Unfortunately, we are in a time where unless you have a friend or family member that shoots (or you were born in to it) the sport is perceived as fairly inaccessible, full of hoops to jump through and expensive. There is also the issue of awareness. My colleagues at work (my day job) we’re surprised to hear that I owned a gun and a lot of people I come across still think firearm ownership is a taboo subject - It couldn't be further from the truth.
Once you get in to the world of shooting you will be surprised just how big it is and how many people, businesses and opportunities there are in the sport. But how do you get in to the sport? In a previous post I covered the aspect of getting your shotgun certificate, but what if you are not quite at that point yet?
It is always worth searching for a local clay pigeon shooting ground and paying them a visit. You don't need to be a member or own a gun to go and have a look. One thing to remember is that you are a potential future customer and a potential new shooter in the sport. We all love talking about shooting and encouraging others in to the sport let me tell you. So don't be afraid to ask questions, generally everyone will go out of their way to help you and answer any questions.
When I was looking to get in to shooting I rang my local shooting ground and explained I was interested in the sport but knew absolutely NOTHING. The owner was extremely helpful and invited me down to have a look around, speak with some of the members and for him to explain how it all works and what I would need. This is your best option, and whilst you're there you could even book in a lesson with a qualified coach to have a go and see if you like it. This way you will get a feel for the sport, the people, have a chance to ask questions and also have a good reason to apply for your shotgun certificate.
Another thing to do is research. I spent hours looking online at websites such as www.shootinguk.co.uk and www.basc.org.uk. Both of which provide so much information on entering the sport, what equipment you need, what it costs, the rules and regulations etc.
Before I got in to shooting I was aware of a local gun shop but I didn't think I would even be allowed in because they sell guns and I knew nothing about them and didn't own one. Unfortunately we are not great on firearms in this country and we have a long way to go too raise awareness and promote the sport. However, if you see a local gun shop, go in and say hello and ask questions. The staff will be more than helpful and talk you through everything you need to know.
Once you have made your decision that shooting is something you would like to pursue, get online and download an application form for your shotgun certificate.
Overall, if you want to get in to shooting? Ask. Research. And go for it! There is nothing to fear, there is nothing holding you back and there is no reason why you can't or shouldn't. Google a local clay pigeon shooting ground near to you and give them a call.