One of the most important and unnerving jobs at a gun range, is that which is held by the Range Safety Officer, or RSO. Their main job is to make sure everyone on and off the range practices the safety rules that come with owning and shooting a firearm. Off the range, they make sure no one is manipulating a firearm in an unsafe manner. RSO’s are trained to inform patrons of the safe handling methods in order to create a safe shooting range for everyone.
With the uncertain times we’re living in, many people have decided that now is the ideal time to purchase a firearm. Which is not a bad thing at all, however that also means that many people who have never even held a firearm are now headed to the range to learn. Learning with a pistol, shotgun or rifle is needed. Television, movies and most video games involve firearms and show some fancy shooting, but that is not realistic. Luckily, RSOs are there to make sure that while practicing, it is done safely so no one gets hurt.
On the range, RSOs are similar to a hawk, they watch every move and listen to everything. If someone in lane 1 has their pistol jammed, but lane 5 is accidently flagging lane 6 (pointing the firearm in that direction), then it is the RSO’s job to fix those issues, most likely starting with lane 5. Say a full auto AK-47 decides to jam in the middle of shooting, the RSO next to the shooter has the skill and knowledge to grab it safely, clear the malfunction, reload it, and place it right where it needs to go in the shooters arms, all within 30 seconds.
RSOs will be with you every step of the way, maybe from a distance, or maybe right next to you depending on what is being fired. Considering RSOs pick this job because of their love for sport shooting, they know a thing or two about safe firearm handling, stance, proper sight lines, and can clear 99% of malfunctions with any firearm. This level of skill does not come easily though.
Hours upon hours of practice is needed, with multiple firearms. Which may seem awesome! Shoot thousands of rounds to better train to become an RSO? Best job ever! Unfortunately, it is not like that.
Sure, RSOs shoot quite a bit, but its not just to get used to recoil or to learn how a typical rifle handles. Its also to learn how to correct stance, grip and sight, so they are better equipped to help a new shooter. Learning all those specifications can become mundane, but they do it anyways because its needed so everyone on the range can fire safely at once.
Before the range even opens to the public, the RSOs must inspect the range. The steel trap face that catches the lead bullets must be looked at to make sure there is no cracks or any real damage on it. The vents that recycle the air must be cleaned and maintained, and the floor must be cleaned of all the brass casings on the ground, so no one slips. Then once the range is good, its opened for business, then the real job begins.
Before getting onto the range for target practice, testing new sights on a new pistol or simply burning ammo at a high rate of fire, it is a good idea to listen to the RSO’s safety rules, such as no head shots (sorry zombie fans). Reason being is that the targets are held up by lines, so shooting the target that high up can snap a line and cause the targets to fall. Then everyone must stop shooting while an RSO runs down range to restring the targets. So, aim center mass.
Situations like that or other unsafe situations are almost always followed by a loud and powerful phrase, “CEASE FIRE”, what that means is exactly as it sounds. Stop shooting, place your firearms on the bench, take a step back and wait for the RSO’s to give further instruction. They might even come up to a shooter in lane one and gently pull them out of the lane until its considered safe, remember: hearing protection is required so hearing might not be the best at this time. So, it is important not to be offended if this happens, it is for a safety reason.
The Range Safety Officers at Las Vegas Shooting Center take their jobs seriously and offer constant supervision and guidance to ensure a safe shooting range at all times. Contact us today at 702-778-5872 to schedule your visit.