First trip to the range...
This weekend I'm making the first trip to the range with my 92FS. Looking forward to it, but I have a couple questions regarding the etiquette when firing at a range. I assume you have to check in and pay a nominal fee of some sort, based either on time or participants or both.
I've read about cease fire calls so people can retrieve their targets and post up new ones, but do they call resume fire? Or are you just supposed to wait till everyone is safe and out of the range?
If you are in closed off booths, is there a different etiquette as opposed to long benches with no dividers? For instance, is there a certain space between individuals firing (comparable to the one-urinal between users rule for dudes in bathrooms.)
Any help would be useful. as I am socially awkward and the less questions I have to ask after I get there the better, and less stressed my experience there will be.
Thanks Dudes (and ladies).
You'll be on your own, which fits in with the responsibilities of gun ownership. The target will generally be hung on a deployment/retrieval system which doesn't require (or permit) you to actually set foot on the range proper. Calls from behind the glass only come when someone screws up.
Have your safety gear on. Keep the muzzle pointed downrange. Know the status of your piece all the time. Observe the rules that you read, and have fun.
Those things vary from range to range. My first question would be whether it's indoors or outdoors.
At every range I go, there is some kind of range briefing/education for people who have never shot at that range before. They'll cover a few basics, and they'll also cover a few things that will be particular to that range.
If you go to an indoor range, it will almost certainly be as gorknoids described. If you go to an outdoor range, it will probably work in one of two ways.
1. Range commands from a range officer. Ready on the right. Ready on the left. All ready on the firing line. Commence firing. Some time later, might be 15 minutes, might be an hour, (s)he'll call cease fire. Everyone clears their firearms, and some ranges require everyone to insert a safety flag in the chamber.* Then any/everyone can move downrange and change/remove targets, etc. When everyone is back, the cycle repeats.
*Safety flags might be known by another name (open bolt indicator, etc.). They can be bought in gun shops, and ranges that require them typically sell them. I've seen them as cheap as 89¢ and as much as a few bucks. Most I've seen were between one and two dollars.
2. Shooters agree to call range hot or range cold without having to go through all the commands from a range officer. This usually happens in places where there are smaller groups shooting. If you need to change a target, you can just ask for a cold range. If everyone agrees, everyone clears firearms and you can do what you need to do. When done, everyone agrees that the range is hot, and off you go.
Once you get to the range, if you still aren't sure what's going on, you could always just watch for a few minutes. And as long as you are safe and polite, most people at a range will be friendly and more than willing to help you out.
Pay close attention to the rules regarding where/when you can uncase your firearm, and when you can touch it. Most places/people don't appreciate it when you are touching your firearm during a cease-fire. They frequently have different colored lines you have to stand behind during cold range periods.
Thanks for the input guys... All of you have posted things I was unfamiliar with. :D
Firearm muzzle is always pointed downrange.
If a ceasefire is called do not go near the bench or near a firearm.
Wear hearing and eye protection.
Respond/react immediately to any Range Master commands.
Be polite and considerate of the other shooters.
If you don't know, ask.
Have fun. ;)
Most of the stuff has been covered already.
If you are shooting indoors, the weapon stays in the shooting booth. No more than one person with a weapon and no more than one "coach" in the booth at the same time. Never more than 2 in a booth is a standard in this part of the country. You can rent one lane/booth for up to 4 shooters, but never more than two in the booth at the same time and never more than one weapon in play/being shot.
If you are shooting outdoors, the ranges here all have benchrest style booths. There aren't long tables that are shared. I have been to 3 outdoor ranges here and all three have red lights overhead with a light switch at each station. When you flick the light switch to the "on" position, everyone recognizes it as a cease fire and steps away from their weapons, bolts open, pistols either slide back or on safe and placed on the bench.
Change targets and come back to your station, turn the switch "off" and everyone recognizes it as a live fire range once again. I have never encountered a problem with anyone NOT understanding that rule.
The most important thing I can advise is to just sit back for a couple of minutes and watch the activity. That can tell you a lot and it might even give you an idea of WHO to stay away from. ;)
Good luck and post some results!
I shoot at outdoor ranges. It is far more 'casual' (for lack of a better word) than many ranges. People generally announce when they need to change targets, and walk the 100 yards to do so, and will announce when they are ready to shoot, and everyone should protect their ears.
If everyone follows the basics of safety, and those that don't might as well be shooting from a firetruck, it is not a big deal. I have been at the range with idiot shooters present. I stay in a safe area and wait for them to go. Typically they are gone soon.
The concept here is to relax, think, and use basic firearms safety and no one will know you are new.
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