Gun Range Etiquette 101

Implementing proper gun range etiquette is not just about practicing good manners — it’s also good sense!

Using a gun comes with a lot of responsibility. In addition to common sense and safety, it is essential to practice proper etiquette at the gun range. Most ranges require their guests to attend a safety class or watch a video reviewing rules and proper etiquette. This ensures the shooters read and understand the NRA Gun Safety Rules and the rules and expectations enforced at the range you’re using. 

Continue reading to learn more about gun range etiquette below.

Basic Gun Range Etiquette

Regardless of where you are shooting, there are three rules you should always abide by:

    1. Always point the gun in a safe direction.
    2. Always keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to shoot.


  • Always keep your gun free of ammo until you are ready to use it.


A sure way to get kicked out of (and potentially permanently banned from) the range is to break any of these rules.

More Gun Range Etiquette You Should Know

Follow the Words of the Range Safety Officer — Most ranges have a Range Safety Officer (RSO) who has complete authority on the range. They are responsible for supervising shooters, enforcing the range’s rules and regulations, and handling any issues that may arise. Always follow what the RSO says, and complete compliance with their instructions is mandatory and essential for the safety of you and others.

Know Basic Terminology — Two common terms you’ll hear on the range are ceasefire and commence firing. Familiarize yourself with these terms. Ceasefire means to stop shooting, and commence firing means you can begin shooting. While the RSO is typically the one using these words, anyone who sees a potential problem should call “ceasefire!”

Know What to Do During a Ceasefire — You should not handle your firearm during a ceasefire. Here are several key things to remember:

  1. Empty your chamber and remove your magazine. 
  2. Action is open.
  3. Hands are off your weapon.
  4. And step away from the firing line.

Do Not Shoot Posts, Frames, or Supports — These pieces of equipment are expensive and take lots of time to replace.

Only Use Range-Approved Targets — Touch base with your range to learn what types of target they allow. Some places only allow approved cardboard, paper, or clay, or metal targets.

Leave it Better Than You Found It — Like all places you visit, you should practice good manners and always leave the range in better shape than you found it. Clean your firing station, pick up trash, and obey all the range rules. 

Safety Must Be Your #1 Priority — Safety is your responsibility. You are responsible for your own safety, others’ safety, and the behavior of the guests you bring along to the range. Always follow the rules. If you see that others are not following the rules, leave and find a safe place and report them to the authorities. 

Practice Proper Gun Range Etiquette at SUB M.O.A. Firearms

A few hours spent at the range is fun, and proper gun range etiquette only makes it better!

For a truly amazing shooting experience, check out SUB M.O.A., the Mountain West’s most prestigious long-range shooting institute. We offer individualized courses for shooters of all skill levels. Our institute includes lodging at a 5-star quality guest ranch sitting on more than a hundred square miles of pristine mountain property. You will enjoy more than 8,000 square feet of furnished living space and chef-prepared meals. Contact SUB M.O.A. Firearms to learn more. We are located in Henefer, Utah.