Previously we discussed how indoor and outdoor ranges operate and some of the rules you might encounter there. Those procedures benefit everyone. Today, let’s be selfish and share tips that directly benefit first-time shooters at the gun range.

Use a Gun Case

Using a gun case (soft or hard) benefits everyone. New shooters will feel less self-conscious toting their firearms into a place they’ve never been. It also puts those working at the range at ease. If someone walks through the front door with an exposed firearm, employees don’t know if they’re about to get robbed or whether the customer just got a new birthday gun.

Once at the range, use your case as much as possible. Bring the whole thing right up to the firing line before you open it. If you can, set your case on the table so that when you remove your gun, it’s already pointed downrange. Repeat the process when you’re ready to leave. Simply put, try to keep your gun in its case whenever you’re not actively shooting.

Ask For Help if You Need It

I might know about this one from personal experience. The first time I shot a semi-automatic pistol, I went to a new range by myself with my newly acquired 1936 mint-condition Colt Woodsman pistol. A few shots into my session, I noticed blood all over the shooting bench. Hmm. Strange. Was it purely coincidental that my support hand was also covered in blood? Sure enough, I had crossed my support-hand thumb behind the slide flying backward at Warp Factor 12 with each shot. It was so sharp I didn’t even feel the cut in the web of my hand, but my ego sure felt it later.

If I had swallowed my pride and asked the nice man at the front counter for a few tips, I wouldn’t have a scar to show off today. Shooters are generally a friendly bunch and almost always willing to help a new shooter out. Take advantage!

Wear a Tight-Collared Shirt

Semi-automatic rifles and pistols will eject spent brass cases after every shot. Having just contained a 20,000 to 65,000 pound-per-square-inch conflagration, those cases are really, really hot! Especially at an indoor range, cartridge cases can bounce off the ceiling and walls, landing almost anywhere. If you shoot enough, one (or more) will eventually go right into your shirt.

Remember the “hot” part? Those cases will create a serious burn almost instantly and cause the victim to do the “OUCH!” dance. If you have a gun in your hand when that happens, you might see everyone at the range suddenly hit the deck to avoid being shot – by you. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and wear a shirt with a closely cut collar.

Read the rest: 9 Tips for First-Time Shooters at the Gun Range | USCCA