Hey, Dad - can you teach me to shoot?

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    Aug 30, 2012
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Firearm safety.  It's almost an hysterical issue among the firearm illiterate, and, sadly, that's the larger portion of the population these days.  In this country's history, firearms were in every household, and every member of the house physically able to hold a weapon knew how, and more importantly, when to use it.  Not so, these days.  Most Americans have grown up firearm illiterate, and consequently are afraid of guns.  However, more and more Americans are becoming interested in owning weapons, specifically handguns, and are searching for places to learn about firearms and how to shoot.  The answer for most people is a local target range.

There are many ways to find a range in your area, but the fastest is the Web.  Start a search for 'target range' and review the results.  You'll be able to find a range that suits your needs with a minimum of fuss.  You can always use the phone book, or the online phone book, or word of mouth.  Word of mouth is often the most reliable, if you ask people you trust for ther input.

Before you start looking for a range, ask yourself some questions:
          1). What type of weapon am I interested in?
          2). Am I interested in shooting as a sport, or primarily as self-defense, or both?
          3). Is this just for me, or am I going to involve my household?

As you answer these questions, you'll begin to develop a plan for weapon storage, and for firearm safety, for your home.  You need to think about this, especially if you have children.  Children are not too young to work with weapons, but they must be taught responsibility - how and when to use a weapon, weapons are not toys, and they must learn to consider all weapons as loaded. 

Having answered your questions, making your plan, and researching the weapons best for you, you now need to find a target range.  You may want to consider using a range that rents weapons at first, so you can gain experience with different handguns and rifles.  Once you've decided on a weapon you like, research purchasing one, and also consider getting a gun safe.

Target shooting allows you to practice with a weapon at different ranges.  Most ranges use standard bullseye targets for civilians, but you may find one that uses silhouettes, or possibly animal shapes, if you think you may want to pursue hunting as a sport.

Typical ranges for handguns are 10m (meters), 50m, and 300m.   Rifle ranges are rarely less than 100m, but can be as high as 1,000m.  All ranges, whether indoor or outdoor, have butts or backstops behind the targets to stop the bullets.  The targets are typically paper or a plastic material, and are generally round bulls eyes.  Targets can be metal; these are typically found at air rifle ranges. Skeet shooting involves shotguns and clay targets ("clay pigeons").  This is a speciality type of target shooting, and requires its own type of range.

All standard target ranges require safety gear.  This is typically safety goggles or glasses, earplugs and/or earmuffs.  Indoor ranges require both earplugs and earmuffs due to the high decibel levels created when shooting is in progress.

All target ranges have desiganted safety personnel, and their rules are to be followed at all times while at the range.

Firearms, when used properly, can be fun.  They also provide safety, when properly handled.  Before purchasing one, find a target range, and shoot some targets.  It will tell you whether or not you and firearms have a future together, and may get you started on a lifelong hobby.  Good shooting!

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George is an avid traveller that loves writing on all topics for Interesting Articles.

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