Outsider’s Insights: What a Year of Shooting Has Taught Me By: Madison Heim

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I like to think that firearms have a unique ability to teach you important life lessons, but only if you stop to listen. There are so many useful things to learn from these tools. After a year of shooting, here are five lessons firearms have taught me. 

Important Lessons from a Year of Shooting

1. Guns Are Cool, But the People That Shoot Them Are Even Better

Before I stepped foot in the gun world, I blindly assumed that the people within this community were arrogant, disrespectful, and rude to outsiders. I thought that since firearms were loud and noisy, the people who shoot them would have obnoxious personalities to match.

Luckily, as time passed, I learned it was the exact opposite. Individuals in the firearm community are extremely kind, caring, and respectful people. They genuinely just want the best for you and your firearm.

A Year of Shooting: Shooting Is Cheaper Than Therapy.
(Photo by Andy Grossman)

At the end of the day, all people care about is whether you are practicing firearm safety and not endangering yourself or others as you shoot. They want you to ask questions. They encourage you to have fun. And they are quick to offer advice and lend you a hand when needed.

Not once have I felt shunned away based on my gender or skill level. The firearm industry sets high standards on the type of person it accepts as a part of the gun community. However, rest assured that once you enter this world, you are valued, equal, and, more importantly, welcomed.

2. Trying Is Better Than Not Trying at All 

A valuable lesson I have learned about shooting is it is a skill that takes time and practice to master. Now, I understand that it can be easy to look at other shooters at the range who have a more precise aim or a better stance than you do and think, “I will never be that good. I should just quit while I am ahead.”

However, I encourage you to stop that type of thinking. Here is a little secret that may shock you. The professionals you see at the range were not always that good. Just like you, they once made the same mistakes you are currently making. We all have to start somewhere, and you are no exception to this simple fact of shooting.

Yes, this sport has different skill levels. But your skill does not make you any less than others at the range. Shooting is not a race and all that matters is you are trying your best.

3. Shooting Is Cheaper Than Therapy 

People shoot firearms for many purposes, such as hunting, protection, or sport. But I am willing to bet that if you look beneath the surface, you will find there is often a deeper reason that drives an individual’s need to shoot.

Yes, I go to the range to practice and have fun, but more importantly, I go to clear my head. As loud and invigorating as shooting is, I find the activity relaxing and calming to me mentally and physically.

Trying Is Better Than Not Trying at All.

It is the one time in my life I can honestly say I feel calm and at peace. Once I look down my sights and aim at my target, nothing else fumbling around in my brain matters. To me, there is nothing more therapeutic than that. That is why my money spent on range time, ammunition, and targets is always well worth it. 

4. Progress Looks Different for Everyone

From novice to advanced shooters, I like to view each skill level as a crucial step you must achieve in order to progress in your shooting journey. For example, look at it as working your way up a ladder. On a ladder, you must start at the bottom and climb your way up to the top.

The same goes for progressing to each skill level. Some might progress a little quicker to each level, and some might move at a slower pace. No matter your position on the “skill ladder,” I recommend you be proud of where you started, where you currently are, and where you are going.

It is important you acknowledge what you have done, admire the steps you have taken to get where you are, and continue to set goals. No matter what step you take in your shooting journey, it should never go unnoticed. You deserve to feel pride and accomplishment in everything you have and will achieve.

5.  Firearms Are Not Scary, Just Misunderstood

It is no secret that firearms have an intimidating appearance, which can aid in the mentality that firearms are “scary.”

It is important you know that these tools are not scary. They are just misunderstood. Thanks to uneducated folks and social media, firearms will always be framed in a bad light. But this should not stop you from learning the truth about them.

A Year of Shooting: Firearms Are Not Scary, Just Misunderstood.
(Photo by Andy Grossman)

To fight against any misconceptions about firearm, I recommend you take a safety class. Likewise, go to the gun range and ask questions, or even look into groups on Facebook to aid in your research.

Once you do, I am willing to bet that the negative perspective you may have about firearms will quickly change. I know mine certainly did.

Closing Remarks 

If you can take away anything from this article, I urge you to take away this: the possibilities of what you can learn from firearms are truly endless. Every firearm has a different story, message, and lesson to teach, but only if you are willing to listen.

And let me tell you, once you stop to hear what these tools have to say, you won’t regret it.

Progress Looks Different for Everyone.
(Photo by Andy Grossman)
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