Looking for a place to go shoot? The NSSF has an online and mobile resource to help you track down a local shooting range.
As many shooters know, an important aspect of gun ownership is regularly getting out and spending time shooting. The most effective method of growing shooting sports is to get new and young shooters involved. The best—and perhaps the only—way of accomplishing this is to get them out at the range.
A range session is an enjoyable and necessary experience for any shooter regardless of skill level. Range trips help educate and familiarize new shooters with firearm safety and shooting basics, and they serve as valuable training time for more seasoned shooters.
Unfortunately, while trips to the shooting range are the primary building blocks for any shooter’s development, finding and accessing ranges isn’t always easy. Shooters living in rural areas may have the benefit of shooting on their own private land or that of a friend. Many new shooters, especially those in urban areas, simply don’t have that luxury.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, has helped shooters solve this problem by creating a comprehensive, searchable directory (WhereToShoot.org) that lists places to shoot. Available as an online guide or downloadable as an app for Apple and Android smartphones, the directory is expansive and offers shooters many great resources.
Where to Shoot
Designed to be quick and simple to use, the NSSF’s “Where to Shoot” directory provides a few different options for finding the right place to shoot. The user can view listings by state or search the directory by inputting a zip code and a distance parameter ranging from 5 miles up to 120 miles.
These are the only two ways to find shooting areas on the mobile app; however, the online directory can filter results even further based on several other factors.
One of these filtering options is “shooting activities,” which allows the user to select ranges based on the type of activities they offer. These include shotgun events such as trap and skeet, centerfire or rimfire rifle shooting, and handgun shooting, among others. Whether the ranges have dedicated archery or airgun areas can similarly be used to limit results.
Choices can also be filtered by what kind of competitions and organized events the range hosts, or even by what type of services are available (retail store, food service, camper/RV sites, etc.). Likewise, those looking for hunting opportunities can find them by choosing among several different types of game animals they’d like to pursue.
This level of detail allows shooters to find the location that fits their exact needs and desires, and which will hopefully translate into continued or even expanded participation in the shooting sports.
A guide to finding ranges is an excellent tool for shooters, but the NSSF doesn’t stop there. In addition to helping users locate shooting areas, the online directory offers an assortment of useful tips and tools, especially for novice shooters.
Under a separate tab on the Where to Shoot homepage titled “Resources,” the NSSF provides links to several educational guides and a host of informative sources. There are links to the NSSF’s YouTube channel, where users can find instructional videos on shooting tips and tactics, and to the NSSF blog, where shooters can view the latest industry news and trends.
Particularly helpful to first-time gun owners and shooters, the resources tab also contains links to the rules of firearm safety and other firearm safety literature. Printable paper targets ranging from deer and turkey to standard bullseyes are available as well, giving shooters a leg up as they make their way to the range.
The site’s resources section includes an extensive catalog of youth and college shooting sports programs and a page that details the various competitive shooting sports. It also features a list of other organizations for shooters and provides information on NSSF First Shots seminars, introductory courses where shooters learn the basics of safe firearm handling and use, receive guidance on local requirements for purchasing and owning firearms and hear about different shooting sports opportunities. Last but not least, the site allows shooters to search for firearm retailers by state.
A Go-To Resource
With an extensive directory of shooting ranges and clubs that is regularly updated and available online or on most smartphones, NSSF’s Where to Shoot is a valuable tool for both novice and veteran shooters. The user-friendly design allows shooters to quickly and easily find nearby ranges, leaving them with more time to actually shoot and acquire proficiency with a chosen firearm.
The Where to Shoot website is a wellspring of useful information, especially for new or youth shooters just beginning their shooting careers. Whether the shooter is looking to simply improve marksmanship abilities or get started in competitive shooting, the NSSF’s online guide has abundant information to help. With its Where to Shoot website and mobile app, the NSSF has created a powerful, easy-to-use resource located literally at a shooter’s fingertips or in the palm of their hands.
This article appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.