Right To Self Protect is a is a 35,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, including two shooting ranges, located in Randolph, New Jersey.
The gun range offers instruction for beginners to advanced customers, including qualification courses for NRA-certified range-safety officers.
Recently, a range safety officer was completing a recertification course when he accidentally shot himself in the leg during the course.
According to a police report, range safety officer Martin Beresford was injured by a bullet fired from his handgun as he attempted to holster it.
The bullet struck Beresford in the left thigh and traveled several inches before exiting his leg, just above the knee. His wound was determined to be non-life threatening and he was taken to an area hospital for treatment.
Another range safety officer was instructing Beresford during the qualification exercise when the gun discharged.
Immediately, other employees rendered aid to Beresford after the incident. They applied QuikClot, a homeostatic agent designed to rapidly stop blood loss in large wounds.
Police determined the shooting to be an accident and no criminal charges were filed.
Of course, this isn’t the first time there has been an accidental discharge at a shooting range. However, practicing good gun range etiquette isn’t just good manners, it can prevent tragedies.
Gun range etiquette is a blend of common sense and safety, which are obviously critical when you are dealing with weapons.
For this reason, I want to share some basic rules to follow at any gun range to help you feel more comfortable and to hopefully prevent any dangerous incidents from happening.
Follow the 4 Rules of Gun Safety. If you are going to the gun range for the first time, or even taking a family member for the first time, make sure you have explained to them the 4 rules of firearm safety.
In fact, every time I go shooting with someone I review these rules with them to make sure we are all on the same page. First, treat every gun as if it’s always loaded. Next, never point the gun at something you are not willing to destroy.
Third, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Lastly, always be sure of your target and what is behind it.
Always listen to range safety officers. The most critical words you can hear at a gun range are “cease fire.” This is what most safety officers will yell when there is an immediate concern regarding safety.
In other words, when you hear this stop shooting right away and put your firearm down safely.
In addition, during a cease-fire you may see others doing things such as changing targets and the last thing anyone wants to see while they’re down range is someone playing with a firearm.
Don’t bother other shooters. If someone is actively shooting, don’t tap them on the shoulder or try to talk to them. Yes, this is common sense, but most problems that occur at a gun range are common sense.
If you want to look at someone’s new gun or the laser/light combo they just purchased, wait until they are done shooting.
Don’t coach other shooters. Even if you’re a police officer or military personal with extensive training in firearms, you should avoid trying to interfere or coach other shooters who aren’t part of your group.
While you may have good intentions, this may do more harm than good since you truly don’t know the other shooter or their capabilities.
The thing is, the other shooter may be new to the range, and might feel intimidated or simply take your coaching the wrong way.
Unless someone is pointing a firearm at you, it is common courtesy not to interfere with the shooting techniques of a fellow shooter.
Always clean up after you’re done. Anyone who has been shooting, knows that there is a mess after you are done. Whether it’s empty boxes, brass or earplugs, make sure you clean up your trash so the next shooter has a clean area.
Most ranges will provide trashcans and brooms to sweep up brass, so go the extra mile to make sure the area is clean.
The fact is, thousands of gun sales occur in the U.S. each day. Not all of these gun sales are to experienced buyers, with many going to first time gun owners, which is great.
But, this means there are a lot of novices out there that might not know the proper rules for visiting a gun range.
Of course, everyone wants their gun range experience to be safe and enjoyable, which is why you should keep these basic tips in mind so that you can continue to improve your shooting, while doing your part to keep everyone safe at the range.