If you’ve never been to one, going to a gun range can be an intimidating experience. Like anything else, being a newbie can seem overwhelming and it is even worse when it involves something like firearms. You may be worried about making a mistake and sticking out like a sore thumb. You probably will, but everyone has to start somewhere.
From experience, gun owners and enthusiasts are fantastic people who are willing to teach and have patience. Since the 2nd Amendment is such a controversial topic, firearm enthusiasts are more than willing to help you. We want to bring people to our side to show them how to be safe, responsible, and enjoy firearms.
Go With Someone You Know
The best experience you can have is if you have a seasoned friend or family member take you. They can guide you through the initial experience and keep an eye on you. You won’t even need to read this if you have access to that. You can even get online and join a forum. With some time and networking, I guarantee that someone in your area will be more than happy to accompany you and show you the ropes
If you want to go the solo route and go to the range, you need to find one. Get online and look for a range that’s in your area. Read reviews about the staff and how they treat new people. There are different types of ranges. Some are friendly and offer all kinds of classes, training, and rentals, while some are established and callous and expect you to know what you are doing. You probably don’t want the latter. There are two ways to go about this.
- Just go. Find a range, rent a gun if you don’t have one, and start shooting. The RSO (Range Safety Officer) will help you and make sure that you safe.
- Take a class. Any respectable range will offer 101 type classes. These classes will cover the basics of shooting and safety. This is a fantastic way to get your feet wet with supervision and guidance. This type of class will set you up to be comfortable handling and shooting firearms so that you can start going to range alone.
It really is not hard to get into shooting. Everyone was once a beginner too. Swallow your pride, open up to criticism, remember the 4 rules, and you will venture into new territory that will stick around for the rest of your life.
Gun Range Etiquette
Before you walk into a gun range like you own the place, you should first learn about range etiquette, otherwise you may jeopardize your safety as well as other peoples’. There are certain procedures you need to follow at a minimum, and this applies to all gun ranges.
If you follow the range etiquette, you will not get reprimanded by the range and you will make friends.
It is always a good idea to ask the range safety officer about the rules. Every range is different and it is good to know if there is something you shouldn’t do, but here is a list on things will be true to every range.
– Never bring a gun in uncovered – Make sure they are all cased up because range employees can get testy when you walk in wielding a gun. This is a great way to make people mad and watch you like a hawk.
– Follow the 4 rules of gun safety – Safety is the most important thing. If you are inexperienced, it doesn’t matter as long as you are safe. People won’t be afraid to be around you and will be happy to give you some pointers.
– Never shoot someone else’s target – This is another great way to piss someone off. They may be counting their shots on the target and this will throw them off. Or they could be sighting in their new firearm and do it wrong.
– Never interrupt someone when they are shooting – This can be dangerous. You never know what someone will do if they startled. Let them finish shooting before you bother them.
– When the RSO calls a ceasefire you listen and stay away from your cleared guns – The call a ceasefire for a reason. Don’t ignore it. Walking towards your guns will make people jumpy.
– Never cross the firing line for any reason – This can get you shot on accident and no one wants that.
– Clean up your spent casings when you are done, but only in your lane – You need to be a responsible and clean up after yourself. No one wants to clean up your mess. However, only do it in your area. No one wants you crawling around behind them.
Follow these few etiquette guidelines and people around you will enjoy shooting near you. This will boost your experience and hopefully you can make some shooting companions.