We’ve got the inside tips that will help curb your anxiety and ensure your first trip to the shooting range is both fun and safe.
If you’ve never been to a shooting range before, it is perfectly normal not to know what to expect. There are certain rules and expectations you must meet. It’s easy to get worked up when you don’t know what exactly those things are.
Many beginner firearm owners are intimidated by the gun range, but there is no real reason to feel that way. We want your first experience at the gun range to be successful and exciting. The more you know, the less stressed, overwhelmed, and hesitant you will be. So, we’re here to fill you in on what you should expect during your first visit to the gun range. Our goal is to instill confidence and focus on having a great and safe experience.
Continue scrolling to check out our beginner’s guide for heading to the range.
Preparing for the Shooting Range
Gather Necessary Supplies — You will need safety equipment, ammo, firearm cleaning supplies, and targets for a successful day at the shooting range. Your local range may have some of these for you to use or buy on-site, so check with them before going.
Verify Any Weapon and Ammo Restrictions — Some places have barrier restrictions and local ordinances that may prohibit certain types of guns and ammo. Make sure to check on your local range’s rules concerning restrictions on the types of weapons and ammunition you’re allowed to bring.
Figure Out What to Wear — It is ideal to practice using your gun in the attire you’ll wear when you use your gun. First, check if your range has a dress code. If it doesn’t, then here’s what we suggest:
Personal Protective Equipment — P.P.E. is a great place to start in terms of proper attire for range visits, including hearing and eye protection.
Comfortable Pants — If you plan to shoot in the prone position, wear pants. Many shooters prefer to wear cargo or tactical pants with plenty of pockets for additional magazines, wallets, and your phone.
Comfortable Shoes — Wear closed-toed shoes that allow you to get into a sturdy stance.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Weapons — Take time to know your guns. Learn how to put them together and how to take them apart.
Once You’re Arrive at the Shooting Range
Ask Questions — As you’ve always heard, there are no dumb questions, especially ones regarding the gun range. Try to put any pride aside, forget about embarrassment, and ask questions.
Check-In With the Range Safety Officer — It is perfectly normal for a range safety officer (R.S.O.) to inspect your weapons and ammunition. They may even observe how you shoot and your proficiency during your first two or three shots. They must be comfortable with you being on the range, too.
Don’t Let Your Inexperience Stop You — As we said, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious or nervous if you’ve never shot a gun before. But don’t let these feelings intimidate you. The range officer will help you and train you in proper firearm handling. They will be there to assist you every step of the way and help you get comfortable at the range.
Understand and Follow the Rules — Many ranges have a video or set of rules that all first-timers must read or watch. Other ranges simply post them near the entrance. Avoid getting kicked off the range by knowing and respecting the rules. Here are a few rules that apply to just about all gun ranges:
- Safety must always be your number one priority.
- Always follow the RSO’s commands.
- Carry your weapon in a case.
- Don’t bring your firearms in loaded.
- Keep your gun pointed in a safe direction, even if it’s not loaded.
- Always use common sense.
- Never operate a weapon if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Keep your finger away from the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
- Don’t walk past the firing line.
- Thoroughly understand the range commands.
- Be aware of your targets and lane limits.
Leave It Better Than You Found It — Being a courteous patron is best. Pick up or sweep your brass periodically during your session to keep things tidy, and do it again once you finish shooting.
After You Leave the Shooting Range
Take a Breath — Congratulations! You did it! You had a great first session at the range. Each time you visit the gun range, you’ll become more and more comfortable. The more you go, the better you feel.
Unload and Transport Properly — Make sure you unload and separate your guns and ammo during your drive home as required by your state’s law.
Clean Your Weapons — To prevent issues the next time you use your weapons, make sure to give a good and thorough cleaning.
Safe and Proper Storing — It is essential to store your weapons and ammunition in a safe and secure place that is not accessible to children, such as a locked safe. Moreover, make sure you store your guns and gear properly to ensure your belongings stay in great shape for as long as possible.
Head to the Shooting Range at SUB M.O.A. Firearms
Now that you know what you expect during your first visit to a shooting range, head to the range at SUB M.O.A. Firearms today!
For an exciting shooting experience, check out SUB M.O.A. Firearms, Mountain West’s most prestigious long-range shooting institute. We proudly offer individualized courses for all shooters regardless of their skill level.
Our shooting institute in Henefer, Utah, includes lodging at a five-star quality guest ranch sitting on over 100 square miles of beautifully pristine mountain property. Enjoy more than 8,000 square feet of comfortably furnished living space and delicious chef-prepared meals. Contact SUB M.O.A. Firearms today to learn more.