Does your club have any new shooter programs?


October 5, 2005, 10:50 PM
If you're a member of a club, does your club have any established programs for introducing new shooters to the sport? I’m not talking about just saying, “New shooters are always welcome,” but some somewhat formalized instruction offered at a designated time that is advertised to non-shooters?

My club has several programs. The club works with the 4-H and Boy Scouts to introduce youth to the sport. We try to support youth shooting through instruction and through support by providing loaner rifles and .22 ammo. I don’t volunteer with these programs because both 4-H and Boy Scout rules require that instruction be provided by NRA Certified Rifle Instructors. Since I only have the Pistol certificate, I can’t help out. (They have more then enough “gofers” as it is)

The program I work with is our “Ladies Handgun 101” nights. We do about four of these a year on Tuesday nights. We reserve the pistol range and offer free instruction (ammo and loaner guns included) to any woman who wants to learn the basics of handgun shooting. We have a group of 4 or 5 of us who provide the instruction, including a NRA certified instructor (me) and a Bullseye shooter who took Top Woman Shooter at Camp Perry last year. We explain the basic safety rules and then go over the fundamentals before having the students shoot. We start with .22 pistols and revolvers, but also have 9mm pistols and .38 revolvers for students to try. We’ll also help students learn more about their own guns if they bring a gun.

We’ve found that it works well to schedule a “Ladies Night” on the same evening as one of the youth program. We’ll usually get a couple women who’ve dropped of their kids for the youth shoot and spend the time shooting with us instead of waiting at the mall. Most of them aren’t shooters themselves, but I think we’ve got a couple hooked.

The club also does a all day women’s shoot on a Saturday in the summer. This allows women to try handgun, rifle, and shotgun. I haven’t volunteered for that yet as it seems like I always have a scheduling conflict.

We’re fortunate that our club BoD supports these efforts. The club pays for the ammo, targets, etc. The instructors loan out their own guns and donate their time.

If you are a memeber of a club, what new shooter programs does your club offer? If you don’t know, find out. If your club doesn’t offer any, try to start a program. Find a couple of other people to help you, develop a basic plan for what you’ll teach and how, and then make a proposal to your club board of directors. It could be a kids program, a ladies night, a general “New Shooters Night” or something else. We don’t have to do all this by ourselves. Get your clubs involved.

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Standing Wolf
October 5, 2005, 11:07 PM
We generally shake hands with newbies.

Doesn't sound very enthusiastic, does it? Well, yeah, but we're a bunch of old time bullseye shooters. The median age is probably somewhere between 55 and 60. The way we spot newbies is to note the condition of their large black gun boxes: if it's only halfway battered apart, it probably belongs to a newbie who's been shooting bullseye no longer than 15 or 20 years. We keep a pretty close eye on them. If we catch them cleaning their guns too darned often, we take them aside for the little heart-to-heart chat about not showing up the old timers who've been muttering over 9s since Moby Dick was a minnow.

October 5, 2005, 11:49 PM
Well, the gun club here is mostly retired or semi-retired folks who've been shooting and hunting and what all for years. Me, I'm 31 years old and they've been real accomodating and real helpful. I've learned stuff from them that really helped my shooting ability.

New shooter programs- they have 'em. Women On Target is always said to be a blast for the participants. The director says she sees ladies who don't want to put the gun down when it's over.

4H and Boy Scouts get worked with too, but unfortunately with limited success. Kids around here who've never held a gun don't learn because they don't want to pratice. The club president says "they've never been camping, fishing, hunting, and never fired a gun, but they can play the hell out of a video game." This ain't good at all.

:cool: The most promising thing I've seen lately was my step nephew with a pellet gun in my yard- never did anything unsafe or just plain stupid and put most of his 25rds in the 1" black at 15yds. And that was his first session. :D I think my sister and brother-in-law may have some trepidation with the thought of this kid with an M1 Garand though. :p

October 5, 2005, 11:51 PM
One of the clubs I belong to sponsors a week-long "Shooting Sports Camp," each summer. Campers learn gun safety, rifle and pistol shooting, and compete in matches with each. At the end of the week they get to shoot trap after the cookout. Parents and grandparents are invited to the Friday night festivites.

The club also sponsors a Youth Pistol Team which goes to Perry. Those kids aren't beginners by the time they go to Perry, however.

The club holds a Turkey Shoot on the last Sunday in September each year. There are kids events and first timers often shoot there.

There have been programs for women who want to learn to shoot in the past, but I don't know if they've been offered recently.

October 6, 2005, 12:15 AM
It would be difficult to beat Standing Wolf's response, especially since I rarely hit the bullseye. We sposor ~ 6 - 8 Women on Target events a year and have a Juniors program. Our WOT co-ordinator won the NRA Marion Hammer award last year.

We need more new shooters.

Standing Wolf
October 6, 2005, 12:43 AM
We need more new shooters.

In all seriousness: we definitely need more new shooters.

The bullseye club I mentioned humorously above has a roster with 15 or 20 names on it. Five of us showed up this evening. Four showed up last evening. We see the occasional new member; on the whole, however, it's the same core group of six or eight of us week in and week out.

Obviously, N.R.A. bullseye shooting doesn't attract younger shooters the way I.D.P.A. and I.P.S.C. do, but we're definitely not replenishing the ranks.

October 6, 2005, 12:53 AM
It's been discussed among the members at my club's range that Cowboy Action Shooting is the fastest growing sport in the shooting sports. The reason is that it attracts and welcomes whole families to go out shooting together.

October 6, 2005, 07:41 AM
I've helped organise a couple of range open days with radio advertising and 30,000 flyers dropped in local letter boxes. We had 1300 participants at the first one and 700 plus at the second.

At a guess the two most active clubs on the range (the ones that organised the events) received around 150 new members between themover the last 12 months.

We also have a three month temporary membership system to put newbies through IPSC training, so they can 'try before they buy', ie pay club and association affilations, apply for a licence and purchase their own equipment.

Enthusiasm, organised shoots and a friendly atmosphere are all needed to keep people coming back.

October 6, 2005, 07:47 AM
As for CAS being the fastest growing, I doubt that. Here in Australia I've been told there are fewer than 300 members and it has been in operation for a number of years. From reading TFL, Glocktalk, Berettaforum, THR & S&W forum, I would say IDPA & USPSA PD are the two that attract the most interest, at least from the gun minded.
I tried to get CAS going at my home range complex, there was zero interest. IPSC continues to grow however.

ICORE seems to be attracting a few new members down here, but not as much as IPSC.


October 6, 2005, 09:32 AM
My club has hunter safety, womens classes, intro pistol, and rifle classes. Also, we have programs for the scouts as well as ROTC.

October 6, 2005, 09:58 AM
Hang out with old guys. We know stuff.


October 6, 2005, 10:14 AM
As for CAS being the fastest growing, I doubt that. Here in Australia...

That "Here in Australia" just told the difference. The US is covered up in CAS and CMSA (mounted shooting) and everything else. CAS is the biggest here.

October 6, 2005, 11:38 AM
Rob, I saw this thread and started to think of what my club offers and quickly figured out that we belong to the same club (CCRC). If you ever need any help, send me a message (I am an NRA Instructor, too).

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