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Old March 15, 2005, 06:18 PM   #1
Join Date: March 14, 2005
Location: Pittsburgh Area, PA
Posts: 67
First Time at The Range: ADVICE WANTED/NEEDED

well... I'm going to the range with my little pistol (PT22-hey... its a chic gun, I'm a chic ) and I was looking for some seasoned veteran advice on:

1. what to be aware of (general and not so obvious stuff that others might do)
2. odd things that they don't tell you before hand
3. etiquette things that I may not think of (being a first timer).
4. tips on getting better target results
5. whatever you want to throw at me... I'm listening!

Basically anything that helps you or distracts you or just p*sses you off about the range... let me know!
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Old March 15, 2005, 07:15 PM   #2
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Avoid the guys and gals who seem to think that they are the best shot in the world... you can generally hear them bragging about it around you. Also be aware of who is next to you and how they behave, if they aren't safe then move down or on.

I'm not sure on your range setup but make sure your brass isn't flying into someone's face... just a small thing that might piss someone off.

As for accuracy I'd bring a little sand bag and something to rest on to practice still shooting as well as lots of ammunition!

Have fun and good luck!

Here are some websites that might help with the 'general rules' of ranges. Yours might be different.

Most of them are self explanitory just make sure you understand your range rules and have a fun time and try to talk with others to learn more about the great hobby/sport of shooting.
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Old March 15, 2005, 08:48 PM   #3
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: Ohio Valley
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The best advice I could offer would be to take a knowledgeable friend with you. Not the boyfriend.... unless he's the strong silent type the offers good info and positive encouragement. You don't need a bunch of criticism the first time out, just some guidance.

Pick a time that the range is pretty empty. Call first and they will give you an idea. If nothing else it will be less distracting and you'll have less interruption from the know-it-all's. Next to the last resort would be asking for the range to provide assistance. The last, but best resort would be to give me a call. I'm a cert NRA pistol instructor and about an hour from Pitts.
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Old March 15, 2005, 09:28 PM   #4
Guy B. Meredith
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Location: Salem, Oregon
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Keep the muzzle down range and over the bench. Be safe.

If you are not 100% comfortable with your firearm ask the range people or someone who appears low key to run the drill with you until you are comfortable.

By the way, how much experience DO you have? Don't want to load you down with things you already know.
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Old March 15, 2005, 09:39 PM   #5
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
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1. Muzzle control.
2. Finger off the trigger except when actually shooting.

Watch for people who aren't following the above two rules and leave if it gets to be a problem.

Wear something with a high neck. Brass down the shirt isn't fun.

Think about what you will do if your gun fails to operate properly. Remember the two rules. If you can't make it operate properly, set it down with the safety on and the muzzle pointing downrange and ask for help. DON'T leave the firing line with a loaded gun.

Shooting glasses should offer full coverage and fit closely to the face. They're for protection, not to look cool, and brass down between your shooting glasses and your face/eyes is REALLY not fun.

Have good hearing protection and know how to use it. That will really make a big difference in how much you enjoy the outing--especially if other folks are shooting the magnum loads.

Have fun!
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Old March 15, 2005, 09:49 PM   #6
Join Date: March 14, 2005
Location: Pittsburgh Area, PA
Posts: 67
Okay... I'll go respond in reverse chrono order to the responses that I got (and all are appreciated so thank you so much!)

Guy B. Meredith: I have absolutely NO experience at all!
This is my first gun and first time shooting!
The only experience that I have with shooting something is "the bird"!
So just take the assumption here that I "know nothing" (because its true!)
(thanks too)

Shamus: I'm going to be going with my Brother (semi-knowledgable), his buddy "Tim" (verrry knowledgable), my brother-in-law (marine... knows his -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-), my stepdad (eh.. he knows a little), and my mother (who is shooting for the first time too). So there's going to be a few people around us who know what they're doing.
As far as "calling ya"... h*ll... why don't you just meet us!
I can probably use all the help that I can get!
(thanks for your offer there! I do want to check into some gun safety classes in my area... I'm going to have to do some research along those lines as well).

n3twrkm4n: when you say to make sure that my "brass" isnt flying in their face... are you referring to my shells? (sorry.. I'm not down with all the gun lingo yet ). I told you guys... I know VERY LITTLE about this stuff.
In reference to the "sandbag"... is that to put my elbow on to help steady myself for just starting out? Good idea... I'll make sure to take something!

