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The Beginner’s Guide to Public Shooting Ranges

Visiting a supervised public shooting range can seem daunting for first-time visitors, but it doesn’t have to be. You want to have a good day of shooting, but you’re new to the experience. Shooting ranges welcome shooters of all abilities for safe firearms training.

Beginner’s Guide to Public Shooting Ranges

If you’re a first-time visitor, most of your anxiety stems from uncertainty and the added pressure of shooting under the supervision of experienced handlers. But, don’t feel intimated. Here, we’ll share some tips on how a public shooting range works and some basics to make you feel more confident and safer as you have fun at the range.

Before You Go

The first thing you need to do before going to a public shooting range is to understand the basics of gun safety. According to Bellevue Gun Club, an exclusive shooting range that offers top-level gun training courses, anyone who visits a public gun range should know the rules of firearm safety and learn the language and directions used in the shooting range.

For first-timers, knowing the ten commandments of firearm safety is crucial. Research the range to understand their specific rules, procedures, and restrictions. Plan your trip by booking early, dress appropriately, pick up your own set of eye and ear protection, and case your firearms before heading to the range. Ask an experienced shooter to tag along for a morale boost.

When You Arrive

When you get there, check-in with the public shooting range office. At this point, most ranges require you to leave your cased firearms back in your car. Depending on the location of the office in the range, you may need to wear your ear protection if the range is hot. For first-timers, let the staff know that you’re a new shooter, and they’ll walk you through the process.

Once you understand the ground rules, you can now move your firearms from your vehicle to the shooting range. Remember that your guns should still be cased and unloaded. If the shooting range is closed, your firearms should remain cased and set down away from your shooting bench. You’re only allowed to handle your firearms when the range is open.

While You’re in the Shooting Range

Now, it’s your turn to follow the range rules and directions of the range master, whose job is to keep everyone safe. The range master’s word is the law on the shooting range, so make sure to listen very carefully for any given commands and follow them immediately. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice or help and be respectful of other shooters.

More experienced shooters in the range are always happy to help first-time shooters, so don’t be afraid to ask. But with that said, you must not cause any distractions during active shooting. Avoid any conversations on the firing line. As long as you’re responsible, being safe, and following range rules and directions, you should enjoy your time on the range.

Before You Leave

Before you leave the gun range, clean up your lane. Pick up anything you brought along and the spent brass. It’s a standard rule always to leave the shooting lane better than you found it. Don’t forget to wash your hands after shooting to rinse off any lead residue. Take your lessons with you, and continue training and practicing to gain more confidence.


Visiting a public gun range for the first time shouldn’t be intimidating. So long as you know what to do and the rules to follow, you can have some fun and get to meet new and experienced shooters who you can learn from. More practice at the shooting range will help you learn some vital skills to handle your firearm safely and more responsibly.

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Written by S Dionne

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