Public ranges tend to have a required safety video and test for new patrons. The videos cover most of the range’s rules, and the 4 rules of gun safety. It’s a sensible practice but over the years I have come to resent these cheesy videos, and wish I could bypass them. They’re great for new shooters but they’re repetitive and cheesy. Did I mention they’re cheesy? The following are several additional points, that I’ve yet to see covered in these videos, but that I believe are beneficial for those of you who are new to firearms.
You want to feel calm at the range. Too much nervousness and you’ll not be able to focus. Gunfire is loud, and is further amplified at an indoor range. There may be moving targets, a crowded bay, or someone getting yelled at by an RSO for breaking the rules. There will be a lot going on, and you need to stay calm. However, a touch of fearfulness is a good thing. Fear keeps you mindful of safety.
Hot casings and fragments from ricochets might hit you, but you need not react. Panicking while a hot casing burns you can make for a dangerous situation. Stay calm, always. If hot brass has fallen down your shirt, and you’re actively feeling your skin blistering, you can either ignore it, or you can safely place your gun down, step back, and then address the burning brass. Never react to something that has startled you by panicking and pulling the trigger.
Start with one bullet.
Only load a single bullet for your first shot. This exercise can help you feel less intimidated about the recoil, noise, and the process as a whole. It’s a simple method to rid you of those first shot jitters that many new shooters feel. Repeat as necessary.
There is no rush.
If your hands are sweaty or tired, or you’re overthinking pulling the trigger, etc., place the gun down. There really is no rush. If you’re hitting the range for an hour, and you spend the majority of your time placing the gun down, the hour was not wasted. The hour was spent learning to be comfortable at the range, and only shooting when you felt ready. I promise you, that is a successful day at the range.
I hope these points help you have positive experiences mastering the fundamentals, and that the safe handling of firearms becomes second nature to you. Watch for my blog next week about learning to shoot with acquaintances versus professional instruction.