how was your first time at the range alone?


January 2, 2006, 07:45 PM
I remember the first time I went to a gun range by myself. I was 18 at the time, the proud owner of a 35 year old Ruger 10/22 beater that I had gotten for $125 with an old weaver scope attached. I'd take painstaking care with the range rules, painstaking care with gun safety, and then - and then - take an eternity between shots, wondering all the while if someone was watching and internally sniffing disapprovingly of my aim, stance, or caliber.

I itched - postively seethed - to rapid fire my 25-round clip, sending rounds everywhere willy-nilly, but forced myself to take two deep breaths, hold one, aim, squeeze the trigger, surprise myself with the break ...

And when I left, I'd nonchalantly cart my paper about, wagging the 3" groups like a new passport amongst the much older, much more estabilished patrons that looked so terribly unlike me and, I feared, took my money with more than a little distate for the likes of me.

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January 2, 2006, 07:48 PM
Well, I grew up in West Texas so I thought "gun range" was anyplace where there were no cows or people.........:evil:

My first trip to an actual organized range was frightening. I had NO IDEA that people actually didn't grow up with a gun in their hands and know all the safety rules instinctively (and through repetetive beatings from grandfathers).

I am still uncomfortable shooting at public ranges unless it's with a group of THR folks here in DFW.

January 2, 2006, 07:57 PM
Mix of great and agravating.

Was me an a mauser model 34 pocket pistol in .32auto.

Being at the range itself was great I have always lover shooting and doing it for hte first time in years was great. Groups weren't much of groups but every round hit the blue guy...somewhere lol. Normally somewhere in the area of the lungs (was my first time with a handgun lol).

But on the agravating side was the gun itself. Total piece of garbage. Every mag had several failures to eject. Fired fine, the thing jsut doesn't feed and eject right. Also the spring which resets the trigger is snapped in it so after each round you have to use your finger and push it back into place.

So good and bad, the range was good itself, but the gun agravated me.

January 2, 2006, 08:11 PM
I was 21 and the gun was a Ruger 22/45 stainless steel with a 5 1/2 inch barrel. I had shot a .22 rifle a few times before with gun inclined friends in their backyards, but nothing structured. It was an out door range. Light rain and high 30's temperture around 10 in the morning. A fairly strong wind that blew right into your face and cut right through my thin jacket never let up. After a few minutes I couldn't feel much of my fingers, and I completely missed the target 60% the time. It was great!:D

The target was an 8 inch steel spinner at 50 yards, so I thought I did pretty darn well.

Ala Dan
January 2, 2006, 08:13 PM
Gosh~! Its been a long time, some 36 years ago; but I remember it well.
I was at the old Lipscomb, AL dump which was frequently used by all
types of handguners. I didn't have much money to spend of firearms
back then, as I was newly married with a wife too support. My first
handgun was an Arminus "Burgo" 8-shot model .22LR with 2-5/8"
barrel; bought NIB at one of the local original K-Mart discount type
stores for the whopping sum of $42.50 OTD. It was heavy, but did
function flawlessly; but I couldn't compete with guys shooting a 3.5"
barrel S&W model 27, or another guy using a Ruger .30 cal carbine
pistol. Targets were placed out 'bout 150 yards downrange, and
were especially made by one of the other gentleman out of air-
craft aluminum stolen from Hayes Aircraft in Birmingham, AL.

When I shot at the target, I could not tell if I hit it or not; with
my gun being a lowly .22LR. But, when the magnum or the carbine
.30 caliber pistol hit it, the target would swing back and forth
between the trees. Boy, I was a happy camper; as I had found
a sport that I enjoyed and was looking forward to purchasing
a larger caliber weapon and coming back for more. That memory
has never vanished, as my weapons inventory grew and I still
cherish my every moment at the range.

Long gone are the days of plinking at the old dump site, as it has
been filled in with discarded trees, old tires, and household trash.
But, I still shoot often using my local police department range.

January 2, 2006, 08:19 PM
Every weekday I go to my pistol club/range I am the only one there (private club, and not a bussiness).

