Safety and Training

It’s Okay to be Nervous

I have a confession to make. I am not a huge fan of the gun range. Now don’t get me wrong—I love to shoot, just not at the range. I prefer to practice on my friend’s property. Why don’t I like the range, you ask. Quite frankly, it makes me nervous. It’s perfectly okay to be nervous when you go to the range, because it means you respect the power of the firearm in your hands.

It’s Loud

Even doubled up with earplugs and earmuffs, the gun range can be loud. When I’m sandwiched in between two people shooting .45 ACP, it takes me a few minutes to stop flinching every time someone shoots. This affects my concentration and further, flinching at the wrong time means I take horrible shots. Numerous studies show, on average, women have more sensitive hearing than men. Even though you may think it shows you are scared, it’s okay to instinctively flinch at the noise. However, it can affect your ability to shoot well.


Wear good hearing protection. You want hearing protection with at least a 28 NRR rating. Passive earmuffs that cover your ears entirely, have a comfortable non-slip plastic headband and won’t get in the way of your rifle stock are best. Pair them with a set of disposable earplugs for extra protection.

To get used to the noise, I take a few minutes to organize my shooting bay. I load magazines, set up my targets and make sure I have everything I need while I’m shooting. After I’ve done this, I find I am used to the noise and have stopped jumping.

There are Unfamiliar People

Just because you are safe, doesn’t mean everyone else is. Though I trust my local shooting range, things can happen very fast. Some people’s mistakes can be beginners’ ignorance or accidents waiting to happen. I am always on alert of other’s behavior. The last time I went to the range, as I was packing up after finishing shooting, I turned to leave and a man had entered my bay. He was standing way to close for comfort. He told me I needed to take a few steps back so that my brass would stop hitting his son. I apologized kindly and left. Was he about to touch me to get my attention while I was shooting? (A big no-no by the way.) I will never know. However, there is range etiquette and apparently, I had broken it.


Find a range you trust. A good range should be clean and comfortable with attentive range officers constantly watching for everyone’s safety.

Also, take a buddy. Ninety-nine percent of the time I go to the range with a shooting buddy. My local range allows two people to share one shooting bay. This way my friend and I can look out for each other. (And make sure someone isn’t invading our personal space.)

I am Self-Conscious

Being a female shooter can be difficult. People will make assumptions about your abilities. Usually, people are helpful, but sometimes people border on making me feel stupid. No one likes feeling stupid. When you feel like you are doing everything wrong—regardless if you are doing it wrong or not—it affects your shooting ability. If you think everyone is staring at you—they aren’t—you will most likely stumble and shoot poorly. Think about it. Are you critiquing everyone else? Of course you aren’t. Like you, they are too focused on what they are doing to pay attention to you or me.


Get over yourself! Just do your best. No one is perfect and trying to reach an unobtainable goal is frustrating. If you are anything like me, getting frustrated ruins your performance.

Take classes, clinics and training. If you are short on cash, while checking in at your shooting range ask if there is an RO available to give you a few pointers. The range officers at my shooting range are always willing and available to help.

Practice, practice, practice! The more you go to the range, the more comfortable you will feel. Further, practicing at home makes you more comfortable and confident with your grip, stance, sight alignment, and with the function of your gun.

Ladies, are you nervous when you go to the range? Tell me why and how you overcome it in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (55)

  1. Everyone is nervous shooting a firearm for the first time. I remember the first time I pulled the trigger on my dads rifle when I was 8 years old. I was terrified at first but after that first pull of the trigger, I knew that everything was fine. The best thing to do is learn the proper safety precautions when handling a gun, hold one at all times and so on. Learning from an expert and getting comfortable being around firearms and using one can take some time but it is necessary if you are going to be a gun owner.

  2. I know this is a bit of comment necromancy going on, but I have to admit I don’t much care for indoor ranges at all. Not at all due to being disgruntled that people would “dare” ask to fire one of my personal weapons, having completed gunsmithing training I happen to be of the opinion that reviews are all well and good, but you’ll never know if you can handle that block of steel until you’ve -fired it yourself-. Mostly due to the ever increasing wave of disrespectful newbies, I avoided the Diamondback in Lewiston ID for quite some time after sharing the range with a left-handed gentleman who kept rotating his pistol onto the firing line so he could access the slide release instead of keeping his muzzle downrange and simply racking the slide.

    Same stuff happens outdoors as well though, I’ve had to dress down quite a few morons who ignored safety regs; a great example of that one was the nimrod who had decided that downrange by the heavily wooded backstop was a perfect place to park his ATV and have a six pack of beer in clear defiance of the No Motor Vehicles posted sign. I called “Range Hot” three times, racked a round into my SKS, and evidently missed the poor idiot by a scant few feet. When he began to make threats, I pointed to the posted sign, stated that he could be arrested for his behavior, and then pointed out that a shooting range would not be the best place to brandish a knife.

    The moral of the story is go where you’re comfortable going. I’m not sure what good people like lofmanny are doing to the sport, poor attitudes on the range are at best disheartening and at worst incredibly dangerous.

  3. I have to admit that I sometimes reluctantly go to my local range. It’s about 5 minutes from my house so its extremely convenient. My issue is I still flinch when someone, other than me, fires their gun. I can get used to it after the initial jump but when there’s only 1 or 2 other people in the range with you there can be long pauses between reloads so its easy to jump again once the other person starts firing again. It also doesn’t help that I’m already very self-conscious. Glad I’m not alone lol.

