Looking for a sport that anyone can participate in? Want to learn more about firearms in a safe and friendly environment?
Well, wake up smell the gunpowder because competitive shooting may be what you’re looking for.
For most people, the only use of a firearm is in self-defense. However, there is a large group of practiced, dedicated sportsmen and women who take these weapons and participate in safe, regulated, and exciting competitions.
Don’t put it off! If you’re wondering how to get into competitive shooting, just jump in!
How to Get Into Competitive Shooting
Entry into these competitions does take a little work upfront. You’ll want to find a nearby group and join, because it is much easier with people helping. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the safe handling of the tools you’ll be competing with.
Safety First, Second, Third, Infinitely
If you’ve never held a gun before, they can be intimidating. They’re loud, heavy, and a bit greasy. But they are also sensitive tools that require proper maintenance and care.
The most important part of shooting is safety. Before you pick up a gun you should familiarize yourself with the basic safety rules of shooting.
- Treat guns as if they are always loaded. Just cleared it? It’s still loaded.
- Don’t point it at anything you don’t want to be destroyed. The best way to not shoot something on accident is to not aim at it.
- Finger off the trigger. In most cases, a gun won’t fire if you don’t pull the trigger. But just to be sure, refer to rules 2 and 3.
- Know what you’re shooting and what’s behind it. Is your target paper or metal? And if you miss, what might you hit?
Most accidents involving firearms occur because someone didn’t adhere to these basic rules. If you ever hear in the news that someone shot themselves accidentally while “cleaning their gun”, it means they were fooling around. Proper cleaning involves clearing and disassembling the firearm.
Find A Group
You don’t have to be a professional shooter to get started. The best way to get into shooting is to join a club. Some are specific to types of firearms or gender. Some are formed specifically for handicapped shooters.
The most important thing you can gain from joining a group is the experience of the other members. They can teach you the basics of shooting pretty quickly. They also help you understand the rules of the range, which aren’t always obvious to beginners.
If you aren’t sure which gun you prefer, some groups have days when you can try several firearms for free. Guns can be pretty expensive, so like buying a new car, you can give them a test drive first.
If you live in a city it may be a bit of a drive to the range for competitions, but indoor ranges are great places to get started. Most ranges will be able to help find you a club or have their own.
There are three guns used in the competitive shooting scene. Finding the one that fits your style and body are important in enjoying your time on the range.
Pistols are small enough to be held in one hand and are suitable for anyone. They don’t have as much recoil as rifles or shotguns but are a bit harder to aim with for beginners.
Rifles are long guns held in both hands and are accessible for anyone as well. They are easier to aim with and have lower recoil than shotguns. The most common rifle in competitive shooting is the AR-15, which can be outfitted with different scopes, barrels, and even frames to suit different competition needs.
Shotguns are also long guns and are used primarily in clay pigeon shoots. They hold shells instead of bullets and their recoil can pack a punch.
As for safety equipment, safety glasses and ear protection are essential. You will not be allowed to shoot on most ranges without protection.
If you find yourself wanting to upgrade your firearm and need some cash, you can always auction your old one through gun consignment.
Get Out There
It’s hard to start competing in anything from square one, so don’t do it alone. Go to a range, find a group, and make some friends. Once you’re in a club they’ll show you how to get into competitive shooting.
Getting into competitive shooting is as easy as joining any other sport, despite the fairly high cost of starting.
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