After a Hiatus

Refreshing your safe shooting drills

2020 has seen the widespread closure of many of our ranges with some affected by the summer bush fires and all ranges affected by COVID-19. Many members have been unable to participate in the sport due to lock down and restricted access to venues.

Even though many ranges have now reopened, fear of the virus and the desire for personal health and safety has kept many shooters away. This has certainly affected the ability for shooters to mix with their peers, not only on a sporting level but also on a social level.

Many have taken this time to catch up on their reloading and so have maintained a link to their sport. Unfortunately, many more have had no real way of maintaining that link and have been forced to occupy themselves with other activities.

Like time away from any sport, the skills and technical ability required to participate in sports shooting may fade or deteriorate without practice.

If you’re a shooter rejoining the sport after any hiatus, you will need to refresh your safe handling habits, shooting skills and technique. This ensures that when you do get back on the range or out in the field, you take nothing for granted when it comes to your safety and the safety of others.

While many long-time shooters will find their safe handling skills to be second nature, not everyone has the luxury of substantial experience and will need to consciously step through their safety drills.

Here is a refresh on our top 6 drills for safety:

  1. Clear all firearms as empty and safe both when placed into and removed from safe storage as well as prior to and after use.
  2. Always remain conscious of your firearms muzzle direction, keeping it pointed in a safe direction.
  3. Do not chamber a round of ammunition until you are ready to shoot.
  4. Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  5. If using an approved range listen to and follow the directives of a Range Officer and always follow established safety protocols at that range.
  6. If hunting, always clearly identify your target and what is behind it before taking a shot.
If you are feeling especially rusty, speak to your local Range Officer or club official for advice and guidance on any aspect of firearms safe handling.
Mitch is the Policy and Range Manager at SSAA NSW.