Target practice at the shooting range is a fun experience and will help you become a better shooter, as long as you’re well prepared and follow any guidelines. With this in mind, we’ve gathered together a series of six tips for visiting the shooting range for the first time.
1 Get Supplies
You will need to make sure you’ve got essential supplies, including ammunition, cleaning kits, targets, and safety equipment. However, if you’re short on anything, many ranges will carry a supply for you to buy. If you’re looking for 9mm ammo, we suggest buying it bulk to save money.
2 Wear Proper Gear
You need to be dressed correctly when you head to the shooting range because safety is essential, and looking at the part will help to improve your habits. Your local range may have a dress code. However, if they don’t, you can assume the following:
- Your LTC holster – legal requirement depending on the state.
- Short or long sleeves and a high-necked collar. If you’ve got an open or low collar, hot brass can damage your skin.
- Comfortable pants – cargo pants with plenty of pockets are a favorite amongst shooters.
- Protective equipment – eye and ear protection especially.
- Suitable shoes – boots are preferable, and never wear open-toed.
3 Respect The Rules
There are bound to be rules at your shooting range, so make sure you’re well-acquainted. They may have a training video to watch when you first arrive, but some will simply pin their rules up on a board. If you fail to follow the rules, you’ll likely get kicked out and banned – here are some commonalities:
- Don’t finger the trigger until ready to fire.
- Never carry loaded weapons to the range.
- Keep your weapon cased until ready to fire.
- Understand command words – “weapons down” or “ceasefire” make regular appearances.
4 Check Ammo and Weapon Restrictions
Every gun range will have regulations on the type of ammunition and guns you can use, so make sure you understand the rules before your visit. Many of the rules are outlined by the state and will usually ban the use of high-caliber rifles and shotguns. Further, when it comes to ammunition, the majority of shooting ranges will prohibit the use of steel casings because it can cause damage to equipment. If the range has outside facilities, the rules may differ, so it’s best to seek advice for each range you visit.
5 Ask Questions
You will likely be full of nerves when you first visit the shooting range, so don’t be afraid to ask any questions. When it comes to shooting guns, there is no such thing as a “stupid” question. If you’ve got friends who are used to visiting the range, it’d be a good idea to take them along with you. If you visit a new range, make sure you ask about layouts and policies, as each range will vary.
6 Check In With The Officer
Safety at the range is up to the range officer, who will need to ensure that you’re safe to be there – don’t be surprised if they come over to inspect your ammunition and weapons or analyze your shooting methods. When you first get there, check in with the officer for good measure – it’s best to build a positive rapport with the range.
Visiting the shooting range for the first time can be overwhelming and nerving, but the overall experience should be enjoyable. Following the tips outlined above will help you feel at ease during your first visit. The most important thing to remember is to follow the rules and ask plenty of questions.