Spring has sprung and now it’s time to shoot outside.
Ahhhh! The great outdoors. The air is fresh, the birds are singing and the butterflies are a-fluttering. The wind blows through the leaves with a rustle. Wait, that’s not the leaves. That’s a plastic garbage bag rolling along. Someone had the nerve to leave a plastic bag in the woods to flutter around and ruin the outdoors and possibly hurt some poor animal. With a frustrated sigh, you reach down, grab the bag and stick it in your pack to carry out to the trash can.
Now that the days are getting warmer, it’s time to head outside to enjoy our shooting hobby. But with that move outdoors, there is still an etiquette and general courtesy you need to show other shooters on the range. There are even some different rules and responsibilities to being on an outdoor range as opposed to an indoor range. Whether private or public, make sure that you are kind and courteous to your fellow shooters.
Safety First and Foremost
As always, safety is the number one priority for everyone on the range. Make sure to follow all range rules, any commands or rules issued by the range safety officer and, of course, always remember the Four Universal Rules of Gun Safety.
When people are down range, make sure all guns are unloaded and placed on the table or shooting bench and that everyone with you steps away from the line. We don’t want to have someone down range changing targets with bullets flying past them.
As with shooting indoors, this is a time to socialize and make new friends, but try not to annoy or bother your fellow shooters. At most outdoor ranges, there can be a few more people on or near the line, unlike at most indoor ranges. So you can have your whole group out shooting with you and talking and having a good time. However, taking some time between shooting and target pasting and talking with your fellow shooters is a great time to see what others have with them.
When a great shot is made, getting excited is expected, but try not to be too loud and bother your neighbor. That can really annoy some people.
At most outdoor ranges, there are rules about allowing a lull in shooting to allow people time to go down range and evaluate, retrieve, repair or replace targets. Don’t be that guy who refuses to put their gun down for a few minutes. Allow people the time to go down and deal with their targets.
At the same time, don’t be the guy that signals for a ceasefire every five minutes to go check targets. Bench shooters can get into a good cadence and be getting good shots and if you interrupt them constantly, you will annoy them. Just wait until it’s time for everyone to go down range to police your targets.
Remember that your mother, girlfriend, maid, or whoever does not work at the range. Make sure to clean up after yourself. There is nothing more frustrating then to have a very good outdoor public range shutdown because there is so much garbage around that they can’t afford to pay the maintenance staff. Or it just sits and starts to look awful. Be kind to the environment and to everyone else and make sure to throw away used targets, ammo boxes and food and drink wrappers. Don’t be the reason a range got shut down. Come with garbage bags and clean up after yourself.
As with everything you do when shooting, have fun. That’s the point of our hobby. We do this because we enjoy it. Let’s make sure that we have fun and allow others to have fun too.