Visiting the Gun Range 101 ⋆ Politicrossing
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Visiting the Gun Range 101

Photo courtesy of Patriot Outdoors, Inc.

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Does it Surprise You?

Does this surprise you? There are many factors that have contributed to the increase in firearm sales last year. Already knowing it was an election year, we had some added “scare” factors which we reacted to that led to this increase. Fears of gun ban legislation in one form or another by states and potential federal action by then potential new administration. The unprecedented outbreak of rioting across the country. To make matters worse, there was an amazing amount of illogical rational by state and local governments not enforcing law in many left or left leaning cities and states.

They literally threw gas on the fire by exacerbating law enforcement agencies with threats of decrease in funding, further scrutiny (some justifiable) but also leading to a notable decrease in officers on the streets.

So, more than ever Americans started coming to their own conclusions. “What should we do if we call 911 and cops aren’t going to show up or can’t show up fast enough?” Answer: “Well, maybe we need to protect ourselves!”

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Myself, being in the industry and personally witnessing and assisting the rush of thousands to the stores and ranges for guns, gear and more importantly training was indeed unprecedented. The look of bewilderment of these first time visitors to a gun store or range was alarming. Fear in their eyes and money in hand they looked to us for answersand solutions

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Did You Know?

Did you know in the first seven months of 2020, we added easily 5 million Americans to the ranks of the existing 100 million new gun owners nationwide.  Oh, wait there’s more… A stunning 39.6 million FBI background checks were conducted and at the end of the year we Americans purchased over 40 million firearms and increased ammunition sales by 139% from 2019.

Further surveys indicate that 58% of firearm purchases were done by black Americans, while women initiated 40% of all purchases. Firearms retailers also noted that sales of firearms had nearly doubled, and ammunition sales were up 139% from 2019.” ~Americas1stfreedom.org

How to Visit the Gun Range

If you put all of that together common sense would dictate there are millions of unaware Americans needing knowledge, skills and a well rounded view of what to expect when going to a gun store or range for the first time. The statistics show already this year that millions more are flocking to the stores for gun purchases and training. I’ve been asked by the awesome staff here on politicrossing.com and many others over the years, how to “bridge the gap” or interpreting gun range or store protocols to the average all American.

Gun Ranges 101

Ok, here we go! So, How do you pick a range? I’m here to tell you that with the hundreds upon hundreds of ranges across this great nation, they are not all created equal! There are many ranges that are stellar and then there are those that are just “trying”. Like any business in any industry you will find that people make a business and we as humans are all not perfect. However, since people make up a business; you as a consumer should want the best experience possible. So, look for the best business possible to give you that experience.

