Shooting Off-Range: Safety Tips

For the most part, safety tips for practice shooting off range are quite similar to safety tips for shooting at the range.

However, the landowner or host will likely have additional rules and different emergency terms or phrases, so it’s best to discuss all the rules before firing any weapons.

Common safety tips for any situation include the following:

  • Always act as if the gun is loaded. The golden rule of shooting is to always act as if the gun is loaded. This means being cautious with the weapon and never pointing it at anyone.
  • Follow the rules of the range or landowner. It’s important to discuss the rules before firing (or loading) a weapon. This way, everyone will know when to shoot and when not to shoot.
  • Keep the gun safety on unless you intend to shoot. Right after the golden rule of never pointing a gun at anyone comes the rule to always keep the safety on.
  • Show respect to anyone else in the area. When shooting, the general rule of thumb is to keep your head down and focus on your own target. However, at the very least, it’s important to show respect to anyone else nearby, whether they are shooting or not.

The top four rules above are essential when carrying a loaded gun, but there are additional considerations when shooting off range.

At the range, a local range officer may use the common phrase “ceasefire” to stop a shooter or “commence firing” to start a shooter’s turn. At an off-range facility, it’s possible the phrases could be simpler, such as “Go” or “Stop.” If the landowner or host uses other phrases, make sure to discuss them before firing any weapons.

It can be rare to find a location that is open to the public for shooting. Private lands, like farm fields, are more commonly available, particularly during hunting season, but landowner permission is always required before entering their property.

Before shooting in open territory, examine the surrounding areas to make sure there are no homes, humans, livestock, or pets within range. In addition, it would be best to fire towards a hillside or at something that stops the bullet if the target is missed.

Realistically speaking, you are unlikely to find open areas to shoot in that do not require permission or a permit, so make sure to do your research before pulling the trigger. In addition to confirming that no one is in the area, draw up a set of rules similar to those listed above.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Brock Swinson

Brock Swinson

Brock Swinson is a writer living in North Carolina with his wife, Jess. As a writer for Creative Screenwriting and the host of the Creative Principles Podcast, Swinson frequently interviews creators such as Mel Brooks, Aaron Sorkin, Taylor Sheridan, and William Monahan, on storytelling. Outside of work, Brock is currently training for an Iron Man, practicing jujitsu, and looking for new trails to run with his husky mix, Tessa.
Brock Swinson

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1 thought on “Shooting Off-Range: Safety Tips

  1. Well thought out, by someone who knows his field. One side note for Florida if you have a “Open Range you may find you fall underneath the State Game & Fish Safety’s “. I like the private land and know your back stop as far a the bullet can go! Hike it out— flag it! Have a easy way to check it out each time.
    Thank You
    The Chaplain
    USAF- DAV

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