5 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Shooting Day

Getting out to the shooting range is a quintessential part of gun ownership, but even the most avid enthusiasts don’t do it every day. As a result, it pays to follow established protocols as you prepare for a day at the range. Moving through your checklist provides the most failsafe method for crossing all your Ts; ensuring a smooth experience at the shooting range.

Preparing for a day at the range is best accomplished when you allow a window of time to get the job done. Starting preparations a couple days ahead of your trip leaves a cushion, in case unanticipated issues arise. There is nothing more disappointing than pulling the plug on a trip to the range, due to improper planning.

While the types of guns you own and your specific objectives at the range come to bear on your particular preparations, there are universal practices which should be followed, regardless of your individual approach. For a fruitful day at the range, follow these five tips to prepare for shooting day.

Clean Your Firearms – Routine maintenance keeps guns functioning flawlessly, so cleaning your weapons is an essential first step toward a successful trip to the range. Dust, dirt, and deposits left by ammunition each compromise the function of weapons. Not all damage and deterioration are present immediately after each firing, but over time, exposure to dirt and deposits gets in the way of smooth firearm operation. Moisture and water are also capable of impairing functionality, as well as salts and other compounds found in rain water and other sources of moisture. Even unfired weapons carried in wet weather should be cleaned afterward, to reduce the chance of pitting and premature barrel wear. Remember, the performance of your personal safety or competition weapons relies on clean barrels and receivers, so firearms you count on should be cleaned after every use.

Clean Your Firearms – Routine maintenance keeps guns functioning flawlessly, so cleaning your weapons is an essential first step toward a successful trip to the range. Dust, dirt, and deposits left by ammunition each compromise the function of weapons. Not all damage and deterioration are present immediately after each firing, but over time, exposure to dirt and deposits gets in the way of smooth firearm operation. Moisture and water are also capable of impairing functionality, as well as salts and other compounds found in rain water and other sources of moisture. Even unfired weapons carried in wet weather should be cleaned afterward, to reduce the chance of pitting and premature barrel wear. Remember, the performance of your personal safety or competition weapons relies on clean barrels and receivers, so firearms you count on should be cleaned after every use.

Review Safety – Especially important for novice shooters, reviewing safety protocols keeps you and other range patrons out of harm’s way. Responsible firearms handling is essential for every day safety, but it also reinforces the image of gun owners and recreational shooters. Going above and beyond basic safety protocols is a personal responsibility that should not be taken lightly. In fact, novice shooters should seek formal training to instill comprehensive safety measures into their handling habits.

Know the Rules – In addition to universal safe-handling standards, shooters should be well-informed about laws governing gun use. Federal policies are one thing, but handlers should also be familiar with rules maintained by the ranges they frequent. You do not want to stand out as a risk or threat at your shooting range, so take it upon yourself to master the lay of the land before opening fire. Fact-finding trips to the range, without guns to shoot, are advisable for beginners, who benefit from watching how things unfold at the range.

Prepare your Firearms – In addition to cleaning your guns, preparing for a day at the range requires you to take certain measures. Start by unloading your guns, so they are ready to be transported. Empty all of your magazines before heading out to the range, securing rounds in appropriate containers. And place all of your guns in cases, to protect them and comply with local gun handling ordinances.

Whether you are a seasoned shooter with many trips to the range under your belt, or a novice excited for your first shooting experience, following simple protocols makes for a safe and productive day at the gun range.


This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray who writes about free background checks for Backgroundchecks.org.

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