Shotgun Class

Shooting Range Safety

Written by Emma McCormick

Safety is the priority at the Hillsdale Shooting Sports Center. The range staff make their safety expectations clear, starting with a two-hour safety meeting before the first class. I talked with Mr. Bart Spieth, the range master, and he shared the three most important safety rules with me. He requires everyone on the range to follow them, and he expects everyone to hold each other accountable for good safety practices.

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  1. “Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction one hundred percent of the time” is rule number one. This means the barrel should be pointed down range when on a field. When en route to the fields, the barrel should point straight up to the sky or down to the ground.
  2. The second safety rule to is have the “action open and empty.” Keep it open until your turn to shoot to confirm no ammo is in the firearm. If you use a break open shotgun, you need to break it open when you take it off the rack until you are ready to shoot.
  3. Number three is, “finger off the trigger until on the target area and ready to shoot.” Only when it is time to shoot should your finger be on the trigger.

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Following any two of these three rules would be safe, but to guarantee safety, shooters at the range follow all of the rules all of the time.

“Safety is not more important here than anywhere else,” Mr. Spieth said. “Everyone has the right and responsibility to take action when they see unsafe firearms handling. We spend time to make sure people understand this on the range so they can take it with them and pass it on.”

Emma McCormickEmma McCormick, ’19, is from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and plans on majoring in economics. She is a member of the mock trial team, the public relations officer of Praxis, and a part of Equip Ministry. When she isn’t studying or working at AJ’s, you might find her outside running.