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December 20th, 2022

Winter Training Indoors — Guidelines for Safe Range Sessions

NSSF indoor range survey pistol shooters Southwick Associates range report
Photo courtesy Silver Eagle Group Shooting Range, Northern Virginia.

Winter solstice is tomorrow, Wednesday, December 21, 2022. We’re seeing extremely cold temperatures throughout many northerly states, with tons of snow falling on the ground. For American firearms fans in those colder climes, indoor training is the only realistic option this time of year.

snow ice snowstorm winter
AccuWeather forecasters warn that a significant storm may bring a wide swath of snow, rain, and fierce winds from the Plains to the East Coast this week. CLICK HERE for Accuweather Weather Report.

This article explains some key points to remember when shooting at indoor ranges. Always remember — safety first. Be especially careful to follow ALL the rules of safe gun handling. And even before you get to the range, make sure your guns are transported safely and in compliance with all local laws. In some states firearm(s) and ammunition must be kept in separate containers during transport.

This Video Covers Basic Gun Range Safety Rules and Etiquette


1. Follow the Three Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

2. Follow ALL Range Officer Instructions
ROs are the first and final authority on any range and their decisions are generally final. Arguing with a Range Officer may just get you thrown out.

3. Don’t Bother Others or Touch Their Guns
Respect other shooters’ privacy unless a safety issue arises. Do NOT engage other shooters to correct a perceived safety violation unless absolutely necessary – inform the RO instead. NEVER handle or touch another shooter’s firearm without their permission!

4. Know Your Range’s Rules
Review and understand any and all range rules and requirements/expectations. For example, what is the range’s maximum rate of fire? Are you allowed to collect your brass?

5. Know What To Do During a Cease Fire
IMMEDIATELY set down your firearm, pointed downrange, and STEP AWAY from the shooting booth (or bench). Range Officers do not want shooters trying to “secure/unload” their firearms in a cease fire situation — they want the shooters separated from their guns instantly.

NSSF indoor range survey pistol shooters Southwick Associates range report

BAD RANGE BEHAVIOR — Five Things NOT to Do at the Range

Here are the five worst behaviors we’ve seen at indoor ranges. These behaviors are both dangerous and inconsiderate. Any one of these behaviors can get you permanently banned from an indoor range.

1. Sweeping other individuals after loading a weapon behind the firing line is very bad. All your weapons should be empty until you reach your shooting station.

2. Turning the handgun sideways while trying to clear a malfunction or insert/remove a magazine. This will point the muzzle at a fellow shooter. Or, after shooting a gun, the shooter fails to clear the weapon and then places the gun somewhere near the shooting station with the muzzle in an unsafe position.

3. Reacting unpredictably when firing a high recoil handgun. We’ve seen people take a second shot by accident with the muzzle way off target.

4. Not obeying range commands — in particular continuing to shoot during called cease-fires.

5. Poorly aimed shooting that hits target frames or carriers, causing ricochets.

Double-Up on Hearing Protection When Shooting Indoors
When shooting indoors we recommend quality muffs with earplugs underneath, offering double protection. When inside an enclosed range, with other shooters blasting away right next to you, you really need effective hearing protection. But you also need to hear range commands and be able to communicate. That’s why we recommend electronic muffs with plugs underneath.

indoor range survey results NSSF

For indoor rifle and pistol shooting, we like the latest Howard Leight Impact Pro Muffs. These offer an impressive 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). In addition, these muffs are pretty comfortable and offer Headphone Functionality so you can connect to your smartphone, MP3 player, or other audio device. These muffs are now $66.85 on Amazon and $66.85 at Walmart.

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30

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December 20th, 2022

Keep Warm with Battery-Heated Socks, Gloves, and Hand Muffs

smilodon heated glove socks muffs hand warmer

With exceptionally cold temperatures predicted for the next few days, we know many of our readers are struggling to keep warm outdoors when shoveling snow or just shopping and doing regular chores. Here’s an option to consider for those days when temperatures dip into the negative numbers.

smilodon heated glove socks muffs hand warmer

Battery-Heated Socks, Gloves, Muffs

smilodon heated glove socks muffs hand warmerAvid huntress Nikki Boxler (see above) enjoys hunting in late fall and winter seasons. But she knows it’s vital to stay warm when outdoors. Nikki advocates using battery-heated socks to keep ones feet and lower legs warm. Writing for the Winchester Blog, Nikki explained: “I have used heated insoles and hand/foot warmers in the past but they have always left my feet sweating. Then, heat would fade leaving them wet and frozen or they wouldn’t get warm enough to heat my toes at all. However, all of that changed when I got introduced to battery-heated socks from The Warming Store while I was hunting in Canada. They have a variety of options and price points. On the pair that I use, I can feel the heat as soon as the power is turned on… the wonderful thing about these is there are different heat settings and they can last for up to seven hours!”

