Clubs have many differing disciplines, locations, facilities and circumstances under which they operate and it will not be possible for all clubs to restart their activities at this time.

The club committee has a duty of care to members and each club must decide if they are going to reopen and if their circumstances and the protocols they can put in place will meet the Government’s guidance. It is not currently possible for indoor ranges to reopen and we must also be aware that Home Countries have different regulations that may preclude starting any shooting activity at all.

NSRA OfficialFollowing recent Government announcements relating to outdoor exercise, below is our initial guidance for clubs and members.

Whilst many clubs are still choosing to remain closed to maintain the safety of participants and the public, should you be considering opening your club, and your club committee feels the situation can be managed safely, then shooting may be recommenced in some form. It must be realised that this won’t necessarily apply to all disciplines or to all members.

Clubs have many differing disciplines, locations, facilities and circumstances under which they operate and it will not be possible for all clubs to restart their activities at this time.

The club committee has a duty of care to members and each club must decide if they are going to reopen and if their circumstances and the protocols they can put in place will meet the Government’s guidance. It is not currently possible for indoor ranges to reopen and we must also be aware that Home Countries have different regulations that may preclude starting any shooting activity at all.

It must also be noted that not all members may be able to use the club’s range(s) as the circumstances may not allow it. The club must decide whether this is something that they can justify in their context or if it will cause division within their organisation. Most importantly, people who are considered to be in vulnerable groups should stay at home in accordance with government guidelines and not use the range even if it is open to others. It is important to note that they almost certainly will not be covered by the club’s insurance as detailed below.

We have spoken to Bluefin, our insurers, and they have informed that there is no COVID-19 exclusion to the insurance but have pointed out that all insurance is based on not putting anyone at risk. In this case that means following the Government guidance and any NSRA Guidance that underpins it. Local Police forces may have a view on reopening clubs and they must always be consulted as part of this process. Be aware that there may be local restrictions in place and that restricted movement is not completely over.

The following points are listed for consideration when considering reopening but clearly need to be adapted to the club’s environment. The list is not exhaustive and local conditions may require additional provisions.

  • No indoor shooting
  • Risk assessment - the club must assess the risk and produce a system to manage it.
  • Club system of managing the return to shooting communicated to all people using the range.
  • Also communicate to members that if they, or someone in their household, have symptoms stay at home and do not attend the club under any circumstances.
  • The range may be considered as outdoors, but how many ranges are completely outdoors? Does your range use what is effectively an indoor space at the firing point? If so then it may not be possible to restart shooting. Where there is any room for doubt, clubs and facilities should pursue the simplest and safest option.
  • Different Home Countries have different requirements (e.g. target shooting still would be prohibited in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
  • No food or drink to be produced or consumed on the premises.
  • Promote effective hygiene to all those taking part in the activities at the club, in particular, the use of hand sanitiser.
  • Restrict use of any indoor areas (e.g. target sheds etc.).
  • If any indoor areas must be accessed restrict the number of people to maintain social distancing (e.g. one person in the target shed at any time or only certain individuals are allowed in the indoor area).
  • If indoor areas must be accessed doors should be kept open to encourage airflow.
  • Consideration must be given to how target frames or other target systems are put out and handled. Many will be too complex in shape to sanitise successfully. If this is the case ensure sufficient PPE is available. Hand sanitising after handling any equipment is crucial and people using the facilities must be made aware of this.
  • Target sales. The club must consider where these are stored and how is access to these managed or prohibited to prevent transmission.
  • Maintain a minimum of 2m at all times between people using the range – not only when shooting but also when changing targets. When on the range this will generally mean a minimum of 2 or 3 firing points between participants.
  • The number of people on the range at any one time must be calculated both to maintain physical distancing and to comply with guidance.
  • The club needs to organise a booking system to manage the numbers attending the range at one time. This will need rigorously managed time slots to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Manage arrival and departure times including changeover.
  • Manage the changeover of shooters to maintain physical distancing and sanitise any benches/tables/brass collection brushes etc. that are used.
  • When shooting is complete, make sure people leave. It’s nice to have a chat with friends but this will greatly increase the risk of infection.
  • Manage the opening of gates, locks, target sheds etc. and ensure they are sanitised at the end of a session.
  • Provide appropriate PPE for nominated persons carrying out duties as part of reopening.
  • Provide sanitising equipment and organise disposal of cleaning cloths etc.
  • If a toilet is in use ensure that sanitising equipment is in place and used. Toilets should only be open where handwashing and deep cleaning procedures can take place.
  • Encourage the use of PPE by participants as appropriate.
  • Prohibit the use of club shooting equipment (e.g. guns, telescopes, mats etc.).
  • A log needs to be kept of people present at the range with their arrival and leaving times, not only for the normal completing of firearms and attendance logs, but also for “track and trace” purposes.
  • Cleaning of equipment should be done at home and not on site.

In the same way that shooters are keen to get back to their sport so are coaches and instructors. Due to the changes in operating practice, it will not be possible to introduce new people to shooting at this time but coaches and instructors may wish to work with current shooters. This should only take place on a one to one basis. Depending on the circumstances, this may create issues with coaching participants less than 18 years of age. Please see our Child Protection Policy for more details. If coaches and instructors are to be present during shooting they must be taken into account when booking the range facilities and not fall outside the permitted numbers and spacing. It is insufficient for them just to turn up along with a shooter. They must maintain safe distancing, avoid handling any shooters equipment and not be in close personal contact with their shooters at any time. They must observe all aspects of the government and NSRA guidance along with the other people using the range.

The problem with many of these issues is the management of the situation. Don’t rely on people making up their own ways of implementing the guidance. It is often easier to have a nominated person to open and close the range, allocate firing points, book people in and book the firearms in the firearms register, disinfect and put targets out, disinfect benches and other structures after use. This limits exposure. Also the shooting needs to be supervised – not only in the normal sense of a RCO but also to ensure compliance with the very different circumstances in which we find ourselves.

Shooters are used to following strict rules whilst taking part in their sport and have an excellent track record of safety. Let’s keep it that way in shooting and through this difficult time both on and off the range.

The NSRA are not experts on pandemics and therefore all UK Government and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) guidelines and directives supersede this information. The NSRA has created this set of guidelines to translate the National guidance to give recommendations to members and clubs. This document will be updated subject to more information and guidance becoming available.

The current government guidance can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-guidance-on-spending-time-outdoors

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation

Stay safe.