the posted comments that the spokeswoman was not dressed appropriately, etc. Something that no one mentioned is that she at 4:40 she points the pistol right at the camera/camera man while she is talking. Lot of errors in this video.

    Reply

  • Steve

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    For a video on range safety and etiquette, I find several glaring errors. At the 2:52 mark you see the handgun is open, no chamber flag in the barrel and at the 2:57 mark when she picks up the handgun the slide is closed. At the 3:05 she is taking the magazine out, what range lets you take a handgun into a live range with a magazine inserted?

    Reply

  • Steve

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    For a video on range safety and etiquette, I find several glaring errors. At the 2:52 mark you see the handgun is open, no chamber flag in the barrel and at the 2:57 mark when she picks up the handgun the slide is closed. At the 3:05 she is taking the magazine out, what range lets you take a handing into a live range with a magazine inserted?

    Reply

  • Butch

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    It’s Allegheny, not Alleghany.

    Reply

    • Dave Dolbee

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      I know. There was a spelling error when it was first entered into the system, and now they cannot find how the web developer coded it to make the change. Congrats on the sharp eyes! ~Dave Dolbee

      Reply

  • John Hoss

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    An excellent basic video.
    I can’t help but be amused when the lady speaks about wearing appropriate clothing using shoes as an example. That nice looking scoop neck top will undoubtedly be entertaining when it scoops up a piece of hot brass. Ladies, wear a high neck shirt. A good example is the ladies in the last clip. Neither are likely to perform the brass dance.

    Reply

    • Elena George

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      No kidding!

      I was at the range once in a plain tee shirt. A brass empty came back at me. I found myself doing the “hot brass dance” once I benched the pistol. After that, I throw a smagh on around my neck.

      Reply

  • Vickie

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    First thing…DON’T WEAR A LOW CUT TOP, HOT BRASS HURTS YOUR CHEST WHEN THE CASING IS STUCK IN YOUR BRA! I’m sorry quit using sex to sell safety. I am a woman and always wear a high neck shirt.

    Reply

    • Dan Conine

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      Hear Hear! The more I look around, the more I think it’s time to stop using sex to sell. At all.
      Get off my grass, too. 😉
      Gun use is always a serious situation, even when for recreation. We shouldn’t let the industry play fast and loose with safety or marketing just because everyone else does. This is a perfectly appropriate time to call up our better angels of equality. A woman with a gun shouldn’t feel any need to dress like merchandise.

      Reply

  • Wayne Stratos

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    I usually shoot at an outdoor range that belongs to a club I am a member of. Since there is both rifle and pistol along a long venue, we have a light switch at each section to turn on to cease fire. The light is a flashing red and is clearly visible.

    Reply

  • Jim in Conroe

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    A couple of points.

    There is not much information given on outdoor ranges. At these venues, a cease fire will be called periodically to allow shooters to mark or change their targets. When called, unload and make safe your firearm, then step off the firing line until you are cleared to go downrange. There is no handling of firearms during a cease fire. It is not necessary to wear eye and ear protection during the ceasefire. Once you have changed your target, do not return to the firing line until told that the range is hot. Then, don your eye and ear protection.

    Just one safety note. At about minute 7 there is an image of several people discussing their shooting session at an indoor range. The man in the image is holding a rifle pointed at the ceiling. It shoud be pointed downrange.

    Reply

  • Murphy

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    Stay cage free shooting, the range is a joke.

    Reply

    • Allan

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      The range is a joke? Have you considered that the shooting range is the ONLY place millions of American can go for instruction and practice? If the range is a joke, I for one, definitely missed the punch line!

      Reply

  • DaveW

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    And if you happen to be a shapely blond, expect more help than you probably need. :-)

    Reply

    • Vickie

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      More help usually from people who don’t know what they are doing.

      Reply

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