IPSC Range Commands


The following are the basic commands and procedures for loading and unloading.

  • “Load and make ready”
  • “Are you ready?”
  • “Standby”
  • “If you are finished, unload and show clear”
  • “If clear, hammer down, holster”
  • “Range is clear”

Load and Make Ready

On the command of the Range Officer “Load and Make Ready” the shooter is on the firing line facing downrange.

  • Unholsters the pistol.
  • Immediately points it down range with the strong hand on the grip and the trigger finger well outside the trigger guard.
  • Inserts a magazine containing only one round with the weak hand.
  • Locks the elbow, with the arm extended, muzzle pointed downrange.
  • Turns the pistol slightly horizontal (toward the weak side).
  • Grasps the slide between the thumb of the weak hand and index finger using the rearmost slide serrations.
  • With a push/pull motion assertively pulls back the slide all the way and releases it so that the cartridge in the magazine is chambered, always pointing down range.
  • Immediately applies the safety.
  • Removes the empty magazine and stores in a pocket or drops it (it really shouldn’t be put back in a magazine pouch where it could be later grabbed by mistake).
  • Inserts a fully charged magazine, all the time keeping the trigger finger well outside the trigger guard.
  • Holsters the pistol, always with the safety applied.
  • The shooter now has a pistol in the holster which is cocked and locked with the safety on and loaded to full capacity (at all times the trigger finger is kept out of the trigger guard).

Are you Ready?

After loading and assuming the start position, the Ranger Officer will ask “Are you ready?” If you are ready you do not have to respond to this question. If you are not ready, indicate by saying, “not ready” in a loud clear voice.


Stand by is the command to the competitor that the start signal will be forthcoming. This signal normally is the signal from the timer, the appearance of a target or some other form of visible signal.

If You are Finished, Unload and Show Clear

Following the command of the Range Officer “If You are Finished, Unload and Show Clear” the shooters faces downrange.


  • Point the pistol down range with the strong hand and the trigger finger well outside of the trigger guard.
  • Remove the magazine.
  • Drop the magazine or put it somewhere other than a magazine pouch. Do not try to hold the magazine in the other hand.
  • Move the safety off.
  • Extend the arm, pointing the pistol always down range.
  • With the other hand, pinch the rear slide serrations with thumb and first finger.
  • Pull the slide back sharply to eject the chambered live round onto the ground.
  • Hold the slide open until Range Officer inspects the firearm by locking slide back.

This is done by turning slightly sideways and with the pistol always pointing down range, cup the weak hand on the slide, making sure never to pass the hand in front of the muzzle, then shift the right hand so that the thumb is under the slide-lock and exerting a slight upward pressure, rack the slide rearwards with a push/pull movement until the slide locks back into position.

The shooter then stands for inspection, facing down range with pistol pointing straight down range, the trigger finger always well outside the trigger guard, magazine out, slide locked back, and chamber exposed to view for Range Officer inspection.


  • Take the finger out of the trigger guard.
  • Press the cylinder latch, open, and dump the cartridges on the ground.
  • Continue to face down range with the cylinder open for inspection, always with the trigger finger well outside the trigger guard. The muzzle always pointed straight downrange.

If Clear, Hammer Down, Holster

This is the command after the Range Officer inspects the firearm making sure that there is no magazine in the magazine well and no cartridge in the chamber. Always with the trigger finger well outside the trigger guard.

  • With the slide locked back, extend the pistol to arms length and apply the pinch grip at the back of the slide.
  • Let the slide down easily, retaining the pinch grip until the action is closed.
  • With the firearm always pointing straight down range, press the trigger so that the hammer falls.

If, through inadvertence, there is a cartridge in the chamber, there will be a discharge down range in a safe direction. It should be stressed that the hammer must be dropped by pressing the trigger so that if there is a cartridge in the chamber, it will discharge. This will ensure that there is no possibility the pistol will be holstered with a live cartridge in the chamber.

