So, you’ve decided to take a trip to the gun range for your first controlled shooting experience. This is an exciting time! It’s bound to be a lot of fun, but – you’ll really want to take heed of the following pieces of advice to make sure that your outing is fun, educational, exhilarating, and most of all – safe. Shooting firearms is a complex emotional event, as it can make you feel alert and focused, while also allowing you to relax and clear your head. For your first shooting experience, keep the following tips in mind.

Define why you’re going to the range

Are you looking to make a lot of noise, spray a hundred rounds at a target so you can have someone take your picture, and then leave? Or, are you looking to take the first step at learning a new skill and joining the ranks of the millions of American shooters across the nation? Either way – it’s up to you! Either come to the range and simply have fun, or make it an event to build upon. Setting the expectation is important, as it will help define your interactions with your instructor.

Try different things


The Glock is a tremendous handgun, but come to the range with an open mind and try something totally off the wall. Why not saddle up with a full-auto MP5 in light-recoiling 9mm? Or, practice your target shooting with a .22-caliber revolver! Make your experience a unique adventure and it will be a more memorable one to retell.

Understand that shooting isn’t a subtle pastime

Get ready for a constant barrage of loud noises, bright flashes, plinking brass, and swaying targets. Some guns make noise – others, like a 12-gauge shotgun, really unleash a concussive blast. During many a shooter’s first controlled shooting experience; one of the biggest surprises is how jolting a shooting range can be – even with proper eye and ear protection.

Know that you must practice to be a “good shot”

Sure, some people are born with an innate sense of calm and a steady right hand, but shooting is learned skill and one that must be reinforced through multiple trips to the range. Listen to the commands of your instructor and you’ll begin to practice good shooting habits.

Your first controlled shooting experience is one that you’ll likely remember for the rest of your life. Have fun, take it one step at a time, and continually challenge yourself to refine the marksmanship skills that you’ll need to be an effective shooter.