The Benefits of Joining a Shooting Club
Whether you are a new firearm owner or an experienced marksman, a shooting club can offer a host of benefits. Meeting regularly with like-minded firearm enthusiasts will help you maintain and improve your skills. You’ll also expand your social circle in an area of interest to you. Other benefits include observing various skill levels and techniques, gaining confidence and proficiency, interacting with a variety of firearm types and relieving some stress.
Why join a shooting club?
Owning a firearm is a significant responsibility and at ITA we encourage all firearm owners to maintain their skills by regularly practising at a shooting range. Joining a shooting club gives you an incentive to frequently get to the range and sharpen your skills.
Aside from the frequent practice, there are many other benefits to joining a shooting club. We’ve outlined a few below.
A Great Introduction to Firearms
If you’re completely new to firearms and are thinking about applying for a firearm competency and license for self-defence, visiting a shooting club event at your local range is a good place to start.
You’ll be able to chat with qualified Instructors and Range Officers to get a better idea of the processes involved in applying for your license. Other firearm owners will be able to share their experiences surrounding their applications for competency and may have some advice on who can help you with these applications. Instructors and Range Officers will be able to answer your questions about owning, carrying and the safe storage of a firearm. Plus you’ll be able to see some firearms in action and possibly fire a few rounds. This will give you a sense of what type of firearm you might be comfortable with owning.
Try Before You Buy
Thinking of trying shooting as a hobby? Or maybe you’re looking to purchase a long gun rather than a pistol or revolver. Many shooting clubs will have a variety of handguns, shotguns and rifles for you to shoot. This will not only expose you to various disciplines of firearms but also to different categories of sport shooting, such as IPSC, IDPA (both pistol disciplines), combat rifle shooting, clay target shooting, long-distance shooting, black powder and the like. You’ll have the opportunity to shoot different types of firearms and get a sense of what you enjoy. Exposing yourself to other firearms and shooting styles could lead you to a new hobby, a rather addictive hobby.
Getting to Know Your Firearm Before Your License is Approved
Once you’ve applied for your firearm license there is a waiting period before your license is approved and issued. During this period you may have already purchased a firearm, but will be unable to take it home with you until you have received your license.
Joining a shooting club will allow you the opportunity to become familiar with your firearm in a safe environment. Get to know where the safety catch is and how to use it, practice magazine changes and clearing of malfunctions, and of course the fundamentals you learnt when you attended your accredited training session. You’ll be able to practice with the firearm under the guidance and safety of a qualified Range Officer and improve your proficiency while you wait for your license.
Honing Your Skills and Confidence
It’s one thing to own a firearm but another to be confident and competent when you need to use it. Many firearm owners go through the process of competency training and obtaining a firearm license, only to keep their firearm permanently locked away in a safe.
Like many skills that can become rusty with time, shooting accuracy requires regular practice. Being able to confidently shoot and hit a target means getting to the range often enough to maintain or improve your aim and your proficiency with your firearm.
A shooting club will increase your confidence through regular exposure to different sets of scenarios with your firearm. Building your muscle memory is incredibly important – it’s your muscle memory that will enable you to use your firearm to defend yourself when faced with a life-threatening situation.
Mental and Physical Fitness
The benefits of mental and physical exercise are well-documented. As a sport, shooting is highly beneficial for your hand-eye coordination, physical strength, stamina and balance. Different firearms and shooting sports require different physical and mental skills. Honing your reaction time and muscle memory is a great way to increase your overall fitness whilst doing an activity that you enjoy.
It’s no surprise that the World Health Organisation has classified “Stress” as the “Health Epidemic of the 21st Century”. Most South Africans live with a significant amount of stress daily, which can have long-term adverse health effects. Engaging in regular stress-relieving activities can counteract these effects, and there’s nothing quite like visiting the range and letting off some steam at some paper, steel or clay targets.
Regular shooting is a great way to forget about your troubles for a few hours in a safe space and do something that you enjoy.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a firearm owner who has fired every single firearm and trained for every possible scenario. Most firearm owners have specific preferences when it comes to the firearms they purchase and shoot with.
Joining a shooting club can expose you to a variety of firearm disciplines and scenarios that you wouldn’t otherwise encounter. It might be just the preparation you need for an emergency.
You’ll also have the opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills, and perhaps even discover a new hobby.
If you are interested in joining a shooting club, we recommend that you visit the shooting club section of our website. Alternatively, you can contact your nearest ITA-accredited training provider and enquire about a local shooting club in your area