  • Customer Service is Huge: Look up ranges in your area on www.wheretoshoot.org, google maps, yelp and on social media outlets. A good range facility will keep up with their content. You want to go to a range that has two key positive components
    • Product Knowledge: Do they know what they are talking about?
    • Industry Experience: Not everyone behind the counter needs to be some “billy badass” looking guy or “tough chick” with a cop or military background to get you great service or advice. I’ve personally brought staff on with little to no experience but what they did have was a care for others and a willingness to learn and those staff members I have cherished over the years and made my companies flourish! Bottom line, find someone who shows they care!
  • Location: Not all ranges will be in the most convenient locations, due to politics, price of real estate and encroaching negative demographics forecasting a ranges potential demise. Ranges seem to find themselves off the beaten path. Whether indoor or outdoor, I have found that to be true.  Just understand they all won’t be perched in the easiest to get to retail locations. Look for their website and directions and make sure it’sconvenient for you.
  • Essential Gear: Once you have picked a range, you’re on your way. Even if don’t have a gun with you already, you’re going to want some gear if you plan on shooting at all.
    • Gear Bag– find a range bag is what we call them, large enough for a couple handguns, ammo boxes, maybe even a first aid kit “I’ll talk about “medical stuff” on another video”.
    • Eye & Ear Protection: When you go to an outdoor range, any pair of good eye covering sunglasses will do, I prefer Smith and Oakley’s. However, when you go to an indoor range, you’re not going to want to where sunglasses due to being indoors. So, you’re going to need clear or yellow or other lighter colored shooting glasses to where. When it comes to ear protection being deaf sucks. Grab a great pair of “over the ear” ear muffs and “Listen Linda” don’t go cheap. Invest in a decent pair of Peltors or Howard Leights they range from 50-125.00 will do.
  • Questions to Ask: Now that you’re in the facility, looking around, they are going to know right away that you’re new. Here are some questions that will help you speak the native tongue and raise some eyebrows and just show that you’re serious and a little industry savvy!
    • Gun Rental and Gun Sales counters: Know the difference. Ask which one is which so you can start either handling one for a rental or handling one for a purchase and then ask if they have the same model to “test drive”.
    • Which caliber of ammunition does this gun use? the most popular handgun caliber is the 9mm. depending on your abilities or disabilities and hand size and body frame will typically determine what you may be comfortable to start with. Basic marksmanship classes will start you off with a .22. which has minimal recoil. If you’re wanting to start with something for defense right away look for a .380 “which is a short 9mm” or if you like a wheel gun (revolver) a .38special will suffice, but the most popular by far is still the practical 9mm.
    • Which gun manufacturers do you recommend? Now there’s a loaded question! Depending on which gunslinger is behind the counter and the shirt they where will determine that answer as well as their experience level. I’m going to just drop the mic right here though.. The Top 5 manufacturers out there that are guaranteed to stand the pressure of every day use on the street and in combat are: Cz, Glock, HK, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Springfield Armory. My personal tried and true gun models are the Glock 17 (full size 9mm) and my Sig Sauer 365XL every day carry and nobody knows I have it on with 26rounds of ammo on me. Contact me on Social for more insight, I’ll be glad to assist!
    • How do I get on the range? There are many types of ranges out there and each have certain protocols. The main protocol is for you to provide your ID and sign a waiver, whether digital or on paper.
    • Other questions to ask: Do you have instructors available? What’s it cost to get on the range? Do you have memberships? Discounts? What are the range fees? an I get this gun in pink? Where’s the bathroom? Can I rent multiple guns? Can I get a lesson for class for a fee or included if I get a membership?
  • Safety First: Two phrases I want to burn into your subconscious brain to help ensure you become not only an intelligent person upon your visit but a safe individual and potentially a responsible armed citizen.
    • Finger Discipline: Keep your finger off the trigger and outside of the trigger well. there is no need to touch it at all until you are loaded up on the range and are cleared to shoot.
    • Muzzle Management: Point the gun in a safe direction always, a safe direction will be a directionthat for any reason the gun was loaded and you pulled the trigger or by an act of God the gun “went off” it would not cause personal bodily damage or “nominal” property damage. See Video
  • On the Range: Now that you’re on the range and hopefully with a staff member, let them guide you on the Gun 101 handling basics and how to start shooting,{you can also see my other videos on getting a grip and choosing an every day carry.}
    • “If you don’t know go slow” {I’ve taught this for years} You know we learn by crawl, walk, run. That means you can’t accomplish something fast and accurate if you’ve never done it before.. You gotta start somewhere, relax, have fun and enjoy the ride. Your goal should be to take it all in, slowing everything down and being patient with your learning this new skill will help reinforce confidenceand remove fears.
    • Correct, Continuous Repetitions: The old saying “Perfect Practice makes Perfect”. You don’t want to build bad habits. Understanding neuroplasticity and how we take information from the conscious to our subconscious mind requires us to complete quality reps. Therefore, when you go slow you will sealing in those good fundamentals which will build upon your successes.
    • Be Happy with Small Successes: Whether you just hit the paper or create any level of consistency on the paper when you are shooting, be thankful for any level of success. Your positive attitude will take you farther than anything. Be thankful for overcoming the initial fears of just being on a range. Be thankful that you are learning something new and it may take longer than you think to achieve your goals.  Just like in life, being content with our progress whatever it is helps us evolve into a better more well rounded person.
    • Note to Ladies: I have found over the years teaching thousands of women that they are, indeed, better shooters out of the gate. They are quite different then us men. They don’t come to train with fragile egos. They tend to be more coordinated, listen and learn more intently and their results show it!  

That’s A Wrap…

In closing, there’s so much to learn. Please get good quality advice from those that live and breath high industry standards for safety, crucial and relevant training, product knowledge and customer service.

I’d like to thank the wonderful staff and leadership at TSR {Ted’s Shooting Range} in Queen Creek, Arizona for allowing me to utilize their staff and facility to shoot the video. I walked in not knowing a soul there and was greeted with positivity.

