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Old May 26, 2012, 03:35 PM   #1
Discern
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Range Safety & Etiquette

Maybe you have been to a shooting range many times before, or maybe you have never been to a shooting range. The link below is to the Introduction to Range Safety and Etiquette clip on YouTube. This video has been posted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. IMO, this video does a pretty good job regarding basic range safety and etiquette.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COvFyw-6Fqs

Things I like in the video
The range bag is placed so all firearms in the range bag are facing down range.
A firearm is not uncased until they are at the shooting lane. Get in the habit of loading your range bag the same every time. If you use the factory gun case, mark the case to indicate where the muzzle is located.
A firearm is always to be pointed directly down range - parallel to the floor and walls.
A loaded firearm must be in the hand of the shooter with the muzzle parallel to floor and walls.
A firearm on the bench is pointed down range with no magazine in the mag well, slide/cylinder/action locked open, clear/empty chamber(s) and ejection port facing up.
Trigger finger is on the frame until you are on target ready to shoot.
Your body should be centered in shooting lane and target should be placed in the target carrier in manner so the bullets will hit the back stop and not the floor, ceiling, walls or targets of other shooters. Think of your shooting lane as a bowling lane. Your bullet should never go outside of your shooting lane.
If someone wants to shoot your gun, have them come to your shooting lane.
5:00 mark -The shooter first removes the magazine and then clears the chamber and locks the action open - placing the firearm on the bench with the muzzle parallel to the walls and floor so the firearm can be shot by another shooter.
They male shooters are wearing high collar shirts (helps prevent a fired casing from going down your shirt).
They put on eye and ear protection before entering the range. I always wear doubles (plugs and muffs) at a club or indoor range.
Anyone can call a Cease Fire.

Things I dislike or disagree with in the video
When discussing finger outside of the trigger guard while using the trainer, the trigger finger should be on the frame - not just outside of the trigger guard.
6:16 - The firearm in Lane 5 is not pointing directly down range. It appears to pointing at the wall.
The guys wearing the high collar shirts should button the top button, as long as it is not tight or uncomfortable.
The female shooter should be wearing a high collar shirt to help prevent a fired casing from going down the shirt. Yes, she is shooting a revolver. However, is is possible for a fired casing to come from another shooting lane. She may also shoot a semi-auto belonging to someone else.
The female shooter uses her strong hand to cock the hammer. Use the support hand to cock the hammer as long as you have the required hand strength. This prevents you from moving your strong hand and changing the grip of the strong hand between shots.
The male shooter uses a semi-auto grip when shooting a revolver. I don't like having any part of your body ahead of the trigger guard of a revolver due to the cylinder gap. If you decide to shoot SA with a two handed grip, it is quicker to cock the hammer with your support thumb if the support thumb is closer to the hammer.
When the Cease Fire is called, they eject the unfired round before removing the magazine from the mag well. Personally, I prefer the magazine removed from the mag well first and then eject the unfired cartridge from the chamber like he did at the 5:00 mark.

Things they did not cover
If you need to adjust your eye or ear protection, leave the range to do so.
Wearing high collar/long sleeved shirts buttoned as high as possible while still being comfortable and not restricting.
Wearing pants vs. shorts or skirts. It is possible have part of a bullet or bullet jacket come back from the backstop. Clothing helps to prevent cuts from these types of incidents.
Wear appropriate footwear - no flip flops or open toed shoes. See above reason for pants vs. shorts or skirts.
A hat with a brim can help prevent a fired casing from hitting your face.
Some ranges are cleaner than others. If the range has deleading cleaner or wipes, wipe down the bench before placing your range bag on the bench. Keep all range bags and everything else off the floor.
No food or drink on the range.
Importance of good hygiene after being on a range, shooting or handling ammunition.

Every range has their own set of rules. Be aware of them and follow them. Also follow all laws and regulations regarding firearms, ammunition and their storage, use and transportation.

