You know what’s awesome? Going shooting with friends. Whether they’re seasoned shooters or completely unfamiliar with firearms, taking your friends to the range can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved. The camaraderie I experience with my fellow enthusiasts of the shooting sports is unique. This business of producing firearms-centric YouTube videos has put me in contact with more firearms enthusiasts than I ever thought existed.
When I meet new people either through YouTube, here on The Arms Guide, or at industry events (such as shoots, trade shows, conventions like NRAAM, or just other range-goers), I am continually amazed at how the vast majority of firearms enthusiasts are some of the most kind, compassionate, intelligent, and even-tempered people I’ve ever known. There have been a number of times where I’ve found myself in conversation with strangers feeling as though we’ve been life-long friends. The shooting sports seems to engender relationships just as much as it improves firearms handling skills. Sharing range time with friends – and family – can foster great relationships, and build upon extant ones. However, there are other “side benefits,” of taking your friends out to shoot with you.
One of my favorite aspects of shooting with friends is getting exposure to, and trigger time with, firearms that I don’t own. One of the ranges where I shoot rents a decent selection of handguns, but renting isn’t always an option when I’m considering purchasing a new pistol. When the gun counter at my local shooting shop doesn’t afford me the chance to put a few rounds through a gun I’m researching, oftentimes one of my friends in the firearms enthusiast community has been able to oblige me a few magazines through their pistols.
Another element I enjoy about shooting with friends is in watching how other people shoot. As a relatively new shooter (compared to some with decades of experience in the shooting sports), I find I’m constantly learning new tips and tricks from other shooters that help me to improve my firearms handling skills. Whether someone’s showing me shooting drills someone runs to improve technique, or engaging in friendly competition, I often find new ways to improve my marksmanship when I hit the range with a buddy or two. It keeps shooting fun and fresh, while still allowing me to improve my skill set.
The camaraderie of sharing range time, and the exposure to new firearms are things to enjoy with fellow shooting enthusiasts, but there is another benefit entirely when one introduces the shooting sports to range “newbies.” Teaching safe firearms handling and introducing the fun of firearms within safe circumstances helps to spread the shooting sports.
More importantly, providing the opportunity and means for someone with no experience with the “gun culture” can help to de-mystify the sport, and correct misconceptions propagated by an uninformed populace. This is especially significant when introducing someone who might even have a prior fear of firearms. A positive, safe, and enjoyable range experience within the comfort zone of familiar (and trusted) company can change one’s perspective, and serve to encourage someone to consider not only a new hobby, but also a tool that can be utilized for their self defense.
Whether you’re enjoying some quality bonding time with your friends or loved ones, challenging yourself through friendly competition, learning about a new gun before making a purchase, or introducing a newcomer to the world of firearms, the experience is sure to be rewarding. So, what are you waiting for? Take a friend to the range.