After a lot of concealed carriers finish their pistol safety course and get their permit, many are often left wondering what left they need to do. As someone who carries a handgun, I get asked quite a lot about ways someone can get involved in fun shooting events. Some people are just naturally competitive while others are just looking for an excuse to shoot some rounds at the range.
It’s important to get involved in some type of activity. Just going to the range, alone, and firing rounds to maintain proficiency can grow boring or stale. You may no longer feel challenged by shooting a stationary paper target. Here’s several suggestions for ways to spice up your firearms proficiency.
Rod & Gun Club
Especially in the Northeast, there are these clubs known as Rod & Gun Clubs. Originally created as an excuse to bring hunters and sportsmen together so they could educate themselves about different types of firearms and hunting techniques, the clubs have quickly spiraled off into hosting a wide variety of firearm-related events.
Everything from amateur rifle and shotgun competitions to .22 pistol shoots, Rod & Gun Clubs usually offer a family-friendly atmosphere that’s conducive about improving your relationship with firearms and firearm-related sports. In addition to firearms, these guys also like to raise funds for local charities, help out in the community, and serve up some mean barbecue.
Unaffiliated and private pistol clubs are often geared specifically to handguns. Usually located alongside an indoor range, pistol clubs focus predominantly on beginner and intermediate level education classes. They usually have NRA-certified instructors or others with prior experience in law enforcement and military.
Because many of these pistol clubs are independent institutions, experience may vary depending upon the person and location. Some may be more family-friendly than others. Some may have entrance requirements such as a pistol safety course and background check.
Check to see what pistol clubs are in your neighborhood and take the initiative to see if they offer fun, competitive and non-competitive events.
Boy Scouts of America
For those with boys, Boy Scouts of America may offer you the opportunity to bond with your son and educate him on firearms. It’s amazing what we learn when we’re placed into a position to teach and instruct others. While the Boy Scouts of America predominantly focuses on rifle marksmanship, it can be a fun way to network with other like-minded families and learn more about firearms.
The International Practical Shooting Confederation can be a concealed carrier’s dream come true. Aimed specifically at engaging active gun owners with a passion for fast-paced, competitive shooting, the IPSC offers events for beginners to expert. Courses are modeled after practical scenarios. They are scored, timed, and heavily mediated by range safety officers. IPSC events can offer you an incredibly fun, competitive way to grow as both a concealed carrier and gun owner.
Competitions are located throughout the country. Various courses have requirements for pistols and gear. Check with your local program or officials to find out more about how you can get involved.
NRA Shooting Competitions
The National Rifle Association is one of the oldest names in family-friendly shooting competitions. If you secretly have aspirations for being a record-breaking competitive shooter, the NRA likely has a program geared for you. There’s still plenty of options for those with a bit less of a competitive streak.
One of the great things about NRA competitive matches is that they scale between local area meet-ups and shoots to cross-organizational relationships with groups like 4-H and Boy Scouts of America. There are also national programs for those that qualify.
The great thing about any of these options is that you are guaranteed to meet other concealed carriers, learn more about firearms, and become more proficient with your own guns. This has a direct cross-over to your daily life and how you introduce family members into defensive shooting.