So, keen to visit a shooting range but not sure how to get started?
Here's some basics on what to bring and what to expect...
Find a club
You can google clubs in your local area, or visit the website of one of Australia's sporting shooter organisations, they will have a listing of member clubs in each state.
Sporting Shooter's Association of Australia
While you're on these websites, have a look at the different shooting disciplines (styles of shooting) offered by each organisation, and think about which styles you'd like to try.
DO ring first and have a chat with a club official before attending a match.
What to bring
The contact for your chosen club should give you more information on this (if not, ask them). Each club has their own rules, but in general, bring the following items, if you have them:
- Eye protection - sunglasses, work safety glasses or prescription glasses will normally suffice. Of course, if you are shooting indoors or in low light conditions, sunglasses are not recommended, as they will impair your vision.
- Ear protection - ear plugs or ear muffs are both acceptable.
What to wear
- DON'T wear a low-cut top - the metal casings that the gun ejects after you fire the bullet are HOT, and some firearms can eject casings several metres from the shooter. Trust me, you don't want them falling down into your cleavage!
- DO wear sensible (enclosed) shoes. Many shooting ranges in Australia are located outdoors, some of them even in bush settings. You may have to negotiate dirt, mud, uneven ground and slopes during the course of a shooting match.
- DON'T wear jewellery that might scratch or get caught on the firearm. For instance, if you are using a rifle and you're wearing a bracelet, it could easily scratch the surface of the firearm (especially if the stock is made of wood).
- DO bring a hat - a baseball cap is best. As shooting takes place outdoors on the majority of shooting ranges, you might find that the sun will be in your eyes at times when you are trying to shoot.
Most clubs will have a safety or range officer present, who will advise you how to behave safely while shooting is in progress (and if they don't, I would seriously consider finding a new club). But these general rules will serve you well:
- NEVER, EVER, under any circumstances, point the barrel of the firearm at, or even in the vicinity of, another person. Even if you are certain it is unloaded.
- ALWAYS treat a firearm as if it is loaded.
- LISTEN carefully to, and obey, all of the instructions given to your by the person responsible for safety on the range.
- DO NOT put your finger on the trigger unless you are aiming at your target and ready to take the shot.
More tips to come....