Buffalo Target Shooters Association

       Calgary, AB

Range Rules

BTSA Range Rules for the Homestead Facility

General Range Safety Rules

Range Designation And Usage

Firearms Safety Rules

Emergency Response Protocol

Firing Line Flag Control

Firearms Handling And Control

Firing Line


Shooter Conduct

Failure to comply with the above rules may result in temporary or permanent suspension from the Homestead range and/or the BTSA and APRA.

General Range Safety Rules

BTSA property and ranges have a safety monitoring system. 

Only BTSA members who have received a range orientation may use the ranges.

Approved members may bring guests, provided they have purchased guests passes.

All participants must use the range sign-in sheet and have their membership cards visible at all times. All guests must display a completed guest pass at all times while on the range.

Members are responsible for their guests and family members observing the range rules while on the range. Guests must be under the direct supervision of the member while they are shooting.

Children and pets must be under adult control at all times on the range.

All persons on the range must wear hearing and eye protection while shooting, it is strongly recommended that all shooters were eye protection at all times, regardless of the state of the firing line.

The entrance gate must remain locked at all times unless there is a scheduled event or competition underway which will involve non-approved club members or other competitors.

The first member on the range must raise the Red range-in-use flag and display the signage to indicate the range is in use. The last member to leave the range must lower the range-in-use flag and signage and ensure that the gate is locked.

Targets/target frames are to be placed immediately in front of the backstop berms only, with shooting distances paced back from the berm/targets (please view the Target section for more information).

Besides the following range safety rules, additional range safety rules may be implemented to cover club sanctioned events and competitions (including IPSC/IDPA) as the organizers see fit.

Please note that only "civilian" attire is acceptable on all APRA ranges. Absolutely no para-military clothing or equipment is tolerated on any APRA range, as para-military organizations are also not permitted on APRA ranges, only private citizens. Members of the military are welcome to join as civilians, but must train on military facilities should they wish to train with their equipment.

All shooters must be in compliance with Federal and Provincial laws and regulations with respect to safe storage, transportation, licensing, authorization, registration, and operation of all firearms.

Failure to comply with the range rules may result in temporary or permanent suspension from the Homestead range and/or the BTSA .

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Range Designation and Usage

Members must check the Range Configuration to determine which range(s) are approved for the firearms and ammunition they intend to shoot and the distances they intend to shoot.

 Members are responsible in ensuring that each firearm is being used on a range designated for that firearm and at the distance it is designated for.

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Firearm Safety Rules
Firing Line Control

If an RSO (range safety officer) is overseeing range operations, all shooters must comply with the commands of the RSO. The RSO has absolute control of the firing line and authority on the range. RSO commands are to be obeyed immediately without question.

Anyone (shooters and observers) acting in an unsafe manner will receive a warning from the RSO and may be requested to immediately leave the range. The RSO will complete an incident report, which will be kept on file.

In the absence of an RSO, shooters are self-regulating and are responsible for ensuring the safety of themselves, all other shooters and any others on the range.

All shooters must shoot from the agreed firing line only.

Everyone must be behind the firing line before shooting can commence.

When the firing line is hot:

  • No one can be in front of the firing line,
  • No one can go in front of the firing line and
  • No one can go downrange while shooting is occurring or before a Ceasefire has been called and is in effect with all shooters.

No firearm shall be loaded until the Commence Firing command has been given, or, if an RSO is supervising, until commanded by that RSO.

The following is a summary of Range Command sequences:

  • Range is cold – shooters may setup targets or move down range.  Shooters MAY NOT bring uncased firearms to the firing line
  • RSO confirms all shooters are behind established firing lines and calls out the command “RANGE IS GOING HOT, EYES AND EARS”
  • All shooters don eye and ear protection
  • RSO confirms all shooters have appropriate eye and ear protection and calls out the command “RANGE IS HOT – COMMENCE FIRING”
  • The RSO or any shooter at any point in time may call out the command “CEASEFIRE.”  When the command has been issued, all shooters are to immediately stop firing, prove their firearm safe, open the action, and place their firearm down or in a holster for RSO inspection.
  • When the RSO has inspected that the firing line is safe, he may call out the command “RANGE IS COLD”
  • When the range is cold:
    • No one is to handle ANY firearm on the firing line.
    • Shooters may move forward of the firing line to check and change targets
    • Shooters may remove ear protection (it is highly recommended eye protection be worn at all times).

