8 Tips For Great Range Etiquette

Going to the shooting range for the first time can be very intimidating for the novice or “newbie” as they are referred by. You will be dealing with real firearms and ammunition and so is everyone else. It’s natural to be nervous because you don’t have any or very little previous experience and everything your learned in your PAL class has become a little foggy. You also do not want to look clumsy or uncomfortable in front of everyone else there, let alone be the cause of an accidental shooting where someone else or yourself gets injured. To help you out with this “first visit,” here are some tips to ensure you have a good time at the range and also keep yourself and others safe while doing so.

Follow the Fundamentals

There are three key rules to help show you are a responsible firearms owner while at the gun range:


  • ALWAYS keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction (downrange).
  • ALWAYS keep the firearm unloaded and chamber open until you are ready to use it.
  • ALWAYS Your finger off the trigger until you are prepared to shoot.

Bring Safe Gear (PPE)

Ear and eye protection are mandatory for your personal protection while on any shooting range. It is your responsibility as the shooter to ensure you have the right protection and that it is secured correctly before “entering the shooting range bays. Hearing loss can happen in an instant and can be permanent in some cases if you do not protect your ears. Your eyesight can also be destroyed forever from something as small as an ejected bullet casing to a catastrophic firearms failure where the chamber has exploded.

Carry a Bag

Again, as a “responsible” firearms owner that wants to look like they know what’s what, all your firearms should be transported in a gun bag or case (unloaded of course…right !). Other range users and staff (known as RO’s or Range Officers) will not appreciate people walking in with “naked” firearms as they cannot know whether it is loaded or not. There are many inexpensive gun socks and pistol cases you can purchase. Remember how much you paid for those firearms? Don’t they deserve to be in a nice safe gun case?

Follow The Range Officer’s Instructions/Directions

They are the authority figure on any range, and their decisions are final. They are responsible for all the users of the range and their right to shooting in a safe environment. Arguing with an official is never a good thing. “I won’t do it again” or “I didn’t know’ will not get you out of that embarrassing situation of being “asked” to leave. That’s the polite way of them saying you are

an unsafe and irresponsible firearms owner and you are not welcome. No one wants that. Remember that there is no such thing as a stupid question regarding what you can and cannot do there. They will be happy you asked….really!!

Do not Bother Others or Touch Their Firearms

Respect the privacy of other shooters unless safety issues arise. You should not engage other shooters to correct a safety violation unless it is absolutely necessary for the immediate safety of anyone or thing in that vicinity. Instead, inform the range officer, and they will have a procedure for resolving whatever has gone sideways. Shooters and even spectators on the shooting line, can call for a ceasefire if a serious safety violation has occurred or is about to. Touching or handling another shooter’s firearm without their consent is a severe breach of protocol and that person’s “personal space.” It is also considered impolite to offer unsolicited instruction or suggestions to other shooters. Some people just can’t take honest criticism.

Ceasefire Order

If a ceasefire is ordered, immediately unload and set down your firearm with an open chamber facing upwards, and step back away from the shooting booth. The range officer will give instructions and secure all guns. They do not want any shooters to be near the shooting booths during a ceasefire. Even handling gear will be frowned on. The Range Officers want all shooters to be separated from their guns so that they can control the situation better.

Clean Up After

Before heading out, remember to take your targets with you and to throw your trash out. Take back any chairs and equipment you borrowed from somewhere else on the range and leave the booth cleaner than you found it. Other people want to use the range as well, and they will not want to clean up after other people. It’ll happen to you and then you’ll know what I’m talking about.


If you follow these rules, then you should have a great time at the shooting range, and everyone will be happy to see you back next time. To book a session in our indoor gun range, contact Phoenix Indoor Gun Range & Gun Shop. We are a premier Edmonton shooting club with a wide range of inventory as well. You can practice in our range or purchase a wide variety of firearms and accessories in our retail department or try any of our 80 plus demo “Range Guns” we have for you to try before you buy. Have fun and enjoy the privilege of being able to have and use firearms.