The Ask - NSSF Let's Go Shooting

The Ask

Whether inviting someone to join you at the range or enlisting a shooting mentor, it all starts with conversation

As a photographer working in the firearms industry, I’m constantly looking for people to model for photo shoots, and more times than not I need those models to actually shoot the firearms, not simply pose with them.

Sometimes I’m dealing with new or first-time shooters, and the first thing I ask is, “are you afraid of guns?” In all the time that I’ve been doing this, no one has ever expressed a fear in shooting. In fact, every person has been ecstatic about the opportunity.

Are you thinking about asking a friend, relative, or colleague to go shooting with you? Are you new to shooting and trying to figure out the best way to ask a friend who shoots to take you along? Read on for some pointers on making the ask.

Asking Someone To The Range

None of this needs to be over complicated, but it’s important to keep in mind that we’re living in a time when we need to be cognizant of peoples’ feelings toward firearms and the shooting sports. That doesn’t mean that we can’t publicly talk about this activity that we love, or need to walk on eggshells when discussing it. After all, people who know us through work, or school, or any other setting probably already know about our preferred activities, including shooting. Getting someone to the range is simply a matter of good conversation. Good conversation starts with listening, not talking. As we get to know the people around us through active listening, we pick up on cues that can tell us where they stand on any number of subjects. Open dialogue, then, can open the door to a casual invitation to the range.

What about people who are on the fence about guns? In my opinion, these individuals can ultimately be influential in getting others involved. First, since they don’t harbor an outright opposition to firearms, they should be fairly open to a trip to the range. Then, if their range experience is good, others who are on the fence, or perhaps slightly on the anti-gun side of the aisle, will take notice.

Just remember to never force the subject—it’s not worth arguing over. We want people to want to go shooting, and patience pays dividends.

Asking Someone To Take You To The Range

If you’re interested in shooting but aren’t sure where to start, getting someone to take you to the range shouldn’t be difficult. Firearms enthusiasts are some of the nicest, most polite, and most respectful individuals I’ve ever met. Most will be more than happy to have you join them at the range. You simply need to mention to a shooter your desire to learn about shooting, and I’m confident the ball will roll from there.

Whichever side you’re on—mentor or mentee—remember to be respectful of others, and keep in mind that open-mindedness and communication are two of the most worthwhile tools we have to help grow the shooting sports.

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.