We are a loose association of shooters that love the sport of Air Rifle Field Target and more recently, Bench Rest Shooting. Living in sunny SouthWest Florida affords us the opportunity to shoot year round. Summers can be tough with the heat and humidity but it hasn't snowed in Desoto County in more than 30 years. The two days a year when there might be frost, we break out our jackets gloves and hats and shoot anyway!
Some Field Target Shooters gather for a group photograph
Air Rifle Bench Rest Shooters
New shooters: Before you get to the range
When taking a new shooter to the range there are a variety of items that should be covered before they get into a situation involving real guns with live ammunition in them. At the range it is a good idea to try to start every new shooter off with a “talking to” and a blue gun ( solid plastic training handgun that won’t go bang),,,,if not available, do so with a “safe gun” meaning it is unloaded, before taking them onto a “hot” range with live firearms.
The first thing new shooters need to hear is the four rules of gun safety, and how the four rules apply to the range they are about to be on.
Rule 1: All guns are always loaded. This means we don’t want anyone behind the firing line with an “unloaded” gun. Keep it on the firing line unless it’s in the case, because trust me, it’s loaded, and no one wants anyone with a gun wandering around behind them. Approach & leave the firing lines with all firearms “safe”. If a gun is NOT cased, it is to be carried, muzzle up, action open, and chamber empty, until it is placed safely into the shooter’s vehicle. If you arrive at a firing line with a gun bag, please remove & replace all guns in the bag on the firing line, and not behind the firing line.
Rule 2: Don’t point your gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy.That means keep it down range. No matter what happens the firearm should not be pointed at the floor, the roof, the shooting tables & benches, or anything besides the dirt berm. Keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction also applies to uncasing/casing any firearm.
Rule 3: Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target. Keep your finger indexed, parallel to the barrel, until the gun is up, sighted in and you are ready to break the shot. This will also include times during loading & unloading. Generally speaking, fingers do NOT go on the trigger until we want the gun to go bang.
Rule 4: Know your target and what is beyond it. Paper doesn’t stop bullets. Your bullet will travel beyond the target and hopefully hit the dirt berm. Keep an eye on your angle of trajectory and keep your aim aligned so the bullet will impact the REAR BERM. Shots that “skip” off the ground are NOT acceptable.
The next thing I like to do with new shooters is go over basic stance and grip. Nothing fancy, just “hold the gun safely”, and “stand safely”. We want everyone to have a safe and fun shooting experience. Many people are nervous and very excited so they have a difficult time focusing (and hearing) once on the range, the more instruction you have heard ahead of time the better.
NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, Desoto Gun Club, Inc.