The RO for the stage will call you up to the firing line. Often they will ask if you understand the course of fire, but this is not required. It is your responsibility to find out what you have to do before you step to the line.

MAKE READY. Put a magazine in the gun and rack the slide, or load your revolver. Apply a thumb safety, if the pistol is equipped with one. Do any thing else you must do to get the gun ready (optic scopes turned on, etc). Put the gun in the holster (or where ever the stage procedure specifies as the starting position for the firearm). Assume the starting position specified by the course description.

ARE YOUR READY? If you are not ready to shoot, say so now. You will hear several variations of this range command: “Give me a nod when you are ready,” “Just nod when ready,” and so on. Actually, the official rules say that if the shooter does not answer, the RO can assume the shooter is ready. Speak up, if you need to.

STANDBY. The timer will go off any second. Sometimes these are set on “instant,” and sometimes there is a variable delay. Be ready to start any time after you hear the stand by command.

IF FINISHED, UNLOAD and SHOW CLEAR. Once you appear to be done shooting, the RO will ask this question. If you are not finished shooting, continue firing. If you are finished, unload the gun (drop the magazine and rack the slide to open, or open the cylinder and unload bullets). Allow the RO to look down the barrel of the gun. The RO must verify that the gun is empty. Do not rush through this part. Unloading is not a speed event.

IF CLEAR, HAMMER DOWN and HOLSTER. Once the RO has confirmed that the gun is empty, you will be instructed to drop the hammer and holster the gun.

“STOP” or “FREEZE” If you ever hear the RO yell STOP or FREEZE, do so immediately. Stand still, with your finger OFF the trigger, and the gun pointed safely at a berm. The RO will have you unload, show clear and holster you gun. Although this command is frequently used when a safety violation occurs, it can also be used when there is an unsafe situation or range malfunction that is not the shooter’s fault. The RO will explain why he stopped you once the gun is unloaded and in your holster. If the problem was not a safety violation on the part of the shooter, you will be allowed to re-shoot the stage.