  4. UPDATE OF THE RFT SYSTEM TEST: for those that might be curious the RFT system that we built in the shop a few days ago worked like a champ! The first test was done on our open range in a mock up hall way that restricted movement out of he line of return fire. the shooter was limited to 4 rounds in their weapon in the first runs so we could see what one would do in response to the RFT.
    The return paintball fire starts just as or just before the target comes into place so you are getting fired at before just as of just before you can fire back. We’re talking a half second or less here.. This requires that the shooter be moving during the shot sequence. ie; snap shooting, instinct shooting, eye/hand coordination and faster response times are needed to “survive” a RFT encounter. It was noticed that response time got better as the evening progressed. We even ran a round where the shooter had two weapons one loaded and one not but not knowing which was which! This caused a possible weapon change in mid confrontation that required the shooter to evade and change weapons at the same time. Very real and got the blood pumping! Was a lot of fun to run against it, I was successful twice and “killed” once in these first round trials. There were more than a few sweat stains and elevated heart rates after going thru. Next is going to be to build a couple more and move them over to the shoot house for a more realistic feel. One of the GGBG Committee of 6 wants to do a RFT sniper. The paint ball long guns are hard to com by an their range is limited but might be worth a try. Maybe RFT SnipeMod 2.0? From a urban tactical POV it might be worth the effort. Would be fun to run against such a target.
    The GGBG Crew is already in excited planing mode for RFT 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 mods. It seems that we have only been able to “barrow” three more PBG’s! Kids don’t seem to want to give them up for some reason. There is talk of a FB page or a simple web site but ill leave that to the techies of the group. Wish we could post pictures with our responses here! Thanks for being part of what started this GE and thanks for reading.
    Now, back to Suzanne and the original post!

  5. Hey Gary, good call! The noise issue like the caliber size can be a deal breaker. Great advice for the teaching process. What kind of ear protection do you prefer? I like the electronic ear plugs and good over ear protectors in combination when shooting the big bore platforms but will use just the elect plugs in competition. A good pair of wrap around, polycarbonate safety glasses are a must too. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Suzanne,

    That was great article. I am a Technology Educator and an NRA instructor. When giving anyone a lesson, I spend as much time as necessary on desensitizing the student(s) to noise. I start in the classroom with safety equipment and introduce the process of desensitization. I slowly introduce the student(s) to the range, one door, one room at a time, spending the most time outside of the glass wall that separates the range from the rest of the place. Safety rules, safety equipment and desentization are all important foundations to a safe and happy shooting career.

  7. Man, I never seen those little steel pedal cars, all smashed up like that either. I remember thinkin’, man, somebody’s grandkids are gonna be so upset.

  8. Damnit Pete! I’ve seen you. You’re on “Rocket City Rednecks” aren’t you? I remember the one a couple of weeks ago, where y’all strapped small, home-made rocket motors on kid’s pedal cars, and tried to race ’em down the curvey Farm to Market road in front of your Dad’s place, and his neighbor raised Hell.
    HEY! HEY! If you want to put peoples images on the pop-up sillouettes, I’m sixty, with long silver blonde hair and beard, and look alot like Si, on “Duck Dynasty.” I play in a band, and had on a Si T shirt at a gig a couple of weeks ago. People would look me in the face, then look at my shirt, then at my face, then at…….. It was funny! Listen man, I’m honored, and some day, maybe the wonderful wife and I can make that trip! Sounds like Heaven. Drop me an e-mail, at; I expect some day to see you having the State Troopers out there, utilizing your resource for tactical qualifications. Down here, a fun filled weekend usually involves giving Murray my Pot Bellied Pig beer and boiled eggs, and taking him to the local dog park. Sounds like y’all know how to “Getter Done!” Yeah, send me an e-mail, and we’ll avoid all this math.
    5 – 3 = two

