The world of firearms can seem to be very complex to someone who has no idea about guns. There are many things about guns that might throw potential new shooters off from starting. These things might include the types of guns, the terminology, the current gun laws, etc. You might have your own specific questions regarding firearms that you would like answered before you get started shooting yourself.
Getting started shooting is easier than you think. Since we just started ourselves, we know the best process to get you going. So, we came up with 5 easy steps to get started shooting so the guessing games are left to a minimum.
Research Gun Types to Try
There are many different types of guns for different purposes. Most likely, you will be interested in just a few types as a beginner. Doing some research on the types of guns you might need for your own personal situation is up to you.
If you need some help on where to start, start with handguns. Handguns are the most popular type of firearm because of their small caliber and ease of conceal ability. You should be able to learn about handguns fairly easy without being too intimidated about the size of the gun. If you are thinking about getting your first firearm for the home, usually people start here with handguns.
There are other types of guns that you might be aware of. Rifles and shotguns are two other commonly used guns, especially when it comes to home defense. These long guns are also great for hunting and sport shooting. I would suggest getting familiar with some handguns first before you jump into rifles or shotguns. Getting the understanding on how guns work should help the additional complexities these type of guns present and going this route should prepare you for them.
Commonly used as a home defense weapon. Finding the one that suits your needs is key. Caliber, magazine size, functionality, and frame size all come into play when choosing a handgun that is right for you. Get to your nearest shooting range and rent a number of different types of handguns to get a feel for what is good for you. A common type of handgun is a semi-auto pistol. Learn how to shoot one here.
Not just used for home defense but commonly used for hunting, rifles tend to be the next step up to handguns due to their purposefulness. Because rifles have a longer barrel and generally take larger caliber rounds, the accuracy and stopping power of rifles are much better than handguns. Take these things into consideration when making trying them out. A common rifle type is the AR-15 platform. Check out how to shoot one here.
Find a Suitable Shooting Range
Now that you have researched the firearms you want to try, it is now time to find a shooting range in your area. Shooting ranges are not as common as your neighborhood pharmacy so unless you know someone that knows where a shooting range is in your area, you will need to find a shooting range around you. I recommend using an internet map service like Google Maps to search the local area for a shooting range.
When searching for a shooting range, make sure it is a range that supports shooting the gun types you are trying to shoot. Not all shooting ranges support all types of firearms due to space and/or environmental reasons. Also, take into consideration whether the range is an indoor or outdoor range. If the range you are interested in is an outdoor range, it is appropriate to equip yourself with the right clothing in case of weather concerns.
Most gun ranges I have been to are also a gun store. It is usually possible to buy a gun once you see one you like. On top of being a store, gun ranges usually have the option to rent gun from a selection that they have available. If you are a beginner, I highly recommend you go this route. This might be the only way you can get a hold of firing the guns you want to fire.
With renting comes a cost, though. Renting different types of guns come at a different cost respectively. Shooting ranges might specify the type of ammunition that can be used on their range so they should offer it at a price along with rental guns. These are things to remember when going to the range to practice.
Services like Google Maps make it easy to search for a great shooting range in your area. Just make sure it is possible to shoot the guns you want to shoot there. Check their website or give them a call to see what guns they have available.
Range and store
Shooting ranges are usually both range and store. Take a look at the wide range of guns available for purchase to get a sense of what guns to practice with and which guns you might want to take home with you.
Buy the Necessary Range Equipment
What most people do not know when you get started shooting is that there are some protective items that are required to step foot in a shooting range. Shooting glasses and ear protection are two types of equipment that are needed.
Guns are extremely loud. Ear protection is needed to muffle the gun shot sounds so they do not damage your hearing over time. We recommend Electronic Ear Protection. If you plan to shoot for the long haul, these will be the best bang for the buck.
Mishaps can happen while shooting which is why Eye Protection is required as well. We are not talking about protection from actual gun fire but guns eject hot empty shells and other very small particles and dirt from time to time. This is just the nature of shooting. So it is required to wear a pair of protective glasses while shooting on the range.
