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Shooting Indoors: Ettiquette at the Indoor Range

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Sometimes we need to share our shooting space with others.

Now that the winter months are upon us, unless you are a die-hard outdoor shooter, our shooting activities are being forced indoors. Most of us will head to an indoor range of some sort. Some of us are lucky in the type of range we are able to use. Some are more high tech then others and some are larger and have more space then others. When it comes to what you can and cannot do, some are more strict while others allow you more leeway. No matter what kind of indoor range you go to, there is proper etiquette you should follow so that everyone has a good time.

Remember that not all indoor ranges are the same. Each range has different rules you need to follow. For example, one of the public ranges in my area does not allow draw from a holster, while another one does as long as you ask first. Learning the specific range’s rules and keeping them in mind is always a good thing. Otherwise, you may be asked not to come back.

Safety First

No matter what the rules are, always remember that safety is the number one concern. You have a lot of people in one small space, all likely wielding firearms. If you aren’t aware of what you are doing, someone could get seriously hurt.

Besides the Four Universal Rules of Gun Safety, here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Don’t have a loaded gun off the firing line/out of your shooting booth. Not only is this unsafe (as you could have a negligent discharge), it makes others nervous.
  • Don’t wave your gun around. Always keep it pointed downrange.
  • If your range has a dedicated Range Safety Officer (RSO), make sure to pay attention to anything they say to you. They are there to help you and keep you safe.
  • Bring your gun to the line in a bag or case. There may be tables or shelves along the back of the bay where you can put your range bag and other personal items. This is not the place to pull out your gun and carry it to the line. You may know it’s unloaded, but others may not.

More from Wide Open Spaces:

3 Fundamentals of Handgun Marksmanship

How to Introduce Kids to Shooting

Shooting with BRASS Can Make Your Shots Easier

5 Common Mistakes New Shooters Have to Avoid

Social Aspect

For many shooters, going to the range is as much of a time to socialize as it is to hone our shooting skills. Shooters tend to be a friendly bunch of people, but like anyone, they also need their alone time when on the range. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be social, just keep in mind that once the muffs go on or the plugs go in, some people may not want to be bothered.

Unless someone is doing something that could harm themselves or someone else, never bother an active shooter. Also try not to coach others unless asked. While some people might welcome the help, others may get offended.

Watching others is a good way to learn, and sometimes it’s fun to see what they are doing or what kind of gun they are shooting. When someone is in the booth, try not to hover right behind them. Not only can that make them nervous, but it can be unsafe as well. Stand back from them and just watch. When they step away from the line is the perfect time to step forward and ask any questions you may have.

Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and chat with folks while on the range. You may just find a new shooting buddy.

Action Targets
Action Targets

Clean up

When you are done shooting, make sure to police the area in and around your shooting booth and clean it up. Being able to use an indoor range is a privilege, like when hunting or fishing on private land or using a public outdoor range, and it’s polite to clean up after yourself.

Throw away any empty ammo boxes or used targets. Bring the target carrier back in and pull down the used target and throw it out. If you keep your brass to reload, sweep it up and put it away. Otherwise, sweep the brass forward of your shooting bench. Pack all your personal stuff up, including guns, and head out.

Nothing is more irritating (to not only the range owner but to the next person who uses your lane) than finding an open lane, only to realize it’s a mess.

Have fun!

No matter what, always remember why you are at the indoor range. Have fun!

We are all there to have a good time and spend some time shooting and getting to know one another. Just like batting cages or the driving range in golf, this is a time to relax, have fun and socialize. That way you get the most out of your experience.

Shooting indoors can be a really great experience, but for many it can be a new scary experience. Always remember that no matter what, we are all there for the same reason and unless you don’t pay attention, everyone will have a great time and get in all the practice and training time needed.

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Shooting Indoors: Ettiquette at the Indoor Range