Three out of every ten American adults currently own a gun.
For many of these gun owners, their weapons are a means of keeping themselves, their families, and their property safe. However, many gun owners also shoot recreationally.
The best place for safe recreational shooting is the gun range.
Read on as we share our top seven shooting range training tips for beginners.
1. Learn Basic Gun Handling Safety Techniques
Before you ever step foot on a range, or even handle a loaded weapon, you should get well acquainted with the basics in gun handling.
These are simple steps that every gun owner should take to ensure the safety of themselves and those around them. They include keeping the safety on unless you’re shooting, keeping your gun in a case when it’s not in use, and pointing your weapon downrange at all times.
2. Use a Gun Case
Whenever your gun isn’t being actively loaded, aimed, or fired, it should be stored in a gun case. This is one of the most basic and most important pieces of shooting range etiquette that you will ever pick up.
If a gun is sitting in a case with the safety on, it’s unlikely to do anyone any harm. If you have it in your hand while you’re walking around, however, the odds of an accidental discharge increase exponentially.
Not only will a gun case make your weapon safer, it will also make other shooters at the range gain respect for you. Experienced gun users generally expect nothing from beginners other than a healthy appreciation for gun safety.
3. Wear the Right Clothes
This is something that might not occur to a beginner. However, the proper attire will go a long way toward keeping you safe on the gun range. It will also help you to avoid disapproving glances from older heads on the range!
When you fire semi-automatic rifles and pistols, spent brass casings will fly out of your weapon. These are extremely hot to the touch, and can cause burns.
Therefore, you’ll want to wear clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Opt for a tight collar on your shirt or jacket, and avoid open-toed shoes at all costs.
4. Learn from an Expert
The best way to learn how to do anything is to watch and listen to an expert.
If you have a friend who knows a lot about guns, ask them to accompany you to the shooting range the first time you go. A proper gun enthusiast will be able to properly instruct you on everything you do at the range, from your stance, to your grip, to your weapon selection.
If you don’t have someone in your life who you’d be comfortable asking for help, consider asking someone at the range. This can be a little intimidating, but it’s a good idea.
Shooters are generally friendly, and most would prefer to take a few minutes to help you out than see you make a dangerous mistake.
5. Pick the Right Weapon
If you’re a total newbie to the world of shooting, you might not know much about the different types of guns out there. However, you’ll quickly learn that there are certain weapons you should stay away from if you don’t have much experience.
For example, if you’re firing pistols you should start out with larger weapons. This is because the recoil from a smaller pistol is greater than that from a larger one (assuming the caliber is the same in both cases).
You should also probably stay away from fully automatic weapons until you’re comfortable with their semi-automatic counterparts.
6. Watch Your Muzzle & Trigger
When you’re not shooting, you need to be mindful of how you carry your weapon. The two most important parts of your gun in this regard are the muzzle and the trigger.
The muzzle is the “business end” of your gun. Proper firearm etiquette dictates that you point the muzzle of a weapon downrange at all times. In the event of an accidental discharge, a gun that’s pointed downrange is far less likely to injure someone.
Mechanical failures excepted, a gun’s trigger will have to be pulled in order for a bullet to be discharged from it. Therefore, the trigger is another part of the gun that you should pay particular attention to.
Unless you’re about to fire, your finger should never sit on the trigger itself. Rest it on the trigger guard until the moment you want to fire.
7. Be Mindful of Safety at All Times
This tip is essentially a summation of the previous six. However, it’s worth stressing by itself.
The most dangerous thing anyone can do on a shooting range is let their focus dip. In case it needs emphasizing, guns are dangerous. If you let your attention wander, you or someone else could easily end up seriously injured.
Always take care to point your gun downrange. Always return your gun to its case when you’re not firing it. Never carry around a loaded weapon without the safety on. And never store your gun loaded (unless it’s for home-defense purposes and is securely stored)
These little steps could end up being the difference between life and death.
Shooting Range Training Made Simple
If you’re new to the world of gun ownership, the range can be a little intimidating at first. With so many experienced gun users around, the last thing you want is to mark yourself out as a newbie. Don’t forget, practice makes perfect, so stock up on bulk ammo today and hit the range often!
With the shooting range training tips above, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a seasoned pro!
To have an even better experience at the range, be sure to take a few self-defense training classes too!