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Just Go!! My First Competitive Shooting Experience

Competitive Shooting Etiquette

So, you are brand new to the shooting sports, you have been diligent to read the rules for your first match(es) you show up and think you know everything you need to knowRight? Wrong!!!! There is an entire unwritten ruleset to learn and that is how to conduct yourself at the match. These unwritten rules are important and will go a long way to enhancing your experience entering the action shooting sports.


Be Ready:

It is every shooters responsibility to be ready to go when it is their turn to shoot. This means you are ready and waiting, guns in hand, when asked to stage and prepare. To put it in perspective, if every shooter delays their start just 1 minute on 8 stages in a 300-person match, this adds up quickly. Shooting sports requires a degree organization to be successful. Don’t make the Rand Officer wait for you.

Stay Off the Stage:

This is an ever-present issue at matches. Shooters who are not shooting a stage caught wandering around doing a walk through or trying to find targets while the current squad is on that stage. This interruption is not appreciated and is one of the worst etiquette violations I can think of. The squad currently shooting has the right to that stage, they should not be interfered with or interrupted while they occupy that stage.

Be Polite:

The shooting sports are ultimately a game. Lives are not being saved or lost and therefore rude behavior is not needed. The Range Officers are not paid to be there, they are volunteers. Taking out your frustrations on an RO is a great way to build a poor reputation and to potentially get thrown out of a match. At the end of the day, we are all friends in a Firearms Friendly community and respect goes a long way.

Know When to ask Questions:

As a new shooter you will undoubtedly have a ton of questions. Maybe you have the opportunity to shoot with a high-end competitor for the first time and you have 20 questions you are dying to ask. Most shooters are happy to talk and to answer questions, but you need to be aware that they are there to shoot and to win. Knowing when to ask questions is key. Know when they are up to shoot. Be aware of their mood or focus before you ask. Trying not to pepper anyone with questions continuously.

Everyone Resets:

Very few matches have provided stage re-setters. It is therefore the squads responsibility to reset the stage after every shooter. Nothing is more frustrating than to see your squad mates yuckin it up and not helping during reset. Everyone is responsible to reset, no one is excluded. If you are dealing with a mechanical issue, you need to inform the RO and your squad mates, fix the issue and get back after it.

Adhering to these etiquette items will enrich your experience help you integrate well into these fun and exciting competitions.