Los Alamos Sportsmen's Club Cold Range Rules:

  • If you arrive with a loaded firearm, a match Safety Officer will happily unload you in the indoor range at the Sportsmen's Club classroom building (where match-day check-in is being held).

  • Once unloaded, you may not handle your firearm outside of the two Safe Areas—one in the pistols pits, and one on the rifle range.

  • Absolutely no handling of ammunition or simulated ammunition such as snap caps in the Safe Areas.

  • Do not unholster a loaded firearm within Sportsmen's Club boundaries or along Range Road unless directed to do so by, and in the presence of, a Safety Officer.

  • Do not aim over the berms or outside of the shooting bays. There are residences on the canyon rim above the the Club, and public hiking areas surrounding it. Unintended discharges can have life-changing consequences.

The Four Rules of Firearms Safety

(Recite everyday to ensure long life and happiness.)

  1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.

  2. Never point your firearm at anything you aren't willing to kill or destroy.

  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

  4. Know your target and what's behind it.

Above Top Secret: Tips for getting the most out of your match

Hydrate or die!

Los Alamos is at 7,000 feet above sea level with a high-desert climate. You should start hydrating the day before the match, and then plan to drink at least 12 ounces of water during every stage. Ignore this advice and risk turning into a useless heap of bleached bones....

Suncreen. Use it.

You'll be getting a ton of radiation here in the Atomic City—but probably not from anything related to atom bombs. At this altitude, the sun will cook you faster than a rotisserie chicken in a glass box full of heat lamps. Unless you want people to be calling you "Lobster Boy" or "Ruby Sue" on Sunday, you'd be wise to be smearing on the SPF 30 throughout the match.

Don't get rattled

You might see a rattlesnake while you're here, but if you do, don't freak out. Contrary to folklore and common hysteria, rattlesnakes aren't lying in wait to kill hapless humans who stumble upon them. Mostly they just want to be left alone so they can eat rodents that carry Hantavirus and bubonic plague. In other words, their motives are often misunderstood—kind of like law-abiding firearms owners. The best thing to do if you see a rattler is to freeze, look around to see if it's hanging out with friends (so you don't step on one while you're doing the inevitable "panic dance"), and then give it some distance. If you stay calm and distant, it will stop rattling and slink away. And you won't have to call for a medic.

Suspicious-looking unknown objects

Back during World War II, during the Manhattan Project, the U.S. Army did conventional ordnance testing in Rendija Canyon, where the Sportsmen's Club is located. Although the canyon has been cleaned up many times, it's possible that vintage unexploded ordnance such as rusty mortar shells might still be out there. People have stumbled upon these relics from time to time, with near-fatal results in a few cases. If you happen to see something on the ground that looks like an antique explosive, don't touch it, note the location, and contact a range officer or a safety officer so the proper authorities can safely deal with it.

Deerly beloved...

Sometimes deer climb the berms at the Sportsmen's Club, but that doesn't mean free barbecue. If you see one on the berm, call a "cease fire." This is not a joke.


We have cows that wander onto Club property from time to time. Nobody seems to know who the cows belong to, leading some to speculate that they are really Russian agents attempting to gather intelligence about the top secret work going on at Los Alamos National Laboratory. If you are approached by a cow, don't give it any information—just to be on the safe side—and report its presence to your local counterintelligence officials.

The Hunger Game

It comes as a shock to many first-time visitors that the sidewalks in Los Alamos roll up at around 8 o'clock. No one can really explain why this happens, but seasoned visitors remain aware that it does. Consequently, it's easy to go to bed with an empty stomach if you're caught unaware here in the Atomic City—especially on a "school night." Most of the sit-down restaurants shutter their doors at 8 p.m. Fast food is an option for a short time after that, but don't plan on taking advantage of any of those City-fied late-night drive-through hours to which you may be accustomed. After 10 p.m., it's pretty much just you and the grocery store, and even that turns into a pumpkin at the Witching Hour. As inconvenient as it may seem, there are no all-night convenience stores in Los Alamos or White Rock, so plan accordingly.

The 40-Square-Mile Gorilla

Los Alamos National Laboratory, the successor to the wartime Project Y, occupies a significant portion of Los Alamos County. Because of the laboratory's national security mission of ensuring that the nation's nuclear weapons remain safe and reliable, many laboratory areas have high security and are patrolled by heavily armed guards who are not known for their senses of humor. Laboratory boundaries are clearly marked and signed. Firearms (loaded or unloaded, locked away or not), explosives, cameras, and many other items are prohibited on laboratory property under the federal Atomic Secrets Act. Unless you have proper credentials or official business with Los Alamos National Laboratory, stay off laboratory property—particularly if you are packing. Bail and lawyers are expensive, so don't become "That Guy."

Fat Man

Here is a PDF summary of New Mexico handgun laws, including concealed handgun carry rules, that you may find useful.


Cool things to do in Los Alamos


Content by the 2020 Atomic City Challenge. Event hosted by the Los Alamos Sportsmen's Club. Website proudly created with Wix.com