So, you’ve joined the club and are going through the probationary process. And of course you are looking forward to getting your FAC, and then the fun begins, such as which firearms you are going to buy. Well, before you start spending all your pennies on nice new shiny guns, here’s a list of assorted accessories you should consider purchasing before your FAC comes through. It is based on the bits of equipment you’re definitely going to need and things we are most commonly asked to lend to shooters. The list is not long but over time you can end up spending significant amounts of money on these accessories. The bottom line is shooting is not a cheap sport, get your head around that before you start looking for guns.
- Ear protection is mandatory.
- If you are going to shoot, a decent set of ear protection is a sensible and wise investment. I personally prefer the electronic ear defenders that enable normal conversation whilst they cut out the loud painful impact of the gun reports, however, there are many options out there.
- In truth the choice is a personal one. Do ask guys at the range if you can try theirs to experience how effective the different models are.
- Recently I, and a number of others at the club members, have invested in Howard Leight Impact Sport head phones. I have found them to be reasonable priced, comfortable and very effective.
- Howard Leight by Honeywell 1013530 Impact Sport Electronic – Approx £64 on Amazon
2. Eye Protection
- Whilst not mandatory, wear some! I can’t think of any good reason not to, but can think of lots of reasons as to why you should.
- They are not expensive and can save your eye sight.
3. Bring a Pen
4. Shooting Mat
- If you intend to shoot at either Andover or Bisley, you will be laying on the ground (prone). Now this may not be a big issue for some hardy souls in the summer but trust me, it’s no fun in the winter without a mat to lay on. They can range from bits of canvas/tarpaulin to high quality mats such as the AIM drag mat. I’ve seen new shooters using roll-up camping mats and yoga mats. Whichever option you go for, get one!
5. Did I mention a Pen?
6. Shooting Rest Bags
- There are occasions at all our ranges when some form of shooting rest will be required. An effective initial option would be Caldwell front and rear bags (other makes are available). Not only do they provide a stable base for bench rest and prone comps, using a front and rear bag enables the shooter to release the rifle and for it to remain pointing down range at the butts in a safe manner. Some of our more experienced shooters, who should know better, may also wish to invest in some of these.
- The bags are also useful when shooting at Bisley, by using a rear bag a rifle with a bipod can easily be kept on target in a safe manner avoiding the risk of the barrel not being kept pointed at the butts.
7. A range bag
- It sounds daft but get one, any old bag will do, but something that keeps all your basic bits of kit, which you’re going to need on any shooting day, in one place.
8. Simple tool kit
- I can’t remember the last time I went to a range and someone didn’t ask to borrow an Allen key, screw driver or similar tool. Basic kits are readily available and should be dropped into your range bag. As your collection of Firearms grows make sure you have the right tools for any field work. I have seen many shooters not able to adjust a scope and miss out on shooting as they didn’t have an Allan key with them.
- Set of Allen Keys
- Multi-piece screwdriver set
- A good multi-tool such as a Leatherman
- Can of gun oil spray
- Probationers will often be shooting offhand gallery comps at Old Sarum using iron sight rifles. If you’re young and have great eye-sight, good for you! Otherwise you’re going to need some binoculars. They also come in very useful at the longer ranges.
10. Scoring and Plotting Sheet folder
- If you intend to shoot at Bisley you’re going to need to record both your own and fellow shooters scores. You may also want to plot your own shooting (it helps if you want to improve). Something as simple as a clip board will be a start, but when the weather is not so good, some form of covered folder will enable you to record your info whilst helping to keep it dry.
- A useful Logbook template can be downloaded from the club website at https://www.tidworthrpc.org/?page_id=557
11. You will also need a Pen!
12. A good sense of humour
- Always comes in useful! Oh yes, and a Pen…
13. Oh, and last bit of advice. Never argue with the RCO, you won’t win, even if you are right!