Proper range ettiquette?


February 23, 2009, 04:36 AM
Sorry if this isn't exactly related to firearms, but I have a question about firing range ettiquette/courtesy. Is it rude to eat/sip on a drink at the shooting range? Like, during some downtime or waiting time, is it rude to pull out some snacks and a drink and go to town? (By the way, I'm 5 08 and 145lbs, I'm not a chunky dude that eats alot; I'm a skinny dude that eats alot :D)

I'm thinking an indoor range may be a little more strict about it than an outdoor range because I've noticed in the past that the indoor ranges I go to are sometimes smaller than the outdoor ranges I go to and they sometimes have that "no food or drinks in this area" signs. I don't mean eat near the freaking firing line itself, but like in the outside waiting area/gunstore lobby. Of course I would be mindful of how many people there are in the place and the demeanor of the employees.

I'm planning to spend almost half an entire day at a new range tomorrow with alot of people so I want to be prepared to hang out :)

I'd think the range personnel would let high spending customers be comftorable and be cool with it lol...I dunno

Anyways, I was bored so any input would be marvelous

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Eric F
February 23, 2009, 04:45 AM
this subjet seems to come up every now and again. Some folks make a big deal about it while others dont. I think you are ok if you wash your hands and eat/drink off the line in a break area.

February 23, 2009, 05:25 AM
Drink? Not really unless its one of those spillable huge containers.

Eating and just making a mess and whatever, yes it bothers me. Its called burger king, go there.

It also depends on the range. If there is plenty of space between the stations and load is low, it hardly is a concern. But if you are crammed station to station the straws are short

Highland Ranger
February 23, 2009, 07:36 AM
I'd check range rules - if no rule, then you should be ok.

Rules aside, indoor ranges I'd say no. Outdoor ranges - I have been known to partake of a ham and cheese sandwich on the line. Not really an issue with the layout of the range I go to. I also smoke cigars. But there is plenty of room, so no issue.

You do need to watch your hygiene so you don't wind up with lead poisoning.

February 23, 2009, 07:39 AM
I wouldn't at the indoor ranges I have been to -- there's just not enough space between you and your neighbors, it would be like eating in front of somebody without sharing. Not terrible, just annoying.

Outdoor range, not crowded, lots of room between you and other shooters, sure.

February 23, 2009, 08:00 AM
It isn't a courtasy issue. No one's ego is going to be bruised because you didn't share a french fry. (As long as you don't leave a mess!) This ain't "Momma's house" and you don't have to make sure everyone gets fed. :rolleyes:

Eating and drinking (and smoking!) are direct paths into your body for the lead residue that accumulates on your hands while you shoot and handle ammo, cases, etc. If you get hungry, go wash your hands very well in cold water, with soap, then eat/drink.

There is a current mild hysteria about lead poisoning and indoor ranges. Studies are proving, however, that most of the lead contamination folks get in their systems comes not from airborne dust but from poor range hygene -- eating, drinking, smoking, touching the face, wiping your mouth, etc. with unwashed hands.


Hungry Seagull
February 23, 2009, 08:54 AM
Ech, if you are drinking fluids and munching food on the range bench behind the line inside the range I shoot at.. well I dont care really.

Sometimes the fans are not really on and there is alot of lead that will get floating around and into your drink, food etc.

Best to get your munching and hydrating out of the way BEFORE you set foot onto a range. Now if I slip on someone's fried chicken, Im going home LOL.

There is also a chance that a flying brass in small enough caliber might get into something in your pile on the table.

The Lone Haranguer
February 23, 2009, 09:05 AM
If it is allowed on the range in the first place, why not? (Some indoor ones do not.) Do wash your hands before you pick up food with your fingers. If there is no running water nearby you can take baby wipes with you. Also don't neglect safety procedures while you feed your face. ;)

February 23, 2009, 09:07 AM
Although the risks are small, there's the very real chance that you are building up lead in your system over time.

Just something to keep in mind if you do it often.

February 23, 2009, 10:27 AM
I don't eat or drink at indoor ranges, usually there's a rule in place, plus space is restricted.
At my outdoor range, I typically have a drink on my bench, and have been known to eat lunch during breaks.
Follow all precautions for normal hygene.

Duke of Doubt
February 23, 2009, 10:38 AM
Alcohol is banned at my range, though that hasn't stopped the occasional flask or oil can of beer from getting cracked open AFTER the shooting is all done, if nobody else is around. Soda pop and burgers are considered sort of immature and vaguely inappropriate at my range, but nobody would hassle you for it. Doughnuts and coffee for the trap codgers is another matter. Now, if you let out a gargantuan, cataclysmic belch right next to the slow-fire long-range marksman just as he's squeezing off a round of 8mm Mauser at an aspirin tablet on the 200 yard berm, you might draw a snarl.

February 23, 2009, 10:50 AM
I can't see anything wrong with having a sip of water or flavored drink to stay hydrated while you shoot. I don't think I would want to see someone demolishing a big mac for the reason mentioned above.

