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Firing Range Safety Checklist

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Safety is the most important feature of any firing range. Many ranges host a large number of shooters at any given time, making it essential to have clear and strictly enforced rules. These rules help to protect both you and others around you, allowing everyone to safely enjoy their shooting.

Point the Gun in a Safe Direction
You should always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction. This is the primary rule of the National Rifle Association and should be applied to all weapon handling situations. “A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage,” says the National Rifle Association Headquarters website. You should always treat the gun as if it is loaded and only point the barrel downrange.

Finger Off the Trigger
Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. You can rest your finger along the side of the gun or on the trigger guard while holding the weapon. You should also keep the gun’s safety on until you are ready to shoot.

Loading the Weapon
Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to shoot. When you first pick up a weapon, engage the safety if available and then make sure that the weapon is not already loaded. You may have to remove a magazine or open the action to inspect the weapon for ammunition. Always use the correct ammunition when loading your gun. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber, leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does, according to the National Rifle Association Headquarters website.

Misfires
“If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, hold your shooting position for several seconds,” says the Gun Safety Now website. Then, with the barrel pointed in a safe direction, you can carefully unload the gun. Always ask a firing range supervisor if you have any doubts about how to proceed in a misfire situation.

Know the Range Rules
Always learn and follow the rules set down by an individual firing range. Listen to the range instructors and always obey their commands. Any type of ceasefire order should be obeyed immediately. Be aware that some ranges will only allow certain types of weapons. Check in advance to find out which weapons are authorized.

Personal Protective Equipment
Most firing ranges have strict rules about the use of personal protective equipment. Hearing protection and eye protection are normally mandatory. You can cause long-term damage to your hearing if you do not protect your ears from the sound caused by both your own and other people’s firing. Eye protection is necessary to guard against ejected shells and small lead particles that can sometimes be released from revolvers.

Awareness
You must be aware of your surroundings at all times. “Be aware of your surroundings when handling guns so you don’t trip or lose your balance and accidentally point and/or fire the gun at anyone or anything,” says the Gun Safety Now website.

Never Use Alcohol or Drugs
Never go to the firing range if you have been drinking alcohol or taking any type of drug that could affect your shooting.

Originally posted 2012-02-17 16:25:50.

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