Purchase Options — Heated Gloves and Hand Pouch
A popular brand of heated winter wear is Smilodon. This clothing maker offers battery-heated SAVIOR gloves, heated socks, and an electric heated hand warmer pouch.

smilodon heated glove socks muffs hand warmer
smilodon heated glove socks muffs hand warmer

Neberon also offers highly reviewed heated gloves on Amazon, starting at about $76 per pair. These carry heat all the way to the fingertips.

smilodon heated glove socks muffs hand warmer

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 20th, 2022

Guidelines for Air Travel with Firearms This Holiday Season

Tom McHale flying with firearms guns TSA

Christmas Day is this upcoming Sunday, just five days away. We know many of our readers and Forum members will be traveling to spend the holidays with friends and families. If you will be transporting any firearms when traveling by air over the holidays you need to know the rules.

If you will be flying with firearms this winter, you should read this article. You need to familiarize yourself with current Federal Regulations on gun transport before you get anywhere near an airport. Thankfully, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a web page that states the important requirements for airline passengers traveling with firearms and/or ammunition.

You’ll want to visit the TSA Firearms and Ammunition webpage, and read it start to finish. In addition, before your trip, you should check the regulations of the airline(s) with which you will fly. Some airlines have special requirements, such as weight restrictions.

Here are the TSA’s key guidelines for travel with firearms:

TSA FIREARM Guidelines

1. When traveling, comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms as they vary by local, state and international governments.

2. If you are traveling internationally with a firearm in checked baggage, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information and requirements prior to travel.

3. Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.

4. Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5, a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations. You may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case, including TSA-recognized locks.

5. Bringing an unloaded firearm with accessible ammunition to the security checkpoint carries the same civil penalty/fine as bringing a loaded firearm to the checkpoint. You may find information on civil penalties at the Civil Enforcement page.

6. Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.

7. Replica firearms, including firearm replicas that are toys, may be transported in checked baggage only.

8. Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.

TSA Ammunition Guidelines

1. Ammunition is prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.

2. Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm. Read the requirements governing the transport of ammunition in checked baggage as defined by 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8).

3. Small arms ammunition (up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge) must be packaged in a fiber (such as cardboard), wood, plastic, or metal box specifically designed to carry ammunition and declared to your airline.

4. Ammunition may be transported in the same hard-sided, locked case as a firearm if it has been packed as described above. You cannot use firearm magazines or clips for packing ammunition unless they completely enclose the ammunition. Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be boxed or included within a hard-sided, locked case.

5. Please check with your airline for quantity limits for ammunition.

NOTE: The guidelines above are reprinted directly from the TSA web page here:

More Airline Travel Tips from Tom McHale
A while back, Tom McHale wrote an excellent article for the Beretta Blog, entitled Ten Things You Need to Know about Flying with Guns. Here are two of Tom McHale’s Travel Tips from that article:

Weigh your gun case and ammunition
Most airlines will allow up to 11 pounds of ammunition. And, like any luggage, you will be charged more for any baggage weighing more than 50 pounds. This sounds like a lot, but when traveling to the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun competition last year, my case with shotgun, rifle, pistol and ammunition tipped the scale past the 50 pound mark.

Pack ammo in the same locking case
This is another area that’s misunderstood and full of internet myth. Your ammo just needs to be stored in some type of safe container and not loose. Technically, you can keep ammunition in magazines, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It meets the letter of the law storage requirement, but too many airline and TSA agents will give you grief. Use a plastic ammo box or original cardboard packaging and you’ll be fine carrying that in the same lockable case as your gun.

Tom McHale flying with firearms guns TSA

*Please see, United States Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44 for information about firearm definitions.

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