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New Shooters at the Range Cheat Sheet by

rules     nra     shooters     range

What to Expect On the Range

Going to the range is fun and easy, once you know a few simple rules. The main thing that all gun ranges have in common is that it’s all about safety. (Turn to page 6 for the NRA Basic Rules of Gun Safety.) Aside from that, every range is different. Some allow you to rent firearms; others don’t. Some have strict rules about what kind of targets you may use. Some are busy, while at others, you and your mentor may be the only shooters present.

Range Safety Officers (RSO)
Most ranges have Range Safety Officers (RSOs), whose job is to supervise shooters, enforce the rules, and handle any problems that
may occur. The Range Safety Officer has absolute authority on the range. Your mentor may want to introduce you to the RSO so they can explain what’s expected of you.

Range Commands
Two of the most common range commands are
“cease firing” and “com­mence firing.”
“Com­mence firing” is the command given to tell everyone it’s safe to shoot.
“Cease firing” is used whenever all shooting must stop. During a ceasefire, there is no handling of firearms.

The key things to remember are:
1. Chamber is empty and ammunition source (magazine) is removed.
2. Action is open.
3. Hands off!
4. Step away from the firing line.

Other Things to Remember

1. Do not fire at posts, supports or target frames.
2. Shoot only range-­app­roved targets.
3. If you set out frames to support your targets before starting, return them to the storage area once you are done. However, never go past the firing line (i.e., downrange) until the RSO says it’s safe to do so.
4. If your club or range allows pets, keep them on leashes or under control at all times. Pets unused to gunfire might panic on a range.
5. It’s good etiquette to leave the range better than you found it.

Gear: Five Things You Need At the Range

Don’t be intimi­dated: Going shooting is much less gear-i­nte­nsive than you may think.

A Gun Case
Unless the “range” is your back yard, you’ll want something to transport your firearm in. Gun cases are available in just about every concei­vable size at prices that won’t hurt your wallet.
Ear Protection
Even a .22-ca­liber rifle can produce a sound of 140 decibels (dB), which is enough to cause hearing damage. You can protect your ears without breaking the bank. Foam inserts, especially doubled up with earmuffs, work wonders.
Eye Protec­tion
Eye protection is also crucial. Protect your eyes with a pair of shooting glasses. Look for glasses that are impact resistant and specif­ically labeled for use in the shooting sports.
Ammu­nition Designed For Your Firearm
Check your owner’s manual to make sure you only buy ammunition recomm­ended by the gun’s manufa­cturer. Your mentor can help you
select the best option for your gun.
Of course, you’ll want something to shoot at, and not all ranges sell targets. Some beginners like to start with reactive targets, which may do things like show a color change where your bullet strikes. Be aware that many ranges stipulate paper targets only.

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