Range Brief (example)
This range brief is largely derived from the Naval Special Warfare 40 hour course titled, Range Operations Safety. I went through considerable effort to extract what is pertinent and remove all the military jargon and references to other military manuals in an effort to provide civilians with much needed range safety information.
I personally attended the NRA Range Safety Officer course and found no useful information that would assist an instructor in mitigating risk on the range. There is however a more extensive course conducted by the NRA that I have not attended, titled Chief Range Safety Officer. It is my understanding that is the course civilians need to attend. From my time in the SEAL teams I was certified to run every type of range, including indirect fire weapons, rockets, mortars, grenades, and dynamic live fire ranges in complete darkness. The safety concerns regarding approximately 20 people shooting, moving and communicating at night while employing belt-fed machine guns, rockets, flares, smoke grenades, you name it - are inconceivable to the NRA RSO. There is no doubt that military RSO's assigned to Special Operations Units are the authority on the range and should be respected by the much lesser qualified NRA RSO's. I wouldn't mention this if it weren't an issue at some ranges.
(1) Introduce self and provide brief background
(2) Introduce assistants
(3) Introduce other relevant people who may be present
- Assess shooters experience
(1) Ask shooters to introduce themselves, occupation, and their prior formal training experience.
- Summary of the range evolution
(1) Course Objective
(2) Significant learning objectives - such as, moving and shooting, use of cover, transition drills, malfunction drills.
(3) The lead instructor/ trainer and appointed safety supervisors are the range authority, directing range participants as necessary.
(4) The lead instructor/ trainer has the final say in all matters on the range including medical emergencies, unless there is someone present more highly qualified. *Indicate that person at that time.
(5) A safety warning may be issued by the lead instructor or an appointed assistant.
(6) The lead instructor/ trainer may remove a shooter/student from the course at his or her discretion. Bare in mind, if this occurs it's a hit on the LIT for allowing an unqualified person to attend the course.
- Group Question: “Has anyone consumed alcohol, drugs, or prescription drugs within the last 8 hours? Drugs labeled as impairing cognitive ability, or otherwise known to impair motor function are prohibited.
Statement - “No one shall participate in firearms training if they have consumed alcohol or drugs within the previous 8 hours.”
A positive response requires further evaluation of the shooter by the RSO.
- Four Fundamental safety rules are:
(1) Always know the condition of your weapon.
(2) Never let the muzzle cover yourself, any part of yourself, anyone, or anything you may not intend to shoot.
(3) Keep your trigger finger long and straight until you can safely fire
(4) Always be sure of the target you intend to shoot and what is beyond you're target.
- Range Commands (Repeated by all shooters)
All commands will come from the lead instructor/ trainer or appointed assistants.
*All shooters are obligated to call “Cease Fire” if they see or anticipate an unsafe condition.
Line is Hot
Line is Cold
Safe & Hang
Lock & Load
Unload & Show Clear
- Range safety violations for which a shooter may be removed from training.
(1) Not keeping the muzzle of the firearm pointed downrange or flagging people.
(2) Safety not engaged when it should be, or when instructed to do so.
(3) Trigger Finger not long & straight or inside the trigger guard when it is not safe to fire.
(4) Shooting at anything other than the intended target
(5) Failure to immediately respond to range commands.
(6) Failure to follow instructions from the lead instructor/ trainer and appointed assistants.
(7) Firing after the "cease fire" signal has been given.
- Range Description and Instructions
(1) The flanks of the range
(2) Static or Dynamic range
(3) 90º degree range (only shooting straight forward / 180º range (ability to additionally shoot left and right when instructed.
(4) Type of Range - (Hot Range/ Cold Range)
- a) Cold Range - The pistol will be made Clear & Safe before reloading or moving off the firing line for any reason.
- b) Hot Range - shooters may keep a round in the chamber while behind the firing line or moving around the range. Not to be confused with the range command, "the line is hot."
Pistol Hot Range – the pistol will always remain in the holster when behind the firing line or moving around the range unless actively participating in a shooting drill. The Shooter may remove the magazine from the pistol without removing the pistol from the holster and while ensuring the weapon remains completely seated within the holster.
Rifle Hot Range - the shooter may walk around with a loaded rifle while always maintaining positive control, remaining aware of sweeping/ flagging and also ensuring the weapon remains on safe when appropriate.
(5) A loaded pistol or rifle will not be passed to another shooter at any time. Exception: the lead instructor/ trainer or appointed assistant may take positive control to clear a malfunction, or stoppage.
(6) Rifles will not be leaned up against anything, especially vehicles. Place rifles on the ground, a table or a rack as directed with the bolt back, on safe, ejection port cover open and pointed up.
Rifle - When sighting in - Do touch or make adjustments to weapons after they have been placed on the ground and until directed.
(7) When directed to Unload and Show Clear perform a buddy check.
Pistol - return the slide to the forward position and re-holster while facing downrange. Do not remove the weapon from the holster when behind the firing line for any reason.
Rifle - keep the bolt locked back and ensure the weapon is on safe. Maintain positive control and muzzle awareness while walking.
