This is not a scientific study, but I did ask some of my friends recently who own firearms why they don’t hit the range more often. I thought their answers were pretty interesting, some I emphatically agreed with and others less so. Maybe their responses will resonate with you. Then again, maybe they won’t. But feel free to provide any insight on why you think more folks don’t shoot more often.
Probably the number one reason I heard was, “Shooting ain’t cheap” or a variation of that. While there are ways to keep costs down — buying ammo in bulk, reloading your own ammo, sharing ammo amongst friends, shooting on private property to avoid range fees — at the end of the day shooting can become an expensive activity. Spending $40 or $50 a few times a month can add up, so I certainly understand this compliant.
What’s the solution? Well, how about the government reduces it’s excises taxes on ammunition and firearms (11 percent for ammo and long guns, 10 percent for handguns). That would be a great start, wouldn’t it?
Shooting firearms is freaking loud! And I don’t care what anyone says but wearing earplugs or earmuffs sucks! It just does, and I’ve never gotten used to it. Now, it doesn’t prevent me or the others I talked to form shooting, but if you have a headache or if you get headaches easily, shooting is often going to take a back seat to other, more quiet activities.
Thankfully, there is a solution. Silencers! Or “suppressors” for those that are anal about the nomenclature used when talking about devices that reduce the report of the gun. Suppressors need to go mainstream. They need to be removed from the NFA list and they need to be made widely available to the public. Period. End of story.
(Obviously, I feel real passionate about making suppressors widely available)
My city-dwelling friends where the ones who complained about travel. Yeah, there are gun ranges in and around most major metropolitan areas, but sometimes getting there is a process, an ordeal. Instead of just walking out the back door on a whim and heading into the yard where one’s private range is located, like many country folk can, city folk need to plan ahead.
As on friend explained, “Yeah, I like to shoot. But I can’t go after work because of rush hour traffic, it’d take way too long to get the range and back. So, that pretty much leaves the weekends. But on the weekends, my schedule’s filled with all the stuff I can’t typically get done on the weekdays. Unfortunately, getting to the range isn’t a priority much in the way food shopping is… Only on special occasions do I get to shoot.”
It’d be easy to say, “Just move out of the city,” but that isn’t really a tenable fix, especially if one works downtown or near the city center. Perhaps the best idea would be for those who enjoy shooting to make it a social activity, i.e. start a shooting club. Like a bowling league, a shooting club could meet once a week or once every couple weeks to ensure one is getting in some quality range time with friends. And Carpooling can be arranged to deal with the rigors of navigating the congested city streets.
4. Mall Ninjas
Some of the women I spoke with complained about the mall ninja/knucklehead factor. That is, when they were out at a public range they were approached by various “experts” who gave them unsolicited advice on the “right way” to shoot.
For these women, it soured the experience and they were reluctant to go back unaccompanied by a male friend or partner who could keep the well-intentioned but annoying dudes at bay.
This obstacle to shooting seems to be an easy fix. Memo to dudes, don’t approach chicks at the range unless you see them doing something unsafe. I know, for many of us there is nothing more attractive than a girl that can handle a firearm. But leave em be, let em enjoy their time there uninterrupted.
A few people said that scarcity of ammo kept them from shooting more frequently. While the market has gotten better than it has been in the recent past when ammunition was flying off of the shelves faster than retail stores could restock it, and manufacturers could supply it, some friends said they are still worried that another ammo shortage is right around the corner. They don’t want to deplete their stockpile more than they have to because if stuff does hit the fan, then they wan to make sure they have more than they need to survive, come what may.
Ideally, the solution would be to just buy more ammo. But with limited funds, limited time, limited resources it’s not always that easy.