Gun Safety: Range Rules To Live By

Safety is always a priority when enjoying the sport of shooting.  Every shooter should be safety oriented and keep the 3 imperative rules as a code of unbreakable conduct.  These rules are:

  1. Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded.
  2. Always keep your finger off the trigger (out of the trigger guard) until aiming at your target and ready to fire.
  3. Never point your firearm at anything you would not be willing to destroy.

If those 3 rules are upheld then there should be 0% chance of accidental discharge or shooting anything other than an intended target.  Guns do not go off on their own in a mysterious way.  Guns are tools which must be treated with care and respect like any heavy machinery or power tool.

Aside from the big 3 rules there are other rules worth committing to memory.

  • Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
  • Always check to see if a firearm is loaded when handed a gun or handling a gun you have had in storage.
  • Guns may be loaded with a round in the chamber ready to fire even with the magazine removed.
  • Use a muzzle flag inserted in the open breach of your gun to confirm cold condition.
  • Always stay behind the firing line.
  • If you drop your gun, let it fall to the ground.  Modern firearms are designed to not fire when dropped.  You are more likely to accidentally pull the trigger when trying to catch the gun.
  • If you fall down while shooting or holding a gun, keep the muzzle pointed down range even if it means you must be injured in the process.  It is better to have a bruised elbow or shoulder than to accidentally discharge your weapon especially if it were to be pointed anywhere but downrange.
  • Be aware of what is behind your target.  If outdoors be aware of wildlife that may wander into the line of fire.
  • Make sure everyone around you is prepared before you start shooting (eyes and ears, standing well clear of firing line, aware you are shooting).
  • Respect guns but do not be afraid.  Be in control.
  • Move in slow deliberate motions.
  • Do not touch spent casings with bare hands to avoid chemical exposure.
  • Wash hands immediately after range session; before eating, drinking, or touching your face.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use drugs while using firearms.

A few more tips that may be applicable to your trip to the range.

  • Unload firearms at the shooting station (firing line) with the barrel facing down range.
  • Leave firearms at the shooting station with a muzzle flag inserted during cease-fire conditions or between use.
  • Do not touch your firearm during a cease-fire.
  • Loading ammo into magazines at the spectator area behind the firing line is ok, inserting loaded magazines into firearms MUST only be done at the firing line.
  • Make sure everyone has verbally confirmed a cease-fire and is done handling their firearm before going past firing line to change targets.
  • Make sure everyone has verbally confirmed they are ready for the range to go hot before declaring the range is hot.  Double check to be absolutely sure that no one is still beyond the firing line.

Rules are good.  Rules make shooting safe.  Follow the rules and you will make everyone around you respect you even as a novice shooter.  It may seem like a lot at first but remember the big 3 and you will be in good shape:  always treat guns as if they are loaded, always keep finger off trigger until firing, never point guns at anything you would not be willing to destroy.

Most of the rules are common sense and naturally implemented after being initiated through a few sessions at the range.  Gun safety becomes part of your shooting skill.  It becomes second nature but is always done with a conscious effort and awareness.  A good shooter is first and foremost a safe shooter.  In my experience all shooters are highly concerned about proper safety and that says a lot about the shooting community.

Oregon Firearm Defense goes through a safety review before each of our lessons as standard procedure.  We spend a good deal of time going over safety and the mechanical operation of firearms in our Pistol Basics 101 lesson.  This is a great way to instill proper safety discipline into your routine.  Contact us today and book your private lesson.