August is NSSF National Shooting Sports Month
There are history, heritage, and pride months galore. At last, there is a month for the untold number of us who share a passion for the freedom, tradition, and just plain fun of the shooting sports.For those of us who shoot already, we know what we like about taking aim at targets, whether metal silhouettes, paper bullsyeyes, or those challenging little discs that appear suddenly on the trap and skeet field when we say the magic word, “Pull!” We also know that we want our sport to expand and to be better understood by the world around us; and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association of the firearms industry, has named this August the second annual National Shooting Sports Month, making this the perfect opportunity to put our best foot forward as shooters.
Right now, according to the NSSF, 24 million Americans are ready and willing to try target shooting, if someone, meaning you and me, will take the time to introduce them to the sport. For those new to the shooting, there is literally a game for everyone, dozens of different ones to choose from.
Maybe it isn’t officially recognized as a sport, but plinking is the way almost all of us learned our love of shooting. Done responsibly and safely, under the supervision of an experienced shooter, plinking is the no-pain way of learning the fundamentals of firearms handling–and about the most fun you can have for the price of a box of 22 Long Rifle cartridges, or even a few pumps on an air gun.
From there, some of the most enjoyment, even with its share of frustration (of the learning kind), is to be found in the shotgun disciplines, whether trap, skeet, or the great game of sporting clays in which there is never a dull moment. There is no telling, then, where a growing interest in shooting may lead–action pistol, cowboy action, long-range target shooting, three-gun competition? And that’s only scratching the surface.
As NSSF President and CEO, Steve Sanetti says, “The shooting sports truly offer something for everyone.” And it isn’t just about the practice. “A day at the range,” he continues, “gives people an opportunity to tune out distractions, learn a new skill, socialize, and share their experiences.”
If you’re looking for information or ideas about introducing newcomers–whether family, friends, co-workers, or those you may be mentoring in other ways, man, woman, or child–look to the NSSF’s new website, LetsGoShooting.org. There you can find ranges and retailers closeby, sales and shooting events in conjuntion with the month, even print up targets and watch valuable instructional videos. And while you’re on the site, take a minute to sign up for the Trigger Time Sweepstakes and the chance to score some fantastic shooting gear.
Among those millions interested in learning to shoot are representing every race, creed, sex, or social group; you may be surprised at all the different kinds of people who want to know more about using firearms.
Zach Snow, Director of Shooting Range Services for the NSSF, puts it this way: “One of the many people interested in trying target shooting may well be a member of your family–a daughter, son or spouse–or a friend just waiting for you to ask them to spend a day at the range.” Zach’s advice? “Extend that invitation–you’ll be glad you did.”
If you are someone waiting for an invitation, and haven’t received one, don’t hesitate to take the plunge on your own by visiting your nearest shooting range. They always welcome newcomers, and more often than not they can start you off with safe, supervised instruction in whatever kind of shooting strikes your fancy. Many times, you don’t even need to own a firearm–yet. Beware, though. Shooting will only lead to more shooting, and a lifetime of enjoyment and excitement. Finally, be sure to share your shooting stories and your thoughts for making our sport even more appealing to others at hashtag #LetsGoShooting on social media. May I reiterate: An experienced shooting instructor is invaluable for not only helping to determine your dominant eye, but also identifying any bad habits and course-correcting to make you an even more proficient shooter.
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