Going to the shooting range is a lot of fun and a thrill for someone taking his or her first shots. New shooters typically shoot rental guns before investing in a firearm of their own. It is important to start with a small-caliber firearm, such as a .22 LR handgun or rifle, to get comfortable with how the firearm operates. Any beginner will be thrilled to simply pull the trigger, so it is best to keep it simple. Most importantly, always begin with a safety briefing and know the range’s safety rules. To get started, watch the NSSF’s Range and Etiquette video.
- Once everyone is comfortable with the basics of handling the firearm and target shooting, you might try adding a fun element like falling plates or a dueling tree, if the range allows this. There are several ways you can get creative and challenge your partner. Try a carnival-style challenge where your partner can shoot for a prize. Offer a selection of larger prizes like a movie, dinner, tickets to an event or a new firearm to give him or her something to really shoot for. No matter how accurate the shooting ends up being, bring a teddy bear, flowers or another gift as a participation sentiment. The point of going to the range is to have fun together! Make the day positively unforgettable.
- Moving targets are always an intriguing challenge for experienced shooters. That’s where shotguns come into the equation. There’s no better way to go after moving targets than taking a shotgun out to a sporting clays course or a trap and skeet field. Some ranges have rental shotguns, but most require you to bring your own. For many newcomers or those with a small body frame, using a smaller gauge shotgun like a 20 gauge that imparts less recoil is a good idea.
- Many shooting ranges offer – even specialize – in providing unique opportunities to shoot some impressive firearms or try long-range target shooting, for example. Many ranges offer different packages to give shooters a taste of a variety of firearms that interest them.
Find a range near you with NSSF’s extensive database for thousands of indoor and outdoor shooting facilities in the U.S. and Canada. Best of all, each search can be customized in several ways. Whether you want to shoot handguns, archery or trap, the possible shooting range date ideas and locations are endless.
Remember, firearms safety depends on you! And Happy Valentine’s Day!