By DD Venter

With the first article we discussed the attendance of your first organized shooting event, the basic requirements and what to expect from the event organisers and Range Officers – up to the point where a Range Officer would take a group of participants to the shooting line and the participant need to follow his range commands.

This time we would look at the specific commands in detail and what would be expected of you on each command.



No participant may move to or equipment may be taken to the firing line before the Range Office gives the relevant command:

  1. 1. “Shooters to the firing line. Firearms to remain bagged or cased until further commands”.
  2. “The range is closed/hot”.
  3. The Range Officer will visit each shooter individually and order “Unbag and show me a safe gun”.
  4. The Range Officer explains the shooting exercise and allocates a target to each shooter.
  5. “Take up your shooting position and adjust your sights/scopes”.
  6. “Eye and ear protection on”.
  7. “Load and make ready” (load magazine/chamber of a single-shot firearm, bolt stays open).
  8. “Is everybody ready?” – shooter who are not ready to indicate.
  9. “The detail is not ready” – if appropriate.
  10. “Everybody is ready – close bolts and stand by” – trigger finger to remain outside the trigger guard.
  11. “Blow whistle” or give command “Fire” (during sighting-in, shooter may exchange firearms, within the time limit of the exercise).
  12. After the time is up: Blow whistle or give command “Stop/Cease fire”
  13. “Unload and make safe” – After the process of unloading and making safe, the shooter may put his firearm down with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, but he/she must remain with the firearm and wait for inspection.
  14. In the case of the exercise requiring a change in position while the shooters remains at the same firing point, the commands are repeated from point 4.
  15. Before there may be moved to the next firing point, the Range Officer must move to each individual shooter in his area and command; “Show safe/ Show me a safe firearm”. After inspection, the Range Officer will then give the command: “You may bag your firearm”. The firearm may then be stowed in the bag/case with a safety flag inserted, or bolt removed; or bolt closed with firing pin released.
  16. After all the firearms have been inspected, the Range Officer declares: “The range is safe/clear, pick up cases and move to the next firing point”
  17. On successive firing points of the same exercise, the commands are repeated from point 4 above.
  18. After completion of the shooting exercise, all firearms must be safely stowed away in bags/cases, before scores are taken or shottists return to the initial firing point.


  1. In case of emergency – “CEASE FIRE, CEASE FIRE!” or a long whistle blast
  2. The Range Officer may indicate the time remaining if required.


We specifically highlighted the commands as this is the action required by the participant, going through this and familiarising yourself will only add to your enjoyment of the event.

A quote of Gary Player comes to mind when I think about participation and shooting exercises: “The more I practice, the luckier I get!”

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