Everything You Need to Know Before Your First Range Trip

According to a survey from Pew, around 7 million Americans own a firearm, but many have never fired a gun. Shooting helps to develop muscle endurance, strength, and stamina. Plus, it improves hand-eye coordination and motor skills and increases arm strength. Whether you already have one or you want to try your hand at building an AR upper receiver, there are a variety of things you need to learn before taking it to the range for the first time. If you want an upper receiver, websites like Primary Arms can help you get started picking parts to attach to it like a barrel, handguard, and an effective muzzle device.

So, when you are in a shooting range, especially for the first time, you have to follow some tips for your safety. You need to block out all the thoughts that can distract you and use your mental ability to hit the target. Moreover, you must know the dos and don’ts of going to a shooting range.

Learning everything about shooting for the first time is essential, which is why we compiled tips that will help you have a fun first shooting experience.

Tips for Going to the Shooting Range for the First Time

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Following are some of the things that are a must-do if you are visiting the shooting range for the first time in your life.

Educate Yourself

You can prepare yourself for the shooting range before going to it for the first time. Most of the shooting ranges have online websites and guides where you can find all relevant information. Reading and understanding this information will make it easier for you to know what you should and shouldn’t do in a particular shooting range.

Ensure Safety

Basic gun safety is a must before visiting a shooting range or firing your first round. There are several gun safety requirements, but the most important one is to assume all guns are loaded. You should always treat a weapon (whether it has a magazine/bullet in it or not) as a loaded one. While guns are safe in the right hands, they might lead to “accidents” if not handled carefully.

Keep Your Finger Away

It is still important that you act with caution. The best way to ensure safety is to keep your finger away from the trigger as soon as you complete a shooting session. With practice, you can gain control and avoid accidents.

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Do not Point

Pointing your gun can lead to accidents and is a serious safety concern. Therefore, it is best to be cautious whether your gun has bullets or not. You would not put yourself and others at risk because of a small mistake.

Learn Range Commands

A range officer ensures that everyone stays safe by following the rules during their time on the shooting range. So ensure that you learn range commands to act accordingly.

Following are some of the basic range commands that all new gun users should know if they wish to go to a shooting range.


This command means that everyone in the shooting range needs to stop firing. The range officer usually gives out this command, but other people can also do it if they feel unsafe in the shooting range. You should stop firing and step away from your weapon if someone uses this command.

Commence Firing

This command lets you start or “commence” your firing by first unlocking the gun safety. Always start firing your weapon when you hear this command from the range officer.

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Make Safe

Make Safe involves ensuring that you stop firing, take your finger away from the trigger, apply safeties, and holster your weapons. Officers use this command to ensure that the shooting range’s safe for everyone.

Range is cold

A range officer may use this command when the shooting or live fire stops. You can then change or check your target according to what the range officer tells you.

Go with a Friend

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You should go with a friend or a peer with you to your first shooting experience. You won’t be doing a lot of socializing in the range, but having a familiar face around can make you comfortable and ease your anxiety. This tip works even better if you know a friend who has fired a weapon before. You can easily discuss how “cool” your first shooting experience was once you complete your round.

Know What You Will Wear

You can always go for the classic long sleeves and jeans outfit for your first session. Ensure that you wear something that you can easily let get dirty if the occasion calls for it. However, we suggest you don’t choose low-cut shirts or close-toe shoes when you go to the shooting range.

Do not Feel Weird

It is completely understandable if you are nervous and feel out of place on your first shooting range experience. Don’t feel shy telling people at the shooting range that you are a beginner, as they may help you.

Anyone you see in a shooting range was once a beginner themselves, so you can also learn the tricks with time and practice. Most people you find in shooting ranges are helpful and have the experience. People will probably give you useful tips as if they know you are a beginner. So, there is no shame in learning.

Ask For Help When You Need It

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You can ask for help regardless of how prepared you are for a shooting range. It is great to ask someone for help if you ever find yourself in a tight situation.

Remember, the sooner you ask for guidance/help, the sooner you learn and improve as a shooter. People like the range officer are there to help you, so you do not have to fear their judgment in any way.

Carry All Essentials with You

Packing your bag properly is important if you want to have a good shooting range experience. Ensure that you carry all essentials, including:

  • Firearm (unless you are taking it on rent from the shooting range)
  • Eye and ear protection
  • Target (if the shooting range lets you bring your own)


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Going to a shooting range for the first time is fun and thrilling, but you need to ensure that you prepare for it well. Ensure that you pack your bags right and follow all shooting range rules, and you will surely have a great first experience at the range. You can also look up more guides on shooting ranges if you need more information. Remember, practice is the key to improving your skills while ensuring safety.