How to Bring Your Gun to the Range or Shop [Beginner’s Questions Answered]
"How to bring your gun to the gun range?"
This question may seem silly to most shooters, but as a new gun owner, it was one I found myself searching online.
When your new hobby involves a lethal weapon, it's a good idea not to do anything stupid or that may make other people uncomfortable. This is especially true when those other people are gun-wielding range employees.
For new gun owners asking the same question, I'll cover how to carry and transport your firearm to the range.
How to Bring Your Gun to the Range?
While all gun ranges have their own specific policies, here's how to safely bring your gun to the range:
Pack your unloaded firearm in a case or bag. You can find our choices for the best range bags here. It's fine to use a case that your gun came in from the manufacturer, like ones shown in the picture below.
If you haven't purchased a gun case or one didn't come with your firearm, don't worry!
The important thing when bringing firearms into the gun range is that they are unloaded, not holstered, and not a "naked gun". At the vast majority of ranges, you should be fine bringing them in a backpack or case meant to be used for storing something other than a gun.
For example, you could use a sports equipment bag (like one used for baseball equipment or tennis) or a musical instrument case. If you live in an apartment, you may prefer this option anyway as a way to not advertise to your neighbors that you own firearms.
With all of that said, it's always a good idea to look up the rules for your gun range online or to call them, just in case they have any more specific requirements.
Sometimes you'll find that concealed carry permit holders are even allowed to keep their concealed carry pistol loaded and holstered.
Transporting Your Firearms to The Range
It's important to research and obey all laws at the federal, state, and local level. Because states and some cities have their own laws regarding transporting firearms, I can't cover what's legal for every location. The responsibility to follow all laws is on you!
At the federal level, however, you should be good keeping your unloaded firearms and ammunition in an inaccessible location of your vehicle. This means the trunk.
If you do not have a trunk, you can keep them in a locked case, though this does not include your vehicle's glove box.
18 U.S. Code § 926A - Interstate transportation of firearms
Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.
If you want to be extra safe, store firearms and ammunition separately in their own locked containers, then put them in your trunk.
Disclaimer: This is not intended to be legal advice. It is your responsibility to obey all federal, state, and local laws regarding the transportation of firearms.
What to Do Once At the Gun Range
Keep all firearms in their cases until at your range bay. Unload your firearms and ammunition there. You can then move your empty bags/cases to another area, if available.
This keeps you from "flagging" other shooters with your muzzle and ensures you don't break the number 2 rule of gun safety: "Never let the muzzle point at anything you are not willing to destroy."
When you are finished shooting, bring your bags/cases back to the bay and load your firearms into them there. Before doing so, check that your firearms are unloaded.
While the question of how to bring your firearms to the range may seem silly, you should never be afraid to ask questions. The vast majority of responsible gun owners will be happy to answer your questions, even if they may seem a bit obvious.
As a gun owner and frequent range goer, I'm always happy to answer questions that make both you, myself, and others around you safer.