Have fun and be safe!
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Old May 26, 2012, 06:47 PM   #2
rodfac
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Good points one and all. Here are the four basic rules as I see them

1. Consider all firearms loaded, regardless of how recently they've been unloaded, even in your presence.
2. Never point or allow the muzzle to cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Finger off the trigger until aligned with the target.
4. Be sure of your target, and what is in front of and behind it, before firing.

Rod
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Old May 26, 2012, 11:21 PM   #3
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I was shooting yesterday and felt something brush my leg and at first thought it was a dog. When I looked down I see some dude duck walking as he attempted to recover his brass for reloading.

Rule: if your brass lands in another stall do not retrieve it while the other person is actively shooting.
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Old May 27, 2012, 02:02 AM   #4
Single Six
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Don't even get me started on the times I've been muzzle-swept, both at the range, as well as in the gun shops. More often than not, when I bring it to the attention of the violator, the response is "Relax...it's not loaded!".
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Old May 27, 2012, 07:52 AM   #5
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Discern
Things I dislike or disagree with in the video
When discussing finger outside of the trigger guard while using the trainer, the trigger finger should be on the frame - not just outside of the trigger guard.
What difference does it make? I have long fingers. I index on the upper front of the trigger guard. My finger is off the trigger until I am on-target -- that's what the rule calls for, how the shooter does it is irrelevant.

Quote:
The guys wearing the high collar shirts should button the top button, as long as it is not tight or uncomfortable.
I'm in my late 60s and I've been shooting for almost 60 years. I've never buttoned up the top button, I've never seen anyone else button the top button, and I've never had a case eject into my shirt. If you want to button up like a priest at the range, go for it.

Quote:
The female shooter uses her strong hand to cock the hammer. Use the support hand to cock the hammer as long as you have the required hand strength. This prevents you from moving your strong hand and changing the grip of the strong hand between shots.
If it works for her, what difference does it make?
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Old May 27, 2012, 09:20 AM   #6
Zhillsauditor
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Quote:
If you want to button up like a priest at the range, go for it.
I've had hot shells in my shirt all the time. I once had a 9mm get between my glasses and my eyelid. Ouch.

Even in the mild Florida winter, I always wear shorts to the range. Once a range officer commented on it, and I said to him, "It's my day off--you're lucky I've got shorts on!"
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Old May 28, 2012, 10:03 PM   #7
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As a long time range officer at a local gun club I've seen a lot and to be honest I've been pretty impressed with the conduct of the shooters on the line. From the 8 year old little girl with her pink single shot .22 to the 90 year old gentleman who lost his hearing aid on the floor one evening I've never had to remove a shooter because of unsafe practices.

There has been occasion where I had to inform a shooter that a particular gun/ammo combination couldn't be used. But even here the individuals, (though ticked off) understood the reasoning behind it and didn't cause any problems.

A tricky situation that arises once in a while is when a shooter is on the line, (sometimes with a friend or husband, sometimes shooting their own or someone elses firearm) and it is apparent that the gun/caliber/ammo combination is more than they can safely handle. There is almost nothing more heart stopping than seeing a pistol on the line flying out of someone's hands due to recoil. This is where discretion plays an important role. My job isn't to embarrass the shooter but to provide guidance into safe gun handling and shooting practices. Sometimes their grip can be improved upon. Sometimes a change in ammo is what it takes. In the case of a semi-auto I have on occasion suggested that they practice firing the weapon with one round only in the magazine. This allows them to cycle the slide and fire the pistol normally without the risk of an accidental double tap/recoil initiated "flinch and fire." Some people have found this helps them get more comfortable shooting their handgun. Sometimes nothing helps and it's plainly the wrong gun.

As far as appropriate dress is concerned that is left to the discretion of the shooter. It is generally "new" shooters who've never had a hot piece of brass go down the front of their shirt or land on their feet. How many people have personally seen or had brass land behind their glasses?