  9. What I did on Thursday night in the shop with friend because of what was posted here. . . . .,. . . . . . . .

    I showed the post thread (the range “stress” posts)from yesterday to one of my shooting partners which evolved into a late evening “guys in the shop doing stuff” get together of four of us. The question that was on the shop bench for the evening was “How can you make a Tactical CQC Range as realistic and stressful as possible and still achieve high safety standards and have a lot of fun too”‘?
    Providing you already have a CQC range for your use then what were talking about is a target system that shoots back. So, by about 7:30pm we had a plan drawn up on the fridge door and had sent one of the guys home to “borrow” one of his sons paintball guns. We’ll tell him about that later.
    So we’er calling this the RFT System, pronounced “raft’ for “Return Fire Target” and at 1:15am it was completed and works. We’re going to put it out on the range today for a test run this evening.
    Here’s how we set the prototype RFT system up. A reposition-able flip up target machine (in shop made too) is placed in front of a single steel plate target. The pressure activation switch is positioned so that the shooter will activate it without knowing. The paintball gun is attached to the steel target stand and adjusted so that the arch of the shot passes thru center mass at between 3 an 5 foot above the activation switch. (Ooooo, you need an auto paint gun that fires multiple shot if the trigger is held down.) the steel target is attached to a mechanical disconnect of the trigger activation linkage of the paintball gun.
    So, the scenario is . . Shooter is stealthing thru the range in his best tactical CQC stance using all of his tactical training because he knows that he’s out of it if he is hit with a Tango paint ball! ….. He steps on the switch and a target 18 feet ahead of him an only half exposed by a wall pops into view but in front of the steel DE-activation target plate. As the target begins to appears it activates the paintball gun thur a simple mech linkage and begins to fire. Now the Shooter must shoot at the target go thru it and hit the steel plate to disconnect the trigger of the paintball gun and stop it firing.
    Once the RFT is activated the shooter must hit the steel to stop the return fire. Depending on the placement of the flip up target in relation to the steel, the kill zone may be center mass or heart or head to stop the return fire. The shooter may move once the system I activated. The shooter will know before hand where the kill zones are to be located for each target. The paintball gun is located below the flip up target and out of the direct line of fire for obvious reasons.
    We have only built this one but I got to tell ya the ways to use it are only limited by the size of one’s CQC range and one’s imagination! You could even link targets together so that multiples or domino activation can be achieved!
    This was a fairly simple system to put together even if it sound somewhat complicated.
    Anyway 12:30 am and we set it up in the shop around the corner. Even when you know its there it takes you by surprise BUT when that paint ball gun fires at you your heart rate most defiantly goes up, then your trying to move, evade, and return accurate fire all at the same time! Can’t wait to get it down to the range and set up! One of our buddies is a wheelchair vet. We called him lat night but he couldn’t join us but is very excited about wheeling the course in his powered chair this evening.
    The point of all this is the evolution of this singel post and its various branches has precipitated a GGBG Event (GGBG= Guys, Gals, Beer, Garage) or a “gabage” event (pronounce with a Boston accent)that has cone up with an innovative, real time, stress multiplayer, test and training device for real world possibilities.
    The prototype is a little rough and much Duct tape and Zip Ties were used in its construction and development, go figure. Also my beer supply in the shop was severely depleted along with a very good bottle of Merlot. The plans must now be transferred from the grease pencil sketches on the shop fridge door to paper and then after tonight’s live fire test, improvements and modifications made and incorporated. There is already talk of electronic activation methods, multi- PBgun return fire, moving PBgun fire, double tape hit to disengage PBG return fire . . . . . . The lads seem to be excited about getting some more stress in their lives as my email box was very full this morning! Ill figure a way to put this all on FB or something so anyone who’s interested can follow up and follow along.
    Thanks Suzanne and all who unknowingly helped to precipitate another American GGBG Event by writing and being a part of this post! You were all in the shop with us last night and will be at he range with us this evening. Here’s to stress in all the right places! Cheers, Pete sends …

  10. Hey Bill, Sitting here gagging on my morning coffee! Hard to laugh and drink at the same time, now i have to wash off the iPad. YOU have got to come up to Alaska for a visit! I guarantee easy access, good food an drink, good friends, and excellent shooting and fishing! Bring the wife, or a friend. Plenty of room! You are a good man. Pete sends . . .

  11. Oh, Doug, and Pete, see I concur with both you guys. Now, isn’t this great? Nobody wearing a box of ammo on his shoulder, and we’re all learning together. You gettin’ this all down, Suzanne?

    Intelectual stimulation………at its best!

  12. Women shooters are the best hope the shooting sports have. I got to shoot as a kid frowing up rural but then life/job happened and a few decades slipped by. A little over 10 years ago I found a family owned range here in central Illinois – now it is what I would guess is one of the only woman owned and operated shooting ranges in the midwest – and met some very nice folk when I started shooting in the weekly Bullseye league. There have been several woman in the league over the years and typically the women out shoot the men. The Range Officers have always stressed that we are all there to enjoy ourselves primarily right after safty first. Folk that worry about how there score compares to someone else’s score usually are not enjoying themselves and only participate a month or two. It is a great sight to see of line of shoots when half of them are women. Several times I have seen families come out and witnessed mothers and daughters. Ocassionally the whole what is politically correct, home defense, concealed carry conversations come up but mostly not in our group. We shoot .22 because we like to shoot and can all afford it. Bullseye is about accuracy and skill. It is a great diciplined shooting game and can help all shooters improve. I strongly recommend it for everyone. If you are ever in central Illinois find us and come join our group – the other ladies and shooters will make you feel like family.

  13. God forgive me but I just can’t seem to stay out of this!

    To be clear, the small print first………… This is my opinion and view point. There are many out there that are sorta like it but this one is mine, only I am responsible for what I say but I am not responsible for others perceptions or use of it. As there are many opinions and views I must respect them even if I may not agree with them in part or in total. That’s OK because hats what talking and discussing issues is all about.

    Soooo, if I understand John’s post correctly, going to the range for target practice, sighting, scope zero, just for fun, skill advancement, skill honing, and/or learning to be more competent with a firearm is made better for the shooter by having an elevated level is stress due to noise, hot brass, or those issues that become distracting or causes lack of attention for the business at hand. Do I understand that correctly? I’m going to presume that I’m correct and I’m going to take a a different point of view. There’s no right or wrong here but an “OK, Better, Best” definition may be in order to some degree.

    From my point of view these things, not the least of which would be hot brass flying around, create a very unsafe set range condition. I don’t know what kind of range that you choose to attend or how its run but if indeed safety is a “no compromise” required condition for ANY range, and I agree with that 100%, then distractions outside of the inherent “sound” issue should be controlled and at best eliminated to provide the safest environment possible for the shooter. My point being that on a straight up, shooting lane design, type range should create an environment that is as close to or achieves a 100% safe shooting environment for all shooters. If you go to the range to be stressed out some more than I sure don’t want to be on the range with you!

