Sociology of Guns Seminar Field Trip to the Gun Range

One of the best places to satisfy gun curiosity is at the gun range. So the highlight of my Sociology of Guns seminar at Wake Forest University each year is a field trip we take to a local range. There students get a first exposure to what guns are, how they work, and what it is like to handle them. This provides an essential experiential base of knowledge that carries over through the semester.

Sociology of Guns student learning how to operate an IWI Tavor bullpup rifle at Veterans Range, 2016.

When I taught my seminar in the fall of 2015 and 2016, class started in September, so weather allowed us to use an outdoor range to which I belong. In 2017, 2018, and this year, the seminar has been offered in the spring, with class beginning in January, so we have visited an indoor range instead.

Sociology of Guns student preparing to shoot at ProShots Range, 2018.

Every year the field trip has two components: A mandatory classroom introduction to firearms/safety and a voluntary opportunity to shoot guns on the range. (I encourage students who choose not to shoot at least to observe the shooting, which most non-shooters do.)

Richard Talbert of ProShots Range explains ATF Form 4473 to Sociology of Guns students in 2018.

At the outdoor range, students have an opportunity to shoot handguns and rifles. At the indoor range, they only shoot handguns because of the noise. In all cases they do so under the close supervision of Range Safety Officers.

Richard Talbert supervising a student shooting at ProShots Range, 2018.

For a minority of students who take my class, guns are familiar. But for the majority of students, guns are novel. The latter group benefits in particular from the range field trip, as my following posts will show.

Sociology of Guns student wearing Christian Peacemaker hat at Veterans Range, 2015.

3 thoughts on “Sociology of Guns Seminar Field Trip to the Gun Range

  1. Awesome blog. I have been around guns since I was 10 (used to hunt with my father) but have only been involved with handguns over the last few years. The first dozen times to the range were weird, feeling out of place. But those fears were unfounded as most everyone I meet there is happy to help someone willing to learn. I know tons more now than I did a few years ago, but always eager to learn more.


  2. Pingback: 2019 Sociology of Guns Seminar Gun Store and Range Field Trip | Gun Curious

  3. Pingback: Student Gun Range Reflection: Getting a Better Grasp of an Unknown Aspect of Gun Culture | Gun Curious

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