Most shooters, both experienced and novice, are aware of basic range safety rules like never pointing a loaded weapon any direction other than toward the ground or down range. They may not be aware of some of the lesser known health and safety recommendations. Some damage, like hearing loss, is immediately apparent and instead develops over time. The following are a few more safety things to keep in mind when you go shooting for practice or fun:
Tip #1: Protect your hearing
The sound of rifles and handguns firing repeatedly can cause long-term damage to your hearing. This is especially true for indoor ranges, but you need to take safety precautions regardless of where or how often you shoot. Ear plugs for shooting are designed to fit snugly in the ear while keeping out the most damaging decibels. If you aren't a fan of earplugs, there are noise muffling muffs you can also wear. If you are especially concerned, combine the earplugs with the muffs for more thorough protection.
Tip #2: Beware lead dust
Lead dust is a real concern on shooting ranges, especially for those that spend a lot of time firing a gun. The dust is often floating in the air at the range, which increases the chance of you inhaling or ingesting it. Even worse, leaving the range doesn't free you from the concern since the dust can settle on your clothing. Wearing a face mask while shooting can help prevent inhalation or ingestion of the dust. After shooting, wash your hands and any other exposed skin. It's also a good idea to shower and wash the clothing you wore to range as soon as you get home.
Tip #3: Don't overlook your eyes
Eye protection is another vital safety need when shooting that is often overlooked. Shatterproof safety glasses protect your eyes from lead dust as well as providing very necessary protection in the event that a spent shell discharges wrong from your weapon. If you already wear glasses, you may think you have sufficient protection. This is only true if they are equipped with shatterproof lenses. You may also find that wearing full safety glasses designed to fit over your eyeglasses is more comfortable because they prevent dust from getting into your eyes.
For more help, talk to the staff at your favorite shooting range or get in contact with a supplier of specialty shooting safety supplies.