January 2, 2006, 08:23 PM
Despite my utter lack of skill and savvy, not bad.

I had my mom's Nylon 66 (old Remington .22 semi rifle), got to the firing line with a 20yr old box of of my da's ammo, and realized I had no idea how to load the dang thing. So I put it back in its case and took it to the front counter, where the nice lady there showed me how to load the mag.

Took it back to the line, loaded up, racked the bolt, sighted in, pulled the trigger... (crickets chirping). Took me a few seconds to realize that the safety was on. After that things went swimmingly. I must have taken a dozen newbies shooting in the following months, as I learned slightly more about guns and passed my limited knowledge onto others.

I like to think that I've come a long way in six years, after Boot Camp, TBS, time in Iraq, competing in IHMSA and IDPA, and a couple dozen firearms in and out of my closet. I was pretty anti-gun until college, and only got into the whole thing because of libertarian authors. We all have to start somewhere, and I suppose I'm evidence that a newbie can stumble into the light with a little coaching.


January 2, 2006, 08:33 PM
i was 21, with my first handgun, a ruger gp100 4" stainless model. i usually always went to the range with my dad or brother, but i was in a new town, and i had just bought the ruger.

i went through three boxes of .357 and several targets, and left with a huge smile on my face.

January 2, 2006, 08:39 PM
I listened carefully and followed all rules. I only wish all rookies did the same thing. I get freightened at public ranges.:uhoh:

Malone LaVeigh
January 2, 2006, 08:46 PM
I guess it must not have been very traumatic, because I don't remember the occasion. Shooting ranges are about the least fun places to shoot, anyway.

January 2, 2006, 08:51 PM
My first time by myself was just before the GCA of 1968. I was sixteen and had bought my first handgun, a Ruger MK I 6" for about $40 at our local hardware/gun store. I don't remember clearly, but I think the store owner said something about having my Dad stop in sometime to sign for it. The owner was kind of a surrogate grandfather who had taken me hunting and fishing several times. I went down to his property by the Elkhorn River and used a stump in the middle of a pond for a target. Spent all afternoon enjoying my first gun. Had a headache for three days. Earplugs? Never heard of 'em! (Til I discovered a secondary use for cigarette filters.)

I had a key to that property all through HS and had the owner's permission to use it anytime. "Down past the cornfields where the woods got heavy" describes it to a "T". Everytime I hear "Night Moves" by Bob Seger I think about fun times there. Guns, girls.....Ahhh!

January 2, 2006, 09:03 PM
I would not know because I have not gone by myself to the range... yet. It will probably be awhile before I get to go by myself since I need to get a gun. The times I have gone with friends it has been great. I think though I will always prefer going with friends even when I get to start going by myself. I like the feedback and discussions that happen when shooting with friends.


January 2, 2006, 09:13 PM
I have yet to go by myself as well. As I've only been shooting at the range for about 4 weeks, and I always go with a friend (and my Walther p22).

The people who work at my range are SO friendly, though, I would definitely go by myself. I think they don't see young women very often, because, man, they treat us like queens there! And they are so helpful, because I do alot of stupid (not unsafe, just generally with the safety...) stuff and they never make fun of me!! :)

Who knew there were super friendly people in NoVA? ;)

January 2, 2006, 10:44 PM
Grew up in the West with wide open places cant remember shooting my first gun. Dad had all I needed rifles, shotguns, handguns. Bought my first 54cal Black Powder rifle when I was 12 had my mother fill out all the paper work for my first 357 when I was 16. Converted to auto's when I was 21 and got into combat shooting when I was 21. Bought my first AR when I was 21:D .

January 2, 2006, 10:47 PM
The first time I was on an actual range, there were several very loud men in campaign covers watching and reminding me everytime I moved incorrectly. Up to and including every wrongly timed breath. Had a great time! :D

The first time I was on a public range alone, I was much more nervous.



