Target Shooting Outdoors? Read This First!
Nov 16th 2018
Venturing into the great outdoors for target shooting has its advantages. You benefit from privacy and a quiet setting in which to focus, as well as the exercise from walking, all while improving your firearm skills. But unlike tactical training courses and shooting ranges with Six Maritime, the natural world isn’t a controlled environment. Whether you’re in the boonies or at the edge of town, you need to pay extra attention to your surroundings before you take aim and pull the trigger. Here are five tips for shooting outdoors.
1. Safety Basics Stay The Same
No matter where you’re shooting, the lessons of a gun safety course always apply to your conduct. When you carry a firearm outdoors, make sure to point the weapon in a safe direction — away from other people and preferably at the ground. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard by placing it along the frame and oriented in the same direction as the barrel. And always keep firearms unloaded until you’re ready to shoot.
2. Research Your Shooting Location
Before you load up your truck with gear and head out to go shooting, take a few moments to confirm your destination is open to shooters. Even if you know people who use the location, or you’ve fired guns there before, you still need to confirm with the landowner. The last thing you want to do is intrude on private property or protected land and face legal consequences.
3. Pay Attention Where You Shoot
When you particpate in firearms training, the instructors provide a safe environment. But out in nature, you’re in charge of making sure the situation is secure. Never set up targets across roads, trails, waterways, or other areas where there might be people. If there are nearby campgrounds, parking lots, or recreational areas, orient your targets so the line of fire is in the opposite direction. And before you shoot, double check that the backstops are strong enough to stop the bullets.
4. Be Respectful Of Nature
Having respect for the environment is paramount if you want to be a responsible shooter. So take steps when target shooting outdoors not to disrupt the natural surroundings. Don’t fire at trees, rocks, or other natural objects, as this is both disrespectful and illegal. Also, make an effort not leave behind any litter: before you leave the area, survey it and pick up any garbage, spent casings, or remnants of clay pigeons or other targets that you spot and responsibly dispose of them.
5. Embody The Values Of An Ethical Shooter
The public can observe your behavior when you shoot outdoors, which means you should represent the gun-owning community with pride. It may seem like it's acceptable to pop off shots at abandoned TVs or appliances in a dumpsite, but you should avoid such temptations as bystanders could mistake you, the shooter, as the one who dumped the trash and tarnished the landscape. Similarly, you should never fire at road signs, trash cans, and other infrastructure. It’s not only illegal to destroy public property, but bullet-riddled features reflect poorly on the reputations of all shooters.
Bonus Tip: Tactical Training Courses
In addition to being a responsible outdoor shooter, you should also consider improving your overall skills by attending one of the tactical training courses at Six Maritime. Our courses, which are developed by experienced professionals, feature scenarios based on real-life case studies depicting conflict or self-defense situations. We also provide courses that teach tactical mindsets for specialized circumstances, such as active shooter mitigation. Additonally, we have a state-of-the-art firearms simulator that uses non-live rounds and offers thousands of hours of modules for civilians, law enforcement, and members of the armed forces. Contact us to find training courses near you!