My partner and I have been considering learning how to shoot for a couple of years. I grew up with a BB gun, and my stepfather was a hunter, but my mother and he separated before I was old enough to learn how to handle a gun.

I used to socialize with people who were anti-gun, and then I started considering that maybe some of the way information about guns was being presented was not entirely honest. That Michael Moore documentary where he selectively interviews Charlton Heston really got my goat.

When I sat down and thought about it, I remembered that I really enjoyed taking my BB gun out for target practice, and that I was not a bad shot. Last night, we watched the Bullshit! episode on gun control, and it made me think I should stop thinking, and do some research.

So... I'm thinking that we should start out practicing at a shooting range to decide whether or not we'd like to buy some guns. Does one need one's own gun to use a shooting range?

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A lot of gun ranges also have guns available for range use, at least that is how it is here in Michigan. Usually you pay a premium for the ammo and they include the gun.

It allows you to try an array of weapons and find out what works for you.

And congrats, thinking is always good. I know you've heard it before, but a gun is only a tool.

I prefer providing my own protection rather than relying on the police who always arrive too late

Good Luck.
Thanks Habman. I wish I'd engaged my brain a lot earlier in life. I suppose there's no time like the present.

Yeah, one of the main reasons I'm considering getting a gun is protection. I've taken a self-defense course, but my back isn't what it used to be, so those flying kicks are just out of the question.
I know what you mean, they removed my flying back kick when they did my by-pass a few years ago, however I still can hit the 12" bullseye at 600 M with my service rifle.
Good point, Don.
Around here (NE Oregon) you bring your own. If you want to rent one from the range you have to have a working gun in your possession at the time, which you leave with them at the counter while you use theirs. I suspect the idea is to keep from putting a weapon into the hands of someone who does not already have one. I also suspect each range is different, with state laws overriding.

Suggest you do not hesitate in truly interested. Get the training and confidence and get yourself the gun you want, then practice, practice, practice.
Thanks. Learning how to handle a gun, and then purchasing one is in my top 3 "To Do" things now.
Thanks Don. I was hoping you'd chime in.

How much land in the country is enough land to shoot on? I live out in the country on about 4 acres. There's another field behind ours owned by the village, so the only activity it ever sees is deer and other wildlife, and the one or two times a year it gets hayed.

I'm interested in target shooting, but also in self-defense. If someone comes at me intending to do harm, I'd want to hit them with more than a pea-shooter.

Thanks so much for your advice! This is exactly what I was looking for.
It really isn't how much land, but that you build a backstop tall, wide and deep enough to be capable of stopping whatever you are firing at it.

I have a hillside on my property that I faced off with a loader and create a flat face 10 feet wide and 8 feet tall. This is more than enough for everything below 120mm tank rounds. lol
The entire range is only 200' and maybe 50' wide

The biggest issues is local laws, check them out first.
I would say that you don't have enough land. even if you build a berm It would not be safe enough. BUT you do have way more then enough for an airgun!!! Think of the BB gun you liked as a kid but more powerful and more accurate!! All you need is about 40yds at most with a small berm and you are set. Cheap to buy, shoot and not overly loud, about like a balloon popping for most air rifles, and because of the pellet design, most are shaped like a birdie used in bad mitten, they won't travel much more then 100yds if you overshoot your backstop.

for between $100 to 200 you can buy a pretty good one. Good Pellets are 5 to 10 per tin of 500 so you can shoot all day!! I have a set up in my backyard of 40yds and still love sitting under my porch and making empty pop cans hop around!!

As for learning to shoot a real gun for self defense, check your closest big city for an indoor range. The one I work at here in AZ has over 300 guns for rent and instructors for private classes if you want that too. Many big cities have something similar. Also check the local state shooting club or association. they will have info and resources for you too. Have fun and shoot safe!!
Hell your indoor range is, I bet, is hell of a lot smaller than 4 acres that they have available.

Safety and size are two unrelated things. You can build a safe, functional range in just about any area. The safety of a berm is related to it's thickness not how much area it covers.

I use to have a large bore rifle range in my basement for testing. It had a custom build swirl design trap and it was 100% safe. I safe, well designed range can be build in just about any space.
It doesn't matter how thick your berm is if you miss and put one over it!! then you want a mountain or 1 to 2 miles of open land behind your berm to be safe. For an outdoor range safety is how well built the berm is AND what is behind it if a round makes it over, by an ND or shooting a target too close and bullets skipping off the ground and then making it over the berm. I wouldn't want that liability.

I have a horse property and was just suggesting my solution to the same problem. I can enjoy shooting with no worry that any projo can get far enough away to hurt or damage anything off my property. And when I want to shoot real firearms I go to a range or way out in the desert and find a nice big soft hill to shoot into. . .




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