January 2, 2006, 11:03 PM
The first range I ever shot at was the rifle range at Camp Pendleton,
California. I grew up in southern New Mexico, and varmint hunting
with a .22 rifle or shotgun started young and came naturally back
then and there.
I thought it was pretty darned decent of the Marine Corps to give us
a marked-distance range to shoot on, with people to paste and mark
our targets. Especially out at the 500 meter range. I had never tried
to shoot that far, but hey, they (the instructors) told me to go for it,
so what the heck.
It's nice to know that in a pinch, with a good rifle and the right ammo,
a target 500 meters out is not untouchable.


Wllm. Legrand
January 2, 2006, 11:42 PM
Reminds me of that line by Rodney Dangerfield, "I remember the first time I had sex...I was so alone..."

Indoor range. First time with a new S&W Mod. 19. Boxes of ammo.

Guy next to me (older, wiser) says, "HEY! .....DUMMY!"

Well, maybe he didn't say "dummy" but the intonation in his voice was clear.

He was an instructor for the county sheriff's department. He taught me about anticipated recoil, flinch, etc. Showed me to load staggered chambers (load one, skip one or two, load two), spin the cylinder, close the action and fire double action ONLY. That's how a revolver is designed to be shot, unless you're hunting or the like. That's how you become aware of your flinching habits and you can--through pure power of will--overcome it. Kind of like something Nietzche would suggest.

Humility is a good thing. Once I accepted it, I went on to become the legend that I am today.;)

January 2, 2006, 11:45 PM
I have never been to a public range - I work for the sheriffs office and have a key to their private range. I much prefer to be out there by myself then with a group of people. Its not much but 5 lanes, 50 yards with a decent target setup.

January 2, 2006, 11:49 PM
I just remember being much more mindful of the safety rules and the tips I had learned, because there was no one there to correct me if I did anything wrong, and the consequences of an error could mean anything from my public humiliation and banishment from the range to someone getting hurt or killed.

I don't think I ever got to the point where I feel like I can just slide in and relax. I'm always very aware of my environment at the range, what is expected of me, and I find myself very agitated with the people who don't follow the rules (even the very stupid ones that I personally disagree with but follow to the letter anyway).

January 3, 2006, 12:23 AM
My experience mirrors TexasSIGman. We had 650+ acres of farmland in Arkansas, which made for lots of room to shoot if you wanted. I didn't really think anything of it.

The first time at an indoor range was kind of intimidating. I'd never shot handguns beyond .22's, and the guys at the range weren't too gentle with me. Still, I had enough fun that I kept going back.


January 3, 2006, 12:51 AM
My first time alone I was having a good time. I thought I was a good shot until a group of old guys walked in with some fancy nickel plated revolvers. They looked really expensive. I was shooting my XD-40 with a human sized target. One of the old guys that walked in set up right next to me, while the others started playing cards in the main store, where there where tables. I looked at him and thought to myself this old guy prob wasn't going to be that good. Well he put up the smallest target the place had. He looked over and said hello; looked at my XD and asked me if it was my first time. ***? So I said yea. Well he put the target at the 32 ft mark, fired six rounds, retracted it... The old mofo put all six shots withing an inch of the bullleye, with 2, or 3 right in the bullseye. I was looking at this old guy in disbelief.

He then walks back to the main lobby after just six shots and plays a game of cards with the rest of them. ***? Then after I was done, he comes in ask asked me for the empty shell casings. :what:

January 3, 2006, 02:14 AM
Well, I grew up in West Texas so I thought "gun range" was anyplace where there were no cows or people.........:evil:

Grrrr! Lucky.....

Stiletto Null
January 3, 2006, 12:03 PM
I had a great time. Being a student, with the FUBAR schedule entailed, I found myself all alone in the pistol bay, sometime like 2:00pm. I think it was a Wednesday.

Spent some time with a .22, spent some time with a .40 (USP), headshots all day at 7yds.

And by headshots, I mean "a little over half of the holes at least grazed the black". (I was, and am, a lousy shot.) But it was fun. :D

January 3, 2006, 04:09 PM
I really can't remember. I've been going to shooting ranges all my life, my father probably started taking me along from I was four or so, at which point I had been shooting (under very close supervision) for a couple of years at my grandparents' farms. Shooting ranges have never been a mystery, I guess the first time alone wasn't such a big deal.

