There aren’t many things as enjoyable as strapping on your holster with your favorite pistol and grabbing your rifle with its new leather sling and heading to the shooting range. There are proper ways to wear a holster and standard safety procedures regarding firearms. Safety and operational policies are in effect for holster wearing and at most shooting ranges. Wear your holster and follow the rules in effect at your shooting range.

Cooperation is expected by all holstered shooters.

The Range Master usually has the final say in all disputes regarding range operations. This rule is in effect for the safety of all concerned. Wear your holster and be willing to work with the people in charge of our safety and well being. Wear your holster and ear and eye protection at all times. You'll be glad you did later in life. When going down range, holster your gun and call a cease fire among other shooters. Make sure holster and gun are in proper place before going down range to service targets.

A safe line is usually a result of, but not limited to, the following steps. All pistols are to remain in your holsters.

All hand guns are to be cleared, benched and holstered when anyone is beyond the firing line.

For rifles: The bolt action, lever action or receiver is opened, open bolt indicator is placed in chamber, the magazine is emptied of any ammunition (if attached) or removed (if detachable), and the rifle is either set upon a table or placed in a gun rack.

For pistols: Holster is worn, action is opened by opening the loading gate (single action), positioning the empty cylinder open (double action), or slide back (self loading), the magazine is emptied of any ammunition (if attached) or removed (if detachable), and the pistol placed on a table or bench or in your holster.

No handling of firearms when anyone is beyond the firing line so holster your gun.

If you observe a malfunctioning holster or unsafe situation immediately declare a cease fire! The cease fire command is to be obeyed by all shooters - holstered or unholstered on that specific range. The unsafe holster or situation is to be immediately addressed and rectified.

All shooting shall be done from the firing line.

Never go beyond the firing line to discharge unholstered firearms except during regular scheduled match competitions. Don't take the presence of spent brass beyond the firing line as an invitation to venture down range to unholster and shoot. When going down range only take your holster with you.

Shoot only at authorized targets that are down range.

In most cases you will be assigned certain targets. Unholster your gun, shoot only at your targets, then safely reholster. It is not good shooting etiquette to unholster and shoot other people’s targets. If you can’t resist, you’d be better off just leaving your handgun in its holster!

Shoot only at right angles to the target.

Careless unholstering and shooting at targets that are not at right angles to you increase the chances of ricochet. That means uncontrolled projectiles. Not a good recipe!


Going to a shooting range with your new holster can be a time of fun and excitement– a good excuse to show off your new leather holster. The rules at the ranges are very important and vital for safety. With the help of all those involved, shooting ranges and a proper holster can be an enjoyable hobby. Observe the range’s rules and don't forget your holster for the most enjoyable time possible.

Billy Willis