For a weapon that can take life in seconds, everyone who uses guns must know how to shoot safely. In my opinion, shooting guns safely is an art. And the only place where you can learn this art is at a shooting or a rifle range.
Gun violence accounts for more than 40,000 deaths annually in the United States. This violence stems not only from illegal acts of terror but also from unintentional mistakes by rookie shooters who have never learned to use a gun safely.
Here are five reasons why shooting ranges are a safe place to learn how to handle guns:
Qualified Shooting Instructors
At a shooting range, you are surrounded by qualified shooting instructors with significant experience handling firearms safely. Often, these instructors are ex-military which means they have the right attitude and discipline essential for teaching safe shooting methods.
Apart from ensuring that you follow shooting safety rules, these instructors are also great marksmen. They have the ability and the knowledge to ensure that you learn to shoot both safely and accurately. Following their footsteps, you can be confident that you will become a responsible yet effective shooter.
Controlled Shooting Environment
A shooting range or a rifle range provides a controlled shooting environment. Essentially, this means that you are considerably less likely to hurt yourself or someone else while handling a firearm at a shooting range. Obviously, qualified shooting instructors have a big part to play here, but other than that, the mere layout of a shooting range allows ample distance between you and the rest of the shooters to shoot safely.
Secondly, a controlled shooting environment allows you to track your progress. This environment is essential if you want to learn to shoot accurately. By monitoring progress, and improving on it every session, you can expect to become an expert marksman at a shooting range in no time.
No Better Place to Learn
When you want to learn how to drive, what do you do? You may go to a driving school where you navigate around a designated area inside the facility. Or you may use a driving simulator. Or you may drive around the farm that your uncle owns. Are all these places great for learning how to drive a car? Sure. Are they safe? Probably. Do they allow you to bring your car on the road? Not really, because only the road can truly prepare you for driving on the road. Sounds like something Denzel would say.
Well, the same can be said for shooting ranges. Like it or not, they are the only legally acceptable places to learn how to handle guns safely. And in the same way that roads are different, some small, some big, some with lots of traffic, some serene, shooting and rifle ranges also come in different variations. It then falls on you to do the research to find out which shooting range in your area is the safest. But generally speaking, most shooting ranges are the most effective and safest places to learn how to shoot guns.
At a shooting range, you are surrounded by like-minded people who share your love for shooting accurately and safely. The range becomes a fantastic place to wind down with your peers and have fun. And since your and your peers’ progress is tracked, there is always a small sense of competition that undoubtedly motivates you to do better.
Sometimes, the people at these ranges are experienced shooters, and their advice can become invaluable pieces of information. All of them have also started out where you were so they can better relate to your problems and address them with safety and accuracy tips to give you the head start you need.
Adherence to Shooting Safety Rules
There is always a set of shooting safety rules at a gun range. While these rules vary slightly across ranges, their purpose is the same; making sure that all guns are handled safely. For instance, one rule in my shooting range is that when the instructor raises his hand, everyone must stop shooting. This is because the instructor has spotted a potentially hazardous action amongst the shooters. Once that hazard has been resolved, the instructor whistles to let us know that it is safe to shoot.
Similarly, another shooting safety rule imposed on all participants is to continue firing a few shots into the target even when no bullets are in your magazine. This is done to ensure that no bullet is stuck within the gun after use. Because of the shooting range, these safety rules have become so ingrained in me that I always carry them out even when I am not at a range.
In the end, shooting ranges are definitely a safe place to learn how to handle guns. They provide for the right environment and instructions that allow you to shoot both safely and accurately. The safe practices taught at shooting ranges also become ingrained in you so that you are intrinsically adopting safe shooting practices. However, you must always do your research to ensure that the shooting range you choose is up to a certain required standard.