So, what have you been up to this month? Squeezing in that one last summer vacation to the beach with your family? Getting the kids and your entire household ready for the new school year? It’s now August 21, but there is still time — time to go to the shooting range, train, take a class, compete in a match or teach someone new about safe and responsible firearms ownership and usage. Why? Well, besides the fact that any time is a good time to work on your shooting skills, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) declared in 2017 that August is National Shooting Sports Month (NSSM), “a time for the community of firearms owners to celebrate and enjoy the shooting sports with friends, family, and newcomers they want to introduce to these lifetime activities.”
I don’t know about you, but I am all in favor of celebrating and preserving shooting sports and activities. So, get out and do something! Set up some reactive targets or steel, or try your hand at action-pistol shooting (such as IDPA or USPSA), competitive three-gun, long-range rifle shooting, shotgun sports (such as skeet, trap and sporting clays) or even black powder and cowboy action shooting.
Target shooting is a fun, challenging activity that just about anyone can enjoy both recreationally and competitively. If there is a whole month dedicated to doing just that, we should definitely take advantage of it. As the NSSF states, “Firearms owners deserve a dedicated time that draws positive attention to their sports and its many benefits,” and the National Shooting Sports Month is a great time to make time “to enjoy a day at the range, whether by themselves or with a friend or family member.” It is also a perfect time for the firearms community to make and build connections and to support our local ranges and firearms retail stores.
Last year, 77 percent of participants in August’s National Shooting Sports Month visited their local ranges to target shoot, and 31 percent of participants introduced someone new to target shooting. According to a survey from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, participants listed the following as their favorite aspects of this first-ever national celebration of the shooting sports:
- “Being able to spend time with my son shooting.”
- “Introducing my daughter to the sport.”
- “Being part of a community in a sport I love.”
- “Honing my skills.”
- “The competition component of the matches I shot.”
- “It had been a while and I forgot how much fun it was. Will start going again on a regular basis.”
Maybe you don’t need an excuse to go to the range or to take someone new with you to shoot, but the National Shooting Sports Month offers a perfect reason to make sure some firearms training and target shooting fun make it into your calendar this month. If you do join in on the celebration, be sure to share by using #LetsGoShooting.