First Shots: Planning and Staffing Your Event

Staffing Your Event

Hosting a successful event for first-time shooters is fun and rewarding!  You’ll want to have staff or volunteers ready to perform these functions:

  • Welcome/Reception/Sign-in. Remember that most of your event participants have never been in a gun range or shooting facility before and it may seem daunting.  Good directional signage and friendly staff will make your guests feel welcome.
  • Certified Instructor. NSSF requests your First Shots instructor be certified through one of the nationally-recognized programs (such as NRA, IPSC, NSCA, USCCA).  What we often hear is that First Shots quickly becomes everyone’s favorite class to teach, so it is very common that the First Shots instructor is the most experienced at the range.  Classes should be fun, relaxed, informative and safe, and your instructor sets the tone.

“As an instructor / safety officer the most fun by far is the ‘First Shots’ event.  Some students show up with every apprehension and anxiety imaginable, but by the end every student leaves the First Shots experience with confidence, knowledge, and a smile on their face.”

  • Range safety officers. Depending on your range, these may be staff or qualified volunteers.  These officers play a critical role in the safety and enjoyment of the event.  They should be well trained on how to identify safety concerns, how to work with first-time shooters of all ages, and how to provide encouragement in a way that makes the shooter feel like coming back again.  Because the class is comprised of people who will need more assistance, we encourage you to have more than one range safety officer along with the lead instructor to insure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Membership/Course Registration staff. Be prepared to answer questions about your facility.  If you offer memberships, consider a First Shots promotional package.  If you offer additional classes, have someone ready to talk about options.  Encourage your First Shots attendees to use their reward coupon promptly!
How to get started
Schedule Your Event

Handgun & Rifle Ranges – Setting Up Your Shooting Lanes or Firing Line 

Set them up for success!  Your First Shots Host Kit will include enough targets for your class attendees.  We recommend setting them at a distance of no more than 9-15 feet.  This close range offers easy success to the beginner.  And makes for a great souvenir to take home!

Your First Shots Host Kit will include 25 rounds of ammunition per class participant.  The goal of First Shots is to safely and enjoyably introduce consumers to shooting.  Experience tells us 25 rounds is a great place to start.

State and local firearms laws may vary. Check them out before scheduling a First Shots event. Laws, including those concerning who may or may not possess firearms at shooting ranges, vary greatly from state to state — and even may be different from one locality to another within a state. Range owners are advised to verify their ability to host a First Shots event before scheduling one and consult an attorney in their area should they have questions about their state and local firearms laws.


It is a crime in New York State for a person to possess a handgun at a shooting facility unless that person, or circumstances, fall within one of the exemptions provided for by law (See New York Penal Law Section 265.20a.). First Shots 8 is a firearms introductory program for beginners and first-time shooters. It is unlikely, therefore, that a First Shots participant at a range in New York State can lawfully possess a handgun. This notice is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be construed to be, legal advice. New York State range operators are strongly advised to review the applicable sections of the New York Penal Law and consult with an attorney before hosting a First Shots event.

Big Thanks to our First Shots Industry Sponsors for their generous program support and commitment to continued growth in shooting sports participation:

Ammunition Depot logo
Birchwood Casey logo
Pyramex logo
White Flyer Targets logo
Winchester Ammunition logo