Monday, November 21, 2016

Feeling Home On The Shooting Range

Everyone can use a shooting range. Whether you hunt, plink, compete, or defend yourself, you will need to practice. I belong to a shooting range that is outdoors. I love it but feel I need the convenience of a home range. I’m in the planning stages.
Whether you shoot for fun, sport, or defense practice is required.
As retired NBA basketball star Allen Iverson so eloquently said, “We’re talking about practice, man, we’re not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we’re talking about practice."
Correct. We are talking about practice. We are talking about how important time at the range is to a shooters overall chances of success. It’s not just about making sure your gun shoots accurately; it’s about you. Practice builds skills that improve your accuracy. Skills that make you a better, more confident shooter.
It seems bow hunters practice more frequently than gun hunters. This isn’t an all-encompassing fact, of course, but generally speaking, I believe it to be true if for no other reason than shooting a bow is more convenient (and less expensive) than shooting a gun.
Just about anyone with a quarter-acre in a tight subdivision can set up an archery target behind their house, pace off 20 yards and fling arrows. Firing off a 12 gauge in the neighborhood is probably not such a great idea.
Shooting firearms requires a proper location. Such locations include public or private gun ranges, rural property, or if you’re lucky enough, the backyard. Whatever your situation may be, make the most of it.
Let’s assume you do not have the good fortune of being able walk out the back door to a personal shooting range. Most people can’t. So where do you shoot? Thankfully, a number of organizations are working hard to ensure you have plenty of options.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, exists to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. A large part of their mission is making sure there are plenty of places to shoot. On the NSSF web site (, you’ll find endless resources for shooters. To prove just how serious it is about helping you find a place to shoot, the NSSF has designed a separate web site devoted to helping you find a range. The web site is simply called “Where to Shoot,” and can be found at The National Rifle Association has a similar web site located at
Shooting ranges are nice for a number of reasons. They usually have quality shooting benches and target stands set at established distances. There’s also the camaraderie. Chances are there will be other shooters at the range. Where else can you approach a complete stranger while wearing a Glock .40 on your hip and feel perfectly comfortable striking up a conversation while he’s busy reloading a 30-round magazine for his AR-15? Ahh, the comfort of kindred spirits.
If you have enough land and live where shooting is acceptable, you can build your own range. Having a gun range at home is convenient. After supper, you can grab your rifle or shotgun and head out to the range to practice a few shots. You don’t even have to use your centerfire rifle. Even regular practice with a .22 helps. The more you shoot, the better your hand/eye coordination becomes. Your trigger press improves and the overall process of shooting becomes more natural.
Putting together a decent shooting range doesn’t take much time or money. You really only need four things: a shooting bench, a shooting rest, a target stand and targets, all of which could be homemade or purchased from a sporting goods retailer.
If you choose to go with a homemade range, you can use or build a picnic table for a bench, fill a couple of sand bags for a rest, build a target stand out of 2x4s and use cardboard or paper plates for targets. If you’d like a bit more serious shooting range, companies like Caldwell Shooting Supplies and Shooter’s Ridge manufacturer everything you need. You can buy a weather-resistant shooting table, a quality shooting rest, a target stand and plenty of targets for well under $500. Get a couple buddies to pitch in the cash together. It won’t take long to see the value of your investment.
Make sure it is legal to have a range where you want to put it.
No matter what, safety must always be your first priority when shooting. Wherever you decide to set up your range, be sure you are in a safe location. Be positive of what lies beyond your target. Either set your target stand in front of a proper backstop, or take the time to build one. Mound up dirt or a wood pile. And of course, always wear hearing and eye protection.
Semper Paratus
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