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Emergency Response Protocol

In the event of an emergency, any shooter may call out the command “CEASEFIRE,” at which point, all shooters must follow the commands of the RSO.

If acting as an RSO and an emergency ceasefire has been called, perform the following:

  • Remain calm
  • Call out the command “CEASEFIRE” repeatedly with a sense of urgency until all shooters are in compliance
  • Once all shooters have PROVED clear and you have verified the line is safe, issue the command “SHOOTERS STEP BACK FROM THE LINE”
  • Assess the situation
  • Respond accordingly – take control of the situation.
    • If you are incapable or there is someone present more qualified, delegate responsibility to them
  • Delegate the following tasks:
    • Instruct one person to contact emergency medical services (call 911)
    • Instruct one person to guide all persons on the range to move to a safe location and request they do not leave until the authorities arrive
    • Instruct one person to document everything that is happening including
      • situation,
      • time,
      • persons present (with contract information)
      • actions taken
      • actors involved
  • If qualified, administer emergency first aid.  If someone more qualified is present (i.e. – a professional with formal, emergency first aid training and experience) delegate responsibility to them to administer first aid.
  • Wait until emergency medical services and the authorities arrive on scene and cooperate with them fully
  • Recover all documentation and submit an incident report to the BTSA executive.

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Firing Line Flag Control

All ranges contain flag poles that swivel with a red and green flag on each end.

  • The Red flag indicates that the range is in use;
  • The Green flag indicates that the range is NOT in use.

The last shooter to leave the range must set all flags to green.

Upon arrival at the range, if the red flag is not raised, range users should change the flag to red then inspect the range to ensure range is clear of any other range users before setting up.

On the 100/200 m rifle range or Jungle Run, the range should be inspected to ensure there is no other users are present on the range (i.e. – behind the 100-metre berm, setting up targets inside the jungle run) before setting up.

The Red flag must be raised before any handling of firearms can occur.

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Firearms Handling and Control

Safe Handling Tables

An RSO may establish a safe handling table.

A safe handling table MUST:

  • Be positioned behind any firing line
  • Be positioned against a berm, so that no one may walk in front of it

On a safe handling table, a shooter may do the following, provided their firearms are pointed in a safe direction at all times:

  • Case and uncase
  • Remove any locking mechanisms
  • Disassemble / Clean / Reassemble
  • Cycle and dryfire
  • Holster a handgun
  • Pick up a long gun to transfer to:
    • an rack (if the line is cold)
    • a firing line (if the line is hot)

At a safe handling table, shooters MUST NOT:

  • Bring or handle ANY ammunition
  • Load their firearm

Firing Line

Firearms may only be brought to the firing line when the range is hot.

When the range is hot, muzzles must always be pointed downrange and under control on the firing line while.

When the range is cold, long gun muzzles must be pointed upwards while being moved to and from storage racks.

No firearm shall be loaded until it is in a horizontal position with the muzzle pointed downrange, after the Commence Firing command has been given.

The muzzle should not be pointed above the berm behind it.

Muzzle loading firearms must be loaded at the firing line only. If a Ceasefire is called while they are loaded they must be uncapped (the percussion cap removed) or unprimed (remove priming powder) before being removed from the firing line. Muzzle loading firearms can be capped or primed at the firing line only.

All firearms must be unloaded, with actions open and any magazines removed and properly racked or stored when not being used for shooting.

Remember the Four Rules of Firearms Safety
1. All Guns Are Always Loaded
2. Never Let The Muzzle Cover Anything You Are Not Willing To Destroy
3. Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Your Sights Are On The Target
4. Be Sure Of Your Target

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For general member use of the facility the following rules with respect to targets MUST be adhered to by BTSA members:

Targets can be placed, changed or taken down only when a Ceasefire has been called and the firing line has been made safe.

No one is to go forward of an established firing line when the line is hot for ANY reason.

All target frames must be placed immediately in front of the berm into which the bullets will be shot.

Aerial targets (sporting clays) are prohibited.