    If stress control is something one needs to learn, I would suggest you try a timed, CQC live fire course, with good guy/ bad guy flip out and stationary targets providing near real condition suit actions and environments. The Lane Style Range is not the place to be subjected to additional stress. It a pace to learn to SAFELY and competently use a weapon and polish ones skills to hat end. Learning to handle a stressful situations is not taught by being showered by hot brass.

    I’m lucky to have a private range that I may use whenever I like. I know that 99.9% of shooters do not. But I also frequent a public funded indoor/outdoor range that is set up to provide a safe, enjoyable, low or no stress shooting environment. The lanes are designed to stop ejected hot brass fro hitting other shooters, pistol and rifle ranges are segregated as are the full auto and large bore ranges. All ranges, when active, have active on range ROs and a safety briefing and range rule review is required each time you come to shoot. This should be the gold standard of ANY range.

    Getting hit with hot brass is not going to teach you to shoot better under stress. Only real situational training done over and over again and often may teach a civilian shooter to handle, control, and redirect stress and survive a stressful engagement.

    So from my point of view your “normal” public range should provide a learning environment that’s safe and NOT stressful allowing any skill level of shooter to grow in their skill set and enjoy the experience of getting to the range for an hour or so

    I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that I am likely to be in a very small percentage of private shooters that are on a range of one type or another an average of 8 hours minimum per week. I’m thinking that this is the point to some degree of Suzanne’s original post. It’s just one guy’s opinion and observations and isn’t meant to be a “finger point” or “dissing” another’s view.

  14. There is a lot of truth to handling range stress not being anything like the actual stressful situation many are trying to prepare for. Consequently if someone is really trying to dodge public ranges because they cannot handle it, they will probably have a worse reaction to being on the “two way” range. Those who put up and become used to public ranges might actually handle the two way range stress better. Gradual desensitization or what ever it is called.
    No shame in admitting your stressed but those who really cannot handle it are probably not in a good spot if push comes to shove.

  15. Your’re absolutly right about that John, couldn’t have said it better. The only other option would be to have a private property to utilize, and that’s not an option for everyone. The trade off is, that as you say, people have at least a mild form of stress to deal with at times, by going to an open range, which they won’t otherwise. If that stress does anything positive, it may more prepare them for thinking under pressure, than being completely at ease otherwise. Trauma kits are as important as spare ammo, and what happens after you shoot, are things most people don’t consider, or at least aknowledge.

  16. Two points about going to a public range. The first is that there will be lots of other people, noise, flying brass, etc. I accept these distractions as stressors. If you must use your gun for self-defense or hunting (buck fever) you will be facing far more stress. Learn to fight through it and shoot well. This is not the case for new shooters, who should be focusing only on the basics.
    The second point is safety. There can be NO compromise on this. Unsafe actions cannot be allowed and must be corrected. Violations of the 4 rules make all shooters look bad and will eventually lead to an accident.
    If you simply can’t handle others, there is always the option of going during slack times at the range to avoid the crowds. Saturday afternoons all ranges will be packed. Go midweek or early mornings and enjoy!

  17. Good article. I’m a big burly guy, been shooting for years & I hate the range. I’m not a people person in the slightest and all the interpersonal stuff of people wanting to chat and show off gun knowledge to each other (posers) is extremely annoying to me. I just want to shoot, be left alone, don’t want to bother anybody, don’t want anybody bothering me. I want to take the time to collect up all my brass, go recover my bullets if I can and enjoy the outdoors. Geez, I sound like Oscar the Grouch… I’m not, but I am not into people.

  18. Suzanne,

    If I may, as an additional suggestion for women that want to learn or practice shooting without the macho issues, can I suggest an Appleseed event, or specifically a Ladyseed event? Appleseed events are open to all comers, but Ladyseed events are just that… ladies only! Both are a great way, for anyone.. Men, Women, Families.. to get reacquainted with the history surrounding April 19, 1775 and learn about marksmanship, but the Ladyseed takes the men out of the equation, even the staff, all volunteers, are all ladies at those particular events!

    Just Google it and you’ll have all the info you need to attend! If your ever in NC, you’re cordially invited to our RWVA Home Range for a weekend of History, Heritage and Marksmanship!

    See you there!

  19. my bad read half way through your post and thought it was a military guy commenting on my stupidity well I guess ive shown my aptness. I feel terrible about your son. thought and prayers are with him. ill unsubscribe and hope you will forgive my rash comment. I need to read on before I come to a conclusion of the overall comment.

  20. I thank my friends who served (they never mention it) and those out there idk. sorry if I seamed disrespectful towards you or the reason you served I just don’t take kindly to someone commenting on how I should feel when I do something, when they don’t know me or what ive done. not everyone has to serve to know what its like to be shot at, or have a gun pointed at you. its obvious im not a kind person and im fine with that. thanks for your service

  21. your opinion means nothing to me. I don’t care what you’ve done. that’s great you’ve served your country and you want to tell everybody every day. go get a free drink at the bar name dropper. this article is about how we feel at the range. that’s why I said I don’t like the range. so say what you like about yourself but keep my name out your mouth.

  22. I went to an indoor range about 2 months ago, and noticed within minutes I got the heebee jeebies. I couldn’t put my finger on it, and figured it was likely because of the idiots in the stall next to me, or the fact that it was super crowded that day. The three guys next to me were just overall being ding dongs, and only one of them seemed to have experience. They were being a little rowdy and boisterous at times, and I caught glimpses of them handling their firearms in a questionable manner. I ended up packing up, having a chat with the manager about the three guys and leaving pretty quickly. The manager didn’t seem to be overly concerned, and had this look on her face like I was being a whiner. I found out later that evening there was an accident at this very same range months prior during which a man was shot through the stomach, but not fatally. I don’t know all of the details, but this story coupled with my experience that day has made me scratch that range off of my list forever.