When I explained my intentions they were willing to assist Which means a lot for them to care for thousands that will read this article and watch the video for the betterment of our fellow countrymen who are on their quest for shooting success. It’s comforting to find a great example in the industry of caring people who care about their business and those that are within their care. Go see them if you’re in the area!

That’s all I got for today, stay tuned with me on social media and please subscribe to my channel on youtube. If you would like for me to share my insight on a subject that you have of interest; please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or look me up on my social accounts!

 

Godspeed & God Bless,

Stephen D. Powell

~The GunLife Coach

 

 

 

 

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Stephen D. Powell is an Air Force veteran with more than 18 years of combined federal, military & civilian law enforcement experience. Powell has been teaching professionally for over 25+years as a firearms Instructor for numerous organizations and agencies rated with the NRA, NM & TX DPS and a Sig Sauer Academy Master Instructor. His company, Patriot Outdoors, Inc, has been operational in the defensive training industry since 2004, starting a thousand acre training facility located in Eastern New Mexico. Patriot has provided crucial and relevant firearms training to DOD and SOCOM, state and local law enforcement and armed citizen students. Over the past several years, Powell has appeared on several Fox News, Sirius XM radio, various regional newspaper, radio and tv shows, promoting military veteran entrepreneurship and patriotism as well as educating the shooting industry on range development, media relations and key second amendment issues. Patriot Outdoors is currently operating out of the Phoenix Valley, Arizona and with a new channel of The GunLife Coach to inspire and motivate other in life and on the range!



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Society & Culture

Prevailing in Turbulent Times

You can remain confident despite the chaos all around you.

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Everywhere you look, proud and patriotic Americans are feeling forlorn over the worsening conditions in our society. Concurrently, many life-long career professionals are losing confidence in their ability to stay competitive in our rapidly changing world amidst a rocky economy.

In actuality, no one in society has a long-term lock on any market or inside niche, and no “body of information” affords a strategic competitive advantage for very long. The reality of our times is that everyone is feeling at least a little unsure of themselves, and in that sense everyone is in the same boat.

Besieged by information and communication overload, it is easy to feel anything but confident. After all, your ability to keep pace is all but impossible.

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Professionally, you can remain confident, however, despite the pace of change.

Taking Command

What do confident people do to maintain confidence, independent of the rate of change to which they’re exposed? And. how do they maintain a sense of breathing space along the way? Here are variety of approaches:

* Jump Starting: Initiating a small part of a project or activity in advance (getting a sneak preview) to gain familiarity just before the project or activity actually begins.

* Total Immersion: Surrounding yourself with everything you need to fully engage in the project. This could involve assembling resources, people, and equipment, as well as ensuring that you have a quiet, secure environment, free of distractions.

* Managing the Beforehand: Living with the ever-present realization that change is continually forthcoming and, thus, preparing for activities or events in advance.

* Leapfrogging: Recognizing that while you can’t keep up with every little thing that happens in your industry or profession, periodically you can leapfrog over the developments of the last several months and “catch up,” in a manner of speaking.

* Picking Your Spots: Related to leapfrogging, pick your spots in the future, say six months, whereby you want to have a new product or service introduced, or have some new technology fully integrated into your operations, and so forth.

* Go Cold Turkey: Simply suspend operations and engage in whatever it takes to incorporate a new way of doing things. This is enhanced by ensuring that you’ll have no disturbances, by bringing in outside experts, and by assembling any other resources you need to succeed.

* Days of Grace: After deciding to tackle a new project or to implement major change, build in “days of grace” and allow yourself to proceed at half to three-quarters speed. Acknowledge that assimilating the new challenges and changes will take time, and will likely involve some disruption. So, don’t expect to achieve your normal productivity or effectiveness… for now.

Small Victories

Finally, and this is vital, in all cases recognize the importance of continually seeking small victories.

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Faith

This is Why the Left Hates You

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” Jesus

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It is obvious that the left has become a venomous mob, attacking anyone and anything in their path toward progressivism. Those who loudly proclaim themselves against hate, are indeed the worst perpetrators of it. There is a reason why. It is a Cosmic Conflict at its core. PolitiCrossing Founder Chris Widener takes five minutes to explain the following bible verses (Video below):

John 15:18-21 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.”

Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

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