As for what the range looks like... I have no idea... I've never even been in this place! It's the one that my brother, his buddy, and my brother-in-law all go to... so this'll be my first time ever even stepping foot in the building!
The only thing that I know about it is that you have to buy thier ammo and that its $10/hour. that's it!
(thanks for your info... big help!)

Anyhow... everyone... thanks for all of the info!!!
I can't even articulate how helpful this site has been (and I've only been a member for 2 days!!!)
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Old March 15, 2005, 11:21 PM   #7
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: Ohio Valley
Posts: 94
Just an after thought…. You didn't mention if the PT22 was new/used...

With a new PT22 you may have some problem with it feeding the first round from the magazines when loaded to capacity. If you do just drop down the mag capacity by one (to seven in the magazine) and it should function properly. At least until you have a few hundred rounds cycled.

Dry firing is bad for this firearm, whether the hammer block is engaged or not. They have been know to break the firing pin… (read the manual)

The trigger pull might be a little heavy, and that might affect how accurately the gun seems to shoot, you’ll get used to it I'm sure.

I’d recommend starting with the target closer as these guns aren’t real accurate at a distance.
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Old March 15, 2005, 11:24 PM   #8
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Yuppers by brass I mean cases or shells... the empty ones , they are usually hot and annoying if someone catches them
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Old March 15, 2005, 11:48 PM   #9
Guy B. Meredith
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I'll second JohnKSa's comment on ear protection, particularly if you are at an indoor range. Even at outdoor ranges I double plug--foam ear plugs and headset. Many people don't think much of the noise, but if they go through a drill to inspect what is really happening they find out they develop a flinch in response to it. Enough else to pay attention to without that distraction.

The problem with hot brass is only with autos. That's another benefit of hanging around revolvers shooters only.

Oh, yeah; with autos keep your thumbs DOWN away from the back of the slide or you will become a charter member of the scarred thumb society. Very simple, but this is something people often neglect to tell first time shooters until they've made the discovery for themselves like I did.

Sometime ask about the Zen of shooting.
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Old March 16, 2005, 12:01 AM   #10
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 37
shamus what part of ohio I an near Steubenville.....
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Old March 16, 2005, 12:20 AM   #11
Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: Ohio Valley
Posts: 94

shamus what part of ohio I am near Steubenville.....
I'm about 45 minutes North of you, a stones throw away from the Ohio/Pa border.
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Old March 16, 2005, 12:53 AM   #12
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First, make sure you understand the particular rules of the range. Each one is a little different, but the Range officer will happily go over them with you.

Try to get one of your more knowlegeable and patient shooter companions to just devote this trip to you and your pistol. You eally need someone watching you like an eagle to make sure you don't make a dangerous error. If your buddy decides to shoot, you watch, and vice versa.

A lot of the instruction, like safety, sight alignment, etc can be done at home, and more time can be spent shooting at the range.

Take lots of ammo, and don't be afraid to use it up. Have fun.
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Old March 16, 2005, 12:54 AM   #13
Old Fud
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Location: California
Posts: 119
It sounds like the perfect party.

You've got three experienced people taking three less-than-experienced people on a family outing. With your Mom and Step-dad being introduced to the sport, the younger guys will be careful and sensible --- i.e. minding their manners -- so you can depend on them to be fair and helpful.

As long as you keep the muzzle pointed downrange, you can't really do anything "Bad" or embarrassing.
You can depend upon your mentors for the rest. They will get you through all the various rules, practices, amenities and the like that keeps the range orderly and everybody safe.

That .22 you've got is one fun piece --- my whole family lines up behind me to get their turn with it (well, not all of them -- the grandson only has eyes for the 1911).

When you are comfortable, I encourage you to try out some of the other items that are sure to be there. You may be surprised to discover what you like. Both my daughters alternate between the .22 and the .45, starting with their first range session, much to the dismay of my grandson. (He spent most of our last trip loading -- and grumbling.) The little grandaughter has informed me the .38 is "Coo--ull"

I rather envy you. A "first", with a congenial group.
It don't get much better than that.
Savor the moment, Missy.

