A Guide on How to Not Be That Guy [or Gal]

by Tommy Grant

There is nothing worse than being known as…that guy. Regardless of the use of the word “guy” in the title, “that guy” knows no gender and is the type of person that does not follow rules, is unaware of the disturbance they are causing to the public and cares little about the people around them. These types of people are annoying, rude and make safe havens like gun ranges places shooters no longer want to go to. That guy, or gal, fails to follow proper range etiquette.

Range Etiquette

You never want to be the person that makes fellow shooters raise a questioning brow and mutter amongst themselves, “Who let that guy in here?” To avoid ruining someone’s shooting experience, here are five easy and simple ways you can practice good range etiquette. 

Safety First

One of the most obvious and important ways to practice range etiquette is by following the four rules of safety. Luckily, these easy-to-understand rules will keep you and others safe as well.

Safety Rules

  1. Always point your firearm in a safe direction. 
  2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
  3. Always keep your firearm unloaded until you are ready to use it.
  4. Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded.

No one wants to go to the gun range and feel unsafe because some idiot wants to manage firearms in the wrong manner. Improper handling of a firearm can lead to injuries or even death to either yourself or innocent bystanders. Firearms are not toys to mess around with. They can be dangerous, and ignoring proper safety precautions when using them makes you selfish, stupid, and arrogant. 

Mind Your Business

Glock Guy vs 1911 Guy

Each time I step onto a gun range, an excited, buzzing energy always welcomes me. The smell of steel and the echoing booms are more than enough stimulation to make adrenaline crackle through my veins and remind me just how invigorating shooting is. It is understandable how this excitement can make you want to socialize with other shooters, but you should be warned that there is a right and a wrong way to go about chit-chatting with fellow shooters.

If it is a certain firearm that catches your eye that you just have to ask about or you have a friendly comment you want to make, use your own discretion when it is an appropriate time to do so. Some shooters are not there to make friends and need this time to focus on their training. They do not need someone with a million burning questions or comments to distract them at all the wrong times. 

I always recommend you wait till after someone is done shooting or examining their target before you attempt a conversation. The main thing to remember is you would not want someone to bug you while you are shooting, so make sure you offer other shooters the same common decency. 

Gearing Up

An important part of remaining safe on the range is being mindful about what you wear. From the shirts you wear to the shoes on your feet, it is important you are covered from head to toe. Two of the most important pieces of safety gear you will need on the range are ear and eye protection. 

It should be no surprise that firearms are loud tools and the humans that shoot them have incredibly sensitive ears. Ear protection keeps your hearing protected and helps against permanent hearing loss. As for eye protection, these protective googles help keep debris such hot brass, lead spatter and propellent gasses from flying back and causing injury to your eyeball. 

Nothing makes me wince more than when I see individuals without the proper gear on, and I cannot help but shake my head. Besides not being educated, you truly have no excuse not to wear ear and eye protection. You only get one pair of eyes and ears and should always strive to take care of them. To practice proper safety, I always recommend getting your safety gear situated before you enter the range and to always keep them on until you leave the range. 

Rapid Fire

Daniel Defense MK18, Full-Auto Daniel Defense MK18 SBR

Most ranges you step foot in have rules that you must obey, and one of these rules is no rapid firing. For those unaware, rapid firing is firing a series of rounds typically until your magazine empties in a quick succession. Now, you may be asking yourself why ranges are against this? The answer is simple. It is unsafe. 

For a novice shooter, rapid firing can make it difficult to control your firearm because each recoil of your gun raises your muzzle, which can lead to rounds being sent in unsafe directions. To keep everyone safe, ranges put these rules in place, and you are expected to follow them. Remember, gun ranges can and will ask you to leave if you are not playing by their rules, so it is best you remain smart in how choose to shoot. 

Selfie Time

I find that one of the biggest distractions I see on the range are individuals being more concerned about taking selfies rather than what is going on around them. The gun range is the last place you should be distracted at, and losing focus for the sake of taking a picture is just inviting a disaster to happen. Now, I am not saying that selfies should be completely avoided, but make sure you are being smart when you take them. I find that the best times to take photos are when I am finished observing my target or after my session is complete. More importantly, as you take your pictures, make sure you are still following and obeying the four rules of safety. 

Closing Thoughts 

I am a firm believer that rude, disrespectful, and ill-mannered individuals have no space within the firearm community. I like to think that the moment you step foot on a gun range you are making a promise that you will respect other shooters’ time, passions and, more importantly, their safety. This is a responsibility you must not take lightly, and by following proper range etiquette we can continue to keep the gun range a fun, educational and secure place everyone can enjoy.

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