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June 5, 2020

National Shooting Sports Month 2020 Event Insider No. 1: Hosting First Shots Events

August is National Shooting Sports Month®, and as states reopen firearm owners will be looking to your range for some much-needed recreation. Because ranges will be operating under various restrictions across the country, to help you attract these potential new customers, we’ll be posting a series of tips and ideas that can make any event you choose to host in August a success.

First up is NSSF’s FirstShots® introductory handgun sessions. These events are intended to be small, generally just 10 to 15 participants, to provide a highly personal experience to each person taking their first shots. But what do you do if social distancing won’t accommodate that many people in your classroom and on your range?

  • Reduce your class size to three or five people and run more classes. If you’ve roped off every other lane to adhere to social distancing restrictions, smaller First Shots events can be held while still allowing regular customers to practice.
  • Consider holding First Shots classes before or after normal business hours in order to maximize available range time for your range members and walk-in customers when you’re regularly open. If you normally close one day a week, consider dedicating that day to running First Shots events during August (and beyond!)
  • Need to implement a waiting list for August First Shots events? (Our experienced First Shots host ranges tell us that happens all the time!) Issue rainchecks for future fall classes. To offset the inconvenience, including a discount voucher on ammunition or next-level training after they do take their First Shots class can be a winning marketing strategy.

NSSF® provides several incentives to minimize the cost of hosting First Shots events. These include classroom materials, hearing and eye protection, targets and ammunition, and when your participants complete a survey at the end of their session, they receive a $25 reward coupon to your store to encourage return visits and additional instruction.

First Shots is just one way to promote National Shooting Sports Month. No matter what event you choose to hold:

  1. Visit our COVID-19 resources page to learn about evolving best practices for your business.NSSF members should also log in to SHOT University Online to access a number of new courses related to operating in the COVID-19 era (and remember, those courses are free for NSSF members).
  2. Build out your plans for matches, promotions, charity shoots—anything to get people excited about shooting—and list them on the national events calendar at When you do, NSSF will send you our 2020 promotional package of T-shirts, ball caps and other items to use as giveaways and prizes.

National Shooting Sports Month events don’t have to attract hundreds to be successful! Think small, think personal and build customer loyalty that lasts throughout the year.

For more information and ideas on how you can participate in August’s celebration of the shooting sports, contact Ann Gamauf, NSSF Retail & Range Business Development Coordinator at or 203- 426-1320 ext. 247.

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