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The Roving Sportsman… Firearm (Handgun) Training

Recently revealed statistics verified that 2021 was another banner year when it came to firearms sales, and 2022 is headed for another year of robust sales. Personal protection handguns have been and will continue to be a majority of that business. In fact, there were over 5 million firearms purchased by new gun owners throughout the 12 months of last year! On the plus side, that is 5 million more folks that share a concern for protecting our Second Amendment rights. On the downside, I am concerned as to how many of those folks purchase a firearm for the first time, particularly a handgun, and feel that is the end of the process. The purchase is, however, just the beginning. Learning about – and more importantly, understanding – the rights and responsibilities of gun ownership are critical to responsible firearm possession. These subjects are covered in the free Gun Law Seminars that are often being held in the area thanks to the efforts of 83rd Legislative District Representative Jeff C. Wheeland and 84th Legislative District Representative Joe Hamm.

There is a second and equally critical aspect to responsible gun ownership, and that is to train and become completely proficient with the weapon you possess. Sure, it would be of some benefit when your neighbor, friend, or relative takes you to the nearby shooting range and spends time with you to help you become familiar with any new firearm. But gun ownership is serious business; thus, the task of being trained in proper gun handling and gun safety should be trusted only to the professionals. To that end, we are fortunate to have in our area a business that is currently providing multiple opportunities for new gun owners as well as experienced shooters to acquire or increase their proficiency. That business is the National Range and Armory, located at 531 Washington Boulevard in Williamsport, PA.

Entering their showroom, one is immediately impressed with the quantity and quality of self-defense firearms (handguns, shotguns, and rifles) and accessories that are on hand for sale. But, it is the training they offer that we want to examine more closely.

Housing an eight-lane indoor shooting range allows their in-house certified instructors to train a wide variety of calibers, up to .308. This range is open to the public and available for memberships as well.

All of the various training venues focus strongly on gun safety and ownership responsibility and include how to effectively handle, manipulate, shoot, clean, and store firearms.

Individuals or groups can sign up for one-on-one lessons or take advantage of more formal classroom presentations and training. On the first Thursday evening of every month, from 4-7 p.m., Ladies Night is available with no reservation required and at a minimal fee of $10.00. Female shooters will learn the basic fundamentals of pistol grip, shooting stance, sight picture, and trigger press. If you have never handled a firearm before, this night is designed for you, and no firearm is required. For possible first-time gun buyers, this is the perfect opportunity to find the firearm that suits your need. On the third Thursday of each month, Beginners Night is held from 4-7 p.m.

The basics of handling a firearm are covered with an emphasis on safely handling a weapon. Here too, no reservation is required, and the fee is a mere $10.00. Continued or advanced instruction is available to individuals or groups at an hourly rate, and conventional rifles and pistols can be rented at an hourly rate.

A basic 4-hour handgun course includes two hours of classroom instruction and two hours of professional coaching on the indoor range. Additionally, there is handgun training available for those with an interest in defensive use of a firearm for the purpose of concealed carry.

Ownership of a firearm, particularly a personal defense handgun, is something that needs to be taken very seriously. To learn about the responsibilities and liabilities of gun ownership, attend one of the upcoming Gun Law Seminars. To find out about where and when they are being held, contact the office of either Representative Joe Hamm at (570) 546-2084 or Representative Jeff Wheeland at (570) 321-1270. To learn more about or schedule firearms training, call the National Range & Armory at (570) 601-4101.