  23. Yeah, sorry Pete, I agree with you, and look forward to more thought provoking aritcles. God , Bless the Pigmys, and thanks to all who participate. One + 9 = 10

  24. Well, it looks as if this train has switched to a new line. Sorry Suzanne, some people seem to just not have learned to comprehend what they read! Should you ever com to Alaska would be pleased to host you to a day at our range. In the mean time you continue to shoot and more importantly continue to write! The women’s POV for this sport needs to be heard and be as center stage as any other. I look forward to your next post or article. Regards, Pete sends . . .

  25. Sorry little dude, I thought you said lofmanny. You’ve never served in the military, have you? The title of this thread is;”It’s OK To Be Nervous,” and it is presented from a woman’s POV. Not;”It’s OK To Be Disgruntled,” or;” It’s OK To Be Stupid.” Calm down dude, those people aren’t firing live rounds in your direction, or purposely threatening you. I’ve had both happen to me, on numerous occasions, and I wasn’t in the military either. This thread was presented by a lady, sharing her feelings and concerns, in hope that others would do the same, and benefit in some way from it. She speaks of weird people being nearby, were you there that day? Most households are made up of a man and a woman. If more women enjoyed shooting, how much better would it be for all? I lost a son to accidental gunshot years ago, so you needn’t try to impress me with stupidity&guns.

  26. So I went and took a gun course today… Guess what the instructor passed around his pistols for the class to see, there were three novices behind me and every time they checked to see if a gun was clear they pointed it at the three guys in front of them. Me and two other guys. They were told repeatedly about rule number one, always point the gun in a safe direction, then they were warned by the instructor to not point the gun at my head. All three were total newbs but they wanted there cfw’s anyway. I didn’t flip out I stayed calm. Then one guy kept picking up his gun and aiming. What for you ask? These are newbs they are ignorant to how to act with a gun. So the course ended and we went to go shoot, guess what one of these guys does… He goes to pay and shoot and he points the gun at the clerk, he wasn’t in the course it was a different building so the clerk says you pointed the gun at me do it again and you friggin gone(but in French). So people from the class flip out they’re like all class you pointed the gun at these guys now the clerk come on honcho. The guys looks at us and says I never pointed the gun towards your head, and there’s no ammo aloud in the class. I said what’s rule number 1. He said I know but I didn’t I said hey let it go… So we go shoot and a different instructor takes over, he gives us direction we turn around and he says ready… One of the guys shoot. He says do it again and your frenching out of here. Last warning. He says I thought I could shoot, he says I’m warning you stop it now. So all of us shoot of course I qualify with my glock19 cause I can shoot the shit off a fly but they haven’t told me yet I just knew I shot we’ll, the other guys left because they only wanted to qualify with a pistol. I rented a ruger sp 101( whAt an amazing gun) I was even more accurate with it double action and I never shot it before. So I finish and the instructor says I can’t grade this yet but you shot well and you listened really well thank you, I walk outside and the original instructor takes one look at my shots smirks and says that’s a pass. I thanked her for teaching an excellent class took my certification and went home. All true, hand to god. Why am I wasting your time? Because I’m trying to show why I hate going to the range, novice shooters and to many rules. I couldn’t even aim the revolver fully upwards or downwards to load or unload because of lights and water pipes! What kind of real world training is that. Well that’s all sorry you have to deal with me but that’s why I hate ranges keep those sights aligned and you’ll be fine laters y’all

  27. Hey, that’s how we learn, Pete, and I’m very honored, it sounds like you’re in a little corner of Heaven up there, no doubt. However, my ninty year old mom moved in with us last year, and is quickly becoming invalid. I have two diesel pickups, 5wo AirStreams, a 31′ HitchHiker Fifth Wheel, and four fishing boats sitting idle here, and it may be awhile before we’re able to travel again, but thank you sir very much. I’ve never been up there, watching “Alaska State Troopers” on the National Geographic Channel is as close as I’ve been, and it is truly beautiful, just on the tv. I’ve been disabled now fifteen years, but my wife still has about ten to work, she says. Perhaps some day………..
    You know Doug, I was just sort of thinking out loud, when I said that earlier. My friend has his catching barrel, and his camera tripod with home made net set up in his one car detatched garage, like I said, with just enough room for his cronograph between. The garage is a little crowded too, for he has a ’69 Mach One Mustang sitting in there, with loading manuals piled, and open on the hood, and his loading gear set up on the bench by the left front fender.
    But, you know what? That’s an excellent idea you mentioned. I don’t frequent ranges, but I wonder if any of them do employ that concept. How great would that be?
    See there girls, if you can convince your range do try this concept, under the pretense of safety, why wouldn’t they go for it? Then, you put together a car load of like minded ladies, carpool, do lunch to compare techniques, and suddenly your dreadful range trip becomes maybe a two car affair, huh?
    Six – 2 = 4

  28. as a gun shooter for over 50 years, and seeing what some people in goverment are trying to accomplish by destroying the second ammendment, I wonder if we as gun owners are not doing it to ourselves. the gun shops, and pawn shops, as well as the big retailers who sell ammo are destroying the enthusiasm amongst gun shooters. greed has taken over and it makes me not want to go to the range our even buy guns or ammuntion.The MSRP is out of the window now. most cases the price is $50 to $100.00 over the MSRP. I went to buy a brick of 22 from a south florda gun -pawn shop, $100.00 for 500 remington 22. these people in goverment will not have to lift a finger. we are doing it to ourselves.I have been to 3 major retailers for the past 6 months, no ammo. the have been selling it to gun show people who waite in line at 6:am in the morning and sell it for triple the price to you and me.not me, enough is enough. go on line and try and buy at a fair price, 22-357-38-9×18-32-44. if they have them, the price is triple.10 years ago you could by a box of fifty of 22 for 92cents. now its $6.95 and up,up,and up. it will destroy us.

