This past weekend the Gear Family was busy getting into everything fun and learning somethings, also. It all started Saturday morning with the boys heading to the gun range to take some target practice. The Gear Guys have added indoor target practice to their list of activities and gear. We have a very respectful outlook towards firearms and their place in our gear line-up. The Gear Guys have a strong appreciation for the mechanical workings of a high quality firearm and the enjoyment of hitting the paper target consistently. We have recently purchased a model of the world famous Rugger 10-22 which will be reviewed at a later date.
We were able to get a few pictures in the lobby; however, they did not allow pictures on the actual range. The pictures below are a very small sampling of what was presented for sale.
The range has a nice selection of targets to choose from- everything from practicing for a Zombie apocalypse to shooting the Wisconsin state bird, the Mosquito.
We thought for our first post on firearms / shooting, we would introduce you to some basic shooting suggestions, range tips and safe practices.
For those just getting into firearms, most ranges offer a large selection of rental firearms. There may be some age limits and other requirements but this is a great way to decide what you like as far as different styles and calibers before making the investment of purchasing a firearm. If you are unsure how a rental item works, you should ask for instructions on how to safely use the firearm. Everybody around you would much rather show you how to safely use a firearm instead of you accidently using it incorrectly. The Gear Guys highly recommend a .22 long rifle for those new to shooting. This caliber firearm is an excellent choice for beginners due to its low recoil. The low recoil of this caliber helps new shooters to become used to shooting before having to worry about operating it, trying to hit the target, or managing a massive recoil.
If you already have a firearm but have never been to a range before, make sure that you have some sort of case for your firearm before entering. The range will not tolerate you walking in with a firearm that is not cased in some sort of manner (even just the box that it came in is acceptable). Before you leave home, you should also double check that your firearm is unloaded and preferably has some sort of external lock on it to ensure that the firearm cannot be discharged. While there, never pull out your firearm unless you are in the shooting range with the muzzle of the firearm pointed safely down-range.
For those that have never been to a range or firearm dealer before, the first visit may be intimidating for some. When you walk in, you should expect to see the walls covered with firearms and the staff will most likely have firearms openly carried in a holster. If it is your first visit, simply tell the staff that you haven’t been to a range before, and they will be happy to help you fill out your waiver and get you set with everything that you will need.
When at the range, the number one priority of everyone there is safety. Everybody at the range wants to go home with both eyes and ears fully intact. That being said, when you go to the range, you should be sure that you bring a high quality pair of safety glasses (that don’t fog up easily), as well as ear protection. You may want to consider wearing ear plugs under your ear muffs. When large caliber firearms are discharged inside of an indoor range, it can sometimes sound like an explosion just went off. This loud noise can easily catch new comers off guard and can easily throw off your concentration if you are attempting to line up your sights for your next shot. You will soon get used to this though, and it will no longer rattle your concentration. We also recommend that you don’t wear low cut shirts as hot casing from the firearm could easily come in contact with your exposed skin causing you much discomfort. A final note on this is to make sure that you have both your eye and ear protection on before going into the actual shooting bay.
Once you head into the shooting bay, you will locate your designated bay, or ask the Range Safety Officer (RSO) to help you locate where you are supposed to go. When you reach the bay you are supposed to be at, you can remove your firearm from the case as long as it remains pointed down-range. After you remove it, place the case behind you – there is usually a shelf on the back wall, or simply place it on the ground. You may then hang your target and set the distance for your target (you may need to ask the RSO how to set the distance if you are unsure). After doing this, you may load your firearm and either start to enjoy target shooting, or begin sighting in your scope if you have one.
*FIREARM FOUR SAFETY RULES:
- assume all firearms are always loaded
- only point your firearm at things you are willing to destroy
- keep your finger off your trigger until you are ready to fire
- know what your target is and what lies beyond it
You should try to keep the range cleaner than you found it. At our range, the RSO is constantly sweeping the shell casings forward off the shooting bay floor. If they don’t do this at your range, they may have brooms off to the side. Take one and sweep the spent casings to the other side of your shooting area down-range. This will keep the floor safe and remove a slipping hazard.
When you are finished shooting, leave your firearm in your bay and pointed down-range while you retrieve your case. Make sure that your firearm is unloaded with the action open, or a safety lock applied, and then place your firearm back in its case.
After you are finished shooting, you should make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face or eating, as most bullets contain lead and you may have residue on your hands from firing the ammunition. Some ranges may have a special soap inside of their restrooms specifically for this purpose.
TIPS TO BE MORE SUCCESSFUL:
FIND AN INSTRUCTOR AT YOUR LOCAL RANGE
Let them know your skill level and what you’re looking to accomplish.
Most ranges offer multiple classes for the inexperienced shooter to become familiar with firearms and safety.
Call your local range to learn more about the available classes and which ones would be the best fit for your experience level.
LEARN HOW TO SQUARE UP YOUR SIGHTS
Simply trying to match up the iron sights on your firearm may not be enough. You need to learn how to properly and consistently square up your sights and develop a consistent sight picture when engaging a target. You’ll want to understand how to hold the gun in relation to your body and how to reacquire a sight picture after the gun recoils.
DEVELOP A CONSISTENT AND REPEATABLE GRIP ON THE FIREARM
The main support hand doesn’t need a vise-like grip on the firearm but the supplemental hand (the left hand for a right-handed shooter) should exert firm pressure on the grip. Being able to hold the firearm the same way every time will help to increase your accuracy.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT CALIBER AS A NEW SHOOTER
Choosing to use a .45 magnum revolver your first time shooting may result in an unpleasant first visit. Using large caliber firearms without knowing proper grip and stance can result it losing control of the firearm, or simply cause blisters or severe discomfort. This is why the Gear Guys recommend starting out with a .22 long rifle, or something like a semi-auto 9 millimeter.
EXPECT IT TO BE LOUD
Most new shooters are shocked to find out how noisy an indoor shooting range can be and that’s even while using quality ear protection. Part of the preparation as a new shooter is to prepare for this noise, as well as the thunderous blast that accompanies each pull of the trigger when using a large caliber.
LEARN HOW TO SQUEEZE THE TRIGGER
Learning how to gently squeeze the trigger while exhaling will help with accuracy. You will be much more accurate using this technique rather than quickly pulling the trigger which may cause you to become slightly off target.
ASK QUESTIONS FROM THE EXPERTS
Never be afraid to seek expert advice when you feel it is warranted. Firearms can be complex and may be deadly when used incorrectly. Firearm specialists are very willing to share their knowledge with new shooters so take the time to connect with seasoned shooters who can share their advice learned over many years.
The RSO or staff in the store will be more than willing to answer any questions you have and even suggest classes to help you become more familiar with firearms safety and training.