It’s the morning of a shooting course you’ve just signed up for. What do you need to know and have before you hit the range?
Know the Conditions
First of all, is the course being held indoors or outdoors? This could make a big difference in what you should wear that day. When I’d shoot at West Coast Armory, an indoor range, I’d wear jeans and a long sleeved shirt and need a jacket to get me from the car to just inside the range. Preparing for a class at GunSite Academy’s outdoor range in the Arizona mountains required a pile of layers so I could handle the 30 degree mornings and the 70 degree afternoons.
If you’re going to an outdoor range, check the weather the morning of and plan accordingly. Layers are always a good idea for an outdoor course as are sunscreen, and a hat and sunglasses.
Bring Lots of Water
At the very least take a full water bottle as many ranges (but not all) will have a way for you to refill a water bottle. If you don’t know that you’ll be able to refill your water bottle, be prepared with a few bottles to get you through. Water is a good idea for both indoor/outdoor courses, but it’s a must have for an outdoor range.
Snacks Can Really Help
Chances are good the instructor is going to give you a chance to get some lunch, but if the course description doesn’t explicitly say that or it isn’t mentioned when you sign up – ask! The last thing you want is to be thinking about your growling stomach when you’re trying to learn a new skill. Plan to pack a few granola bars or other quickly consumed, filling snacks. Training classes can be tough and can be a lot of work. The extra calories will really help.
Know What Gear You Need
If you weren’t expressly given a gear list prior to a class then request one. Know exactly what you’re going to need. It may seem obvious, but not all classes give out gear lists and you may need something you didn’t think you would. Some standard items you might see on gear lists are eye and ear protection, a specific number of rounds and magazines to have, closed toed shoes, a side holster, etc.
I’m sure I’m missing some items, but the key is to have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into so you can arrive prepared. Having all the necessities will go a long way to making the most of your training course. If anything isn’t clear, or you have questions, don’t be afraid to call or email the range hosting the course and ask!
What are some things you wish you had known before attending your first shooting course? Share them in the comments section.