The Safety and Familiarization Course

The Toronto Revolver Club has been actively involved in competitive handgun shooting since its beginnings, and participates in both inter- and intra-club "Team Shooting". From time-to-time, as may be required, the information below will be amended due to changes/updates in the general and specific rules as promulgated by:

  • the SFC (Shooting Federation of Canada),
  • the NRA (National Rifle Association of America),
  • the ISU (International Shooting Union),
  • IPSC (International Practical Shooting Association),

and/or any other authoritative organization used or quoted in producing the club's courses set up for new, prospective, and regular members.


The main reason for this course is accident prevention, but it also serves to assist new and/or prospective members to know the rules of the club and to make them feel welcome and comfortable on the firing line, as well as ensure uniformity for all shooters.


We like to keep things informal at TRC, so we try to keep the rules and regulations down to the minimum, consistent with good club management and safety. This is possible only when each member accepts his/her responsibility for his/her own and other people's safety, while using club facilities. If you see anyone acting in an unsafe manner in the club, tell them! Most of us need a reminder once in a while. We are proud of TRC's record through the years, and we want to keep it intact. For that matter, we are also proud of the club as a whole: its safety and its history. Founded in 1905, The Toronto Revolver Club is celebrating its 110th year anniversary.


All TRC members are provided with an access card for the clubhouse's front door, and a key for the target cupboard.
Members may use the range at any time within the following hours:

  • Monday 7:00 AM - 12:00 midnight - see schedule
  • Tuesday 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM (rental club after 5 PM)
  • Wednesday 5:00 PM - 12:00 midnight (TRC club night)
  • Thursday 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM (rental club after 5 PM)
  • Friday 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM (rental club after 5 PM)
  • Saturday 7:00 AM - 12:00 midnight
  • Sunday7:00 AM - 5:00 PM (rental club after 5 PM)

On some occasions, special events (such as Free Pistol Matches) are scheduled on one of the normally free periods. Such events are generally posted on the bulletin board, well in advance. They are also available here at the club's website.

3.2 Targets

Targets are available in the lock-up and are provided free of charge to TRC members: PLEASE, do NOT waste them. Only standard club-approved paper targets may be used on the range. Shooting at cans, bottles, boxes, etc., presents a safety hazard from ricochets, and is NOT permitted. Anyone shooting at anything other than approved targets may be banned from the range.

3.3 Other Clubs Using The Premises

From 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, other clubs rent TRC's facilities and have exclusive use during these hours.

3.4 Range Officer

Whenever 2 or more shooters are on the range, one must be designated as Range Officer. Once he/she is designated, he/she is in charge of the range until he/she withdraws and another shooter assumes the responsibilities. The Range Officer is responsible for safety on the firing line.

3.5 Equipment

Ear protection MUST be worn on the range. Eye protection, in the form of safety glasses, MUST also be worn: in the event of a ricochet, safety glasses could save an eye. Gun boxes which are usable on the bench in front of the shooter are encouraged - over brief cases, tool boxes, or other containers.

3.6 Transportation of Handguns

Most permits to carry handguns are issued with the endorsement that the guns be carried in separate, locked, boxes. While we might object to such an endorsement being arbitrarily placed on permits, most serious shooters prefer to carry their handguns in this manner. When transporting your handguns inside the club, use your gun box. We do NOT allow open firearms to be carried inside the clubhouse. Firearms will only be removed from their containers at the shooting stalls, or at the firearms Inspection Table. AMMUNITION is NOT allowed at the Inspection Table (Refer to section 4.6).

3.7 Rifles

ONLY .22 caliber rimfire rifles are permitted on the range.


4.1 Direction

A handgun should always be handled in a manner which ensures that its MUZZLE will be pointed in a safe direction, in case it should accidently discharge. Generally, such a direction is DOWN the RANGE, but calls for individual and situational judgment by the person handling the firearm.

4.2 Making a Handgun Safe

To be safe, a handgun must be unloaded. Revolvers must have their cylinders empty and open; self-loaders must have their magazines out and their slides locked back (self-loaders also should have their ejection ports facing upward); and single-action revolvers must have their cylinders removed. When the command "Make your pistols safe!" is given, the firearm must be made safe (as described above), then placed on the bench with the MUZZLE facing DOWN-RANGE. The handgun may NOT be handled again until the Range Officer gives the command, "You may handle your pistols." (Refer to section 4.6)

4.3 Picking up a Handgun

No one should pick up a firearm without first getting the owner's permission. If the pistol belongs to the club, permission must be granted by the Coach or Range Officer. Before the owner permits anyone to handle his/her pistol, he/she is responsible for "proving" that the pistol is unloaded and is in a safe condition. It is also the owner's responsibility to point out any peculiarities of that particular firearm. For example, if the firearm has a set trigger, or a safety device with which the recipient might be unfamiliar, the owner must ensure that the recipient is instructed about these features, BEFORE he/she turns over the pistol. Immediately upon receiving the pistol from the owner, the recipient must also "prove" the pistol to ensure that it is unloaded and in a safe condition. In a simple transfer of a firearm from one person to another, both parties have the responsibility of ensuring that the pistol is safe and unloaded. This procedure is known as "proving the pistol".

