Member's Handbook

CHAPTER VII. Range Officer Responsibilities


The Savannah River Rifle and Pistol Club utilizes two types of range officers.

1. Range Safety Officers (RSO) are appointed by the Executive Committee and are Certified as Range Safety Officers by the National Rifle Association or hold equivalent ratings issued by a recognized organization such as a law enforcement agency or the military. RSO's may serve as Range Officers, but normally will observe and guide Range Officers.

2. Range Officers (RO) are Club members in good standing who are chosen by their fellow shooters to serve as RO when multiple shooters are using a firing line.

All range officers, have the same responsibilities, and shall follow and enforce the applicable rules for the range in use.

• Before opening the range for shooting, the RO shall perform an inspection of the range (refer to APPENDIX 1 for a recommended inspection checklist) to insure that the conditions of the range allow for safe and pleasurable shooting.

• Before opening the range for shooting, the RO shall verify that all shooters have signed in, and that each shooter is either a Club member or a guest of a Club member. For shooting events open to non-members, shooters may sign in as guests of the event coordinator.

• Before opening the range for shooting, the RO shall conduct a short Range Safety Briefing (see APPENDIX 3)  for all shooters. The briefing may be repeated as needed as new shooters arrive throughout the day.

• It is extremely important that the Range Officer be aware of activities at the range at all times. For this reason, the RO will usually not also be a shooter. When there are very few shooters on the firing line (normally 3 or less), the RO may participate in the shooting, but must remain alert to the activity on the range. In order to permit equal opportunities to shoot, members should consider rotating the Range Officer duties periodically (NOTE: Guests may not serve as a Range Officer unless they meet the requirements for a Range Safety Officer and are approved by the Executive Committee). The RO should be positioned for a clear view of both the firing line and the down range area.

• Range Officers shall use a consistent set of commands for communicating with shooters. While some variation is allowed (usually depending on the number of shooters or requirements of an event), the RO shall go over the commands to be used during the Range Safety Briefing. Standard commands and their usage are as follows:

CEASE FIRE! CEASE FIRE! CEASE FIRE! The Cease Fire command may be given by anyone on the range – ANYONE! The command may be issued to end the current sequence of firing, or it may indicate that a serious emergency/safety condition exists. The command should be given LOUDLY, three times. Upon hearing the command, all shooters are required to immediately stop firing, put weapon on safe, and stand at the low ready (weapon pointed down at a 45 degree angle, safety on, finger off the trigger) until the RO tells you what to do.

Unload and Show Clear This command can actually be given any time, but will usually follow the CEASE FIRE! command. Upon hearing this command, shooters are required to do the following:

Release the magazine or open the cylinder and eject the cartridges or open the loading gate on your single action (SA) revolver and eject the cartridges. 

For Semi-Automatic firearms, lock the slide back, hold the weapon in the dominant hand, hold the magazine in the support hand and hold them next to each other so the RO can clearly see an empty chamber and a separate magazine.

 For a Double Action (DA) revolver, have the cylinder open and all cartridges removed. Hold it so the RO can clearly see the empty cylinder.

For an SA revolver, have the loading gate open, the hammer cocked 2-clicks so the cylinder rotates freely and spin it slowly so the RSO or TO can see all chambers are empty.

For shot guns, open the action, and hold the gun so that the RO can clearly see that the chamber(s) are empty.

Keep all firearms pointed in a safe direction!

Bench Firearms This is an optional command. The RO may elect to include it as part of the Unload and Show Clear command. This must be made clear to the shooters in the Range Safety Briefing. Upon hearing this command, shooters shall place their unloaded firearms pointing down range and separate ammunition on the bench (firearms may be holstered if holsters are in use). Benched firearms shall be placed so that the RO can easily verify that actions are open. The use of safety flags inserted in the action is encouraged.

Range is Cold Once the RO gives this command, there is to be no handling of firearms by anyone. The RO may permit the reloading of removed magazines, but magazines shall not be inserted into firearms. New arrivals to the range are not permitted to unpack, set up, or otherwise handle firearms while the line is cold.

After declaring the range cold and verifying that it is safe to do so, the RO may inform shooters  that they can go down range and check/replace targets. The RO will normally remain at the firing line to provide security and insure that no one handles firearms (Cased firearms may be brought to the firing line, but shall not be uncased when the range is cold).

Range is Hot The RO will issue this command only after verifying that everyone is safely behind the firing line. This command does not authorize anyone to begin firing! Once the line is declared hot, shooters may handle their firearms, including loading them, while keeping them pointed in a safe direction. Do not put you finger on the trigger! New arrivals at the range may use this time to unpack, set up, and load their firearms.

Ready on the LEFT/RIGHT/FIRING LINE It is not always necessary to issue all three of these queries/commands. For example, if there are very few shooters, Ready on the FIRING LINE may be adequate by itself. It is up to the RO to determine whether or not all are needed.

Upon hearing these commands, the shooter should raise (an empty) hand in the thumbs up signal to show the RO that they are prepared for shooting to begin.

Commence Firing When the Range Officer is certain that all shooters are ready and it is safe to do so, the Commence Firing command will be given. Shooters may then begin firing, and may continue to so until the  CEASE FIRE! command is heard.

Additional commands may be used during special events/competitions. These will be explained to shooters prior to the event by the event coordinator and/or Range Officer.

• Upon observing a rules violation or unsafe act, the RO shall inform the person of the issue. If the actor fails to correct their actions or becomes confrontational, the RO may require them to leave the range immediately and shall inform the Chief Range Safety Officer or Executive Committee.

• The Range Officer is responsible for taking charge and assigning duties during an emergency or personal injury situation (see APPENDIX 4 and/or APPENDIX 5.

• The RO may be called upon from time-to-time to assist a shooter with a firearm malfunction or stoppage. Do so only if you are qualified.

• The RO must not touch a shooter without first asking permission, and informing them of how they will be touched.