Holster the empty pistol (always be careful with muzzle direction, never point the muzzle back to find the holster). Keep the muzzle down range and bring the pistol back until the muzzle will drop into the holster in a forward motion and insert into the holster.

Range Is Clear

When the Range Officer issues the command Range is Clear, it is safe to move and others to proceed down range.

What is Action Pistol?

Action Shooting, USPSA, Combat Shooting, IPSC(pronounced “ip-sick”), are all very similar. The idea is to teach competitors to draw from holsters, negotiate obstacles, use different positions to engage multiple targets, make rapid reloads and generally shoot the course with more speed and precision.

We shoot 3 to 5 courses of fire with pistols or revolvers.

All courses of fire change monthly including the El Presidente. The goal of this exercise is to fire twelve rounds at three IPSC silhouette targets with a mandatory reload in ten seconds or less. Penalties are assessed for any hits outside of the “A” zone. The monthly totals for all matches are posted on our website each month so members can judge their progress and improvement.

What equipment will I need?

Ear and eye protection are mandatory. Hand guns can be any caliber from 9mm to .45 auto. However, no magnum calibers are allowed. Holsters must fit your gun and cover the trigger guard. The holster cannot be a shoulder style rig, cross draw, SOB(small of back), ankle or thigh. You will need at least one magazine holder that will hold 2 magazines or 2 speed loaders if you are shooting a revolver. Four magazines or speed loaders is better. All should be retained by an appropriate wide sturdy belt capable of holding this much weight. You will probably need about 100 rounds of ammo or more. Please do not bring unreliable handguns or questionable ammo.

What about safety?

Safety is always our number 1 priority. We are a COLD RANGE – There is no handling of firearms at any time except at a special table that has been designated as the “Safety Table”. While at the safety table you may take a sight picture, practice draw or dry fire your weapon. However, at no time are any guns or magazines to be loaded at the safety table. Your gun may be loaded when you are actually on the firing line and the Range Officer has given you the command to “Load and make ready.”

Prior to all events, there is a mandatory Safety Meeting.

Please arrive no later than 9:00am for the mandatory Safety Meeting, shooting begins promptly thereafter. Shooters who miss the safety meeting will not be allowed to participate in the monthly shoot. NO Exceptions.

Calendar of Events

We shoot the 4th Sunday of every month with the following exceptions; extreme inclimate weather and/or if a Holiday falls on Sunday. December is always the 3rd Sunday unless stated otherwise. When in doubt call for info. We encourage and appreciate anyone that wants to arrive earlier to help set up the courses.

Safety Rules


The approved range commands and their sequence are as follows:

“Do you understand the course of fire?”

Once the shooter moves to the start position, the Range Officer asks the shooter if the shooter understands the course of fire. If the shooter has any further questions or requires clarification of the stage requirements, he may ask the Range Officer at this time. If the shooter indicates assent, the Range officer will proceed at this point.

“Load And Make Ready “

(or “Make Ready for starts with an unloaded firearm). This command signifies the start of “the Course of Fire”. Under the direct supervision of the Range Officer the Shooter must face down range, or in a safe direction as specified by the Range Officer, fit eye and ear protection, and prepare the firearm in accordance with the stage briefing. The Shooter must then assume the required start position. At this point, the Range Officer will proceed.

Once the “Load and Make Ready”

(or “Make Ready” for starts with an unloaded firearm) command has been given, the Shooter must not move away from the start location prior to issuance of the “Start Signal” without the prior approval, and under the direct supervision, of the Range Officer. Once ready, the shooter may not handle the firearm whatsoever prior to the start signal without the prior approval, and under the direct supervision, of the Range Officer.

“Signify when ready. “

If the Shooter is not ready at the “Signify when ready?” command, he must state “Not Ready”. It is suggested that when the Shooter is ready he should assume the required start position and clearly indicate his readiness to the Range Officer.


This command should be followed by the start signal within 1 to 4 seconds.

