Do you want to go the gun range for the first time but not sure how to get started? If you’ve never grown up with people who owned guns, it can feel overwhelming. However, everyone has to start somewhere, and if you keep putting it off you won’t get the practice you need to become a safe and knowledgable gun owner.
Read on to learn our top seven shooting range tips to get you started the safest way possible!
1. Ask for Help
First, it’s important that you not hesitate to ask for help when you need it. You also don’t want to be afraid to let people know that it’s your first time at a gun range and handling a gun. Employees and fellow shooters are typically friendly who are eager to share their knowledge–don’t let them stay an untapped resource.
2. Learn Safe Gun Handling
Your next step is one of the most important–you need to learn how to handle a gun safely. It’s especially important that you learn safe gun handling first as this helps develop good, foundational habits later on. Here are a few essentials you should know:
Always Assume the Gun is Loaded
You should always act as if the gun is loaded, even if you know that it isn’t. This develops the important habit of always being aware of muzzle’s position and keeping it pointed away from yourself, people, and animals.
Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger
You need to assume that the gun can fire at any time. Even if it takes some pressure to pull a gun’s trigger, you should keep your finger off the trigger when you’re not using it.
Many people make the mistake of relying on the gun’s safety to keep them safe. However, it’s possible to forget the safety is on. By making the habit of keeping your finger off the trigger unless you intend to shoot, you’re saving yourself from a potential misfire.
Know Your Target
You should always know exactly what your target is before firing. On the shooting range, this is easy, but if you have a gun in your home for protection, this means not firing at noises or shapes that you can’t define.
You also want to know what’s beyond your target and if the bullet has the chance of hitting someone else or ricocheting off a surface.
3. Dress for the Gun Range
It’s recommended that you wear a tight-collared shirt to avoid hot, spent cases falling down your shirt. In an indoor range, spent cartridges can bounce off the walls, floor, and even ceiling.
It’s also important that you wear shoes and socks for the same reason–you don’t want a hot casing landing on your foot while you’re shooting. Even when you’re shooting outdoors, you’ll want to skip the sandals and keep your feet covered at all times.
4. Stay Hydrated
When you’re at the gun range for the first time, it’s easy to forget about your body’s needs when you’re focusing on gun safety, loading and unloading, and practicing your form and aim. However, it’s important that you stay hydrated.
When you’re dehydrated, it’s easier for you to feel more tired and your focus won’t be as sharp as before. You need both in order to be a better, and safer, shooter.
5. Bring an Experienced Friend
For your first time, it’s recommended to bring an experienced friend so that you get the one on one attention that you wouldn’t be able to get in a class or on your own. Your friend will be able to watch you shoot, point out how to correct your form, and remind you about gun safety.
If you don’t have friends that are experienced with guns, then consider signing up for a training course.
6. Eye and Ear Protection
You always need the correct eye and ear protection when you go to a gun range, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. After prolonged exposure to a shooting gun without ear protection, you can permanently damage your hearing. Without eye protection, you could damage your eyes from the rare case of a firearm malfunction, falling target chips, and more.
You’ll find that you’ll be able to shoot more comfortably when you have the proper protection. For instance, if you’re not used to the sound of a shooting gun, ear protection will help muffle the sound and keep you from flinching.
7. Check the Barrel Before Loading
Before you load the gun, it’s important that you open the action and make sure that it’s completely clear of obstructions as well as any ammunition. Take your time and try to make it a habit of methodically checking for even small things like oil or grease. Then, use a cleaning rod to clean the gun if you notice anything.
Since the bullet is exiting the gun at a tremendous amount of pressure, any small obstruction in the barrel can disrupt its normally smooth path and create an explosive rupture.
Shooting Range Tips: Safety and Caution First
These shooting range tips all have one thing in common–they focus on keeping you and your fellow shooters as safe as possible. It’s important that you don’t rush anything and treat shooting as a methodical, precise process.
Never forget that you’re holding a weapon that could seriously injure or kill someone when you’re not handling it responsibly, such as pointing the muzzle at someone with your finger resting on the trigger when you assume it’s not loaded.
Ready to head out to your first gun range? Reserve a lane at the Texas gun club today!