  29. Before I forget again. On gun mounted case catchers it largely depends on the gun and how the operator uses it. They are most successful on something like an AR but AKs it would interrupt the charging handle which is also reciprocating and the dust guard isn’t to accessory friendly, handguns with slides (vs bolts) and it adds weight to the slide and certain other issues, can avoid some of those problems with engineering them a certain way but then you get into bulk and other design issues. ARs, pretty good, most other guns, not really. Doing something other than standing still bulls-eye and they get in the way too. Granted I am sure this is why you said they shouldn’t be mandatory 😉

  30. @ ldgrey1963, if everyone progressively stepped back from the line from left to right (assuming ejection to the right) then eventually you will have conditions that are not safe or practical. Guns also have different ejection patterns and different dividers interrupt ejection paths differently so who is to say that stepping back or forward will positively effect ejection for other shooters. Once its known what is going on then you can try and play with where you are to attempt to shooting safely and neighbor friendly but for the most part there isn’t an easy clear cut process to do it from the beginning unless you know the ejection pattern from the start and it is very predictable. Getting hit by cases periodically should be taken along with sounds of others firing since its rather unavoidable unless you accurately know patterns.

    @Bill, only time I really get burnt by hot cases is shooting semi-auto rifles prone and with no long sleeves while next to a barrier. Case hits barrier and roles against my forearm, generally I just keep a magazine along my arm as a barrier against this and it works almost perfectly, that or bring some sleeves. Pistol cases standing isn’t bad and more of an annoyance factor more than anything which like I said is hard to predict, perhaps ranges should just have mesh nets between lanes to keep cases in the shooters area? probably simple, easy, and cheap solution right there and doesn’t require shooters to be hardcore case deflectors themselves.

  31. Hey Bill fB,TX,
    If you are ever thinking of heading towards the far north country for a hunt or just a walk-about I would be pleased to hear from you and perhaps give you a tour of our playground up here. Always interested in independent, common sense people and what they have to say and making friends from new places. Plenty of room at the house and a great privet range to spend the day on too. Fishing is a five minute walk for fresh water and about twelve to the dock for salt. Just thought I’d pass that along. Regards, Pete sends ….

  32. Good point you made Doug, about the flying Brass. I’d never worried much about it, as I only had one 742 which would toss ’06 cases, over the years. I never liked any kind of auto-loaders, being a hand loader for years, and only dealing with revolvers, single shots, and bolt guns. But, nowadays almost everyone seems to use auto-loaders exclusively. In fact, I just acquired my first 1911, at least since the two I had as a kid, which my dad left me, and I wasn’t smart enough to hang on to. I seem to remember seeing somewhere, a brass catcher you can buy, which mounts to the side of the gun. I should probably try to find and buy a couple of those, just in case. A friend fashioned one out of light weight fine mesh screen, which he mounted to a large hoop, like a dip net, then mounted to a camera tripod, which he keeps set up in his garage. He has a thirty gallon barrel, on its’ side, with the bottom filled with ground up tire rubber,on the bench, next to his loading press. Just enough space between the tripod and barrel, for his chronigraph. It makes a great range for developing loads, and he lives right in the center of town. An abbreviated net like that seems like a positive enhancement to everyone’s range experience. It should NOT become manditory, lofmanny already seems stressed enough, but it could be a fun prodject, and would help promote sportsmanlike conduct, and reduce the need for keeping Aloe-vera plants next to each shooting lane, to rub where it hurts. 9 – eight = 1

  33. In the above mentioned post, forming a group of any kind to go shooting, makes complete sense. Invite two or three of your close fiends, and make a day of it, along with brunch or lunch, to discuss issues with guns, techniques, etc. You’ll be among friends, and probably be side by side on the firing lines as well, for cofirmation, spotting, and a heavy right hand, should the need arise. Frankly, no one likes surprises, or undue stress while concentrating on shooting. It just makes sense that that’s one way to not only deal with it, but turn it into a more positive, fun experience. Mindset goes a long way.
    5 + 8 = thirteen

  34. lofmanny, I think I understand what you seem to be trying to say, which is why I shoot here in my Den, or at friend’s properties. Also, I hope you understand the term “review on YouTube” is very kind, generous, and subjective. From what I find, most of those guys aren’t the least bit informative, at least most of them, they don’t speak any better than they spell, and can’t even name the parts of the guns correctly. Try the many writers who’ve sacrificed to bring informing reviews to us, such as Dick Metcalf, Layne Simpson, Holt Bodinson, Mike Venturino, John Taffin…….oh there are many more, and those are just some of th
    e current ones. There are many big names of yester-year, who wrote timeless reviews, and articles about wonderful guns you won’t find at your local gun store. You didn’t say what type of gun you’re talking about, only that it does shoot like a gun. At any rate, if you’re interested in more currently available guns, you’ll surely find that the current selection of Guns Magazine, Guns&Ammo, and Shooting Times, all pretty much completely eclipse YouTube for informational value. Seven – 3 = 4