“Start Signal”

The signal for the Shooter to begin their attempt at the course of fire. If a Shooter fails to react to a start signal, for any reason, the Range Officer will confirm that the Shooter is ready to attempt the course of fire, and will resume the range commands from “Signify when ready.”

In the event that a Shooter inadvertently begins shooting prematurely (“false start”), the Range Officer will, as soon as possible, stop and restart the Shooter once the course of fire has been restored.

“Stop or Cease Fire”

Any Range Officer assigned to a stage may issue this command at any time during the course of fire. The Shooter must immediately cease firing, stop moving, point the firearm safely downrange, and wait for further instructions from the Range Officer.

“If You Are Finished, Unload And Show Clear”

If the Shooter has finished shooting, he must lower his handgun and present it for inspection by the Range Officer with the muzzle pointed down range, magazine removed, slide locked or held open, and chamber empty. Revolvers must be presented with the cylinder swung out and empty.

“If Clear, Hammer Down, Holster”

After issuance of this command, the Shooter must not resume shooting. While continuing to point the handgun safely downrange, the Shooter must perform a final safety check of the handgun as follows: – Self-loaders – release the slide and pull the trigger (without touching the hammer or de-cocker, if any). – Revolvers – close the empty cylinder (without touching the hammer, if any). – If the gun proves to be clear, the Shooter must holster his handgun. Once the Shooter’s hands are clear of the holstered handgun, the course of fire is deemed to have ended.

“Range Is Clear”

Shooters or Range Officials must not move forward of, or away from, the firing line or final shooting location until this declaration is given by the Range Officer. Once the declaration is made, officials and Shooters may move forward to score, patch, reset targets etc.


When loading, reloading or unloading during a course of fire, the Shooter’s fingers must be visibly outside the trigger guard, and the firearm must be pointed safely down range or in another safe direction authorized by a Range Officer.


Except when the Shooter is actually aiming or shooting at targets, all movement must be accomplished with the fingers visibly outside the trigger guard and the safety should be engaged. The firearm must be pointed in a safe direction.

“Movement” is defined as any of the actions below:

  • Taking more than one step in any direction.
  • Changing shooting position (e.g. from standing to kneeling, from seated to standing etc.).

Shooters confined to wheelchairs or similar devices may be given special dispensation by the Range Officer in respect to mobility assistance at the Range Officer’s discretion.


Shooters are always prohibited from taking a sight picture with a loaded firearm prior to the start signal.

No one is permitted to enter or move through a course of fire without the prior approval of the Range Officer.


A Shooter who commits a safety infraction or any other prohibited activity during a match will be disqualified from that match, and will be prohibited from attempting any remaining courses of fire in that match regardless of the schedule or physical layout of the match.


A Shooter who causes an accidental discharge must be stopped by a Range Officer as soon as possible. An accidental discharge is defined as follows:

  • A shot, which travels over a backstop, a berm or in any other direction, specified in the stage briefing by the match organizers as being unsafe. Note that a Shooter who legitimately fires a shot at a target, which then travels in an unsafe direction, will not be disqualified.
  • A shot which strikes the ground within 3 meters of the Shooter, except when shooting at a paper target closer than 3 meters to the Shooter. A bullet which strikes the ground within 3 meters of the Shooter due to a “squib” load is exempt from this rule.

* Exception – a detonation, which occurs while unloading a firearm, is not considered a shot or discharge subject to a match disqualification.

  • A shot which occurs during remedial action in the case of a malfunction.
  • A shot which occurs while transferring a handgun between hands.
  • A shot which occurs during movement, except while actually shooting at targets.

* Exception: When it can be established that the cause of the discharge is due to a broken or defective part of the firearm, the Shooter has not committed any safety infraction in this Section, and a match disqualification will not be invoked. The firearm must be immediately presented for inspection to the Range Officer or his delegate, who will inspect the firearm and carry out any tests necessary to establish that a broken or defective part caused the discharge.


