Take The Pledge
One trip to the range can be all it takes to create a new recreational shooter. With your help, we can recruit the next generation of target shooters and secure a strong future for one of the greatest American traditions. Join the +ONE Movement and invite a friend on your next trip to the range. Share your passion in posts on social media with #PlusOneMovement and #LetsGoShooting.
Always Keep the Muzzle Pointed in a Safe Direction:
Simply put: Never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot—even when dry firing.
Keep Firearms Unloaded When Not in Use:
Never load a gun until you are ready to shoot. When not in use, store firearms and ammo separately.
Don’t Rely on a Gun’s Safety:
Treat every gun as though it can fire at any time. Safeties are mechanical devices that can become inoperable without your knowing.
Be Sure of Your Target and What’s Beyond It:
No target is so important that you can’t take the time before pulling the trigger to be certain of where your shot will stop.
Use the Correct Ammunition:
Using improper or incorrect ammunition can destroy a gun and cause serious personal injury. Always double-check your ammo.
If the Gun Fails to Fire, Handle with Care:
If nothing happens when you pull the trigger, keep the muzzle pointed downrange, unload the gun, and dispose of the faulty cartridge.
Always Wear Eye and Ear Protection:
Exposure to a firearm’s report can damage hearing; adequate vision protection is essential at all times while shooting.
Be Sure the Barrel is Clear of Obstructions:
Before loading a firearm, open the action, check that there’s no ammo in the chamber or magazine, and make sure the barrel is clear.
Don’t Alter or Modify a Gun, and Service Regularly:
Any alteration or change made to a firearm after manufacture can make the gun dangerous. Also, follow the manufacturer’s service recommendations.
Learn the Mechanical and Handling Characteristics of the Gun:
Every firearm is different. Never handle a gun without first familiarizing yourself with it and the way it works.
We all have a fear factor, that one thing that makes us stop dead in our tracks or at least makes us think twice before we do something.
I have several, but because I have friends who love me (in a familial and sadistic way) I will only disclose one: I have this thing about drowning. My palms get a little sweaty driving over big bridges, fishing in a bass boat or relaxing in a hot tub. No, you will not catch me diving off the high board anytime soon.
Certainly, fear is what keeps some people from learning how to shoot. The media and television have convinced them that all firearms are bad and no one should touch them. Of course, we who are familiar with firearms know those things aren’t true, but how do we convince others who haven’t experienced what we have?
Well, we start by taking the fear out of it. We educate our non-shooting friends. We arm ourselves (no pun intended) with the facts about the safe use and ownership of firearms, which can be found on the NSSF website. We smile when we talk about how much we enjoy the shooting sports and we join the +ONESM movement by inviting those non-shooting friends to go shooting with us.
Before going to the range we talk about the rules of firearms safety, and we explain the parts of the firearm and have a dry-fire session, always emphasizing a safe environment with an unloaded firearm and having no ammunition in the area. At the range we introduce our non-shooting friends to shooting with a .22-caliber firearm. Because of the low recoil and report of such guns, the new shooter will be gently introduced to the sport, just as most of us were. Finally, as the new shooter starts to feel comfortable — maybe not that first session, maybe the next — we introduce them to larger calibers, a .380 or a 9mm, then the .40 or .45.
There are other fears when it comes to firearms. For those of us who have participated in First Shots, maybe purchased our first guns and practice at the range, you may be fearful of taking the next step — competition.
Fear not. There’s a way to get over this fear too, but it’s a secret. Ready?
Get out there and do it! Consider bringing a +ONE with you.
What I hear most from people who want to shoot competitively but haven’t found the courage to give it a try is that they are afraid of making a mistake in front of people who have been shooting a long time. Don’t be. Every single one of those winning competitors had to start somewhere. Besides that, though, most shooters are the friendliest and most generous people I have ever met, always willing to share information, techniques and time.
Don’t just take my word for it. Many clubs regularly invite people to come and watch matches as spectators to see what it is all about. So go! Show up, ask questions and meet new people. Tell the match director you’re new and you want to learn — they will help you.
One more note. As a new competitor, you should not strive to compete with the person who has been shooting competitions forever. Your only competition is you. Your goal is to be safe, accurate with your shots and conscious of your muzzle at all times. Accuracy and speed (in competitions that are timed) will increase the more you participate — but even then your main competition should be your personal bests.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there, be safe, have fun and remember: firearms safety depends on you!
Special Note To Range Managers and Match Directors
Looking to increase your match participation? Host a match information session that helps introduce new shooters to your shooting sports, your range and matches. Such a session should consist of two parts, with safety being the emphasis of both.
The first part is a classroom session where you talk about the game. Go over the history of the sport, then cover the basics of equipment needed to get started, rules of the game, range commands and information on your range’s match schedule.
For the second part, set up a mock stage or two and walk your new shooters through how they work during an actual match. Talk about how to walk through the stage, how to approach the targets, range commands they’ll hear and common rule violations they should work to avoid. When you’re done with the walk-through, have your new competitors shoot the stage untimed first, then for time. Talk about scoring and the friendly camaraderie they’ll find in a match, with shooters helping each other with approaches to taking targets and gear and ammunition recommendations. At the end of your introductory session, remember to invite these potential new competitors back to your range to attend your next match. Taking this kind of time to get new shooters interested in your range’s activities is a great way to increase not just match participation, but general traffic to your range as well. Visit nssf.org/firstshots and see how to host First Shots and First Shots Second Round events.
Join the +ONE Movement and invite a friend on your next trip to the range. Share your passion in posts on social media with #PlusOneMovement and #LetsGoShooting.
About the Author
Tisma Juett is an NSSF Regional Member Services Manager for the Northeast region of the U.S. Juett’s enthusiastic passion and desire to grow the shooting sports is her driving force behind getting others involved and serving NSSF Member businesses at the highest level. Tisma is an NRA-certified pistol instructor who enjoys sporting clays, bass fishing, motorcycles and baseball.
10 Commandments of Firearm Safety:
Bring a copy with you, and review even before the gun is uncased.
Eye & Ear Protection:
Safety first. Plus, eye and ear protection make great welcoming gifts to the shooting sports.
Punching paper’s fine, but spinners, gongs, and chalk disks are a lot more fun.
This may be a no-brainer, but always bring more than you think you’ll need.
Be encouraging, be patient, and above all, make the experience fun.
Thank you for your interest in helping NSSF make 2019 “the year of the +ONE Movement” and growing participation in hunting and the shooting sports like never before. This year, we’re asking you to help us challenge every hunter and target shooter in America to take someone new. Imagine if everyone did this: we’d double participation in a year! Or even if just 1 in 3 did it. The impact can be huge. We just need your help in challenging everyone out there to take part. Together, by amplifying this simple message to the masses, we can make a difference. We’ve assembled a Toolkit that includes an activation guide, logos, images and more to help you get the word out. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.