Beyond the Basics - NSSF Let's Go Shooting
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Beyond the Basics

Transitioning to training for defense and competition

No matter what your passion is—golf, bowling, guitar, whatever—there’s always a way to take it to the next level. Shooting is no different. It’s true that you can buy a firearm and be a casual plinker, shooting only for the pure enjoyment of it in a safe, non-stressful environment. Let’s face it, backyard plinking is some of the most fun you can have with a gun.

That said, many shooters wish to continue developing their skills and becoming more involved in the pursuit. When this is the case, it’s a perfect opportunity to explore training for defense and/or competition.

In fact, it was a friend’s invitation to attend a defensive AR-15 class that launched me deeper into shooting and led me down my firearms-focused career path. Attending that class not only showed me how effective an AR-15 is as a defensive tool, but it also revealed what I was capable of. From there, I was able to assess where I wanted to be as a shooter and how to get there.

At the time, I was dabbling in IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) shooting, but my exposure to the defense/tactical world changed my course. It wasn’t long before my friend and I were attending several classes a year offered by different instructors at facilities across the country.

Every training class we attended resulted in improved shooting skills, immeasurable levels of fun, and the development of long-lasting friendships with shooters from around the world.

Getting involved with firearms training begins with a little research on facilities and courses available near you—NSSF.org is a good place to start your search. Don’t be afraid to make a few phone calls and ask some questions, either. You can get a good feel for a place by talking with a range officer.

While there are many additional things you can do to become more proficient with a firearm, attending a training course will help you transition beyond the basics to more serious and focused shooting—not to mention even more fun.

About the Author: Sean Utley is an accomplished writer and photographer covering firearms and the shooting sports. His work regularly appears on the covers and within the pages of the nation’s top firearms-related publications. Sean is an avid shooter with a penchant for long-range shooting and precision rifles.

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