Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Day at the Range

If the time comes that you think you may be ready for our Day at the Range group, here's a little of what you can expect:

We arrive at the Range, and unpack our Range Bag which includes: Eyes & Ears (shooting safety glasses and ear protection), ammunition and of course our firearms for the day.

We check in the with the Range Officer on duty.


Range Officers (RO): Most (and I stress MOST, not every) gun range is equipped with an RO. Some clubs have a range officer on duty during all active range times; some have them only during select times of day; some don't have one at all. (These are things you may want to consider when choosing a club - should you decide to join one).

An RO is a designated individual who is present to maintain the safety of a gun range to the best of his ability. Things he is looking out for: making sure people do not break what is called "the 180" (in other words, making sure they aren't pointing their gun anywhere but down range); making sure people are following the general rules of that particular gun range; keeping tabs on who is at the gun range and how they're conducting themselves and their firearm. Basically they are there to be another set of eyes on a mission to keep things as safe as possible.

A good mindset is to think of yourself as an RO, even if you're not. Everyones common goal is safety and then fun. So, if you see someone doing something they shouldn't be doing - SPEAK UP! You won't be shunned. In fact, just the opposite, you'll probably get a good pat on the back for being aware.


Now we review the Four Rules of Gun Safety (ALWAYS ALWAYS go over these before you shoot, it's a good way to get it drilled into your brain, say them out loud!)


The following rules are not meant to intimidate, scare or deter you from shooting, they are simply the rules that every shooter must follow, and really they should make you feel a bit safer that this is the general practice:

The Four Rules of Gun Safety:

#1: TREAT ALL GUNS AS IF THEY ARE LOADED - If someone hands you a gun and says "Don't worry it's not loaded," your reply should be, "Well I'm going to treat it as if it is loaded." This includes not pointing it at anyone or anything you don't plan to destroy (you will hear this repeated in a subsequent rule); not pulling the trigger for a "dry-fire" before verifying for yourself that the gun in fact has no round in it - and even once you've done so, you always dry-fire in a SAFE direction.

#2: NEVER POINT THE GUN AT ANYTHING YOU DON'T INTEND TO KILL OR DESTROY - I don't like to use this phrasing for people who are already skittish of guns, because it automatically goes to the notion of "gun violence", don't let it take you there. We can't pretend that guns are not lethal weapons (especially thanks to Mel Gibson, heh heh), but we can handle them smartly in order to make them as safe and as fun as possible.

*Food for thought and IMHO: There are many things that, in the wrong hands, can do terrible damage; and most of those things, people don't think twice about using: cars, knives, etc. Guns are dangerous in the wrong hands. The best thing you can do is put guns in more of the RIGHT HANDS - SUCH AS YOUR OWN.   

#3: KEEP YOUR FINGER OUT OF THE TRIGGER GUARD UNTIL YOU ARE PREPARED TO SHOOT - Some triggers are slightly tough to pull, and some are "hair triggers". It doesn't matter what you're shooting with, keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you intend to fire!

fingerstrait.jpg (5823 bytes) << YES  << NO!!! (well, yes if you're him because he clearly intends to fire)

#4: ALWAYS BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT'S BEYOND IT - When it comes to shooting, there are no do-overs or take-backs. For example: If you're in a house, be aware of what is beyond walls, doors, windows, etc.


So, we've arrived and we have reviewed the above 4 RULES, maybe even reviewed them twice :-).

With eyes and ears donned, in an ever so fashionable fashion, we take our weapon for the day out of its locked container and place it on the table, pointing down range in the "safe position". This means we have all verified that it is cleared by making sure there is no magazine in it and that the chamber is clear.


Magazine - Not the kind you read. A metal or plastic case type apparatus which houses the live ammunition (bullets). The Magazine is inserted up into the grip of the gun and the gun is then considered "HOT".

Chamber - The interior of the muzzle of the gun is the chamber. The portion of the gun which the bullet travels through and exits from.


Once we've verified that our weapon is clear. We will then make sure we are all ready to "go hot" and load the weapon.

 I will go first show you step by step what to do once the gun is in your hand and I will fire five rounds.

When I'm done firing. I will have you verify that the gun is in fact cleared and then I will place it on the table with the slide locked open and in the "safe position".

FYI: "slide locked open"
 (shiny part on top is the slide)

If you decide you are ready to shoot and would like to try, you will load ONE round (bullet) into the magazine ("mag"), insert the mag into the gun, and fire once given after the okay.

Once you've fired the round, I will help you verify that the weapon is clear and we will lock the slide open and place it on the table in the safe position.

When we've finished our day of shooting, we will clear and lock our weapons, review the day, review the 4 RULES and that's that. A wonderful and SAFE day at the range!

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