Do you think you’d enjoy rifle shooting? If you answered “no,” consider the following.
Learning how to shoot a rifle increases your physical and mental discipline. At the same time, target shooting can induce a zen-like sense of peace.
Learning to shoot can also give you a greater respect for safety—as well as danger. Yet despite the seriousness of the hobby, people are often surprised by how much fun they have learning how to shoot.
Intrigued? Read on to learn whether learning how to shoot a rifle might be your next hobby.
Mental Benefits of Rifle Shooting
It’s long been known that learning things throughout your life will help your brain age gracefully. It’s also fairly well-known that learning is a lot easier when you feel invested in the material. Or even better—when you actually enjoy learning about it.
Learning how to shoot a rifle engages your mind in several new ways. And don’t forget: your brain also benefits from your physical gains.
Learning New Concepts
Looking at the long-term effects of target shooting, intellectual stimulation is among the most satisfying. Taking up a rifle shooting hobby is a dynamic project. You’ll flex your mind and body in so many new ways: deciding what rifle suits you, browsing the best scope rings, touring around town to find your favorite shooting range, or even designing your own target for target shooting practice.
Learning New Words
You’ll learn a new vocabulary to go along with the physical and emotional skills you’ll develop while shooting. A basic glossary includes:
- Stance—The position of your body as you aim and shoot
- Parts—From sight to stock to barrel to grip
- Caliber—The size of your ammunition
- Safety—Meaning the protocols that prevent accidents and the physical mechanism that secures a firearm
There’s some pressure involved with rifle shooting. Most of this revolves around the need for strict safety protocols. No matter how cool-headed you are, it’s normal to feel nervous when you’re new to shooting.
Learning how to master your emotions—while also controlling your body, maintaining focus, and hitting your target—will carry over into all over aspects of your life.
Getting good at anything can give you a serious upgrade in confidence. When your new hobby is something as dynamic as rifle shooting, that upgrade gets an upgrade of its own. It’s difficult to describe what this boost feels like, but you can expect to walk a little taller after putting a few rounds through a target.
Being outdoors gives you access to fresh air, a new and stimulating environment, and a good reason to move your body. Whether going for a walk in your neighborhood, “forest bathing,” or shooting rifles at an outdoor range, you’re doing your mind and body a favor.
Meditation in the Zone
If you’ve never fired a rifle before—or haven’t done so with discipline—then you could be in for a lot of pleasant surprises. Perhaps the most striking one is the sense of calm that comes with absolute focus, as stressful thoughts fall away—thoughts that you didn’t even realize were bothering you.
One new shooter described the surprising zen of shooting as “a rare moment of peace.”
Physical Benefits of Rifle Shooting
Shooting a rifle requires a certain amount of physical ability. Getting good at it requires even more. The best part: you probably won’t even notice that you’re getting more exercise.
You have to keep yourself still and stable if you want to shoot accurately. This involves a variety of muscles, including abdominal muscles, back muscles, hip muscles, and leg muscles. It also requires an increased awareness of your own body’s positioning in space.
With most firearms, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to pull the trigger. But if you pull that trigger enough times, you’ll start to feel the burn. And it’s not only your trigger finger doing all the work—as you practice, you’ll also develop grip strength in both hands.
Holding a rifle isn’t quite like doing curls. With that said, it does force you to engage some arm muscles that you may not use very often. Examples include your biceps, shoulders, and forearms.
You may not always practice while standing up. But when you do, you’re going to build leg strength and stamina. Experimenting with different stances can be a fun way to activate different muscles.
Your eyesight likely won’t change simply from rifle shooting. On the other hand, your ability to focus, differentiate, and track objects in your visual field will improve. Practicing with moving targets could give you even more of a visual boost.
When you add all of that up, it means more endurance overall. You’ll likely get a little tired when you practice—though you may not feel it until the adrenaline wears off later in the day. If you find rifle shooting as fun as some people do, you may find yourself fighting fatigue just to keep shooting, thus improving your endurance even more.
Defensive Rifle Shooting
While it’s not likely, it’s also not impossible: one day, you may have to defend yourself, your home, or your family. As Vegetius said: “If you want peace, prepare for war.”
Learning to protect yourself with a weapon takes a lot of training with qualified instructors. Be sure to check around for credentials, reputations, and reviews.
Rifle Shooting is Full of Surprises
If you’re curious about learning how to shoot a rifle, there are plenty of surprising benefits above to persuade you. Maybe the most surprising thing about rifle shooting is this: it’s just plain fun.
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