Get the most out of each class by preparing beforehand.
Your first class in the firearms realm can be intimidating. This is especially true if you are relatively new to guns. You are taking this class to learn a thing or two, so you want to come prepared. Plus, the class involves handhelds explosions generated in dangerous devices, which can be more than a little intimidating. However, there is no reason you can’t succeed, and a little preparation for your first class goes a long way. Here are five steps to help you prep for that first class.
Signing up, inputting your credit card information, reading the Eventbrite page is rarely enough information to be successful. Often the website from the training organization can offer a ton of advice for your first class. Things you might have never thought of. Check the website’s page specific to your class and gleam all the advice possible.
They’ll typically tell you to bring snacks and water since there isn’t any onsite. Maybe you’ll be outdoors and need to bring sunscreen and bug repellant -- little tidbits of information like that you might not have considered. These things can make your first class much more comfortable and enjoyable.
If the class is scheduled for the weekend, it’s wise to check the weather and keep an eye on it throughout the week. Classes rarely get canceled due to some rain, but knowing to pack a poncho or coat is invaluable. Heck, if it’s gonna rain, I’m bringing extra socks and boots as well.
A sudden cold front can make your first class miserable, so being prepared for the unpredictable can be invaluable. The same could be said for a sunny, hot weekend. Being in jeans and a flannel might become miserable. Keep on top of it, and you’ll be well prepared for whatever comes at you. Of course, if the class is at an indoor range, this will be less of an issue.
This one gets its own step because so many new shooters do not recognize the importance of electronic hearing protection. These muffs and plugs utilize microphones that allow you to hear or even amplify normal noises. Yet, when a gun fires or, in general, a noise occurs at a certain high decibel rate, the protection kicks in. It works imperceptibly fast and is extremely convenient.
When you take your first class, these earmuffs become super handy. Part of the class is listening to the instructors speak. Sometimes this happens while guns are going off near you, and as such, you need to hear your instructor. What’s the point of paying them to teach you if you can’t hear what they are teaching?
Plus, they help with range safety. It makes it easy to hear a cease-fire, an unload show clear, so on and so forth. They cost a little extra money but are well worth it.
The night before you go to your class, organize or put together a range bag. A range bag is rather simple, and it’s a dedicated bag for carrying guns, gear ammo, ear and eye protection, and all your other range stuff. It can be a dedicated bag or something as simple as a backpack.
Pack it well before your class, but also ensure it’s organized and easy to retrieve everything from. Packing and organizing everything ensure you have everything ready to go. Additionally, it will keep you from being the one holding the class up as you look for your magazines, holster, or whatever else you may need.
Learning requires you to be mentally alert. Some foundations for mental alertness include being well-rested, well-hydrated, and having a good breakfast. Coming ready to learn requires a good attitude and a willingness to learn. You might be challenged in how you shoot, how you stand, how you hold the gun, and more. As such, you need to have an open mind.
Treat the instructors with respect and give a solid try to everything they teach you. Even if it feels uncomfortable at first, if you’re confused, be willing to ask questions and absorb answers, even if you don’t always like them.
Training is no joke, but it’s plenty of fun. Your first-class might be intimidating, but it will give you the bug to do more and more. Get through that first one, but do it in a way you get the most out of it. Follow the five steps above, and you’ll be ready to rock and roll in no time.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.
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