What commands are used on the firing range?

In addition to range safety rules, you should be familiar with the commands used on the firing range. Whenever you visit a new range, always communicate with the range personnel and ask for direction on their specific range procedures.

Readying the Range

When you first get on the line (standing together ready to shoot) you will hear the instructors call to “ready the range”. This is a verbal indicator we range safety officers (RSO’s) give to each other to indicate we have verified the range is ready to go “hot.”

  • Call: READY ON THE RIGHT?
    Answer: Ready on the right!
  • Call: READY ON THE LEFT?
    Answer: Ready on the left!
  • Call: Roger! THE RANGE IS HOT!
    This means all students are where they need to be, all firearms are pointed where they need to be, all bystanders are in their proper place and the next orders will be to commence firing as instructed.

Clearing the Range

RANGE IS CLEAR – Before and after each shooting sequence during student training, two sets of instructors will issue three loud confirmations.

  • CLEAR RIGHT! – indicates an instructor has verified the right side of the range is clear of bystanders and that all is safe. This will be verified by the other instructor or RSO.
  • CLEAR LEFT! – indicates an instructor has verified the left side of the range is clear of bystanders and that all is safe. This will be verified by the other instructor or RSO.
  • RANGE IS COLD! – The Chief Instructor or RSO will issue this statement to notify the instructor on the firing line that the range is clear and he can readily engage his students for further instruction.

Preparing to Fire

After the range is made “hot”, meaning there are live firearms on the line, the following commands will be give.

LOAD AND MAKE READY!
On the load command, students standing ON THE FIRING LINE may load their pistols. This command authorizes students to load only – nothing else. All fingers must remain off the triggers.

COMMENCE FIRING or “FIRE” 
When this command is given, students may begin firing when ready.

CEASE FIRE! – When the cease fire command is given ALL shooting must stop IMMEDIATELY. Even a shooter in the process of squeezing the trigger must stop, remove his or her finger from the trigger while keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and wait for further instructions from the Range Officer. The Cease Fire command could include follow-up instructions such as:

  • UNLOAD
  • CYLINDERS OPEN
  • MAGAZINES OUT
  • SLIDES BACK
  • GUNS ON THE BENCH

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