February 23, 2009, 10:57 AM
The NRA (junior woodchuck guide book) I mean the range safety officer handbook says that eating, drinking or smoking should be banned from the firing line. Lead and fouling transfer from hands and ingested. I would also whole heartedly suggest not doing this during cleaning. That being said it is up to ranges SOP and your own common sense. The little things that go down range are made of heavy metals (copper,lead). Heavy metals are not good for your body.

February 23, 2009, 10:58 AM
The range I shoot at has vending machines, so enjoy yourself.

If some one else has a problem with it, tell them to go to the store and get their own.

Why let unfriendly people get in the way of your enjoyment. In some cases it might be a medical necessity for a person to eat to control diabetes or other related concern.

February 23, 2009, 01:13 PM
My guess if the range has "no food or drink" rules is because most indoor ranges are carpeted and they don't want spills, etc staining the carpet. When sweeping up brass, they don't need crumbs getting deposited in the brass containers.

Boba Fett
February 23, 2009, 01:18 PM
is it rude to pull out some snacks and a drink and go to town?

Not at the ranges I attend. Now if you litter or make a mess, yeah the range marshals will probably get upset as will the other people around you.

Even most of the indoor places I visit don't mind if you have bottled water or the like in the range. Again, so long as you aren't messy and clean up after you're done, they're all pretty cool with it.

If you're worried about it at all, just ask them. :D

February 23, 2009, 01:29 PM
The local indoor range here has a couple of vending machines in the general area where the guns are sold and waiting areas. They jus don't allow you to take food or drink to the shooting lines. Just wash your hands at the rest room and sit with a cup of coffee if you like! There are usually guys who meet each other and share a snack while waiting or in between shooting sessions. It makes for good friendship and keeps patrons there for business reasons. I guess there are people or shops that don't like it. I wouldn't have a hamburger in one hand and handling a new gun you might buy in the other! Other than that, I don't see anything anal about it unless you interfere or leave a mess. In the scope of life, worse things to worry about.

February 23, 2009, 03:39 PM
As long as you're not in the way of other patrons, I really don't see the harm in it. Be careful and keep your hands clean, but there still, it's your health do as you want. I've both eaten and drank before at the range, and this was an outdoor range that offered nothing more than a Port-A-Potty, and I'm still kickin'. But I wouldn't make it a regular habit.

Drink? Not really unless its one of those spillable huge containers.

Eating and just making a mess and whatever, yes it bothers me. Its called burger king, go there.

There again, as long as you're out of the way, and clean it up, what's the big deal. Don't leave a mess for someone else to deal with. When your done, put it in the trash. Don't go shoot another magazine and return to finish.

I do all my shooting at outdoor ranges, both public (provided by the DNR), and private (invitation only, never a pay to shoot range). I've seen messes made, it was an accident. The guilty party cleaned it up, usually with some unsolicited help from others. If the wind blows a wrapper down range, at the next cold range period, make a beeline for the paper, don't expect others to pick it up. If someone does, be apologetic and thank them.

Basically after all this, there is one easy thing you (or anybody/everybody) can do, not only at the range but anywhere. Be respectful, you want have any problems. If you want to be an a***ole, don't get upset when you're treated that way, and told where to go, and what to pound.


March 2, 2009, 04:27 AM
I didn't mean alcohol! lol

March 2, 2009, 10:40 AM
If someone is being distracted by you eating, they must be quivering every time someone pulls the trigger. I wouldn't eat after shooting unless you have washed your hands because of the burned power, lead, and specks of copper that are probably on your hands.

Duke of Doubt
March 2, 2009, 10:49 AM
MAKster: "If someone is being distracted by you eating, they must be quivering every time someone pulls the trigger."

You've never heard me belch. My daughter once compared it to the roar of an enraged lion.

Hungry Seagull
March 2, 2009, 10:54 AM
Those that sell those Gel soles for feet have never seen a firing range.

I am mellow, are you BOOOOM yahhh!!!! (Jumps or dives to cover.)

March 2, 2009, 10:57 AM
I've never seen anyone eat in the shooting area at the indoor range where I shoot. A sip of bottled water, yes. In the waiting area, people eat and drink. If there are folks waiting for lanes, I'd give up my lane and get another one, after my break. There's no rule about breaks, just seems it'd be the kind thing to do.

Might be different at other ranges.

March 2, 2009, 12:42 PM
Drinks (non-alcoholic ONLY) should be allowed. Hydration is VERY important (I'm not joking here) and is crucial to keeping your mind sharp. Id prefer sharp minded people at the gun range, and everywhere else in life. I always have my nalgene full of water at the range with me. Although on warmer days, its not always enough. Skeet shooting on 90 degree days always requires a beverage break between rounds. Our range does not have a bar or serve alcohol (thank god) but your allowed to bring your own for AFTER shooting, or after work days. Id agree on the work days, nothin like a cold beer after picking up thousands of empty shotgun hulls, or mowing get the idea. Just not if your gonna problems at our range, though :)

Food? Its ok. But I wouldn't eat unless I washed my hands (even a baby wipe would be better than not) before eating...

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