Rob Pincus is on site at the Ben Avery Shooting Range near Phoenix, Arizona, to discuss firearm safety on the range in regards to pointing a gun. People usually come to the range with their carry gun in the holster and pointed straight down for fast presentation. The gun should then be pointed straight out to take a shot, keeping it in a safe direction at all times: straight down, then straight at the target. Pointing the gun in the air, whether in the high ready position, to do a reload, or for any other reason, is unsafe on an outdoor range with no roof, and is also inefficient.
Outstanding information. I appreciate all the safety advice!
In my 22 years of service in the US Marines as a RSO ( Range Safety Officer) and OIC ( Officer In Charge) of multiple types of ranges from M-9 pistol to 81mm mortor ranges and more i drilled range safely into each Marine Devildog and earned their respect for keeping them safe!
MSgt DM Wolf
Bravo Co 1st BN 23 Marines
Boy! I have been doing this wrong. High Ready with arms pinned to the side of my chest to keep the firearm in retention. Business end is up in the air. I congrad myself on not pointing at anyone. I learned something and now have to relearn and retrain.
First, make sure the gun is unloaded, make sure! Then make sure it is pointed down range, still unloaded. Load it and fire and then practice safe gun procedures. This is a great site. Bill
This is one of the reasons LEO’s are instructed NOT to fire warning shoots. What goes up must come down.
As always Rob… great tips.
I do have an question/exception about “safe direction”.
I work at an outdoor range with (with no partitians between lanes) and a CONCRETE floor.
I ask entering guest with uncased firearms to “Because we have a concrete floor, please point your gun up. I’d rather have another hole in the roof than a ricochet”. Do you think that’s a bad idea.
Thanks. You are doing a great service.
I would suggest that gun transport to / from the shooting location should be with the firearm open / unloaded. While on the range, always horizontal and down range. Exception would be draw and fire practice or training and then you have a risk ‘triangle’ starting probably 3′ behind the holster and then about the shape of a decent pizza slice and extending as far as the bullet may travel and including any ricochet should a round strike the concrete; so maybe double space shooters to the side if possible in this scenario.
Yes, Mike. I do think it is a bad idea… While there is a risk of ricochet in either direction (and, not knowing if your roof will even stops rounds from leaving the building), I’m much rather have “splash” or ricochet enter a foot or leg than I would have it enter a face/head.
Thanks for following PDN Content!
Typical centerfire handgun will throw a bullet a mile and a quarter. Common centerfire rifles, 2 to 5 miles.
Even in self-defense, we are responsible for every round fired.
I heard a terrible story a while back while taking a training course locally. The instructor was touching on this subject and informed us that some time ago there had been an 60 year old man that had died at an air show. He was killed by a bullet from a 44 magnum. At an air show? I asked. He said it took them a long time to figure out what had happened. The investigation concluded that the round had been a flyer from a competition at a range a mile from the air strip. A gentleman running a course of fire slipped and let one go just above the berm. Terrible thing but right on with this video.