Every year, millions of Americans all over the country visit their local gun range. Some of them experience handling a gun for the first time. They might wish to learn how to handle a weapon for protection, hunting, or sport.
No matter what the reason is, firing a deadly weapon for the first time can be a bit scary. Don’t be intimidated, but every establishment has protocols and safety rules that must be adhered to.
10 Things You Can Learn From Your Gun Shooting Range Experience.
If you have decided to visit a Las Vegas shooting range for the first time, to make your visit as an enjoyable shooting experience as possible, there are several things every beginner should know.
Guns must be treated with respect at all times.
Think of them as loaded and ready to fire until you prove otherwise.
Here are some things you can take away with you after your range experience.
1. Ignoring Gun Safety Rules.
Gun safety rules should never be ignored.
- Treat every gun as if it is loaded.
- Never point a gun at anything you do not want destroyed.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Make sure what your target is and also what is beyond it.
- Never, ever leave your gun unattended.
The consequences of not adhering to gun safety could be devastating, if not fatal.
2. Leaving Your Brass After a Shooting Session.
When you have finished your shooting session, whether you leave your brass or pick it up depends on, (a) what the range requires, and (b) what the range allows.
Some ranges will require you to sweep your brass up and put it in a designated bin, while others have range safety personnel who will do the job for you.
Check with the staff prior to your session.
3. Shooting Without Protective Safety Gear.
An absolute no-no! Wearing eye and ear protection should be a priority for any shooter at a range, whether indoors or outdoors. In fact, you will not be allowed on the range without safety gear. Shooting glasses protect your eyes not only from a ricochet, but also from the shell casing that flies out of the gun, extremely hot, and often at eye level.
Correct ear protection is also vitally important. Firing a .22 pistol will produce a sound level of at least 140 dB. For reference, a normal conversation is about 60dB and a lawnmower is about 90dB. Larger weapons, like the one seen here, produce much greater dB levels. In fact, any sound level above 120dB can cause immediate hearing loss. So, unless you want to run the risk of losing your hearing and being blinded by flying, hot brass, never go shooting without protective safety gear.
4. Talking to Other Shooters.
When you arrive at the range, don’t be bashful about telling people that you are a beginner. Everyone has been in your shoes. Nobody is born a firearms expert and, if you let them know you’re new to the sport, you can get some guidance on getting the most out of your visit.
The one thing you should never do is talk to an active shooter. If someone is firing their weapon, resist the temptation to walk up to them and tap their shoulder to ask a question. Wait until they have finished. The one exception to this rule is if you see someone in danger. You may see a problem with their firearm in which case it is okay to tell them about it.
5. Disregarding Misfires or Malfunctions.
If you disregard a misfire or any malfunction with your weapon, it could lead to a dangerous situation. A misfire can happen when the trigger is pulled, but the gun fails to fire. Any time this happens, proceed with caution. The problem could be a “hangfire”, which is when there is a delay between pulling the trigger and the actual discharge of the weapon.
Do not try to eject the offending cartridge, as doing this may result in damage to the weapon and could seriously injure you if it subsequently ignites outside the chamber. Leave the gun pointing down range for at least 60 seconds. If there is no discharge, you can safely unload the gun and dispose of the ammunition safely.
6. Focusing on Speed.
When talking about speed in terms of shooting, it doesn’t mean the speed at which you pull the trigger. You should think about how fast you can do everything between the trigger pulls.
The speed you can achieve depends on your stance and grip. How fast can you recover from the recoil and get back on target? The quicker you get back into a proper shooting stance and recover from the recoil, the faster you can get the next shot on the target. Practice your stance and grip and recoil recovery—speed and accuracy will come with practice.
7. Keep The Muzzle Pointed In A Safe Direction.
There is no such thing as a firearms accident. An unattended gun will not go off by itself. People behaving irresponsibly cause gun accidents. If you are in charge of any firearm, then the muzzle must be pointed in a safe direction. It is the number one basic gun safety rule.
A safe direction is one where a bullet cannot accidentally hit anyone. Most handgun rounds can go through walls, including the exterior walls of an average home. Never point your gun at anything unless you intend to shoot it. This is important particularly when you are loading or unloading your gun.
8. Firearms Should Be Unloaded When Not Actually In Use.
If you are at a pistol range or at home, and you are not about to fire your gun, it should be unloaded. It’s basic common sense. The last thing you would want to happen is for the gun to go off and injure somebody, maybe even fatally.
When you are finished shooting, empty the weapon. To the beginner, it sounds a bit weird having an empty gun at a firing range, but safety is the number one priority. You need to check that the gun is actually unloaded. Carefully check that the chamber is empty, the magazine is separated from the gun, and leave the action locked in the open position. Remember, you will be the one in serious trouble if the gun “accidentally” discharges.
9. Be Sure Of Your Target And What’s Beyond It.
Never shoot unless you know exactly what you will hit. When you fire a weapon, you relinquish all control over the bullet. If you miss your target, then you should have an understanding of how far a bullet will travel before it eventually comes to rest.
An average 120grain, 9mm bullet fired from a regular-sized gun will travel approximately 1.36 miles at a speed of 760mph. That means that once you pull the trigger, in less than 6.5 seconds, you could hit something by mistake over a mile and a quarter away.
10. Be Sure The Barrel Is Clear Of Obstructions Before Shooting.
As soon as you take your gun out of the case, the first thing you should do is check that the barrel is clear of any obstruction.
With the gun unloaded, lock the gun in the open position and visually check down the length of the barrel to make sure it is clear. Get into the habit of cleaning your gun before and after each visit to the range.
Your Gun Shooting-Range Experience.
Your visit to any firing range, whether for the first time or as a regular shooter, should be an enjoyable shooting experience. Don’t be worried about firing a gun – have fun, but pay attention to what is going on around you, and most importantly, pay attention to the safety rules.
Cara is a blogger and a traveler. She has been traveling the world for over a decade and loves sharing her adventures and tips with others.