How to Get Started as a New Shooter
Your first few trips to the range can be incredibly daunting when you are just getting started as a new shooter. As a new shooter, there’s so many factors to consider, and your safety is highest among them. It is always important to remember the 4 Firearm Safety Rules whenever you are handling a firearm. With that in mind, today we hope to use this post as a way to dispel fears, build confidence, and help you get started as a new shooter. What should you expect when you go to the range? The unknown can be scary but it doesn’t need to be. We have range safety officers on duty who are there to keep you safe.
Going To The Range As A New Shooter
Now this section seems deceptively simple. It’s a gun range, so you bring your guns, right? Naturally that is the case, but how you bring them into a facility, and what you do inside the range matters just as much. Oftentimes new shooters are unsure of the safe and proper way to transport firearms into a facility. At Frontier Justice, we simply ask that you keep the firearm in a case or holster at all times. Meaning, you can bring your gun into the store in the box it came with, or any soft/hard case you may have purchased for it. Range rules and operating procedures do vary between companies, so be sure to review each range’s range rules prior to visiting.
Outside of your firearm, as a new shooter you will want to buy some eye and ear protection for the range. At Frontier Justice, our Range Check-In counter does offer ear protection, but we do recommend purchasing your own pair as well. This isn’t a cash grab, it’s simply the convenience of having your own gear, no matter where you are. For new shooters, consistency is key to building success, and that includes equipment! Purchasing a good, dedicated range bag, and filling it with the items you need will make your experiences as a new shooter much easier.
New Shooters—What to do while at the range
As a new shooter, the question often is, what exactly do I do at the range? Pushing a target out and dumping magazine after magazine is easy, but there are several popular drills and ways to better yourself on the range. Skills are acquired only through dedicated practice, and as a new shooter, getting started right is key. Using specific targets and set drills, you can efficiently target specific fundamental skills and hone them long term when you train on the range. An indoor range, such as ours, is ideal for isolation drills, like dot torture, failure drills, and reloads. All of these drills will help you build confidence as a new shooter. Although our range does not allow practice drawing from the holster, you can begin in the low ready position, and can still practice pressing out and presenting your firearm. This is very useful and a great way to train at the range, especially for new shooters. Focusing on one skill at a time allows you to build the fundamentals you need to be a better shooter.
Popular Drills for New Shooters at the Range
One of the more popular ways to train on the range is the Dot Torture drill, which is a target system and drill that helps shooters practice multiple pistol skills while using only one target. Shooters do different drills on each dot and continue to practice the entire target until they can shoot it effectively in its entirety. Those targets can be found online, free to print! Working through drills like this, which require repetition help build your skills significantly as a new shooter training on the range.
The Failure drill, made popular in the US by Jeff Cooper, is a simple drill, which requires the shooter to press to and place two shots to the body and one to the head on the target. This drill can be adjusted greatly while training on the range as a new shooter. Using our programmable target systems, a shooter can practice with moving targets, which provide a limited presentation and require the shooter to fire rapidly and accurately simultaneously. Start by doing the drill on a static target, and once the groups get tight and the fundamentals are down, begin using a moving target too! Additionally, you can incorporate reloads into this drill. If your concealed carry firearm uses a small single stack magazine, practicing speed reloads under pressure and time constraints can help you get that skill sharpened as well. If you’re are asking “how can I train at the range?” this is a great drill.
Think of drills such as these as the Karate Kid approach! Isolate skills through repeated simple tasks, then when you are shooting in matches, at dynamic targets, etc, you will find that your accuracy and fundamentals are now like muscle memory. As a new shooter, dedicated efforts to build competency with your firearm is tantamount in importance. Spending time training at the range and working to improve yourself can assist you in life-threatening situations and can be a lot of fun too!
Improving as a New Shooter
The world of firearms can be overwhelming as you begin your journey. Perhaps you are one of the literal millions of new shooters and gun owners from this year, and you want to ensure you know how to properly use and maintain your new equipment. By taking classes, training on the range, and educating yourself, you will succeed at this goal. Frontier Justice is proud to be a part of your journey as a new shooter, so let’s get started.