HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base
Module 07 - MARKSMANSHIP
Like with any sport, practice with your firearm will improve your shooting performance. Shooters who practice hitting targets at ranges are going to be more accurate in the field when those targets come to life. So, head to a shooting range to get some practice in before the hunt but be aware that every shooting range is different and may have different rules. The rules will be posted, so read them over and if you have any questions, just ask the staff. They’ll be more than happy to prevent a mistake from happening on their range.
Your Basic Range Rules:
- Point your firearm in a safe direction (i.e. down range) and never point your firearm at anything that you don’t intend to shoot.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
- Keep the firearm unloaded until you're ready to use it.
- Don’t handle your firearm while others are shooting—leave it on the bench.
- If you're renting a firearm and aren’t sure about the loading or unloading procedure, ask for help.
- Always wear both eye and ear protection (children should wear BOTH earplugs AND earmuffs for their protection).
- If you ever see something unsafe that you feel uncomfortable with at the firing range, call a ‘ceasefire’—the range officer will take it from there.
Different ranges may have different rules, but generally, you should react the following way if a ceasefire is called:
- Remove your finger from the trigger.
- Unload the firearm.
- Set the firearm down, point the muzzle downrange and leave the action open.
- Bring your elbows to your side.
- Step behind the ceasefire line.
- Wait for instruction from the range officer.
Indoor and Outdoor Firing Ranges
Indoor and outdoor ranges are different for a number of reasons beyond the roof or no-roof factor. Indoor targets are mechanically moved back and forth so there is no reason for a shooter to go down range to check their target. At an outdoor range, the range officer must first call a ceasefire before the shooters are able to proceed down range to check their target.