In my last post I gave you a picture of what it felt like, at least for me, to go shooting for the first time. But I didn’t really tell you in detail what I learned. Here are five important things to know BEFORE you head out for the shooting range.
Brush Up On the “Lingo”
It’s a good idea to know the basic terms, types, and functions of firearms. You need to have an idea about what you are doing, especially concerning something as potentially dangerous as firing a gun. It also makes communicating with the employees and other shooters at the range much more fluid. Don’t stress yourself out about it, though. If the people working at your local range are anything like the ones at Iron Sites, they’ll be more than happy to explain things and assist you with their knowledge of firearms and shooting techniques.
Wear Good Shoes
By “good” I don’t mean the kind you wear to a cocktail party. You need to wear a pair of hiking boots, walking shoes, or something that is comfortable to exercise in. I made the mistake of wearing my flats, which are fine for going on errands and are very comfortable for me, but by the end of our session my feet, hips, and back were killing me. I HIGHLY recommend wearing supportive foot wear. You won’t tire as quickly; your posture and stance will be better, which will improve your control and aim; and you’ll have an all around better time.
Make sure what you wear is not uncomfortably tight. You want to be able to lean forward a little and bend your knees easily. You also do not want to wear anything that restricts your arm movement or that digs into your skin anywhere. I’m not saying you have to wear sweats and a t-shirt. What you normally wear is probably fine, assuming you don’t wear clothing that is overly tight or constricting. For example, when I went I wore a skirt and leggings! Also, if you have long hair, it may be a good idea to tie it back.
Remember to bring a jacket. Most indoor ranges have vents that blow cool air to keep the smoke from all the guns down range. It can get very chilly. I recommend bringing a medium to light jacket depending on how easily you get cold. I find wearing a jacket instead of dressing in a really warm shirt tends to be the most comfortable. You can easily take the jacket off if you get hot while shooting, and put it back on again if you cool off too much. And, of course, if your local range is outdoors you’ll want to dress appropriately for the weather.
Don’t Go It Alone
Bring along an experienced shooter or hire an instructor. Besides the fact that I absolutely love doing anything with my husband, having him there was invaluable. Having the support made me more confident. He was also there to answer my questions, show me how to handle my firearm, give me tips, watch my stance, and make sure I was using my gun safely. Another reason it’s a good idea to have somebody who knows what they are doing along with you is that you can’t see yourself. A good example is when I started shooting I had a tendency to lean way too far back. Of course I didn’t even realize I was doing it. My husband noticed and helped me stand correctly; and once I did, I found that I did much better. The recoil was easier to handle and I was a better shot, and my husband was there to remind me when I started leaning again. Last but not least, guns have various malfunctions that can occur. They are rare, but it is always good to have someone around who has had practice and knows how to deal with them safely.
Want to know more? My next post will cover what you should expect when you get to the range.