Examples of unsafe gun handling include, but are not limited to:

  • Handling a firearm at any time except when in a designated safety area or when under the supervision of, and in response to a direct command issued by, a Range Officer. The expression “handling a firearm” includes holstering or un-holstering a firearm, whether or not the firearm is visible (e.g. while concealed by a protective cover, etc.) together with adding or removing a firearm to/from the Shooter’s person whether or not the firearm is wholly or partially holstered.
  • Allowing the muzzle of a firearm to point up-range, or past the default, or specific safe angles of fire during a course of fire.
  • Allowing the muzzle of a handgun to point at any part of the Shooter’s body during a course of fire (i.e. sweeping). A match disqualification is not applicable if sweeping occurs while drawing or re-holstering a gun, provided the Shooter’s fingers are clearly outside the trigger guard.
  • Allowing the muzzle of a loaded handgun to point up-range beyond a radius of 1 meter from a Shooter’s feet during drawing or re-holstering.
  • Wearing or using more than one handgun at any point in time during a course of fire.
  • Failure to keep the finger outside the trigger guard while clearing a malfunction where the Shooter clearly moves the firearm away from aiming at targets.
  • Failure to keep the finger outside the trigger guard during loading, reloading, or unloading except where specifically permitted.
  • Failure to keep the finger outside the trigger guard during movement.

Having a loaded and holstered handgun, in any of the following conditions:

  • A single action self-loading pistol with the chamber loaded and the safety not applied.
  • A double action or selective action pistol with the hammer cocked and the safety not applied.
  • A revolver with the hammer cocked.

Retrieving a dropped firearm. Dropped firearms must always be retrieved by a Range Officer or, at the direction and under the direct supervision of the Range Officer who will ensure, after checking and/or clearing the firearm, it is placed directly into the Shooter’s gun case, gun bag or holster. Dropping an unloaded firearm or causing it to fall outside of a course of fire is not an infraction; however, a Shooter who retrieves a dropped firearm is in violation of the safety rules.


Shooters will be disqualified from a match for conduct which a Range Officer deems to be unsportsmanlike. Examples of unsportsmanlike conduct include, but are not limited to, cheating, dishonesty, failing to comply with the reasonable directions of a Match Official, or any behavior likely to bring the sport into disrepute.

Source : http://www.jcsaactionpistol.com/clubinfo.html

Range Commands

If you have never been on an IPSC range it can be a little intimidating and you will worry that you’ll make a mistake when it’s your turn to shoot. Relax, the RO’s always help new shooters, if he doesn’t know that you are newbie, just tell him and he’ll slow it down and help you.

These are the range commands that he will give you and what you are expected to do for each one:

“You may load and make ready”

While facing downrange you may take out your gun and insert a new magazine. You will pull the slide back to load the chamber. Production shooters must manually lower the hammer if the gun has one. Then you must re-holster and get yourself into the starting position. You can take your time to do this.

“Are you ready?”

Take a deep breath to relax and, when you are ready, nod to the RO.


You will have about 2 seconds after the word ‘standby’ before the buzzer goes off, it’s a loud, long beep from the timer usually held near your right ear.


Draw or pick up your gun and take the time to get your grip right, then shoot in the designated order.

“If you are finished you may unload and show clear”

  1. Take your finger off the trigger
  2. Remove the magazine and place it back in the mag pouch, on the table, in your pocket or even under your arm
  3. Pull the slide back and hold it for the RO to inspect, he wants to look into the chamber and down the mag well to make sure it’s empty

“Slide Down”

You may gently lower the slide, do not drop the slide on an empty gun as you can damage it

“Hammer  Down”

Point the gun down range a few meters ahead at the ground and pull the trigger. This is called ‘dry firing’ and (contrary to popular belief) this will not snap the firing pin. It’s an important safety precaution.


Re-holster the gun and take a minute to assess your results and reflect on mistakes you may have made, other shooters must collect your brass and magazines for you.

Source : http://www.totissc.co.za/rules-safety/