Safety Rules for Air Gun Ranges
The most important rules to follow at any range or in any target shooting activity are safety rules. This applies equally for air guns as well as for all types of firearms. These air gun safety rules must be enforced at all shooting ranges by range officials and coaches and followed by all participants. All participants, coaches and range officials are responsible for knowing and following these rules.
- MUZZLE– Always keep gun muzzles pointed in safe directions. gun muzzles must never be pointed at other persons under any circumstances. On a range, the safest direction to point a gun muzzle is usually up, or downrange towards the targets.
- CLEAR BARREL INDICATOR (CBI)– Clear Barrel Indicators or CBIs are synthetic monofilament cords (0.065" – 0.095" dia.) in fluorescent orange or a similar bright color that are inserted into air gun bores so that the ends of the CBI protrude out of both the muzzle and open breech. CBIs confirm that air guns are unloaded. CBIs must be inserted in all air guns when they are brought to a range or removed from a gun case on a range. CBIs may be removed only during preparation periods, changeover periods and sighting or record firing times. The use of CBIs is mandatory at all air gun ranges.
- GUN ACTION– Always keep gun actions open, with CBIs inserted, except when the gun is on the firing line between the beginning of the "preparation period" and the end of the firing period. When firing is finished or the gun is laid down for any reason, the action must be opened and a CBI inserted. The action may be closed when an air gun is placed in a gun case, but the action must be opened and a CBI inserted when it is removed from the case.
- TRIGGER– Keep your finger off the trigger until after shouldering the gun and beginning to aim at the target. It is especially important to keep the finger outside of the trigger guard when loading the gun and when lifting it up into position.
- RANGE OFFICER– A Range Officer is in charge of firing on every range. The commands and instructions of the Range Officer or person in charge of firing must be obeyed. Range Officers must check guns brought to the range to be sure actions are open with CBIs inserted. When shooting is finished, range officers must check guns to be sure actions are open with CBIs inserted.
- GROUNDED GUNS– Grounding a gun means opening its action, inserting a CBI in it and placing it on the firing point. Grounded guns may not be touched until a Range Officer authorizes you to handle your gun. Then you may pick up your gun and get into a firing position with it. You may not, however, remove the CBI, close the action or dry fire until the Preparation Period begins. When you finish firing, open the action, insert a CBI and ground your gun on the firing line. Leave the gun grounded on your firing point until the Range Officer instructs you to handle it again.
- GUN CASES– Many air guns are transported to and from ranges in gun cases. The Range Officer on any range will determine whether participants may open gun cases and remove air guns from them or replace air guns in them behind the firing line or whether this may only be done on the firing line. When a gun case is opened, the first thing that must be done is to open the action and insert a CBI. When an air gun is replaced in a gun case, the CBI may be removed, the action closed and the trigger released before closing the gun case. Closing the action and releasing the trigger to discharge gas after the line has been cleared may only be done when authorized by the Range Officer.
- RANGE COMMANDS– Know the range commands that are used in air gun shooting. No participant may load a pellet in an air gun until after the command LOAD or START is given. No participant may fire a shot until after the command START is given. When the command STOP is given, no further attempt to fire a shot may be made; the gun must be taken down immediately and the action must be opened. If a pellet remains in the gun, ask the range officer for instructions.
- LOADING– Gun muzzles must remain pointed downrange or up towards the ceiling whenever the gun is charged and loaded. Special care must be taken during charging and loading to ensure that a gun muzzle is never pointed at a neighboring participant or at any area behind the firing line.
- TARGET– Shoot only at your designated target. Be sure the target is properly placed in front of a safe backstop. Shooting at any object on a range besides your own target is strictly forbidden.
- GOING DOWN RANGE– Whenever it is necessary for anyone to go down range to hang or retrieve targets or for any other purpose, all air gun actions must be open with CBIs inserted and all guns must be grounded on the floor or shooting bench. No one may go down range until authorized to do so by the Range Officer. No one may handle guns while anyone is downrange.
- EYE PROTECTION– Eye protection is recommended for air gun shooting especially if there is any possibility of a pellet or pellet fragment bouncing back from the backstop. Eye and hearing protection is required on air gun ranges.
- TREAT EVERY GUN AS IF IT WERE LOADED– Even if you are sure your gun is unloaded and it has a CBI inserted and even if a Range Officer has checked your gun; treat it as if it were loaded at all times. Be sure it is never pointed at another person. Remember the first rule of gun safety, keep the muzzle under control and pointed in a safe direction!