As part of life, we make judgment calls based on known factors. If it’s cloudy outside and likely to rain, you bring a rain jacket. When you wake up if you have a scratchy throat you take measures to prevent from becoming sick. Those same choices should be made when it comes to deciding where you’re going to practice with your firearm. Don’t just go to one place, have a reason to do so. More now than ever indoor ranges like Stock and Barrel present an ever-growing set of options. In a world where firearms ownership is being challenged daily, even hourly, now is the time to take full advantage.
When you’re ever having a conversation with someone regarding firearms, and it starts or ends with safety that’s probably a conversation worthy of your time. One of the biggest advantages of an indoor range is the fact safety is so closely monitored. At any point on an indoor range, you have one or more professional RSO’s (Range Safety Officers) checking the firing line, specifically looking for safety issues. They’re also not concerned with just the individual shooter; they’re watching the shooters next to them with a practiced eye making sure a strict set of guidelines are being followed. Each one of these guidelines originates in the four fundamental firearms safety rules that are infallible for a reason. Because we don’t live in a video game you can’t always see your own actions from a third person perspective. We are also mistake prone as human beings. The massive advantage of having someone watching you and everyone else cannot be understated when it comes to firearms handling and shooting at a professionally run indoor range.
Outdoor vs. Indoor Conditions
Being a Minnesota native, never far from my mind are the memories of winters. They are truly what sets us apart from most of the country in terms of seasons. A massive advantage of an indoor range is simply the ability to avoid not just the cold, also the wetness of Minnesota winters. While cold might be the first thing people think of and it absolutely is a contributing factor, moisture plus cold is a uniquely difficult blend. Between cardboard targets getting wet, and subsequently freezing solid or worse a cardboard target getting wet and drooping it’s difficult to be consistent when your target is literally changing minute to minute. Steel targets are just as problematic especially if they’re not correctly tempered steel in freezing conditions. Add in shockingly bright light on sunny days with a snow-covered ground, icy purchase underfoot and difficulty pressing a trigger consistently due to blood flow then you have a plethora of reasons to choose an indoor range versus “making it work” outside.
Control Over Performance Factors
If improvement with a firearm is your goal one of the biggest factors if not the biggest is finding consistency in your practice. The type, size and distance of your target, firearm of choice, ammunition, lighting and more all play factors in how consistently you can replicate results. While the great outdoors is in fact great, it is also by its very nature inconsistent. Weather conditions, wind, and lighting are all examples of ever-changing conditions out of your control. On the reverse end of that spectrum an indoor range allows you to control every one of those conditions. A favorite reason to shoot indoors is distance. Out in the wide world it can be challenging to get an exact distance especially when zeroing a new optic on a rifle or pistol. Often this means needing to buy a range finder and take the time to get an exact distance which is both an additional cost and time consuming. Indoors on a well-designed range like Stock and Barrel you simply input the target distance you need, and the carrier will head to exactly where you desire. The cornerstone of a productive shooting session is consistency and without doubt indoor ranges hold a major trump card in this facet. Fair warning: having a preferred shooting lane at an indoor range is highly advisable based on lighting specifically for best results. Or, if you range offers private bays (typically associated with premium-level memberships) you can control the lighting conditions to your preference, to include low-light shooting without having to wait for sundown! Or in the case here at Stock & Barrel, sign up for our low-light/no-light class to learn the ins and outs of these conditions.
Instruction/Feedback Immediately Available
Lastly, we are only as good as those who can see things we cannot and most importantly provide timely, professional feedback. As alluded to earlier regarding safety, having another person to see things you simply cannot of your own actions is a powerful tool for improvement. Some will say using your phone to record yourself is a good way to handle feedback. Ask yourself two questions, can you be completely objective in your own self-critique and does your camera capture your entire body in the process of shooting? If both of those are true, you have an incredible formula! In reality, many are self-critical to the point of it being detrimental and only film their actions from about the waist up. Having an instructor with you not only will improve your shooting but it will do so in a timely, efficient and safe manner. They are able make observations and subtle corrections that without copious experience are exceedingly difficult to catch. Instructors can pull on their experiences to show you a new technique or challenge your normal way of doing things towards your goals. Lastly, they can demonstrate for you how to do something which is maybe the most powerful teaching tool. So many people learn through mimicry even as adults. Seeing someone do what you have struggled with for so long can be the last piece in a complex chain of actions leading to the desired result. At an indoor range with in-house instructors like those of Stock and Barrel, all of this happens in the span of minutes or hours as opposed to what can be a years-long learning experience.
A question to ask yourself, as an underlying factor to your choice of range, is why are you at the range in the first place? If you’re there for fun, maybe a little education and just to enjoy things that go boom an indoor range can absolutely be the place for you. On the other side of the coin, if you’re dead set on marked, measurable improvement then controlling as many factors as possible is likely what you need. In that case, an indoor range is the perfect choice. It’s time for you to become more with a firearm, when will you?
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