Fear & Loading: Ranges and Evolution

posted on October 19, 2017

Back in the day, when I was working my way through college at the grocery store, I had a boss who encouraged us to join him at lunch at a shooting range about five miles away. He had a membership and those of us who could squeeze into his Toyota Land Cruiser qualified as “guests” for the day. 

It was a wonderful break on those occasions I worked daylight hours, and we were usually the only ones on the firing line. That’s a good thing, because formal ranges—even outdoor ones like this one, where southern Arizona’s dust devils were the only company—were new to me. I learned a lot from Jerry Orcutt over lunch, including safety and range etiquette when another shooter showed up to temporarily escape their daily grind.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d been behind the trigger a lot, but all my prior experience was in wide-open spaces. This organized firing line scene, with complete strangers shooting simultaneously, was new. Thankfully, Jerry was eager to provide the kind of etiquette and safety instruction that has since served me well.

Things have changed and there aren’t enough awesome bosses—wonderful friends—to help all of today’s new shooters. The odds you’ll be on a climate-controlled, well-ventilated firing line are better than ever, and those tight confines and unblinking oversight can feel a little intimidating to novices.

That’s one of the reasons the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) recently produced a new “Introduction to Range Safety and Etiquette” video. It’s free and packed with easy-to-understand tips.     

Changes from the old version include demonstrations/explanations in a modern, well-appointed shooting range. Naturally, it begins with gun safety, but it also covers a range of topics that includes how to uncase your firearm, range officer commands and more. “More than ever, NSSF is focused on helping our industry better engage their customers,” said Zach Snow, NSSF Director, Shooting Range Services. “Paramount to that is ensuring all shooters have a pleasant and safe experience every time they head to the range for a practice session.”

It’s not quite the way Jerry smiled when he explained how it’s done, but the female moderator’s sincerity glows the same. The video is worth sharing with all those new shooters you know.    


Eaa Corp Girsan Regard Mc F
Eaa Corp Girsan Regard Mc F

New For 2022: EAA Girsan Regard MC

Girsan expanded its Regard lineup of Beretta 92 clones with an optic-included option in 2022, which comes complete with a frame-mounted accessory rail.

First Look: Browning PRO22 .22 LR Rimfire Ammunition

New for 2022, Browning introduces its new PRO22 .22 LR rimfire ammunition line.

New For 2022: Winchester SXP OD Green Defender

New for 2022, Winchester Repeating Arms now offers its SXP Defender pump-action shotgun in an OD green finish.

New For 2022: Trailblazer Firearms Pivot Rifle

Trailblazer Firearms releases the Pivot Rifle, an innovative pistol-caliber carbine that can fold for easy transport and storage.

New For 2022: Diamondback Firearms Sidekick

New for 2022, Diamondback Firearms announces the release of the new Sidekick convertible  revolver chambered for both .22 LR and .22 Mag.

New For 2022: B&T USA SPC9 Special Purpose Carbine

Brugger & Thomet USA introduced a new pistol-caliber carbine chambered in 9 mm, which features design cues from several different platforms into one: the SPC9 Special Purpose Carbine.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.