The five steps in "proving a pistol" are:

  • Point the pistol in a safe direction.
  • Remove any source of additional ammunition.
  • Observe the breech (chamber) and remove any round, fired or unfired.
  • Verify the feeding path is free of ammunition.
  • Examine the bore of the barrel and REMOVE any obstruction.

4.4 Proving a Self-Loading Pistol

  • Point the self-loading pistol in a safe direction.
  • Locate and operate the magazine-release catch and the slide-stop catch.
  • Remove the magazine (a source of additional ammunition).
  • Lock the slide open, inspect the breech and remove any round, fired or unfired.
  • Inspect the bore of the barrel (and REMOVE any obstruction)
  • Place the self-loading pistol, in the opened condition (with the ejection port facing upward) on a secure shooting bench or table.

4.5 Proving a Revolver

To "prove" a revolver, point it in a safe direction, open the cylinder and (using the ejector rod) remove all cartridges, fired or unfired, then inspect the breech and the bore of the barrel and REMOVE any obstruction. Place the revolver, in the opened condition, on a secure shooting bench or table. NOTE: NEVER flip the cylinder in or out, as such action could bend the crane - causing a misalignment - resulting in lead shavings being spit out from the sides. Proving a single-action revolver requires that the loading gate be swung aside and each chamber be inspected, separately, to remove all rounds, fired or unfired, by using the ejector rod on each chamber. It is recommended that you cycle through the cylinder twice! to ensure that all cartridges have been removed. The cylinder must be removed from the frame to inspect the breech and the bore of the barrel for any obstruction. The cylinder MUST be taken out, completely, for this firearm to be considered safe. Again, don't handle a revolver until you are sure that you know how to "prove" it.

4.6 Passing a Handgun to Another Person

The safest way to pass a handgun from one person to another is to make the handgun safe (as indicated in section 4.2) and place it upon a bench or table. Let the other person pick it up. The person passing the handgun should "prove" it before passing it, and the recipient should also "prove" it, before taking charge of it. See above (in section 3.6) re the club's Inspection Table.


5.1 Direction of the Handgun

On the range, the handgun must always be pointed either down range - at a right angle to the shooter's body, or down range and at the ground - at an angle of approximately 45 degrees to the shooter's body. When loading, move out of your shooting stance and face your target broadside. This helps to ensure that your handgun is pointing down range as you prepare to load. If you try to reload in your shooting stance, you will probably point your handgun to the right or left. This is especially important for anyone shooting a revolver. WATCH THE MUZZLE.

5.2 Loading

Handguns and other firearms will be loaded ONLY on the firing line. No more or less than 5 rounds should be loaded (unless directed otherwise by the Range Officer). It is a safety aid to know at all times how many "live" rounds are in your handgun. COUNT YOUR SHOTS. This may not be valid when shooting (single-shot) Free Pistol or (multi-stage) IPSC and PPC courses of fire. The Range Officer will guide you ... ask questions.

5.3 Loading a Self Loader

In current club usage, pistol magazines may be charged (loaded) behind the firing line, but may NOT be inserted into the pistol until the shooter has taken his/her position on the firing line and is about to commence firing. For SFC-/NRA-style competitions, competitors may pre-load their magazines with ammunition, but MUST wait for the Range Officer's commands, BEFORE they can insert a loaded magazine into their pistols. In ISU competitions, as per changes in the ISU Rules, a shooter may NOT EVEN pre-load or "charge" ANY magazines until the Range Officer gives the "LOAD" command. AFTER it has been given, competitors are allowed to charge a magazine (ONE, only) and load their pistols. In all of the above instances, after a loaded magazine is inserted, the shooter may release the slide of the pistol to chamber a round, ensuring as he/she does so that the pistol's disconnector is engaged or the pistol's hammer is held back. (When a member has finished shooting, or the Range Officer has given the command "Remove your equipment from the line!", AFTER ensuring that there is NO round in the breech, keeping his/her handgun pointed in a safe direction: DOWN- RANGE, the shooter should insert an empty magazine into the pistol, release the slide, pull the trigger to un-cock the pistol, put it into his/her gunbox or carrying case, pack away his/her remaining gear, then vacate the firing line.) (NOTE: Both some antique self-loaders and some more recent, modern, self-loaders may NOT be handled as outlined herein. The member/owner has the responsibility to learn how to safely handle such a firearm, and to comply with all the range commands that may be made by the Range Officer.)

