Range/Branch Matters – March 2023

Shooting range and club approvals are granted by the NSW Firearms Registry on behalf of the Commissioner of Police. This involves range compliance officers from the Registry attending your facility to conduct an inspection.

The responsibility of a Registry Range Compliance officer is to determine whether your range is fit for purpose. In other words, is your range safe to accommodate the shooting disciplines and activities your Branches/clubs intends to host.

This assessment of safety is not only limited to the activities of members within your range. It must also consider the safety of your neighbours; those who occupy the surrounding areas.

In terms of the branches, Compliance Officers are also there to conduct a review of how it is being managed. In short, this ensures that it complies with the approvals and licences that underpin its authority to operate consistent with NSW firearms laws and regulations.

When these important boxes have been ticked, the compliance officers can issue a Shooting Range Approval (SRA), which generally is effective for 5 years and further support the continuance of an approval.

Your SRA comes with a “range report” that provides all the inspection results, including any matters that need to be sorted out by the branch (such as improvements to current safety measures, or recommendations to introduce further safety measures).

When your branch is preparing for a range/Branch inspection, it is recommended that the range approval holder and committee review the previous range report to ensure that any items that required rectifying have been addressed.

Generally, the Compliance Officers want to leave your range certain that the conditions of the current SRA are being followed, and confident that the Branch and range are being maintained appropriately to host the expressed activities and disciplines as endorsed by SSAA NSW.

Items that compliance officers review include the following:


•             Gates, warning signs (public safety requirements).

•             The current range approval and compliance with conditions, matches, ammunition, etc.

•             Range Standing Orders.

•             Emergency actions.

•             Authorised firearms, ammunition, and practices.

•             Clearly identified lanes, targets and firing points.

•             Back splash and ricochet hazards.

•             Required safety signage displayed and safety equipment.

•             Access / egress

•             Visibility of required mantlet face from all firing points.

•             Full exposure of all targets from all firing points.

•             Ground, free of ricochet inducing material/s.

•             Firing point dimensions, construction, alignment, and profiles.

•             Clearance over mantlet crest board.

•             Bullet catcher, scooping / tunnelling.

•             Quadrant elevation.

•             Template alignment.

•             Intermediate target mantlet profile, height, and width.

•             Fixed arc markers.

•             Movement box markers.

•             Safety templates

•             Sidewall height and construction.

•             Pattering board and skeet tower location and condition.

•             Location of trap house.

•             Pads not raised.

•             Target distance marker.

•             Target crossing point.

•             Shooting cage.


•             Current approvals.

•             Current Firearms licence.

•             Club firearms and safe storage.

•             Club armourer.

•             Club executives.

•             Club approval holder.

•             P650 declarations (completion).

•             Club ‘active’ membership (numbers).

•             Participation requirements and submission of annual returns.

•             On-boarding to, usage of ‘Gun Safe’ for transactions.

•             Maintenance of attendance registers and validation of bona-fides.

The NSW Firearms Registry has recently commenced the roll out of an improved Shooting Range Approval template that no longer lists the events (that is, matches and disciplines). The new SRA focuses more on the range danger area employed and the approved ammunition.

This now allows branches to host matches and disciplines that are sanctioned by SSAA NSW (that is, it has match rules) without requiring the match to be added to the SRA, providing that we have a clear understanding that the match being conducted meets the authorised ammunition as shown on the Shooting Range Approval.

Nevertheless, please be vigilant in communicating this requirement to your members and Range Officers.

As always, if you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at peter@nsw.ssaa.org.au

See you on the range.

Pete Szaak JP
Firearms Regulatory and Compliance Manager