(8) Stoppage/ Jam/ Malfunction - In the event of a stoppage or malfunction the shooter will perform the proper corrective action. If the shooter is unsure of the proper corrective action, raise your hand while keeping the weapon pointed downrange. The LIT, or appointed assistant will assist you.
(9) Squib load, no powder, or low powder cartridge - If the shooter hears a pop instead of bang, immediately stop shooting. Raise the non-firing hand and notify the lead instructor/ trainer immediately.
(10) Situational awareness – remain aware of other shooters to the left and right of you at all times. Do Not extend over the firing line thereby placing yourself downrange. Be aware of body position when retrieving magazines.
Remedial Action Policy
All shooters shall perform their own remedial actions unless there is a possibility of a bore obstruction, or unless otherwise directed by the Lead Instructor/ Trainer.
When firearms training is taking place during Lowlight conditions remedial actions shall be performed after the sequence of fire is complete, unless otherwise stated by the Lead Instructor/ Trainer.
Use a light to get a buddy check and clear stoppages during low light conditions unless the course objectives state differently.
- Malfunction Severe- If there is a weapon jam or malfunction that cannot be cleared following immediate action, and remedial action steps. Keep the weapon pointed downrange, and raise hand for LIT to assist.
- Designated area to work on malfunctions.
- Students shall clear and make safe before going to bathroom facilities.
- Inform the lead instructor/ trainer if leaving the firing line for any reason.
- Clean up afterwards will consist of... and take your trash with you, don’t leave it behind.
Emergency Action Plan (sample format)
An EAP should be developed and tailored for every training location before any live fire training takes place,
The lead instructor should check to ensure there is cell service at the training location, or another means of communicating with First Responders if necessary.
The EAP brief is best given in conjunction with the range brief and may include some of following information:
(1) Point out the location of the medical kit. Review the contents.
(2) Identify the most highly qualified person with medical training who is willing to render aide during a medical emergency. Designate that person as lead medical. They will take charge of any medical situation.
(3) Designate a vehicle to be used as an ambulance to transport person(s) from a remote area to the nearest hospital. Ensure the vehicle is clear of gear and equipment before training begins and ready to be used if necessary.
(4) Location and address of the nearest level 1 trauma center. Location and address of nearest hospital (if different).
(5) Address, and/or coordinates in the correct lat/long format of the training location for life flight, fire department and ambulance.
(6) Designate one person to remain on the phone with 911 during a medical emergency. The lead instructor and designated lead medical are likely to be very busy.
(7) Designate one person to ensure all weapons are made Clear & Safe in an organized manner immediately after experiencing a medical emergency on the range. This can be done in the moment and doesn't have to part of the brief.
(8) Designate at least one person to escort First Responders to the training range and location of the medical emergency. Entry routes for emergency services vehicles and personnel.
(9) Notification list of Next of Kin (NOK) for all persons on the range. Have this information on hand before training begins.
(10) Muster site for all non-affected students, assistants, and instructors.
(11) *Important. Before all non-affected students, assistants and instructors leave the training area, request they make a statement in writing. Sign and date the statement.
Mishap Report (sample format)
- Name of effected person (separate sheet for each person)
- Address of effected person
- Emergency Contact Information of effected person
- Date/Time of Mishap:
- Address of Location of Mishap, ( city, state, county, ):
- Specific Activity, (name of training course and shooting drill.):
Property Damage [ ] Yes [ ] No If Yes,
- Description of Damaged Property:
- Actual or Estimated Cost of Damage to Property:
- NARRATIVE: (Provide a brief sequence of events involved in the mishap. A chronological sequence is the recommended approach. Please identify the specific location of injury. For example; right leg, left eye, etc….
- Weather Conditions:
- Additional Information:
- Personal Protective Equipment/Clothing (PPE)
- Injured party was wearing prescribed PPE [ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] N/A
- PPE if worn was effective [ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] N/A
- Personal Protective Equipment/Clothing (PPE)
II. Witness contact information:
- First and Last Name:
- Email and phone:
(2) First and Last Name:
- Email and phone:
(3) First and Last Name:
- Email and phone:
Student Instructor Ratio's
Even a 1:1 ratio does not ensure a safety mishap will not occur. The attached picture shows a 1:1 student/ instructor ratio the moment before a 9-year-old girl loses control of a full-auto Uzi and accidentally shoots and kills the instructor watching over her.
As depicted in the photograph, the man is standing alongside of her. A technique that might have avoided the mishap would have been to stand behind the girl to prevent her from stepping backwards. The instructor can also reach out with either arm to prevent side to side and vertical movement. Firearms training is inherently dangerous. It is incumbent upon the instructor to be 99% certain of how everyone on the range will behave during every moment of the training. Ask yourself, what could have been done to prevent this tragedy?
There is no ratio that guarantees a safety mishap will not occur. Identify measures to reduce risk while creating the course on paper and before firearms are discharged to ensure the odds of a safety mishap are mitigated. Work to identify the real safety issues.
Dry fire is a useful method for mitigating risk on the range. The experienced instructor will understand what the real issues are and develop methods and procedures designed to reduce the risk. These methods and procedures for reducing risk are the result of formal training and experience.
Many contemporary tactical training instructors run courses alone, or with minimal assistance. However, that doesn't mean the training can't be conducted safely.