Taking up sports shooting as a hobby

As I speak with people about firearms related topics, I often hear, “I’d like to try shooting, but I don’t know how to get started.” Many have shot a gun once or twice as children, but not since then. As with any new undertaking, it can be intimidating. It’s especially so when a mistake can have deadly consequences. Even if the prospective shooter has access to a gun, the severe lack of suitable places to shoot is an issue. Club memberships average several hundred dollars per year. There are a few shops in the area that have indoor ranges that can be rented by the hour, and guns can be rented, as well. However, range rental, gun rental, ammunition, hearing protection, eye protection, and basic instruction can easily amount to $100 plus for an hour of shooting. If the new shooter decides to pursue the sport, he/she will probably purchase a gun and all the other necessities. Of course, the process in New Jersey takes a few months, and has some cost involved, just to be permitted to legally buy firearms and ammunition. After it’s all said and done, an hour at the range will still cost $50 to $60, counting range rental and ammunition used. This limits frequency for most of us.

This is not to discourage anyone. Shooting is fun. Like so many recreational activities, it takes a short time to learn the basic skills, and a lifetime of work to become consistent; it’s also good to have an experienced instructor, at least at the start. Recently, I had opportunity to assist a new shooter. My sister-in-law had mentioned many times that she’d like to try shooting. Her husband has no interest, and that’s ok. His sport is golf, in which I have no interest. I don’t even know how to hold the bat. My wife said it was ok with her, so we set a date. More and more women are involved in shooting these days, with many world, national, and local champions. Knowing that, I was still a little surprised that everyone using the range when we got there was female. One of the shop sales people was a woman. It’s no longer just a man’s sport, and that’s good. It helps take shooting into the mainstream.

I had given my sister-in-law some safety instruction, and allowed her to become familiar with the gun we’d be shooting, at home, and a refresher at the range. As is always the case, in my experience, everyone was friendly and accommodating, and safety is of utmost importance. As it turned out, I did very little shooting on that visit. I mostly just reloaded for her, and tried to give a few pointers along the way. I don’t believe she felt intimidated at all. She did well, scoring hits on the target with most of her shots, and shot about 250 rounds of ammunition. She said that she enjoyed it, and I did, as well.

One way to become familiar, if you’re interested in shooting, is to watch some of the many thousands of YouTube videos done by those who review equipment for manufacturers. Many ranges also have NRA certified instructors on staff. If you know a responsible gun owner, ask if they’d be willing to help you. More than likely, they will. Who knows, you might like it.

Be safe, have fun, and God bless.

Want more information? Please feel free to write me, care of the Clayton Free Press, P.O. Box 201, Clayton, NJ 08312

Stan Bennett was born in South Jersey, and has been a Clayton resident since 1975. He is married with three children and two grandchildren. Working as a truck driver and now, since retiring, as owner and sales manager of Bennett Firearms, he is a state and federally licensed firearms dealer. Stan is committed to offering fair prices on new and used gun purchases, and providing advice and assistance on the safe use of firearms for sport and personal protection. You can contact him at 856 513 5330, or by email, at sbennettfirearms@gmail.com. His website is located at: https://BennettFireArmsandAmmo.com/


Page updated February 5, 2019