Range Officers

Most members attend their local range from time to time to enjoy their favourite shooting discipline, whether
it’s rifle, shotgun or pistol at a formal event or just casual practice. While the love of shooting and the challenge of the sport keep them coming back for more, the average shooter is probably not even aware of the fact that they would not be able to do so if it wasn’t for a small band of volunteers called Range Officers.

Range Officers have the vital role of ensuring the safety of all users of the Range, while at the same time ensuring that all the Range Approval conditions set by the NSW Firearms Registry are being met.

The NSW Shooter recently caught up with Keith Highfield who is a long serving Range Officer at Silverdale and SSAA NSW Training Co-ordinator Mitch Newbery to talk about the importance of Range Officers.

NSW Shooter– Keith, when did you first put your hand up to be a Range Officer ??

KH - 1984

NSW Shooter–What are your responsibilities as a Range Officer ??

KH - Keeping an eye on all visitors from the moment they arrive at the range to ensure all safety requirements are met.  Watching along the firing line that shooters are obeying range rules on safety matters such as at this particular range, using front and rear bags that ensure their fired projectiles do not go outside the firing range area.  At cease fires each hour ensuring that the rifles are removed from the benches in a safe condition and put into the racks and are not touched during the cease fire.  It is not clear to many shooters that each range has different rules and requirements for a variety of reasons and that what is OK at one range is not necessarily OK at another rifle range, at times this needs to be explained to shooters. 

NSW Shooter– Mitch, from the viewpoint of SSAA NSW, how important are Range Officers to the sport of shooting ??

MN – Without Range Officers, we wouldn’t be able to open our Ranges. They are essential to the sport.

NSW Shooter– Why ??

MN - Most members are blissfully unaware that each range must conform to the conditions on the Range Approval granted by the NSW Police Firearms Registry which includes things such as calibre restrictions, types of competitions/events that may be conducted and type of projectiles allowed just to name a few. These conditions may change from range to range due to various reasons. Each range must be run in accordance with the Branch Range Standing Orders to ensure its safe and efficient running. All competitions held must be run to the approved rules and in a correct manner. These are things that a Range Officer quietly ensures happen without anyone even noticing.

NSW Shooter– Keith, what do you enjoy about your job as a Range Officer ??

KH - The pleasure of giving something back to the sport I have always enjoyed. It should be clear to all that if the ranges had to use paid range officers this sport would be prohibitively expensive.  You also have the opportunity of seeing all the latest and best equipment close up and talking to successful hunters, enthusiastic and also novice target shooters, also competition shooters and helping anyone who needs it.

NSW Shooter– So what would you say to someone who has considered becoming a Range Officer but hasn’t quite got around to it ??

KH – No sport can be successful without volunteers.

NSW Shooter– Mitch, what is SSAA NSW doing to encourage more people to become Range Officers ??

MN - Many SSAA Branches now run the SSAA Range Officer course as the need arises, and it seems that quite a number of members are putting up their hands to help our sport by becoming Range Officers.

NSW Shooter – And how can people get involved ??

MN - . If you feel that you would be good Range Officer material and would like to volunteer some of your time to help on your range or in your discipline, you should contact your Range/Discipline Captain or SSAA Branch committee – I’m sure that they would love a hand

Thanks to Keith and Mitch for taking part, and to all the Range Officers out there who tirelessly help promote the safe, fun and unique range of shooting sports.


NSW Government to review Firearms Regulation 2006

At a recent meeting of the NSW Government’s Firearms Consultative Committee, it was announced the five year review of
the Firearms Regulation 2006 had commenced.

This review will give law abiding firearm owners the opportunity to make submissions to the NSW Government on behalf of our sport. You can view the current Firearms Regulation 2006 at the
NSW Parliament's website.

Please take the time to read through the current regulations and if you have any feedback please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SSAA NSW will have a strong voice in this Review after successfully lobbying for, and being invited to join, the Firearms Consultative Committee earlier this year.

We believe the Government’s focus needs to be on criminals committing crimes with illegal guns, and not licensed, law abiding firearm owners who are participating in a sport they enjoy.

And an Olympic sport at that.

SSAA NSW will keep our Members updated on this important matter and provide further feedback opportunities throughout the review process, so please check this website regularly and don't forget to sign up for our E-News alerts


SSAA National 5 Stand Titles - Griffith, NSW, Sept 8 & 9

Next weekend will see competitors from all over Australia converge on the Dave Wallace Range in Griffith to compete in SSAA National 5 Stand Titles.

Up to 60 shooters are expected to attend the event, with the NSW team confident they can defend the Title they won last year in Western Australia.

This week the NSW Shooter caught up with NSW Team Member and current NSW 5 Stand Champion Darren Macartney for a quick chat about the event.

NSW Shooter - Congratulations on making the team Darren. The most important question is whether NSW can win the Title again in 2012 after a comprehensive victory in 2011 ??

DM - Definitely. We're not giving up the trophy lightly.

NSW Shooter - Great to hear. So tell us how you got involved in shooting ??

DM - I grew up on a farm in Berrigan in southern NSW and was introduced to the safe use of firearms at a young age. When I was 18 I moved to Hay and joined the Pistol Club and soon after began competing in pistol shooting events throughout Australia. About five years ago, when the drought made it much more difficult to go hunting, I took up clay target shooting.

NSW Shooter - And that's how you found your way to 5 Stand ??

DM - I got into 5 Stand in 2009 and only missed out on making the NSW team by half a point. I was devastated. But since then I've made the team in 2010, 2011 and now again in 2012.

NSW Shooter - What do you enjoy most about 5 Stand ??

DM - I enjoy the challenge of shooting at random and hidden targets. Not knowing where the next target will come from adds a whole new element to the sport. I have also really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in the coaching of junior shooters and the mateships I've formed through the sport.

NSW Shooter - You mentioned junior shooters ... what can SSAA NSW do to promote the safe, fun and unique range of shooting sports ??

DM - I was a volunteer at SSAA NSW SHOT Expo 2012 earlier this year, and spoke with lots of people who were interested in shooting but didn't know where they could give it a try.

So I think more awareness of our ranges, local contacts and information about try shooting activities is the most important step.

I also think we need to do more to address people's misconceptions about the shooting sports and show them, and let them see for themselves, that this is just a regular sport like football, basketball or tennis.

NSW Shooter - Thanks Darren and again best of luck to you and the guys from NSW !!

Practice for the event will commence at 2pm on Friday with competition starting at 9am on both Saturday and Sunday. A Saturday afternoon BBQ is also planned. For more information about the National Titles please contact National Shotgun Discipline Chairman Warren Brown by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact SSAA NSW on 02 8889 0400.

Good luck to all the competitors (especially those wearing NSW Blue!!)


NSW Shotgun Team to compete at SSAA National Titles

2012 NSW Shotgun Team:  Darren Macartney, Jayden Roe, Shaun Krzus, Grant Barton & Frank Tagliapietra  


Video from Tilterweira Station

Tilterweira Station is open year round to members of the SSAA.

Located three hours from Bourke, in far-Western NSW, Tilterweira is the perfect mix of natural beauty and prime hunting grounds.

Click on the image to see for yourself !!


For more information about Tilterweira please contact SSAA NSW on 02 8889 0400. 


Download SSAA NSW Standard Branch Constitution here