There are no two ways about it: gun safety is paramount at all times.
In the light of the recent tragic shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the Rust film set in New Mexico, Marksman’s Nest chief ranger, Geoffrey Coetzee stressed the importance of adhering to the range’s gun safety policies at all times.
Stick to the rules
With safety being our highest priority, Marksman’s Nest officers and staff have absolute and final authority over the range. They may expel anyone who acts in an unsafe manner from the range at their sole discretion.
“Most of our rules are simply common sense,” Geoffrey said. “We teach our entry-level students: Always keep your firearm away from people; Finger off the trigger; Always treat a firearm as loaded; Know your target and what’s beyond it.
At the end of a session, all weapons should be unloaded and magazines removed. Back actions should be locked and these should remain open.
While on the range, weapons should be grounded with muzzles pointing down the range. This is the most basic safety rule. Because if this is observed, there would be virtually no firearm accidents. Plus, when not shooting, handguns should be holstered at all times.
Remember, never point your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot – particularly when loading or unloading a firearm. Consider possible ricochets. Even when ‘dry firing’ with an unloaded gun, don’t ever point it willy-nilly into the blue yonder.
On the command ‘cease fire’, do just that – immediately. And under no circumstances should live ammunition or empty casings be removed from the range.
Unload firearms when not in use
Only load firearms when on the shooting range, ready to shoot. Unload your gun immediately after shooting, before taking it to your car or home. Importantly, store firearms and ammunition in a safe place, separate from each other.
Whenever you handle a firearm or hand it to someone, always open the action to check the chamber, receiver and magazine. Make doubly sure that they don’t contain any ammunition. Never assume a gun is unloaded. An experienced gun handler would always check for him/herself!
While on the range, the basic rules of firearm safety require you to unload your gun before climbing a fence or tree, or any awkward action you need to take.
In addition, common sense dictates that a loaded gun shouldn’t be carried in a holster, gun case or scabbard. When in doubt, unload your gun!
After misfiring, handle with care
If a gun has misfired, keep your face away from the breach. And point the muzzle in a safe direction. Open the action carefully, unload the firearm and dispose of the cartridge safely.
Always discharge firearms in areas with good ventilation.
Don’t rely on the safety catch
You should never handle a gun carelessly just because the safety catch is on. As a mechanical device, the catch can in fact get stuck at the most awkward moment. We’ve all heard stories of people who have had accidents by thinking the safety catch is on, when in fact it’s off.
Double-check your target
Don’t shoot unless you know exactly where your shot will land. Ensure that your bullet won’t injure anyone or anything beyond your target. Never ever fire at a movement or noise without being certain what you’re shooting at. That simply is nuts. Also, you should keep in mind how far a bullet will travel if it misses the intended target or ricochets in another direction.
Alcohol is a big no
It goes without saying that no alcoholic beverages may be consumed on the range. Guns and alcohol simply don’t go together. For this reason, persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs won’t be permitted into the range area.
Cover eyes and ears
Both eye and hearing protection are mandatory for anyone in the range area of Marksman’s Nest. But for your own sake, you should make a point of wearing this protection when hunting, or target shooting too. Exposure to shooting noise can damage hearing, while shooting glasses guard against falling shot, clay target chips, twigs and firearm malfunction.