You’ve just purchased a new firearm and you can’t wait to get to the shooting range to try it out. However, don’t pull the trigger just yet!
If you’re new to firearms and shooting ranges, you first need to know how to visit the range safely. There’s so much that can go wrong from a safety perspective when guns are involved, so you need to be a responsible user of firearms and learn how to keep yourself and others around you safe.
To learn more, keep reading to find our first-timers guide to visiting a shooting range safely, helping you learn how to protect yourself on a day out at the range.
Consider Taking a Gun Safety Course First
If you’re visiting a shooting range for the first time, you might feel more comfortable doing it with an instructor. We recommend searching online for a gun range near me and looking for a facility that offers courses for beginners.
This is one of the best ways to learn how to use your gun safely, how to act in shooting ranges, and how to keep yourself and others free from harm. It might help boost your confidence, as it can be intimidating going to a range for the first time.
Plus, it’s a good way to meet fellow gun enthusiasts in your area.
Bring a Friend
If possible, it’s a good idea to bring along a more experienced friend when going shooting. Not only is it more fun to share the experience with a pal, but you can look out for one another, making sure you don’t miss anything when it comes to safety protocols.
When you shoot alone, you might forget an important step in your safety procedures, so it’s great to have a friend who can help. While it’s hard to talk while you’re both firing, it’s great to be able to debrief with your friend once you’ve finished and then talk about the fun times you’ve had.
Ask for Help
One of our top gun range safety tips is to always ask for help! There’s no such thing as a stupid question and the shooting range will have friendly, experienced staff members who are there to help you.
If you’re unsure about how to do something, where to stand, or what to do, always ask questions! This can help you avoid making dangerous mistakes and will also help you learn.
Remember, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, as everyone was new once.
Often, newbies get confused about common shooting range commands, so it’s ok to speak up and say you don’t understand.
The range officer is in charge of range safety and might call out certain commands, including the following:
- Cease fire—Everyone must stop shooting immediately
- Make safe—Holster your weapon and remove your finger from the trigger
- Range going hot—This means live fire is about to start in the range
Be Sure to Bring the Right Equipment
When packing your bag to visit the range, take care to include everything you’ll need for a day of shooting.
You’ll want to bring along your firearm and plenty of ammunition, unless you’re going to rent your weapon once you get to the range. However, you’ll also want a few other items, including ear and eye protection and your own targets.
Never underestimate the importance of protection, especially when it comes to your ears. Earplugs are essential items to protect you from hearing loss, as ranges can be so loud that they can cause hearing loss over time.
What will you wear for your first day at the shooting range? Knowing what to wear is important from a safety perspective.
Always wear closed-toed shoes to protect your feet from hot shells that will land on the ground. Long pants and long-sleeves are usually worn as well, to protect your skin from contact with the weapons.
If the range is outside, you might also want a hat to block the sun from your face. Otherwise, it can be hard to see where you’re shooting.
Your clothing is likely to get dirty as well, so keep that in mind when choosing an outfit. When you visit, keep an eye on what others are wearing, as this can help you plan better for next time.
Always Clean Up After Yourself
When you’re finished for the day, responsible shooters know that they should always clean up after themselves. Take down your targets, pick up any shells or casings that are on the floor, and throw away any trash.
This keeps the range tidy and safe for those that come after you and it’s sure to put you on good terms with the staff, who are busy and don’t need to waste their time cleaning up after customers.
Stay Safe at the Shooting Range With These Tips
If you’re new to the shooting range, you’re sure to be excited about getting started! However, know that safety is always your number one priority, so use the tips above to prepare for the day and stay as safe as possible.
Sadly, accidents can happen in an instant, especially when weapons are involved, so stay safe by knowing how to be a responsible shooter. That way, you can enjoy the thrills and fun of days out at the shooting range for years to come!
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