Paper targets mounted on wooden frames are acceptable (and preferred) targets.

Non-explosive, non-metallic soft targets that do not create excess waste debris are acceptable provided:

  1. They are set up such that all rounds impact the berm and NOT the ground asphalt or wood rail ties.
  2. Members reasonably clean up target debris left behind

Examples of ACCEPTABLE targets:

  • Paper / Cardboard targets
  • Target shooting specific, self-healing rubber targets – provided they are NOT placed on the asphalt or rail ties
  • Balloons – provided waste material is removed after use and balloons are positioned such that rounds impact the berm
  • Candy – lollipops, provided waste plastic wrapping and paper sticks are collected
  • Static, non-aerial sporting clays – provided members make a reasonable effort to cleanup debris, i.e. pick up any pieces larger than 1″)

Examples of PROHIBITED targets:

  • Unapproved hard metallic objects of any kind (these can create extremely dangerous ricochets)
  • Any scrap electronic device or appliance (these leave behind plastic and metallic debris as well as toxic chemicals that are difficult to remove and potentially hazardous to other range users)
  • Tannerite or any similar explosive binary target (these may severely damage the asphalt flooring and are a safety liability the association is NOT insured under)
  • Firebird or any similar flammable target (these are a fire hazard)
  • Any club fixture (i.e. – wire spools, tables, chairs, trailers, BBQ, target houses – these are for the enjoyment of club members in the operation of the range, please be considerate to your fellow club members)

Any member caught shooting at unapproved targets or any target in an unsafe or prohibited fashion will be subject to disciplinary actions including being charged to repair damage to club fixtures, expulsion from the club with temporary or permanent revocation of membership, or being reported to law enforcement.

Guidelines for Steel Targets

Target shooting is a safe recreational activity, however there are specific guidelines for shooting at steel targets that members MUST adhere to.  Non-compliance with these guidelines may create an unsafe situation or result in costly damage to club targets.

Only steel and metal targets approved by the board of directors may be shot on these ranges under supervision of board approved BTSA members.

Prior to setting up steel targets, all members must visually inspect the targets to ensure they are in serviceable condition.

The following critical guidelines must be adhered to by all members shooting steel targets:

  • Any steel target that has been dimpled or has holes in it must NOT be used
  • Absolutely NO steel core, jacket or pellet ammunition of ANY kind is to be used against steel targets
  • Minimum range for steel targets is 10 yards for pistol approved steels, 100 yards for rifle approved steel targets
  • Absolutely NO centre fire rifle, buckshot or slugs are to be used on steel targets approved for pistol shooting only.
  • Only Number 4 and smaller (i.e. – 7.5, 10, etc.) lead birdshot may be fired on any steel targets

Guidelines for the “Jungle Run”

The Walking Trail/Jungle Run is closed and not to be used except for during club sanctioned events and matches. Members and guests found using this range without authorization will be subject to disciplinary action.

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Shooter Conduct

Absolutely no horseplay, careless handling or distracting activity is allowed by shooters or spectators while shooting is occurring.

No shooting at anything that may cause dangerous debris or bullet ricochets.

No intentional shooting of target frames or other club equipment.

Shooters must ensure bullet trajectory is into the berm behind the target they are shooting at.

Shooters are to remove their targets, pick up their brass and clean up the area when done shooting.

The consumption of alcohol or any controlled substance before or while shooting is occurring by shooters or spectators is prohibited. During a club sanctioned event, after all shooting activities have terminated and all firearms have been cased and stored away, the consumption of alcohol may be allowed at the discretion of the event director.

The handling of firearms while under the influence of alcohol or any substance that impairs judgement is prohibited.

Shooters using the range are to note and report any signs of vandalism or damage, unsafe conditions, or instances of inappropriate or unsafe behaviour by other range users by completing an incident report. Copies of the incident report form are kept in the cabinet with the sign-in book. If the range is found in an unsafe condition upon arrival, no shooting will take place until the range is once again in a safe condition.

Failure to comply with the above rules may result in temporary or permanent suspension from the Homestead range and/or the BTSA and APRA.

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Buffalo Target Shooters Association
PO Box 394
300, 8120 Beddington Blvd NW
Calgary Alberta T3K 2A8

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