Gun Club Lingo 101

April 29, 2021

Written by Bill Crawford, General Manager of Liberty Mountain Gun Club

Every industry/sport/hobby has its own lingo to one extent or another, and shooting is no different! In this brief introduction to gun lingo, we’ll look at some words and phrases you may hear at LMGC. After reading this, you’ll have a better understanding on the most common phrases spoken on our ranges. Our goal is to explore more obscure phrases in another blog to come!

“The Range is Hot”

We may declare this on a 25-degree day in February…when it’s snowing…and windy…and everyone is bundled in five layers of clothing. It’s not a weather observation, but rather a command that means the range is now ready for individuals to handle firearms and begin shooting. Prior to this command, however, we must say something else that sometimes seems an equally odd statement (see next).

“Eyes and Ears Everyone!”

We are aware that the vast majority of our range users do, in fact, have eyes and ears. We’re not suggesting that folks check for the physical presence of their eyes and ears, but rather it is telling everyone that the range is about to “go hot” and that everyone must put on their eye and ear protection. We’ve just shortened it to the friendly reminder/command “eyes and ears.”

“The Range is Cold!”

Yes, it’s the opposite of a “hot” range. It’s what we call out when we want to allow folks to do things like hang new targets, paint steel targets, or otherwise just make the range fully safe. Before we can call the range “cold,” we must assure that everyone’s firearms are unloaded, locked open, with all sources of ammunition out of (and preferably away from) the firearm. Best of all scenarios, the firearm is put in its case.  NO firearms may be touched once the “cold” command is given. And, once “cold,” you may remove your eye and ear…protection (please leave all body parts firmly attached).


Birds is a term we use to describe our clay pigeons. Some people get rather queasy if they are asked if they want to “go shoot some birds.” No wildlife of any kind can be shot at our range, so rest easy knowing “birds” in our case means little round clay targets that are launched from a machine.


Spalling is one of the reasons we require “eyes.” Some people call it shrapnel, but more commonly gun ranges will use the word spalling to describe the little pieces of bullet fragments that are created when a bullet hits a steel target (or other hard surface). There are always some small amounts of spalling flying around, and that is why we do require eye protection, as well as have restrictions on how far away steel targets must be. If it was any closer you run the risk of being hit by spalling.

Thanks for reading and as mentioned before…stay tuned for more! Visit to learn more about the Gun Club.