5.4 Loading a Revolver

Right- and left-handed shooters load revolvers in the same way. This ensures that revolvers are not passed from hand-to-hand during the loading process. Grasp the revolver by the butt with the right hand. Unlock the cylinder with the right thumb and swing the cylinder out with the left hand. The third and fourth fingers of the left hand should pass under and around the cylinder with the ends of said fingers resting on one of the flutes. The flutes enable the loader to position the cylinder in the same way each time and locate the chambers without looking. This technique permits safe and sure loading, even if the firing point is dimly lit. Next, insert 5 rounds with the right hand while you continue to hold the revolver (with the fingers around the cylinder) in your left hand. With your left hand, gently close the cylinder, aligning the empty chamber with both the bore and the hammer, into the frame until it latches. Under NO circumstances should the cylinder be flipped in, as is done on TV or in the movies. Doing so can bend the crane and put the chambers out of alignment with the bore, making the revolver unsafe.

5.5 Cocking a Revolver for Single Action

CAUTION: A hammer can slip from under the cocking thumb and a trigger finger can inadvertently be placed on the trigger of a cocked revolver. Hold the revolver in the shooting hand with the trigger finger pointing along side of the trigger guard. Grasp the revolver with the non-shooting hand so that the fingers curl under the trigger guard and the thumb is just in front of the hammer. Next, cock the revolver with the thumb of the shooting hand and keep the thumb on the hammer spur until you slide the thumb of the non-shooting hand between the hammer and the frame. You can hold a revolver in this way without fear of an accidental discharge. Use this grip with the non-shooting hand to fit the revolver properly into the shooting hand. You should then position the trigger finger on the trigger to ensure the proper grip. The revolver cannot discharge because your non-shooting thumb is still between the hammer and the frame, so the worst that can happen is for you to get a pinched thumb. When the grip with the shooting hand and trigger feels comfortable, remove the finger from the trigger and point it forward alongside the trigger guard. Remove the thumb of the non-shooting hand from between the hammer and the frame. Hold the pistol at the "Ready position" and then put your trigger finger back on the trigger. Why do you have to re-position your trigger finger on the trigger of a loaded and cocked revolver? Because, when you cock a modern revolver for single-shot action, the trigger moves automatically for the short pull of a single-action shot. Don't forget, WATCH THE MUZZLE: SAFE DIRECTION.

5.6 Hangfires

When a hangfire occurs, point the pistol down range for at least 30 seconds before opening the cylinder or the breech. Years ago we did get true hangfires. The hammer fell, there was a "sputt" and an appreciable amount of time later, and the round would fire. Modern ammunition rarely misfires, but black powder shooters are still cursed with hangfires. Play it safe, it doesn't take much of an effort.

5.7 Use of the Bench

The bench, at the forward edge of the firing point, is an important safety device. Stand up to it so that your shooting arm will strike the bench before you can point a pistol at your feet. A shooter must concentrate on his/her shooting. A properly placed bench will relieve him/her of the fear that he/she may let his/her arm drop to the vertical and inadvertently blow off his/her toe(s). NOTE: As per the general and specific Rules of Competition, neither your feet nor your body, except for your shooting arm, MAY TOUCH the bench or CROSS OVER the firing line. Again, WATCH THAT MUZZLE. A shooting bench supplies a secure table on which to place your shooting box, pistol, and ammunition. If you drop a round of ammunition, forget it until you have made your pistol safe. Under NO circumstances should you ever reach ahead of the firing line to retrieve anything, be it live ammunition, fired casings, or whatever. NEVER, ever, bend down to pick up anything, while holding a gun.

5.8 Cease Fire

On the command "CEASE FIRE", everyone on the line will IMMEDIATELY cease firing and will unload, make safe, and bench his/her pistol. Normally, only the Range Officer will give the command, but it is the responsibility of any shooter who can see a dangerous situation on the range to call out a "CEASE FIRE". NOTE: The shooter(s) need NOT be on the firing line to exercise this responsibility and any phrase, like "STOP", "DON'T FIRE", or short blasts on a whistle, may also be used instead.