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ADTA Range Commands

The ADTA regularly conducts live-fire, skill-building exercises for our members.  To help ensure safety and to give each participant as much valuable shooting and practice time as possible, the ADTA has standardized on these range commands.  You'll hear these commands from instructors and from the Range Safety Officer at events.  For the best experience, become familiar with these commands ahead of time, but you're always welcome to ask questions and participate to your own comfort level.

This may look like a lot to know and learn, but you'll find that your event coordinators work hard to have a smooth flow during the event, and the commands you hear will flow naturally with what's happening and what's coming up.

--Updated 9/20/12 by Wu Chin

The most important command to understand, which anyone can yell at any time during an event:


Stop shooting immediately.  Take your finger off the trigger immediately and index your trigger finger on the side of the pistol and FREEZE in place; stay facing downrange.  Wait and listen for further instructions.


"Eyes and ear protection on."

Everyone at the event must wear appropriate eye and ear protection.  A billed hat (baseball style) is also recommended to fend against errant shell casings.

"Range is hot."  (RSO Responsibility)

The RSO has confirmed that everyone is in a safe position, the range is ready, and everyone has eye and ear protection on.  The training event will determine what shooters may do at this point.  Follow instructions.

"Shooters to the line."

When you hear this command, if it's your group's turn to shoot, step forward to the designated firing line, then look left and right and ensure you are standing even with the other shooters.

"Next shooter."

When participating in an event that includes a one-shooter exercise, you'll hear this command to step forward and stand next to the instructor (or RSO). 

If you are waiting your turn to be the Next Shooter, you should prepare yourself at this point (“On Deck”).

"Load and make ready."


(may be followed by "then go to low ready" or "then safety on, de-cock, and holster.")

If you're on the firing line, un-holster your firearm, load it, chamber a round, then return it to the instructed position, prepared to start the exercise.

"On the 'Go' command, you will […provided instructions]."

The instructor is now explaining the steps you'll do in this exercise.  If you have any questions about the exercise, or if you'd like to adjust anything to your own skill and comfort levels, inform the instructor now.


"Shooter ready?"

The instructor is confirming you're ready to begin the exercise.  Indicate with a nod or otherwise confirm that you are.



(alternatively, a whistle for group exercises, or a buzzer for timed exercises)

This is your cue to carry out the instructions for the present exercise.

"Unload and show clear."

The RSO may command you to unload and show clear at any time, not just at the end of the exercise.  You must remove your weapon's magazine, operate the slide to eject any chambered round, hold the slide back to show the breech and chamber to the official to confirm your weapon is completely unloaded.  Wait for further instructions.  Always keep your firearm pointed safely downrange. 

"Point downrange and trip your trigger."

Unless you are using a weapon that cannot be dry-fired, point your gun down the firing range at the backstop and pull the trigger.  Your gun should go 'click'.

"Holster and step back from the line."

Your gun is now unloaded and safe.  Return it to your holster and move back to the waiting or staging area.  Keep your firearm in your holster at all times when you are not on the firing line.

"Range is cold; [sweep, and tape targets.]" (RSO Responsibility)

The RSO has confirmed that everyone is unloaded and all firearms are holstered, cased, or otherwise locked down and not in anyone's hands.  You may remove your ear and eye protection if you wish.   




Armed Defense Training Association (ADTA)
A 501(c)7 non-profit organization, founded in 2011
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