WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Concealed Carry Journey: A First Trip to the Range

With so many new people recently purchasing firearms, we are sure to see an increase in concealed carry license (CCL) holders for those not living in constitutional carry states. In the past, I wrote about Elizabeth Buerling’s journey to getting her CCL. I’ve decided to continue my “Concealed Carry Journey” series to help educate new firearm owners and those wanting to carry concealed, with a 4th installment to the series: “First Trip to the Range.” 

Springfield Armory Hellcat banner for WON

Sponsored by Springfield Armory

The first 3 parts of this series began with Elizabeth’s – who is a college student – background in part 1. In part 2, we talked grip, trigger press and sight picture. Then, in the third part of the series, Elizabeth learned the importance of proper gear for training and how to draw a pistol from a holster.  Now, in this fourth part, we head to the range to begin live fire training with her Springfield XD-S.

Springfield XD-S MOd2 box Concealed Carry
Springfield XD-S

First Trip to the Range

Being an accomplished college competitive pistol shooter, Elizabeth is already familiar with range etiquette and safety rules. However, if this is your first trip to the range, make sure you are aware of the following:

4 Firearms Safety Rules

1. Treat all guns as if they are always loaded.

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything that you are not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you have made the decision to shoot.

4. Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it.

Range Rules Safety Concealed Carry Journey: First Trip to the Range
( Katelyn Bright photo)

Look for range rules posted somewhere near the shooting stalls or handed to you when you sign a safety waiver. Every range has specific procedures; read them thoroughly. If you have any questions, make sure to get them answered before you begin shooting.

Dry Fire on the Range

Just like any trip to the range, we started with dry fire. Using an empty gun, that we checked and double checked, Elizabeth practiced drawing from the holster and taking her first shots about 10-feet from the target. Just like when dry firing at home, this gave her the opportunity to practice the fundamentals and manipulation skills without recoil and the noise of shooting. 

Shooting Springfield XD-S First Trip to the Range Concealed Carry

Once she felt confident in her movements and I confirmed she had the proper grip, she loaded the magazine into the gun. If this were a brand new firearm owner shooting a handgun for the first time, I would only prep the magazine with 2 rounds. This is a little safety precaution, in case the shooter panics. Once the shooter is comfortable shooting, add more ammo to the magazine.

buerling support side shooting on her  Trip to the Range

Since this was my first time on the range with Elizabeth, we began with the same shooting drills I would do for any class. By watching her shoot the following drills I assessed her ability, determined what needed correction and then helped her to make the corrections. 

Gumball Machine Oval Target
Gum Ball Oval Target

Shooting Drills

Use the gum ball target, linked above, at a distance of 10-feet. 

1. Do single shots (2 magazines) from the high ready each time.

2. Do controlled pairs, which are 2 aimed shots (2 magazines) from the high ready each time.

3. Do single shots (2 magazines) and draw from the holster each time.

2. Do controlled pairs, which are 2 aimed shots (2 magazines) and draw from the holster each time.

Cerino instructing on the range shooting Springfield XDS Concealed Carry
(Colton Cerino photo)

While Elizabeth shot, I watched her trigger press and grip. When she shot competitively in college, she used a very light trigger. The Springfield XD-S’s heavier trigger pull took a little getting used to, but she figured it out. I offered constructive corrections to her, since shooting with 2 hands is completely new to her. Plus, it’s been a long time since she’s had a trip to the range.

sight picture demo cerino

What’s Next in the Series?

In the next installment and our session, I’ll analyze Elizabeth’s targets (as well as other targets as examples) and explain what adjustments to make to correct them. Plus, Elizabeth and I will head back to the range for some new drills.

Learn more about the Springfield XD-S MOD2 here

Download and print your own gum ball target here.

  • About Michelle Cerino

    Michelle Cerino, aka Princess Gunslinger, entered the firearms industry in 2011 when Cerino Training Group was established. She immediately began competing in both 3-Gun and NRA Action Pistol, becoming a sponsored shooter. Michelle is currently a columnist and Managing Editor of Women’s Outdoor News, as well as owner of Pervenio LLC. She also manages social media for Vera Koo and GTM Original. Michelle encourages others to step out of the comforts of home and explore.