How-To

Your First Time at the Range

Are you curious about shooting a shotgun? Are you thinking seriously about owning a handgun? Did you know that many shooting ranges rent out a variety of guns and their range officers are more than willing to help you learn? What are you waiting for? Take yourself out to the local gun range and get started! The first order of business is reading and repeating, and KNOWING the fundamentals of gun safety:

Picture by Bryan McLellan
What to Bring The range will sell you ammo and though it may be more expensive than picking some up on your own, most ranges are picky about what type of ammo you shoot. For your first time, I suggest just purchasing the ammo from the range. They also rent hearing protection, but I highly recommend buying and bringing your own. Rented ears seems a little gross to me. I have these pink Remington earmuffs. They are cute, comfortable, and work well. I tested them out at a full-auto shoot where I was standing behind a Barrett (a seriously big .50 caliber rifle) and they protected my hearing just fine.

You will also need eye protection. The range should have these, too. If you want to buy your own, just purchase a cheap pair with clear lenses. You just need a basic pair that works.

You can take your own targets, or purchase them from the range. If you purchase your own, you can buy the fun ones, like ones that look like a bad guy threatening you, a crazy terrorist, and even zombies. I like silhouette targets because you can really see how well you are aiming. Silhouette targets are good to practice your self-defense shooting, too.

What to Wear You may or may not think that this matters, but in my opinion, it matters a lot! You want to be comfortable and protected from hot brass. I had a friend get flying hot brass down her v-neck t-shirt; it hurt so bad she quickly lifted off her shirt in front of everyone to retrieve it. Awkward! If it is hot outside, wear a t-shirt with sleeves and a crew neck to avoid this burning disaster. I do not recommend wearing a tank top.

Further, do not wear your flip-flops. Wear sneakers with socks, or boots. When I go to the outdoor range, I prefer boots. I also favor jeans over shorts, but sometimes it is just too dang hot! In that case, shorts will not be a problem.

I have long hair, so I always put it up; pony tail, braids, knot, whatever is most comfortable for you. You do not want to be distracted with stray hairs flying in your face. Many women wear baseball caps when they shoot.

I hope this quick little guide helps and that your time at the range is a blast! (ha…ha…!)

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!

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