Owning firearms facilitates going to the range, honing your skills, meeting new people, and gives an excuse to blow of some steam. However, shooting at still targets or clay pigeons can get…well, a little old…a little boring even. Why not try something new for once? In the spirit of fun, we feature 5 firearms activities that you may not have thought of, or maybe you have thought of them, but just haven’t taken the steps to get involved yet.
CHL ClassesMost states have concealed carry laws on the books, which allow for licensed individuals to carry their handgun of choice on their person in most locations (bars and schools are the most common exceptions). Considering that when seconds count, the cops are minutes away, the idea of being armed outside of the home can augment the average citizen’s ability to defend him/herself when faced with situations involving life threatening aggressors. Even if you have no intention of packing heat outside of your home, it’s never a bad idea to take the class simply to know the legal ramifications of using deadly force in your particular state.
This is especially true when you consider that different states have different laws governing how and when the use of deadly force is legally permitted. For example, there is a “duty to retreat” in the State of California, whereas Texas law employs the radically different “castle doctrine”. These are all good things to know and may just end up making the difference between an indictment and moving on with your life after such a situation, if/when it ever arises.
IDPA CompetitionPer their website, the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) facilitates “the use of practical equipment including full charge service ammunition to solve simulated ‘real world’ self-defense scenarios using practical handguns and holsters that are suitable for self-defense use. The main goal is to test the skill and ability of an individual.”
Basically, instead of ducking and dodging at the range like a crazy person while pretending that the silhouette target you’re engaging is a real bad guy, well…you get to do that exact thing, but with the caveat that no one at IDPA will think you’re crazy because that’s the whole point of the sport. IDPA is for men and women, and tests your speed and decision-making just as much as your fundamental shooting skills. With over 20,000 members in 50 countries, it’s a fast growing sport that lets you practice what you’ve learned in your CHL class in a non-threatening, yet competitive environment. While other shooting sports have often been characterized as “equipment races”, IDPA allows for use of duty/CCW gear in an attempt to match real-world scenarios as closely as possible.
Sniper SchoolThere are many of these schools all over the country, but the basic premise is usually the same. The purpose of sniping school is to take your long range shots to the next level. These courses are usually taught by seasoned military and/or law enforcement veterans, and the course content usually involves everything from basic sniper fundamentals (D.O.P.E. charts, etc.) to crazy stuff like predicting how a bullet’s path will curve in the air before it hits a target.
Theoretically, if you take one of these courses from a guy who really knows his stuff (and you practice a lot), you could end up being able to hit targets that you can’t even see. Think of the way that a major league pitcher throws a curve ball…yeah, it’s like that, but with bullets.
Hunting Wild GameThis one is an obvious choice, but it can still be a lot of fun. Hunting different game requires different strategies, and you may even earn some food, a rug, or a trophy for your efforts. If you’re into sniping, deer hunting may be for you. If you like shooting at moving targets, bird hunting can be exhilarating and rewarding.
You’ll need a hunting permit in your state, and will most likely have to take a hunter’s safety course that meets your state’s requirements to attain one. In any case, hunting is a great way to facilitate bonding between friends and family, and it is one of the oldest fundamental human activities next to sex, eating, and sleeping.
Helicopter Hog HuntingIn some states, wild hog populations have cost the state economy billions of dollars and have become such a hindrance that these states are actively encouraging their killing en masse. While it may sound detestable if you’re a card-carrying member of PETA, we’re not going to pretend that shooting groups of wild beasts with a semi-automatic rifle from a moving helicopter isn’t one of the most awesome things to do on the planet. While it’s not an especially cheap endeavor (unless you happen to own a helicopter), it’s a great way to end a bachelor party weekend, an awesome thing to check off your bucket list, and well…just plain awesome. Watch and you’ll understand:
As mentioned before, the hog problem is limited to just a few southern states, so the opportunity to participate in this fantastically awesome awesomeness is also limited to those states. However, if there was ever anything worth a road trip, you’d be hard pressed to pretend that this weren’t one of those things.
About the Author: DeGuns specializes in selling handguns, rifles, optics, ammunition, and other shooting equipment & accessories online and from their location in Lincoln, Nebraska. To view their inventory, visit www.deguns.net.