Once a month my gun club opens its doors to non members that are brought to the range with existing members. For a small fee and a simple form being filled out they get the chance to experience shooting in a safe environment, and from the smiles I seen last weekend from our guests it’s safe to say we have created new members. With my friends and family the list of people wanting to make the trip with me to an open day is to say the least very long. This month it was my little sister that kept me company in the car as we made our way up the mountain.
To say she was excited would be an understatement, she had never fired anything other than an airsoft BB gun and the ancient 8mm blank firing M92 replica I blued for a friend, although she did love firing that even though it is essentially a big cap gun.
So before we got into the car I brought my unloaded 10/22 into the house, familiarised her with the rifle, how to load it, unload, always to check the safety catch, never point it anywhere other than downrange etc. When I felt she was comfortable with the rifle and the rules we set off for the hours drive. With company the trip seemed to pass by at a reasonable pace, although we stopped a few times to stock up on snacks and to show her some of the tourist attractions on the way……even though it was raining heavily.
On arrival we made our way into the clubhouse so I could sign in and I motioned to the president I had a guest to which she was made very welcome, we filled in the forms, paid the fee (which goes to charity) and made our way to the 25 meter range.
To make her feel at ease I introduced her to some members, showed her to the booth and lane we would be using, set up the Ruger for her along with a set of fresh targets, waited for the RCO nod and she got herself comfortable. She looked a little nervous before pulling the trigger for the first time but as soon as that little round left the rifle a large smile appeared. She loved it, and she hit the target dead centre. About 200 rounds later I asked if she would like to increase difficulty by going to the 50 meter range, she enthusiastically agreed.
Now she looked like an old pro, she was loading the 25 round mag with ease, she took my advice about breathing on board and had increased accuracy, she was dealing with jams and stove pipes with little effort, was checking the safety catch and observing safety at all times. I was proud of her. And the RCO offered her a junior membership there and then. She’s taking them up on the offer.
Below is a little video of her towards the end of the shoot. She looks relaxed and confident. I’m very happy.
So from that one trip I’ve increased the shooting community by one, our little club gets some fresh blood and a possible means to get more young people into the sport. The more people that get to try it the more we can change perceptions. Get your friends and family down to shoot, show them it’s not only fun but practiced in a safe and controlled environment. Let’s fight back against the negativity surrounding sports shooters thanks to the media and politicians.
Only the shooting community can change perceptions about our sport.
Until next time happy shooting.