One night a new club member with a new gun showed up in high heels, a short skirt and low cut top. I'm not sure what it was she was expecting but when she turned around and asked for help from a range officer, (I was the official range officer and there were about 5 others RSOs on the line shooting) there was about 8 guys who dropped everything to "help" her out. It was pretty comical. The next time she showed up she was wearing "gun friendly" attire.

One problem that occurs once in a while is when a group of people, (usually with children) crowd into a shooting lane or bay. This is not only dangerous to those firing from that station, but the adjacent stations as well. Multiple guns with multiple people causes multiple problems. The lest of which is that the RSO can't get a good line of sight on the shooter. This is one of those situations where taking immediate control is in order.
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Old May 29, 2012, 08:23 AM   #8
Rifleman1776
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Written rules a nice for the people who don't need them.
Useless for idiots.
We have a nice public, but unregulated, range not far from me. I no longer use it because of the idiots. The go downrange while others are shooting. They shoot when someone has called for a cease fire and people are changing targets.
I don't argue with or get into angry confrontations with idiots who have guns.
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Old May 29, 2012, 02:51 PM   #9
Brian Pfleuger
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If I had to follow some people's rules, I wouldn't be shooting where they could enforce them.
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Old May 30, 2012, 09:29 AM   #10
Gbro
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The range owner did a very good job of communicating his rules.
I question why he isn't using the CEASE-CEASE-CEASE command in place of the old one?
The Lady demonstrating the revolver released the cylinder and did rotate the cylinder in her inspection sequence but did not verbalize the need to do a cylinder rotation as part of the clearing sequence. As we know a cartridge can be missed due to an obscure look at the cylinder when grips or body part blocks view.
The clearing process must be done the same each and every time. If cylinder isn't rotated every time to insure ALL cylinders are clear.

The clearing of a simi auto should be done before a slide lock is en-gauged.
I have large hands and engauging a slide lock requires a change of position on my 1911 and if not preformed correctly a muzzle sweep could happen.
I teach clearing a pistol in this order.
With muzzle down range,
1. release and remove magazine.
2. draw slide to the rear checking chamber,
3. check loading path,
4. lock slide open.
Locking slide open before clearing chamber can make viewing chamber more difficult due to the slide partially obscuring the view.
When its necessary to reposition a pistol in hand to engauge slide lock, keep muzzle pointed down range and rotate your body. Too many just turn the pistol to the side while engauging a slide lock on a pistol that hasn't even been cleared.
My $0.02
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Last edited by Gbro; May 30, 2012 at 09:38 AM.
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Old June 1, 2012, 09:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Written rules a nice for the people who don't need them.
Useless for idiots.
We have a nice public, but unregulated, range not far from me. I no longer use it because of the idiots. The go downrange while others are shooting. They shoot when someone has called for a cease fire and people are changing targets.
I don't argue with or get into angry confrontations with idiots who have guns.
+1 for Rifleman and his observations.

After experiencing this a few times, I decided I would build a small shooting range here at the house. (I still have the problem with cows wandering in to the shooting area, but a little bit of grain usually is enough to entice them away.)

But even when shooting with people I have shot with for years, we still discuss the rules each time we shoot. I emphasize to new shooters they have just as much authority to yelled "stop" or "Cease Fire" as anyone else.
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Old June 1, 2012, 07:33 PM   #12
tekarra
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In my experience the majority of people at the range are safety concious and friendly, However, the jerks can ruin a fine day in very short order.
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Old June 4, 2012, 06:03 PM   #13
Stevie-Ray
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Quote:
I've had hot shells in my shirt all the time. I once had a 9mm get between my glasses and my eyelid. Ouch.

Even in the mild Florida winter, I always wear shorts to the range. Once a range officer commented on it, and I said to him, "It's my day off--you're lucky I've got shorts on!"
Same here. 10mms are particularly nasty, but I've never buttoned the top button and don't intend to. My ratio of range trips to hot shell dances doesn't warrant it. I also wear shorts if it's hot, because ranges don't air-condition like I would like. I'm nearing 60 and doubt I'll change anything now. Post those as rules and I'll simply quit going.
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