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How Old Do You Have To Be To Go To A Shooting Range | Plus Other Range Rules

By Maria Paiz November 26, 2023

How Old Do You Have To Be To Go To a Shooting Range?

*This post contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but it never influences our product selection process.


Though popular with many, shooting can be a dangerous sport. This is the key reason why safety is of the utmost importance. Follow the rules to safeguard against accidents, to keep yourself and others safe, and because often these rules are the law. 

Since safety is a key concern at shooting ranges, state laws and specific range rules apply. Always call the firing range to get their details before visiting the premises. Some private range facilities require independent adult supervision and waiver signatures on all range users under 18 years of age. 

Generally, any child below the age of eight isn’t permitted inside the range. However, children can watch from the viewing area. Any visitor aged 8 - 18 years must be accompanied by an adult at the firing line of the range.  Expect that all shooters will need to sign a waiver of liability, with a parent or legal guardian signing for a qualified child.

To go to a shooting range, you can plan to shoot or visit.  Here’s the age range at a shooting range and the general restrictions, but check specifics with your state law and the facility you plan to visit.


Age Rules

Here are some handy links to sample range rules set by some states where shooting ranges are popular.

State of Texas Shooting Range Rules

State of Michigan DNR Shooting Range Rules

State of California Shooting Range Laws

State of Florida Range Safety Rules

State of Colorado Range Safety Rules

State of North Carolina Range Safety

How Old Do You Have to Be to Go to a Gun Range By Yourself?

To visit a shooting range by yourself, you must be at least 18 years old or 9-17 years old if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Make sure you register with the range personnel or the range officer to be sure, before proceeding directly to the firing line. 

What Age Do You Need to Be to Shoot at a Gun Range?

To visit a range to shoot, the minimum age is 21 years or older, 16 years for a shotgun or rifle, and 18 years for a handgun. Again, call the range to check.


how old do you have to be to. go to the shooting range?


Common Range Rules

Here are some of the most common rules.  Please take direction from the range officers:

  1. Generally, no concealed carry or open weapons are allowed in the gun range.

  2.  Always keep firearms pointed in a safe direction.

  3. Remember to keep your finger away from the trigger until and unless you are ready to shoot.

  4. Keep your firearms unloaded until and unless you are at the firing line and the range is declared “hot”. Also, all firearms must be kept safe and unloaded, especially while exiting or entering the range.

  5. Remember to stop shooting whenever anybody calls a ceasefire.

  6. Hot Range: Visitors or shooters must check with others to ensure no one is downrange. Shooters are permitted to commence firing whenever the range is declared to be HOT. Shooters can only move safe guns to and from the firing line when the range is hot.

  7. Cold Range: Shooters should always check with others, mainly to ensure that the firearms are completely unloaded, actions are open, and all firearms laid down towards the shooting bench before entering towards the downrange. Also, no person is allowed to handle firearms or stand at the firing line whenever there is a cold range.

  8. Any rapid-fire with handguns, pistol calibers, or centerfire rifles is strictly prohibited.

  9. While you are present in the shooting range, always wear eye and ear protection. Smoking and beverages aren’t allowed on the firing line. And finally, don’t forget to wash off your face and hands after shooting to remove any black powder.  (While I love the smell of fresh gunpowder, I still wash when I leave.

  10. Remember that shooters should always shoot only from the line of firing whenever the target is in line with their position. Shooting any items placed on the ground or on targets that aren’t posted at the proper height on the target frame might enable rounds to escape the range.

  11. Furthermore, remember to place all your trash into the trash receptacles and your used brass into the recycling receptacles. Steel core, tracer, armor piercing, and incendiary ammunition are prohibited inside the range.

Eye and Ear Protection

Eye protection and hearing protection are a must on the range.  Consequently, no earbuds, listening to music through headphones, or playing with your phone.  (Use common sense--it always amazes me when I visit that I see bonehead mistakes and distractions.)

Rifle Ammunition and Rental Firearms

All ranges usually have gun rentals and ammunition available.  In many cases, renting a gun and getting the necessary ammo on-site is best rather than bringing your own.  

How old do you have to be to go to the shooting range?


Frequently Asked Questions About Shooting Ranges

What Are The Typical Ammo Restrictions At A Gun Range?

All the ammunition that is to be shot via a rental weapon must be purchased from the range counter. Any other non-jointed rounds of ammunition are restricted till the age of 22. Also, most gun ranges across the United States don’t authorize using aluminum casing steel base, steel coaxial cartridge, or steel tracer leads with personal firearms.

How Much Does It Cost To Visit A Gun Range?

Assessing the overall cost of visiting a shooting range is almost impossible.  It depends on the price of ammunition and gun rental, protective equipment rental cost, aiming target costs, etc. Annual membership for shooting ranges runs approximately $200 per person. Most plans have unlimited use of the range, unlike the typical hourly rental system for a day visit. For anybody who goes shooting more than eight to ten times a year, annual membership is often considered to be a cheaper alternative than paying hourly rates.

What Kind Of Guns Are Available At A Gun Range?

Most shooting ranges in the United States have over 135 different varieties of rental handguns, rifles, and pistols. However, if you are looking for any particular model, it is better to check with the range staff.

Am I expected to secure a gun in a safe?

Yes.  It’s common sense and the law in many states. Contrary to popular belief, gun safes are not as expensive as you might think.  It all depends on the level of protection you need and for what peril.  Simple, quick access single handgun safes (like the Browning Pistol Vault PVPORT) can be bought for under $100 and high-end tall and wide gun safe for 49 guns (like the Browning Platinum Plus) will run you close to $7,500. (Note that USASafeAndVault has free curbside shipping, a free gift with purchase, and generally no sales tax.)

Key Takeaways

  • Whether you are law enforcement looking to practice shooting or a weekend gun enthusiast looking for fun, a shooting range has rules that are different for each location.  Know them before you arrive.

  • Age restrictions are strictly enforced, so know them so that you are not disappointed when you are turned away.

  • Safety is paramount, and the above rules are intended to do just that. Follow them and have fun. 

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