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Old March 16, 2005, 11:26 AM   #14
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Posts: 7
etiquette things

I'm a relative newbie to ranges as well. Lots of open land where I grew up so there wasn't much need for a range. I'll share some of my observations. Hopefully they will be useful to you, although the standard disclaimer applies: Your mileage may vary.

If the staff at the range are friendly, polite and safety conscious, the shooters there tend to be as well. Choose your favorite range accordingly.

Some shooters think of range time as a social event and like to chat with other shooters. Some want to completely zone everything out and concentrate on their own shooting without distractions. Both are understandable. I like taking a break from shooting and chatting with people on occasion, but hate someone talking at me while I'm actually shooting.

With a large group of people such as the group you're going with, you'll probably be trying out each other's pistols and thus transferring pistols from station to station. When I have a firearm in my hand (i.e. not in a holster) and not actually on the line firing, I will take the mag out and lock the slide back leaving the action open as a courtesy to the other shooters. In other words, the other shooters can actually see that the firearm in my hand is unloaded. And always have your finger outside the trigger guard of course.

Hope this helps and have fun.
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Old March 16, 2005, 03:20 PM   #15
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Join Date: January 21, 2005
Posts: 101
A couple of thoughts...

SAFETY is PRIORITY ONE. Think about it before every move you make.

Be at the line, looking down range, ready to shoot before you pick up the pistol, before you insert the mag.

Point/aim the pistol downrange before you put your finger on the trigger.

Put the safety on, mag removed, and put the pistol down, before you turn away from down range.

Esp for your first trip (and for every trip) SAFETY is PRIORITY ONE.

You'll love it!
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Old March 16, 2005, 06:06 PM   #16
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Posts: 261
I can't add a lot to what others have said, all good suggestions and advice. I will say, take everything you hear at the range from other shooters with a grain of salt. There's lots of BS flying, and I'm sure that being female, you'll probably get a healthy dose of it too. I personally like to shoot when it's not crowded, or away from others. My pet peeve is the know-it-all who feels like he just HAS to give me some advice of some sort, either on my shooting or my choice of guns. If I want advice, I'll ask for it, I came to shoot not talk to a tactical wannabe! If you run into someone like that, just pretend you can't hear (you got ear plugs in and all!), and say "what???" a lot. Hopefully they'll get frustrated and leave you alone. The best advice is to go with an experienced shooter who has patience and has been to the range you're going to before.
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Old March 16, 2005, 06:15 PM   #17
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This thread got me thinking: Is it breaking an etiquette rule to shoot while the guy next to you is shooting? I know bowlers that HATE it when someone in the lane next to them bowls when they are lining up the throw. Does the same apply for guns? Last week there was a guy next to me at the range (indoors) who was shooting a .22 taget pistol. I had a .45ACP and politley waited for him to shoot a magazine before I fired away. What are the opinions on this?
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Old March 16, 2005, 06:42 PM   #18
Guy B. Meredith
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There is no particular etiquette on waiting for another to shoot. In some circumstances it may be nice, but for the most part we all just put the hearing protection on to avoid the annoyance. Again I double plug even outdoors.
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Old March 16, 2005, 07:40 PM   #19
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Bar Tender

Browsing through the responses offered regarding your question, seems as if you were offered some sound general advise. Pay attention to it.

If I might make so bold, it sounded as if you were bringing a crowd with you. I would suggest a sharp reduction in the number of people. Pick whomever is MOST KNOWLEGEABLE AND PATIENT. The others can follow later.

The following is a general comment on guns and people. Many speak and act dismissively regarding 22 caliber firearms. 22's are "serious arms", and people who fail to recognize that basic fact are fools, possibly dangerous fools.
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Old March 16, 2005, 07:50 PM   #20
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"...22's are "serious arms", and people who fail to recognize that basic fact are fools, possibly dangerous fools"

Words of wisdom. Even though the .22 is not the most potent of rounds, it is still dangerous enough. The smart play is to treat all firearms as "serious arms". The smart play is to also treat any arm, including air rifles and BB guns, as "serious arms" as well. If anything, it builds good firearm safety habits. Anyway, even .22's can be quite deadly, so treat them all with the respect they deserve.
Formerly lived in Ga, but now I'm back in Tx! Aaaand, now I'm off to Fla...
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Old March 16, 2005, 09:14 PM   #21
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Bar Tender,

I can't really add to the advice given you above. Many knowledgable(sp?) people are on this board and I, who has had and fired guns from a young age, still learn from them. For that, I am very grateful.

