A Quick Guide To New Female Shooters On What To Expect On The Range
Updated: Sep 18
“A woman must not depend upon the protection of a man, but must be taught to protect herself.” -Susan B. Anthony
We recently launched our new ladies’ line of American made range bags. These bags were designed and created by the better half of Gauge Outfitters.
My name is Kayce. I am not a competitive shooter, veteran, or law enforcement officer. I am a wife, mother, and friend, and I understand how incredibly intimidating it can be to go to the range alone for the first time. After all, most of our fathers and husbands are always willing to take us there and do everything for us. They will hang targets, load magazines, show us how to stand, where to aim ... the list can go on forever! In a real world self defense scenario, though, what good will that do? They won’t always be there, and we need to be able to defend our children and ourselves.
There are some incredible trainers out there who are worth every penny, and there are some who just aren’t up to the task. Do your research! Take your time and find the right instructor. It’s hard to break bad habits after you learn them. Secondly, schedule a couple of times a month for some basic range time and put those days in your calendar or planner. Make it a basic range time at your standard indoor/outdoor range, set up a target at 7-10 yards, and try to hit the “X”. This will help you build muscle memory and establish strong fundamentals.
You can then check back on our site for more advanced classes through some of our affiliate partners. If you can’t find a class near you, feel free to call or email us. We’ll be happy to help!
Getting to the Range
We have all seen the photos of the supermodel in the string bikini holding an AR-15 with a rigger’s belt holding an endless supply of magazines. Obviously, in the real world that’s not even close to the right attire! Most ranges have dress codes in place for a reason, but the list below is also a good road map to get you there comfortably.
Dress appropriately for the weather and the season. Wear a high-cut shirt of some sort, something comfortable that allows for range of motion. I don’t wear tactical pants since I have never found a brand to be comfortable or flattering. Instead, I prefer jeans or leggings. Wear closed-toed shoes like Chucks or running shoes; leave the Rainbows and Tory Burch sandals at home for brunch or the boat--not the range! The brass casings are hot, and when they eject they will fall around your feet. Nothing to be scared of, but nobody likes getting a hot piece of metal dropped on their toes.
Arrival at the Range
It’s always a good idea on your first visit to go online and call ahead to ask what the range rules are so that you can pack accordingly. Several years ago I purchased a Beretta Silver Pigeon 20 Gauge Over/Under, bought some bird shot, and headed to the range to just get a feel for the gun. To my surprise, shotguns were not allowed and the trip was pretty much a waste of time.
I now go to the same range often and am familiar with the rules, but I will always remember the first time I went alone. I remember parking in the lot and thinking to myself, “I don’t really need to do this. My husband loves bringing to me the range; I’ll just go home and unload this stuff and go get the kids from school in a few hours.” Then the radio reported a story about a woman being the victim of a carjacking with her newborn child in the back seat. I was not going to be a victim, and would not let my children or family become victims either.
I stepped out of my car, grabbed my bag, and began to walk to the door. Upon my arrival you could hear echoes of gunfire coming from the range and a very nice gentleman asked me if I needed help. I asked him for a lane because I wanted to practice. With an odd look, he asked if I had ever handled a gun before and whether I was waiting for anyone else. I politely replied, “Yes, I have shot before,” and no, I was not expecting anyone else. He then proceeded to review the range rules before I was assigned my lane. I put on my hearing protection and eye protection and walked toward the double door leading to the range.
I toggled the switch and brought the target holder toward me to attach my target, then moved the target to the minimum distance of seven yards. It’s a lot closer than you think! I opened my range bag, took out a box of Federal 9mm training ammo, and took out my first concealed carry pistol, a Springfield XDS 9mm. I carefully loaded the magazine with three rounds, put the magazine into the gun, picked up the pistol with my right hand, and using proper trigger discipline racked the slide with my left hand.
I then began to concentrate on the front sight post, breathed in, and as I exhaled pressed the trigger. With what felt like an eternity, the pistol fired and I hit the target. The training worked, the firearm worked, and I was filled with excitement, nervousness, and accomplishment!
I continued to train that morning until I had fired all 100 rounds. As I checked out at the counter, I knew my smile was ear to ear, because I had done it. I went to the range for the first time by myself. Today I frequent the range twice a month with some girlfriends, and together we have continued to grow in our skill set. Just like our workout friends and mom friends, we are there to support each other and help one another.
Are you new to shooting? Have questions about heading to the range? I’m happy to share more of my experiences and opinions! Just give us a call. And if you haven’t checked out our gun range bags for sale, please visit us at www.gaugeoutfitters.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @Gaugeoutfitters.