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A Great Way To Bring In New Shooters

Tes Salb WinterStrong 5

Every August, the NSSF promotes its annual National Shooting Sports Month. If you're unfamiliar with it, it is a month devoted to "growing the participation in shooting sports."

It's a great way to bring new shooters into the shooting sports - whether it is skeet, steel challenge, or long-range precision - there's a discipline for everybody.

The idea is to introduce new people to the sport we enjoy. We must remember that not everybody has grown up around firearms like so many of us did. Maybe it's not accepted in their current work environment, or it might be something looked down upon in their social circles.

This scenario is where you can be an ambassador for the sport.

I understand the excitement of getting somebody new to the range. It may have taken weeks or even months to convince somebody to come to the range with us, and once it finally happens, we want to show them everything we know - all in, zero to 100. We fall into that trap; once they put rounds downrange, they will be hooked.

If only it were that easy. For many new shooters, the conversation starts long before they head to the range. We forget that many come with preconceived ideas of the firearms world.

The ability to be an effective communicator can help bridge this gap. What about if we take a different approach instead of being so quick to show them what we are capable of or how much knowledge we have?

What if we start by listening? Not listen to quickly interject our thoughts but listen and try to look at it from their perspective.

What if we ask questions back to them to open a dialogue they may not have had previously?

Once we have established trust, we can start teaching and adding value.

This process makes the first time to the range less intimidating, provides an open line of communication, and gives the "student" their best chance to learn, with the best part being them wanting to head back to the range.

Scott Volquartsen
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