Tips from First Shots Host Ranges
Alleviate the Anxiety Around Shooting
- The First Shots program works, thanks to a combination of classroom and range activity that offers the participants an opportunity to eliminate any anxieties and perform shooting activities at a level beyond what they thought possible.
For First Shots Clay Targets, consider having participants fire out over the course before launching a clay, just to get the feel of the shotgun’s pressure on their shoulder. New shooters are often concerned it will “hurt” so taking an easy shot first, before introducing the target, will reduce their anxiety.
Sell Future Events – Keep Them Coming Back!
- Be sure to have flyers for all your classes available to the staff. Consider a special discount rate in both classes and memberships good that day only for participants. Work with your retail staff members on the selling of those next-step classes and memberships to your range. I would even consider having a class signup and membership sales area positioned away from the gun counters or within the classroom area, so that those sales can proceed uninterrupted and so that those new shooters get the personal attention they want and need.
Let the Excitement Build as Your Shooters Improve
- I worked primarily with handguns in my First Shots events (though you can also hold them for rifles and shotguns). In my handgun events, I initially position targets at the nine-foot range. Once everyone has shown and seen they have the ability to shoot their .22-caliber handgun to a one-inch group, I’ll move the targets further downrange. This lets excitement about their performance build, as they will soon be hitting the target very accurately at distance. This level of accuracy will be almost impossible to achieve universally among the shooters if you skip the nine-foot target engagement.
For First Shots Clay Targets, be sure to set your students up for success. It’s not about keeping score – it’s about breaking clays!
Make it a Fun and Relaxing Experience
- We block off a chunk of range so we can take them in, and they all shoot .22s, so there is very little recoil, there’s not a lot of noise. I think that the main hesitation of people coming in is that they’re just afraid of what they don’t know. They have their own preconceptions, and many of those are just not true. They come in, they take the class, they go on the range and they walk away having had fun with a smile on their face.
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