Congratulations!! Welcome to the club! You have not joined the “unemployed redneck” crowd like some would have you believe, but you did join a group. Not an elite group. Just a segment of society that has found the pleasure and pride of ownership that goes along with the Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR). You might be surprised to learn that your neighbor, boss, or that guy who is always hogging the treadmill at the gym is also a member of the MSR owners club. You see you don’t have to be a tactical ninja operator with six tours in the “sandbox” to enjoy your new purchase. You don’t have to dress in the latest and greatest patented overpriced camouflage pattern to be accepted in this group. You just have to step up to the firing line and shoot. You may get some oohs and ahhs from your friends. Even the ones who think guns are only for the military and law enforcement. Just rest assured that even those friends are secretly wishing they had one to.

I heard in a Spiderman movie once, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Nothing is more true of owning a firearm. So in getting back to the topic of this post, be responsible! The following tips are a recommendation for both new and experienced shooters alike. Whether this is your first AR style rifle or your gun safe overfloweth, any and all of these suggestions can only benefit you.

  • Learn your firearm. I don’t mean propping it up on the couch next to you and reading through the all to litigious and information starved owners manual (if it even came with one). We live in the information age. Your proof of that since your reading this post. Go online. Check out sites like, the National Rifle Association (, even the manufacturer’s website. Search your specific model on Google,, or any of the hundreds of firearms sites out there. Seek information from these location on how to maintain your new purchase. Not all guns are the same. All have different maintenance and storage requirements.
  • Practice safety every time you handle your MSR. Be the example to your family, friends, and other men and women at the range. The fastest way to turn people off to firearms is to follow the example of the Delta Force guy in Blackhawk Down and cowboy around with your mechanical safety in the off position spouting how your trigger finger is all the safety you need. The NRA and other gun groups, including your local range masters all preach the rules and policies of firearm safety. That’s for a good reason. People get dead when shot with a high velocity chunk of metal in a vital area. Even the most highly trained special forces ninjas our government has produced have experienced  what is now termed a “Negligent Discharge”. (If at this point in the post you think I’m over cautious and don’t know what I’m talking about. STOP READING and rethink your life choices.) Remember you are responsible for everything that comes out of the business end of your MSR.
  • My favorite tip is GO TAKE A CLASS! You just shelled out at least somewhere near one thousand dollars. Spend another $50-200 and put yourself through a training course.These basic courses put you together with a qualified instructor who will help you learn all that your new MSR can do. You might be surprised what it’s capabilities are. You might even be surprised at what you’ll become capable of by the end of the course.
Shooting courses are a great way to meet other shooters of all levels. I have friends today that I met in shooting courses almost 20 years ago. It’s also an opportunity to get off the couch, or out of mowing the lawn in my case, during your weekend.
Once you’ve mastered the basic course with your MSR, enroll in the intermediate or advance courses offered. Just be prepared to have so much fun your wife or husband my have to purchase a rifle and enroll just to see you on the weekends! I have never left a class I wished I had not attended, and more often than not, I would go through it all over again. They are really that much fun!
  • Join a shooting group. Back to the information age again…shooting groups are in almost every area and Google is your friend. Their members come from all skill levels. Most of all, they are filled with good people who love to share their passion for sending lead down-range. Check out a website called if your not able to locate a group in your area through google.

Don’t let the shooting sports world be intimidating. After talking with a few people on this side of the gun counter at your local range, you will be surprised at how much you and the guy in the shooting lane next to you have in common. Shooting sport here in the US have exploded (no pun intended) over the past few years. There are more new and first-time shooter getting involved than ever.

Go have fun, practice safety, and tell us about your first experience in the comments below!