  35. Hey bill, you know me right, I’ll assume you do cause you talk to me like you know me. No? well don’t tell me how I can feel. You don’t see me giving suzzane permission to feel nervous. I said I don’t like going to the range because people are always butting in on me. I didn’t go to the range to talk to you, I went to shoot then I pack my stuff up and head home, there’s always some dude that wants to shoot my guns, no… That’s not why I brought them. I don’t care about being the nice guy as you can tell. If you want a gun review that’s what is for. I know what rules are and why they’re there, i just hate when the honchos are like ok pick up your gun shoot, now put it down,step away, reload, now you can shoot. Thats dumb i know how and when to shoot…In closing all those rules plus close proximity to novice shooters drives me to shoot out in the desert where I can put distance from people like… Nice people like you

  36. Hey lofmanny, I think that’s how you spelled it. Chill little dude. Of course there are too many regulations, did you not notice that in the process of acquiring your gun that shoots like a gun? That’s why I shoot in the back yard, at the Deer lease, or at friend’s property on weekend RV trips. If you must “run and gun” indoors, go to the mall on Saturday mornings. The walkers have a clear path worn.
    (He needs a Pot Bellied Pig, Suzanne.”

    Eight + 05 = 13

  37. I’m a big, old guy who’s been shooting for … a long time, and I agree with everything Suzanne wrote. Public, indoor ranges make *me* nervous, for almost all the reasons Suzanne listed. That little bit of fear makes an experience more vivid so that you pay more attention and remember what you learn with each session.

  38. Yes, I too feel uncomfortable at a indoor shooting range. Outdoor ranges and shooting areas have always been more favorable. There are alot of people that show up to an indoor range that just really don’t have the basic down as far gun safety, and this even includes some “trained professionals”. Usually the range master will toss them out on the spot and sometimes if it is a re-certification class; obviously they will fail them on the spot. People; please respect the power of the gun. Seen way too many accidents.

  39. Suzanne this is a great article, I strive to understand the Females view shooting and you have done a good job helping me to understand. It irritates me to see how some of the Husbands, Boyfriends, etc “train” (or not) their Ladies to handle firearms. The atrocities these Men are guilty of makes me want to smack them in the back head and say “dude whadda thinking?” I for one, will try to remember not to stand too close to the line so my brass does not fly over the divider and strike the other person in the right lane.

  40. If there is anything I think should be added or should I say corrected its about breaking range etiquette with dusting someone with brass. Sure if you know you are hitting them with every shot and don’t do a slight change than yeah you would be a jerk but for the most part getting hit with brass from neighboring lanes is just another public range experience and issue. Unless someone spends the time with their neighbor/neighbors to try and figure out how to position themselves to guarantee no spent cases hit anyone then its just left to someone being repetitively hit notifying the other person it is bothering them since its unrealistic to know how to avoid it off the bat. So in short I don’t think you were at fault since knowing where your brass is going or where someone is when you don’t have the ability to watch it is a bit far fetched. Now it is something for your partner to look for since they can watch whats going on out of your view.

    I also recommend a brimmed hat of some sort to deflect casings coming down towards the face. Definitely don’t want a case coming down over the rim of your eye protection. Also prefer avoiding any tucked in shirt that can trap cases. I’ve also found cases inside my pockets (pants and jacket) and they weren’t always mine (the cases that is, I am not one to dig around other peoples pockets). Outdoors when you have several yards of open ground to your side and between shooters, its not so much an issue.

  41. I hate shooting at the range. Too many people bugging you about rules and regulations. I know how to handle my dang gun I shoot every week. then they want to know how it shoots. It shoots like a gun, you should get one. Mind your own damn business I’ll mind mine. I also hate shooting indoors. You can’t run and gun indoors. I’ll take my free desert shooting thank you.

  42. While going to a gunsmith school, the students would go to a public range to test firearms or just to shoot. On one occasion, the range being fairly full with shooter, a guy on the 25yd pistol range while handling his pistol discharge a round into the ground by his own feet. Me, being two lanes away, packed up my gear and would not return to the range if to many people were there.

  43. Hey Suzanne,

    There are several ranges in the Anchorage area and the valley. Of course this is Alaska and there are many opportunities to practice your skills here by just taking a five minute drive. I’m also lucky enough to be part of a range that I helped build that has a 2.1 mile distance lane of which only three other shooters that have a key! Now I understand that most will not have their own semi privet shooting range to enjoy at near 24/7 availability.

    You have given name to several issues that many of us have found problematic at public or membership ranges. As a woman, they may be somewhat magnified as there is certainly still a “macho” bent to be found at many ranges making it sometimes uncomfortable for gals that have come to practice. A couple of ideas that may be worth a thought.

    Does your range have a womens or co-Ed shooting group or club? If not, you might consider starting one with like minded others. You might be surprised if you put up a flyer on the range bulletin board the response you might get. Shooting with this group or even with just one or two can be a big plus for a shooter. I understand that a single woman might find it a place of “odd”, at times, people. Add noise, which the female of the species is far more sensitive to than the male, guns, in general and a pinch of testosterone with a fairly high density of shooters engaged and I would get a little uncomfortable with that kind of mix around me. About the only time this mix seems normal may be combat but the difference in that environment is training and professionalism.

