So you own a firearm, but don’t use it often. You know that you—and your family—should spend more time on the range. You want to develop a sound family readiness plan. Range time is often part of this. Here are a few ideas for ways to get your family to the range.
1. Ask for Help
If you have adult children, or a spouse who normally isn’t big on “range day,” consider asking them for help. Tell them that you want to make sure your family and home are safe and that you believe being able to use and manipulate the firearms you own is part of that. Ask them to help you get the rest of the family, or even just you, better prepared. This might mean asking them to help you by calling shots for each other to see where you are hitting distant steel, or it might mean helping because you don’t know much about firearms and shooting them, but want to learn. Determine your goal, and find an “ask” that will help meet the goal of getting your family to the range.
A few suggested goals:
- Learn how to load and unload and accurately shoot the main firearms that your family owns for home defense.
- See where the firearms you own for home defense are zeroed. Know where the ammo you have for them will hit at close distance (5-10 yards) and further distance (25-50 yards).
- Learn how to deal with common malfunctions. Purchasing some dummy rounds can help with this.
2. Plan a Surprise
Maybe your family is busy with school and work and nobody ever seems to have spare time. Plan an event to get your family to the range! Maybe there is a local class, or an admired instructor has an opening. If there is someone from whom your family or significant other would like to learn, reach out to set up some instruction time.
3. Sign Up for a Match
Signing up for a match does not mean that you need to overload yourself with competition gear. Look for a steel match or steel challenge event that doesn’t require much besides a firearm, magazines and ammo. You can take your .22-cal. (pistol or rifle) to compete in steel challenge and it doesn’t even require a holster or belt; you simply place the firearm back in the case after each course of fire under the direction of the range officer.
4. Practice your Home Defense Plan
If your home defense plan is that you retrieve your handgun from a small handgun vault, bring your vault to the range. Practice retrieving, loading and shooting your firearm. Determine how long it will take you to accomplish this. If your spouse or significant other is part of the plan, do what you can safely to help them in practicing their roles (e.g., pretend to call 9-1-1 and stay on the line, take the children to the safe room or closet, etc.). A little time spent understanding how long it would actually take to do the necessary tasks will help you understand if your plan is good. If you have small children, this could also be a time to familiarize them with firearm safety rules and knowing not to touch the firearm, listen to the adults, and do as they are told. Kids like make-believe, so turn it into a game where you are going to pretend to do a certain task while the other parent is practicing accessing and loading the firearm. It doesn’t have to be heavy, serious or scary, but training under simple pressure, like a race against the clock. Then go out for ice cream on the way home.
No matter how you have to do it, if getting your family to the range is something that’s been at the back of your mind and your subconscious has been telling you to do, take steps to make it happen. Find a reason that your family will find enjoyable or fulfilling, even if that reason is just helping you.