EOHC Range Commands

If you are sharing a range with another shooter, one of you must be designated the Range Officer (RO) and be responsible for coordinating activity on the shooting range. The RO can shoot along with the others, but will play the RO role whenever it is commonsense to do so. A fairly standard set of range commands are used at the Eastern Ontario Handgun Club to keep everyone safe. Here are the commands, in the order they will likely be encountered by arriving shooters:

Cease fire!

Remove magazines and open the actions on your firearms. When you have done so, step to the rear of the shooting area!" You have just entered a cease-fire period, during which no firearms may be handled. Should you wish to leave the range, you must wait until the cease-fire period is over. If shooters are using holsters, verify the handguns are empty and then holster them (a gun in a shooter's holster is under his control, a gun laid on a bench 50 yards away is not).

The range is clear! You may go downrange and check targets!

Now is the time to go down and place targets at the distances you desire to shoot. Hang several of them, as it may be a while until the next ceasefire period. If you are preparing to leave, now is the time to pick up your empty brass and collect old targets. PET PEEVE: Don't get all the way down to the 50 yd target, only to remember your stapler is still back at the firing line! The minute you waste, belongs to everyone.

When you return from downrange, step to the rear of the shooting area!

The RO is trying to keep people away from firearms while people are downrange. Also, this often gives the RO a better field of view. Stay behind the cease-fire line so you're not tempted to handle any firearms laid on the benches.

Has everyone returned from downrange?

At this point, the RO is basically asking you to confirm what he already believes, that everyone is indeed back from downrange. Take a look downrange, and make eye contact with the RO. PET PEEVE: Why not help out by looking hard for someone who hasn't, rather than just nodding your head yes?

The range is HOT! Commence fire!

You are now in a shooting period, and may leave if desired. You may handle a firearm and/or ammo without reproach from the RO. PET PEEVE: Do not use the firing period to try to get at rifle or pistol brass that is in the gravel in front of the firing line!

During an IPSC or other official shooting event, the RO will issue other commands. These deal with the number of rounds to be loaded and duration of shooting period. Also the present course of fire, and scoring instructions. Also queries about "alibi" (my gun jammed/doubled, etc) shots, etc. It's involved, but mercifully self-explanatory.

A common tradition: Anyone who appears to be of good character and admires your firearm, may be allowed to shoot a few rounds. It is good manners for that person to allow you to shoot a few rounds through something he/she owns, too.

Finally, firearms not in use must have actions open and magazines removed, or be kept cased or holstered, at all times. According to Canada's federal range regulations, whenever there is shooting on a firing line the range status sign to indicate that the "Range is in use" and the last person to leave the range must move the sign to "Range not in use".


This page last modified on August 20, 2001.