On another post that you started, you made mention that we may soon tire of your questions (paraphrased) and I can tell you, that will never be the case. That is one of the main missions of TFL, to help others, especially new folks to guns, with any questions that they may have. You may think that a question is "stupid" or are afraid to ask because you may think that others will look down on you, but at TFL, that will never happen and all questions are welcomed.

So, I just wanted to take this time to say, Welcome to TFL and I think that we all will agree to this, please have fun on your first time going shooting, be safe and enjoy the experience.

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Old March 17, 2005, 12:54 AM   #22
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I know this will seem pretty obvious, but since no one else mentioned it, I will. Read the instruction manual that came with the gun. When you are done, wait a day and read it again. It will tell you A LOT about the proper use of firearms in general, and your firearm in particular.

Your particular handgun has a very uncommon feature, a tip-up barrel. Use this feature everytime you need to check if a cartridge (the complete bullet, shell, gunpowder and primer) is loaded in the chamber. Hold the handgun with your shooting hand, but with your finger OFF of the trigger. Place your thumb from your other hand over the top of the barrel, to keep it from springing up to fast and flinging the cartridge out of the chamber. Then activate the barrel release with your shooting hand thumb. If you want to shoot immediately after than you may press down on the barrel and continue shooting. If you wish to stop shooting for awhile, rotate the barrel so it is upright, 90 degrees in relation to the rest of the gun.
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Old March 17, 2005, 12:31 PM   #23
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Graveyards are full of folks who thought a .22 could'nt kill them. BE CAREFUL!
have fun, take your time, and don't worry too much about hitting bullseyes. Learn how to load, unload, grip, sight picture, saftey features and so on. Bullseyes come later!!!

have a great time. wear eye protection!
"Danger Itself Is The Best Remedy For Danger"
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Old March 17, 2005, 12:47 PM   #24
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"Is it breaking an etiquette rule to shoot while the guy next to you is shooting?"

Eh, in general it's fine to do that, at least at the ranges I go to. That said, if I'm shooting one of my louder rifles or pistols next to a newby, I try to give them some time to shoot so as not to make them jittery. I don't like it when I'm trying to sight in my deer rifle and the guy next to me fires off his 45-70 right next to me a split second before I pull the trigger! A little courtesy goes a long way, but if someone next to me is firing away, I don't have a problem doing the same.
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Old March 17, 2005, 01:02 PM   #25
Colonel Klink
Join Date: March 17, 2005
Location: Oakland CA and Reno NV
Posts: 63
I want to expand on what XBreath said. After everyone has signed in and paid to use the range you and your mother hang back and say to the range master, "My mother and I are shooting for the first time. We want to make sure we don't do anything dangerous or stupid so please tell us what you want us to know. Also please keep an eye on us as we would apreciate any suggestions to make this more fun." Or words to that effect.

Most of us guys don't want to admit we don't know something, especially around guns. I am a NRA certified instructor in Rifle, Pistol and Refuse to be a Victum so I have learned to listen.

Shooting: Sight Picture, Breath Control and Trigger Squeeze.

Sight picture - Front sight in the middle of the rear sight with the top of each the same height. Focus on the front sight so the rear sight and the target are out of focus. Hold as steady as possible while squeezing the trigger.

Breath Control - Take a deep breath. Let out 40 to 60 percent and hold while squeezing the trigger.

Trigger Squeeze - You want the gun firing to surprise you. If you pull the trigger so that you know when it will fire YOU WILL flinch! Do not attempt to fire the shot when the front sight is exactly where you want it. Let the front sight move while slowly and smoothly squeezing the trigger.

I once lived in North Hills. Have fun and follow the range and safety rules.
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