I don't even remember the first time I pulled range master duty. It was a trap range, I was 18 or 19 at the time, but I don't specifically remember the first time. I do remember it was a challenge to bring my teenage authority to bear on a bunch of know-it-all geezers three times my age. :)

January 3, 2006, 04:14 PM
I didn't care really. I was feeling a little out of place with 10 people shooting next to me, but I loaded it up and unleashed it downrange. Who cares what others think.

beaucoup ammo
January 3, 2006, 04:52 PM
It was the summer of '65 at the RockPort-Fulton city dump adjacent to Goose Island State Park in Texas.

We were fresh out of high school, loaded with an assortment of our Dad's guns..and half of us headed for Nam.

We blasted away with a variety of rifles and handguns til the city crew ran us off right at dark!

It was one of my best days ever!

Take Care

Andrew S
January 3, 2006, 04:57 PM
I listened carefully and followed all rules. I only wish all rookies did the same thing. I get freightened at public ranges.:uhoh:

Me too. I just went to this range for the first time and they have you fill out a paper saying you wont do certain things. You read through and write the actual word that is under the line into the sentance. When I started the person who worked their said "Finally someone who can follow instructions." Made me pretty worried going into a new range and hearing that. However, the place was real nice and aside from being pretty busy I enjoyed the visit. Just as we were leaving though there was someone next to us rapid firing. It is clearly written on the paper you fill out, mentioned by the range attendant, and written on each piece of cardboard that you staple your targets to that you must pause 2 seconds between each. I was glad he showed up as we were leaving.

Cousin Mike
January 3, 2006, 05:13 PM
I grew up (and live in) Columbus - decent sized city of about 800,000 or so. We never had guns in my house growing up, no one in my family had guns that they ever spoke of, and my mom wouldn't buy me toy guns. When I was 12, a family friend took me out to the country to go shooting with his new .38 snubbie and a couple of old scatterguns, and that was it. I couldn't wait to turn 21 :D

My first time at an indoor range was shortly after I bought my first pistol, a Hi-Point .380, soon after my 21st birthday. I had heard about a local range that my friends at work liked to frequent and decided to check it out. I was sort of intimidated at the thought of going shooting by myself there for quite a few reasons, first being that this particular range wasn't in the city. I just knew that my baggy jeans and whatnot were going to earn me quite a few dirty looks. Imagine my surprise when that turned out not to be the case. Nobody gave me a second glance unless it was to smile and say hello.

I had a lot of fun. I got some great advice from people I thought would never even speak to me. At first I did the same thing I thought everyone did. I put my target out to the maximum 50 feet, and just dumped my whole magazine at the target. I cringe now at the thought of actually having done that, but that's what happened. :p

2 older shooters came over and introduced themselves, and seemed intrigued by my "big little pistol" and shooting technique :D They were really friendly, and gave me lots of advice on sighting, target acquisition, shooting, flinching, the whole nine. The whole experience was great, and a wonderful introduction to the sport IMO. Now I go to a different range with more rules, but I like lots of safety rules. I didn't learn until later (and still can't understand) how careless some people can be with guns, which is the only thing that's made me uncomfortable in future trips. I wish I had more opportunities to do some shooting outdoors, but indoor pistol ranges are okay.

January 3, 2006, 05:14 PM
It was last month.
Outdoor range.
Overcast day.
I was all alone all day. Just as I was cleaning up another shooter arrived.
I was able to shoot how and when I wanted with no waiting, and without having to worry about safety issues concerning others.:D :D :D

January 3, 2006, 06:08 PM
trying to remember...i was such a noob with guns. knew the rules from lurking on TFL, and i paid very very close attention to how other shooters behaved. i figured i didnt want to do anything they didnt do.

over the years now, i am surprised how many shooters dont go to the range because they have no one to go with. it doesnt have to be a group event. i can spend a day at the range all by myself and have fun. course, now that everyone who works and shoots at the range knows me, its kinda tough to get a few minutes of solitude.

