New Gun, Training & Handling

Gun Range Etiquette

Republished with permission from our friends at Concealed Nation

woman-shooting-at-the-range-300x190We recently posted an article dealing with gun shop etiquette and felt it would be a nice follow up to write about range etiquette as well. When dealing with firearms, there are things that each of us should be aware of as they have their own set of rules not found anywhere else. Be sure to follow all of your local range rules while you are there, as they can vary greatly from range to range.
If you have anything that you feel we missed, please share in the Facebook Comment section at the end of this article and we’ll add it to the list.


1. Follow the 4 Rules of Gun Safety

We would hope that these would be followed at all times, but need to give it the #1 spot on this list. Always, without exception, follow these rules.

2. Listen to the Range Officer

Most ranges, if there are more than one person there, will have a Range Officer assigned. The duties of the RO are to tell you when it’s ok to shoot, and when to cease fire. The RO is there for a reason; to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Always pay attention to them and do as they say to ensure the safety of everyone there.

3. Don’t touch any firearms during a cease fire

If the range isn’t hot, don’t touch your firearms. Leave them be until it’s time to shoot again. During a cease fire, you may have others doing tasks such as changing targets. The last thing anyone wants to see while they’re down range is someone playing with a firearm at the line. Don’t do it.

4. Don’t bother active target shooters

If someone is actively shooting, don’t tap them on the shoulder or try to talk to them. There is one exception to this rule: If you see that they (or someone else) could be in immediate danger, such as a malfunction you notice with their firearm, then it is alright to say something.

5. Don’t shoot firearms that go against the range rules

Let’s say you’re shooting at a 50ft indoor range. Don’t bring your high-powered rifle and think it’s ok to shoot. You’re sure to do damage down range, as most of them aren’t equipped to handle those types of impacts. Many indoor pistol ranges allow you to shoot .22 rifles, but always check before you shoot them.

6. Don’t coach or correct

Unless someone is pointing a firearm at you, it is common courtesy not to interfere with the shooting techniques of a fellow shooter. If they are doing something dangerous, that’s another story. Use your best judgement in that case.

7. Don’t hover

There is nothing more annoying at a range than having someone RIGHT behind or next to you while you shoot. If you’re observing, give some distance between yourself and the shooter. This is not only annoying, but could also pose a safety risk.

8. Never pick up someone’s firearm without asking

You see a beautiful 1911 that a fellow shooter brought to the range, and the only thing you want to do is feel it in your hands. We get it! And if you ask to do so, most people will oblige. They will probably be happy that you are taking interest in one of their prized possessions. Always ask, “That is a nice looking firearm, may I hold it?” If the request is granted, as always, safety check the firearm AS SOON AS YOU PICK IT UP.


9. Shoot one firearm at a time

We don’t mean AT the same time, like the image to the right. By ‘shoot one firearm at a time’, we mean: Only have one firearm out and on the line at any given time.

10. Clean up after yourself

When you’re done shooting, be sure to pick up your brass and anything else left behind before you leave. It’s rather frustrating to get to the range and have the floor covered with brass. Be respectful and clean up.


You’re at the range to ultimately have a good time doing what you love to do. Embrace it and enjoy it…safely.

In closing, here’s a great video on this exact topic with some good info:

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5 thoughts on “Gun Range Etiquette

  1. Jim says:

    My range lets me shoot my 12 gauge shotgun if I shoot slugs (one big chunk) rather than buckshot (a bunch of small steel balls)! (I asked them ahead of time if it was ok.) (They don’t want to have to clean up all of those steel balls.) It is really cool to shoot a 12 gauge slug – it puts quite a big hole in the target, compared to the 9mm “pin pricks” that my handgun makes!

    A 12 gauge with slugs is a good option if you are a good aim with it. It has a much longer range than buckshot, and it will likely knock down whoever you hit.

  2. DONNADOW1980@YAHOO.COM says:

    Thank you for the etiquette article. These may seem obvious, but to a newbee like myself I found it very helpful. Anything I can do to become more comfortable in this new setting helps a lot!

  3. Jeffrey Lonon says:

    Hey, this is helpful.
    Thanks for sharing this blog with us.

  4. That’s a good idea to not touch the gun when they tell you to stop. I would think that could help avoid any misfires. I’ll have to remember that if I decide to try out shooting.

  5. Randy Chorvack says:

    I like that you said to not even touch your gun when there’s a cease-fire so that people can change their targets safely. Gun safety is very important and you don’t want to shoot your gun off by accident while somebody is down range! My wife is hoping to learn how to use a gun, so I will be sure to pass this information down to her.

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