Some other equipment we suggest but is not required include shooting gloves, and an equipment bag for keeping your shooting equipment. Generally, these shooting bags hold not just shooting equipment but also a spot for your firearm. This can keep all your shooting equipment together so it can be concealed easily.
Want to buy some of the items we are referring to here? We have listed some of our favorites below:
Caldwell E-Max Low Profile Ear Protection
There are the middle of the road when looking for suitable ear protections. They have standard Electronic ear protections technology which is great for beginners. This tech allows you to talk normally and get protected from gun shot noise at the same time. If you are going to be shooting a lot, get a pair and be comfortably quiet while shooting.
Allen Company Shooting & Safety Glasses
This is your basic set of shooting glasses. They are somewhat sleek plus they do fit over your glasses pretty well. They also do not cost a lot – at all. Get yourself a pair or two to have as backup in case your primary pair breaks and you need to use these as backup.
Mechanix Wear Original Covert Tactical Gloves
There is a reason why these gloves are used by Law enforcement, Military operators, and gun enthusiasts alike. These gloves are durable, dependable, and have multiple uses. Plus, they come in many different forms and colors for specific reasons. They are the definition of “All Purpose Gloves”.
Osage River Tactical Shooting Bag
Here is a bag that takes care of all your “beginner” shooting needs. It can carry all of your gear in it’s 9 different compartments including your handgun, magazines, hearing protection, eye protection, and anything else you might need to shoot. Great everyday bag to have to whenever you go to the range.
Take a Shooting Class
Now that you have all your shooting ducks in a row, it’s time to go shoot. You might ask yourself: “How?” Well, you could do couple of different things.
If you are confident to try shooting yourself, rent your gun and trying it out on the range. Ask the employee working there the basics on how to shoot whatever firearm you are renting at the time and get practicing. We have a bunch of gun tutorials on the Beginner Basics section of the site. Check it out and see if there is an article that suits your gun needs.
If you are that type of person to get an authentic lesson in shooting, feel free to sign up for a class. Most shooting ranges usually have a qualified instructor that has classes every once in awhile. See if you can schedule a time to get into one of these shooting classes.
Hands on Instruction with Correction
With these classes, you don’t just get instructions on how to shoot but you get hands on critiquing and correction on what you did right and wrong when firing your weapon. This kind of training is essential for getting better on how to shoot different firearms. I recommend taking a different class on different types of firearms if you can. Start with handguns because they are the most common.
It only takes slight changes in your form to make a significant difference in whether you hit the target or not. An instructor will be able to pinpoint the problems and show you the correct way to lineup your shot accurately. Doing this at the beginning of your training will nix the bad habits that you might have formed without adequate training.
Practice makes proficient is the motto we like to promote here at Beginner Gunner. There is no such thing as perfect but you can be as close as possible. We know that to be efficient, you have to keep practicing until you get to the point of where you are comfortable using your gun not just at the range but in an actual situation where you need to use it.
Learn to challenge yourself with your firearm and make things harder over time. You can do this by getting different types of range targets that challenge your accuracy. See how well you shoot at various distances and stances. You can only call yourself proficient when multiple aspects of shooting are covered. Keep finding different ways to be proficient by keep practicing.
Make an effort to keep the frequency of getting to the range. The only way to practice effectively is getting to the range. Whether that be in a very open backyard or at a licensed public range. By making shooting a hobby, it will not feel like a hassle. Your shooting skills will increase and it will become an enjoyable activity for you down the line.
Using what you learned
The best thing to do after you have been to your shooting class is to immediately put to use what you have learned. Get into the range and start shooting. Practice makes proficient and being proficient well help you when you actually need to use your gun in a real world scenario.
Getting started shooting is actually pretty easy. Guns might seem intimidating but once you familiar yourself with the basics, things become much easier. Go through the easy steps listed here and if you have any additional questions or concerns, feel free to ask people at the range. Talking to those who are around and use guns on a regular basis helps to fill the gaps you might have.
If you are looking for the items to help you get started shooting, we have a list here.
The most important thing about getting started is to keep practicing. Use what you have learned and get out to the range and practice. Remember – Practice Makes Proficient.