On the range: A beginners guide to firearms safety

One of the favorite pastimes for many Americans is that of sports shooting and hunting. In this article, we will focus on sports shooting and range safety as it pertains to beginners. Under the 2nd Amendment in the United States constitution, it states that “the right to bear arms shall not be infringed upon.” While this means that every U.S. citizen has the constitutional right to own a firearm it doesn’t mean that he or she shouldn’t have the proper training.

Firearms are still weapons and command a level of respect. This article will go over some of the ways a novice can familiarize themselves with a firearm as well as how to keep yourself, and others around you safe while you’re enjoying yourself on the range.

Handling a firearm properly

The first thing that every beginner needs to know when handling firearms on and off the range is to treat all weapons as if they’re loaded at all times, never point your barrel at anything you aren’t wanting to shoot and don’t place your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. Accidents happen all the time and even some of the most experienced firearms experts make mistakes that can and do cause serious harm and or death. Another important range safety rule is to know your backdrop.

This means you should be aware what is beyond your target before firing. Bullets have a lot of penetrating power and can travel for long distances before the earth’s gravity wrestles them to the ground. When setting up a makeshift range on private property when firearms usage is permitted. You should ask yourself is there a neighborhood behind the target?

Or is there a high potential for pedestrians to cross behind your firing path? A quick range walkthrough should be conducted so that you are aware of your surroundings.

Finally, this should be common sense, make sure you are using the proper ammunition for the firearm you are trying to load said ammunition into, and make sure you are loading ammunition into the chamber or magazine correctly. There is no shame in asking someone else for help if you aren’t sure. A more experienced shooter or a range safety officer will be more than willing to help you.

Aiming and sight alignment

Now that you know how to handle your firearm in a responsible manner without injuring someone; let’s talk about how to get those rounds on target. Learning how to get proper sight alignment from the beginning will help you be a more accurate shooter.

The first thing you need to be aware of is the front and rear sight. The front site is generally a fixed thin metal strip at the end of your barrel. The rear sight is generally located further back on the firearm and can either be fixed, as in they don’t move, which is usually the case for pistols or adjustable sights, which is usually the case for rifles. When looking down the firearm you want the front sight to rest between the rear sights, and the top of the front sight should be flush with the rear sights.

Next, you want to aim the firearm at the target while keeping the front site between the rear sites as well as flush and you want the front sight to split your target in half. When you have all three lined up you want to focus on the front sight. The target should appear blurry in the background if you’re doing everything correctly.

Next, you want to check your breathing. Breath control is an advanced shooting skill, but it doesn’t hurt to practice this from the beginning. Members of the military often say if you shoot long enough you learn to shoot between heartbeats.

This would be a bit extreme, but your breathing does affect the rise and fall of the firearm.

Finally, you want to squeeze the trigger with the upper middle section of your pointer finger. The squeezing should be slow and constant and the bang should surprise you. That’s it! You’ve fired a round down range and hopefully hit your target.


Finally, let’s talk about equipment for the range. Two of the most important things you should also have with you are protective eyewear and hearing protection. There are two types of hearing protection, in the ear and over the ear. Some individuals who spend a lot of the time on the range will actually use both.

In the event, you are getting into firearms for personal protection and getting a concealed carry permit (CCP) you should make sure you are training with the holster you plan on wearing on a daily basis. The type of holster that’s used for concealed carry is known as a inside the waistband holster or (IWB Holster) for short. The best iwb holsters are the ones that works best for you, so you should take your time when shopping around for this item and find one that is comfortable, has a decent level of retention and most importantly one you can easily draw your weapon from.

In a high-stress situation drawing your weapon especially while carrying concealed can be difficult. It is important that you train at the range and work on getting your shirt up, and out of the way, drawing your weapon, getting your sight alignment and firing onto the target. A CCP instructor will go over this in further detail during the class. In the end, the most important thing to remember after safety is that you are enjoying yourself on the range, and going often so that you can not only hold onto your current skills but also build on them.

Happy shooting!

Author Bio:
Sheldon Martin is the founder of Captain Hunter. CaptainHunter.com is a site dedicated to the sport of hunting. We have a deep respect for nature and for the environment, and we therefore take the sport of hunting very seriously. Never think that you are alone in the woods again. Our goal is to share what we know with who needs it most.

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