NSSF is the trade association for America's firearms industry.
Our mission: To promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.
NSSF is the trade association for America's firearms industry.
Our mission: To promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.
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Targething Finds Success with First Shots and Second Round

First Shots' greatest value may be in reaching women

First Shots Second Round

Though First Shots is open to both genders, Amanda Suffecool, vice president at Targething, has discovered that First Shots' greatest value may be in reaching women.

"Teach a woman to shoot, and you get the whole family," she said.

In the three years that the retail and range facility on 106 acres in Garrettsville, Ohio, has been participating in First Shots and, more recently, First Shots Second Round, recruitment of new shooters--and customers--of both genders has been a rousing success.

"We run a First Shots program about every two months," Suffecool said. "The smallest event we ever held had only three or four people. The largest had 38. That larger number may be more than most ranges can handle--it was a challenge for us, too--but we don't like to cap our signup, because some people might not later show up for the event, costing someone who would have been on the waiting list a spot."

As with all First Shots events, Targething splits its program into a classroom session and a live-fire session under close supervision. Suffecool feels that the first part of the program, in the classroom, is vitally important to the day being a success for both the host and the newcomer.

"We talk to the gathering not only as a group but also as individuals. Once we can find out why each one is there, we can address our attention to their individual needs," she said. "That puts them at ease and tailors the experience for each shooter."

Suffecool says she sees many of the participants return to the range or retail store.

"They buy firearms, they go to the range and they take training."

Targething held its first Second Round event in mid-May. At each shooting bench, it had two handguns of the same caliber, and visitors could buy a small bag of ammunition for that caliber for $5.

"One of the pair of guns was ultralight, designed for concealed carry; the other, a larger-frame model designed to absorb the kick," Suffecool explained. "This way the participants could get a feel for the options in one caliber, and for each bag of ammo they bought, they could try several firearms, and then for another A$5 bag of ammo they could try other calibers."

Just three weeks later, what kind of results had Targething experienced?

"All have come back. One bought a gun, and one signed up for instruction. That's not bad," she said with a bit of a giggle.

Any advice for ranges that have not yet hosted a First Shots or First Shots Second Round event?

"Dive in and do it," Suffecool said. "It's very much worthwhile. It costs the range virtually nothing, so there's nothing to lose. Remember to talk to the participants not only as a group, but as individuals, too. You'll make them feel at ease and really be able to address their needs."

Learn more about hosting a First Shots or First Shots Second Round event at nssf.org/FirstShots/RangeOwners or contact First Shots Manger Tisma Juett at tjuett@nssf.org.