Forming a Shooting Group

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Marlin, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

    Interesting advice from today's Sierra Times.

    How to Form a Shooting Group
    [font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1]Jennifer Freeman[/size][/font]​

    [font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=-1]Forming a shooting group is an easy way to meet and establish positive relationships with people. All you really need is a few friends or relatives who want to participate and you've got a group! If you've just purchased a firearm, or if firearm ownership is a bit of an enigma in your social circles, you may want to start on your own from scratch. Either way, if you have a positive outlook and can make a connection with other interested parties, you should be able to form a great group! BEFORE you even think about forming a group, you need to well versed in the following three things:

    * Safety * Safety * Safety

    It is imperative that you practice, preach, and teach firearm safety during every event. If you are unskilled in this area, it is highly recommended that you take a firearm safety course. You may even want to become a safety instructor.

    YOU CAN HELP the success of your group by having a vision of it including such details as:

    1. Who will attend, 2. What kind of firearms will be used, 3. Where you will shoot, 4. Personalizing your group, 5. Advertising your group, 6. Additional tips, 7. Opening night.

    Who will attend?

    The mood of your group will largely be dictated by the type of people who attend. For example you may wish to form a group for:

    * Women only, men only, couples only, families, or anyone can attend. * Retired people, working professionals, business owners, 4-H, Boy Scouts, or anyone can attend. * Experienced shooters, new shooters, or both.

    Be sure to have a talk on safe firearm handling prior to beginning each event.

    What kind of firearms will be used and in what capacity?

    * Standard handgun target shooting at an indoor range, * Standard target shooting with handguns and/or rifles at an outdoor range, * Competitive shooting, * Hunting group, * Other.

    It would be a good idea to have one or more designated safety officers in each group. The safety officer's responsibility is to watch others to ensure that all safe handling rules are being follwed at all times. The safety officer can order a halt to all shooting activities if he or she feels the need to review safe handling practices.

    Where would you like to shoot?

    It's probably a good idea, at least in the beginning, to pick a location and stick with it until your group decides on a different location. Or perhaps, your group will choose to rotate locations in order to be convenient for all participants.

    Shooting ranges typically advertise in the yellow pages of the phone book. You may want to pick a range that does not require all shooters to be members of the range. This will help non-shooters and novices who are still getting their feet wet and aren't ready for the commitment to a membership. On the other hand, if you prefer an experienced group of competitive shooters, it might be no problem to select a members-only range.

    When will you shoot?

    A successful shooting group will likely meet on a consistent basis, whether it's once a week, twice a month, once a month, or once per quarter. Depending upon the frequency of your events, you may be find that your attendance varies based on the schedules of your participants.

    It's a good idea to check with your selected range prior to committing to a day and time. Some ranges have Ladies' Day where women do not have to pay range fees. Some ranges have competition nights. Some may tell you that Fridays are very crowded, whereas Wednesdays are usually pretty good. And so on.

    Personalizing your group

    There are a number of things you can do to make your group stand out and become a social happening that will attract others. Some suggestions are:

    * Come up with a catchy name for your group. * Have a potluck and shoot. It would be a good idea to get permission from the Range owner or manager. They might even be able to provide a spare table for the food. * Everyone in your group can become Certified Firearm Instructors together and provide occasional complimentary instruction at your range. * Your group can attend Tactical Self-Defense courses together. * Your group can be a shooting and activist group wherein everyone agrees on one activity and completes that activity between meetings. It could be as easy as writing letters and making phone calls. Or it could be more complex such as establishing the Eddie Eagle safety program at local public schools.

    Remember to review the rules of safety and to designate one or more safe handling officers. The safety officers may elect to wear a brightly colored hat or shirt in order to be easily recognized. You may want to have your entire group attend a firearm safety course together, as well.

    Advertising your group

    Methods of advertising your group may vary depending on your geographic location and the regional attitude toward firearms in that location. In some cases it may be better not to advertise or to limit the amount of information in your advertisement. You may also choose to form your group based on invitation only. Listed below are a few advertising examples:

    * Westside Shooters welcomes new participants at LAX Range every Wednesday at 7 PM. No charge except for range fees. For additional information contact Elsie at or call the LAX Range at (310) 568-1515.

    * Glock Girls Shooting Group meets second Saturday of every month at the Bullet Hole in San Antonio. 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Meet in lobby, just ask for Sherry. Contact range for firearm rental info, if needed.

    * Little Old Ladies from Pasadena welcomes experienced hunters for trap and skeet practice. Every Tuesday at 10:00 am at beautiful Triple B Clays in El Monte. Ladies meet in the clubhouse, then head out to the range. For more info contact Sarah at

    * The Patriots - Family-oriented shooting and picnic. Meets second Saturday of every month from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at FOP Range in Pleasant Grove, Alabama. Children over five okay if accompanied by parent or guardian. Firearm rentals available at range. Handgun, shotgun, and rifle. Bring food for a potluck/picnic. Contact Karl at 555-1213 or via e-mail at

    You can advertise by:

    * Posting flyers at your shooting range, at school, at your church, in the community center, etc. It's a good idea to get permission prior to posting flyers. * Place a classified ad in the local free paper. These ads typically cost little or nothing. * Advertise in a firearm chat room. * Send an e-mail to and request to have your group listed on our Community page.

    Opening night

    * Inform the range manager. People coming into the range who don't know where to go will likely ask the range manager for help. Be sure the manager knows your name and where you are located. * Introduce yourself and others to attendees. This will help break the ice. * Review safe handling rules. Make it clear that all firearm safety rules must be observed at all times. * Try not to run the whole thing on your own. Letting people help makes them feel like part of the group. * Relax and have fun. If people have a good time they will be more likely to come back in the future. * Stick with it. If you're starting by yourself, it may take a few months to get going. But if the range manager knows you're serious, he or she will be likely to encourage others to check out your group.

    Good luck, happy shooting, and stay safe!

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  2. rosierita

    rosierita Active Member

    Mar 13, 2004
    South Carolina
    :) excellent article marlin!! thanks for posting this!

    i'm currently going thru real estate school, i just completed my 1st wk. (3 wks to go & it is BOOOOORRRRRRRRRIIIIIINNNNNGGGGGGGG!! :eek: :rolleyes: ) anyhoo ~ after i survive this, i'm going to get some instructor's courses from the NRA i do believe & then i'm going to start offering classes for women on the proper use of firearms & defense, etc. (this is the plan so far, although my FIL already says he's going to be my 1st "student" :p )

    1 of the ladies that buys avon from me has stated that she is not comfortable w/ handling firearms. her hubby & sons have them, but she's never used them & she's not sure she could. when i brought this idea up to her, she said "let me know when & i'll be there!" :eek: :D

  3. SouthernMoss

    SouthernMoss *Admin Tech Staff*

    Jan 1, 2003
    SW MS
  4. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

    We need more with your attitude, Rosie. Good luck and keep us advised.

    :) :) :)
  5. dvl

    dvl New Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Nantucket Island
    Pertinant for me as I would like to start a club and get rated as an instructor.

  6. SouthernMoss

    SouthernMoss *Admin Tech Staff*

    Jan 1, 2003
    SW MS
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