I LOVE guns. Researching old military firearms, checking out the newest gear, scouring the internet to find surplus ammunition. I even love going over ballistics data and, of course, going to the range to train. If I love shooting so much, why is it that something I’m so passionate about can sometimes be draining and tedious? I’ve left the range feeling like a beginner not worthy of the fantastic weapons I’ve spent decades acquiring.
I realized that in some ways, shooting at the range wasn’t as satisfying as it should be. It was perplexing but I’m not alone in my thinking. The other people I shoot with expressed the same thoughts. Sometimes we just come away feeling more frustrated than satisfied. My friends that I’ve talked about this with and I have come up with a few ideas and gleaned others from bloggers and trainers we read and follow. Here’s what we think makes training fun:
1. Don’t beat it to death.
It’s often the case that we shoot fantastic right when we get to the range. We’re happy to be there, we’ve been looking forward to it and it’s fun. We remember our good technique and we’re hitting tight groups with consistency. But as we stay longer and get tired we start to miss a few. The common mistake is to “double down” and just keep burning ammo. But this is usually to no avail. The more you miss the more you just keep grinding away. Don’t do it. Take a break instead. Have some coffee. Chat with your shooting buddies. Keep it light and fun.
2.Don’t bring every gun in the safe.
I get excited like a kid on Christmas when I know I can make plans to go to the range. When I finally get time off and can arrange to go I want to shoot every gun I own. Don’t do it. Our rule is, if you have a gun for concealed carry training and you are going to the range because you want to stay sharp with your EDC, just take that gun. If you are planning a trip to the range just for the sake of enjoying your guns, I suggest taking two rifles and two handguns, max. It’s too hard to really train and be competent with a buffet of guns. And it’s too tempting to just keep switching back and forth. Each gun has a different sight picture and it feels, handles, and fires and moves differently. Even the same make! It’s impossible to work on consistency with six different guns. It’s better to be really good with one than mediocre with a bunch. Not to mention cleaning that many guns can become quite a chore.
3. Shoot more frequently for less time.
If you only shoot three to four times a year for eight hours one day each time, you spend most of that time reacquainting yourself with your weapons. That is unacceptable if you carry defensively and frustrating if you just like shooting. You must train frequently and be ready. To know without fail you can operate your chosen weapon as if lives depend on it. Someday they actually could. To beat this training problem, we suggest scheduling shorter range visits of an hour or so, and go more frequently. You’ll be done before you get tired and frustrated. You’ll leave looking forward to the next visit. And you’ll be more focused on the gun you brought and train more effectively. Have fun and train safe!