January 3, 2006, 06:10 PM
it was yesterday. The hunters were not out and I had the range to my self. Shot the S&W M-19 for the first time. Lots of fun, and the echoes of the .377s coming back from across the pond were cool. I shot the Para 13/45 better. and enjoyed chasing a tennis ball with the High Standard .22.
Very nice not having to wait for others to check target, no prohibitions about rapid fire. Even hit the target from 50 yds wo a rest.
I would load mags or .357, but not insert mags, or close cylinder until I was at firing line. If a target fell off, I would drop mag, rack, retrieve cartidge and go fix it in slide lock.
Looking forward to a repeat.

January 3, 2006, 06:29 PM
I felt very lonely
But had a blast lettin em fly !!!!!!!!!!!
enjoy more to go with someone but will do it alone if thats all there is

January 4, 2006, 12:57 AM
No air-conditioning.

It was hot.

I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn until I learned how the sights lined up, and by that time I was outta ammo and the recoil left my hand sore for the next two days. If I wasn't so nervous, I'd have loved it. The second time was just like that, but with more heat and less recoil (WWB) and I got used to the sights quicker.

Third time's a charm :D SP-101, Ruger Mk.2 and 10/22. It was winter, and it was air-conditioned, and I was double-plugged. I had a blast.

January 4, 2006, 02:57 AM
I went the first time on my own right after I got out of the Corps about a year ago. It wasn't bad at all, I went to a friendly range (Where they -gasp- let you rapid fire,) and had a good time. I go there almost exclusively now, (For indoor anyway.) I go during the day, because it is less crowded.

Prior to that I always had a buddy or family member to go with.

January 4, 2006, 03:34 AM
First time by myself at the range? A couple of years ago. I was in Texas to see a dermatologist and had an afternoon to use up, so I found a range not too far away, drove over and shot. Miserably! Could hardly put 'em on the paper. I don't know why, maybe I needed my hubby?

With his encoragement, I've gotten better. Even when shooting by myself. (It's still more fun to go shooting with him).

The range itself[1] was nice, indoor but a lot bigger than the one I usually shoot at[2]. Different (stricter) rules, too. Until that experience, I had not realized that some "cold" ranges were colder than others.


1. The Bullet Trap, in Plano, Texas
2. Pop Guns, Indianapolis. Tell Mike and Terry I said to say Hi!

January 4, 2006, 05:02 AM
Similar TexasSIGman and grimjaw, the only two rules I had at the "range" were, "Don't shoot at people and don't shoot at the livestock - and that includes the chickens. You hear me, boy?"

That was more years ago than I care to remember. Nowadays, going to the range is usually a family affair. I love teaching my son how to shoot and hunt...but I miss those high lonesome Blue Ridge days by myself.


January 4, 2006, 11:27 AM
I can't remember that far back....but I know it was fun!:cool:

January 4, 2006, 05:23 PM
I hate shooting ranges, too many idiots out there. If you've ever been to a range anywhere in kali you'll know what I mean when I say I can see how accidents happen with firearms. I try to stay on my own as much as possible.
My first time alone at a real range was similar to the original posters. I was young, wanted to shoot quick, and worried entirely too much about what others were thinking. I had previously gotten yelled at plenty of times regarding safe firearms handling, so it saved me from the rangemaster.


A side note about the rapid fire thing. At the local indoor range one of the rules in FINE print says no rapid fire. One day I saw an emplyoee shooting very quickly so what the heck right? I tried it myself... nothing happened. Tried it agian... nothing. Everytime I go there I usally empty a few pistol mags rapid fire, I've yet to hear a word about it from the employees or owners of the range. Is this one of those things where they have to say its a "rule" but they really dont feel the need to enforce it? or what...? Is this one of those "depends on the user" rules?

January 4, 2006, 05:41 PM
Well, a bit scared, didnt want to embarrase myself...but it didnt make a difference...the guy next to me was shooting a modified mauser. this thing was so loud that it made me forget I was a newbie and it also made my freaken stomach hurt..

January 4, 2006, 07:39 PM
My 1st time ALONE at the range was great. I learned a good lesson. If you want to go to the range to have fun, go with friends.

If you want to go to the range to sight in, chrono or test guns, go alone. You get more done.

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