    I have found that shooters who have a useful point or observation to make to another shooter that they may not know will wait until a time when both shooters are at rest and will start a conversation perhaps with “would you be open to a suggestion?. . .” or “have you thought of trying . .” even “may I make an observation…?” A fellow shooter who starts a conversation in this manner I have found generally has information that is worthy of my attention and some of whom have become friends.

    Loud, I’m guessing that your just making the comment and have a good fix on how to solve this problem.

    If there is any one single thing that a shooter of any kind should learn and which should be always evolving with their experience it would be “Situational Awareness.” Learn to read the area, the people in it. Learn to have a sense of everything around you while you’re shooting. It will keep you and others safe and give you a sixth sense that all good shooters acquire with practice, time, and experience.
    Don’t worry about being a gal shooting! They are very likely looking at you because they’re afraid that your going to be better than they think they are and you’re going to show them up! You go right ahead and do just that.

    If you have a range safety concern of any kind don’t hesitate going to the RO with it. That’s what they’re there for. If they don’t do anything then you need to find a new range.

    You’re on the right track; educate yourself, find the training you want or need, practice/practice/practice! Set yourself realistic goals that are on a path towards perfection. You may or may not achieve perfection but the path is at least as long as you’re willing to try for it! Don’t be afraid to compete. There’s a lot of great shooters, competitors, hunters, cops and operators out there. An in case you missed any of the publicity, there’s a notable number of them who are women. Thanks for being one of those and taking the time and opportunity to write a bit about that.

    Regards, Pete sends . . .

  44. JiminGA,
    Thank you for your comment. However, I never once stated that the people at the range are weirdos. I said there are “unfamiliar” people there. The range I go to is incredibly professional and I have never felt unsafe there—uncomfortable, sure—unsafe? No.
    As far as painting gun ranges as noisy, well, they are. You stated it yourself: “Shooting ranges are noisy…….duh!” Some people are more sensitive to sound than others. The intent of my article was to help soothe women who are nervous about going to the range, not paint an ugly picture of gun ranges.

  45. Bill from Boomhower, Texas
    I really appreciate your comment! I’ll try that the next time I’m feeling a little nervous…. I’m already giggling.

  46. Well I live lss than half a mile behind the new indorr range here in Boomhower, but fortunately, I either slide open the patio door, and fire out of my lane (recliner), or go outside into the back yard, so my Pot bellyed pig can watch. He always grunts obsessively when he sees me, so I have to go feed him. I realize most people don’t have that luxury, and that’s really a shame. Unfortunately, I have to go over to the range to pick up guns I buy by mail. Living in Paradise, or even Boomhower has detrements I suppose.

    Seven + 5 = 12

  47. @JiminGA, if you are a woman and new to shooting, going to the range for the first time can be overwhelming. The same can be said about Walmart…noisy and full of weirdos. However, we know all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the bunch. Suzanne is merely describing what you might encounter. We have two ranges in my area and one of them even scares me, and I’m a guy.

  48. Shooting ranges are noisy…….duh!
    And are full of weird people…..really? I frequent three different ranges, two outdoor and one indoor, and have found everyone there to be polite, generous (one guy let all present shoot his Barrett 50), and serious about safety and equipment.

    A new indoor range is under construction near my town and the owners are a family owned gun shop. I know them…they’re good people and will run a tight ship. Perhaps Suzanne should seek out a more professionally run range instead of painting ranges as noisy places full of weird people.

  49. I’m with you in your well presented argument. You state, “Its loud, there are weird people.” That’s just the way I see public shooting ranges. There’s always the distraction of trying to shortstop the agenda of some unusual clients or the self-appointed “mentors”. A well-constructed and well-supervised range makes for a much better experience, but then economics come into the picture. Those elements are costly, thus must draw more paying consumers. But the noise doesn’t go away.

  50. Ok Suzanne, here’s what you do. Imagine all those other people next to you on the range naked. Now, if that didn’t scare you even more, realize this; you’re living life, and in life, things happen. Usually for a reason, but sometimes we never understand that part. I’m a sixty year old man, and I don’t like ranges either. A good fiend of mine who collects Kimbers, and has handloaded for years, was shot while on his station, shooting at the range one day.Twice. He was shot once, and then, as he realized it, and had turned for help from bystanders, and staff, he was hit again. By the same person. It wasn’t intentional, and I don’t know exactly how it happened, but it did. But that’s not the only time he was shot. His father accidentally shot him, while hunting once. It doesn’t just happen at ranges.

    I know the feelings of insecurity you speak of all too well. I play bass, in a band, in front of real people. I did it when I was young, took about a twenty plus year break for my first marriage, and have been in a band again now for about eighteen years, with two beautiful ladies. I still feel funny, at times reminding myself to “visualize everyone naked.” If the pretty women and ugly, mean bikers don’t lead to other issues, I get thru the gig. Also, because I played loud music so much of my life, and worked in a steel foundry when I was young, I’m sure I don’t have sensitive ears. I have my ninety year old mom living with us now, and we can’t hear our own TV two bedrooms away, or in the Den at the other end of the house, because she keeps her volume so HIGH! And changes channels every 6 seconds, but that’s another issue. My point is that your feelings are perfectly normal, or at least shared by a lot more than will admit it. A real fire fight will probably sound just like being at the range, with even yelling, and sirens possible, but then you may not even hear much of it, in the moment. Mindset and practice are probably your best allies, I’d say. Life happens. Take a deep breath, and try to imagine them naked. Nine plus 1 = 10

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