from the nssf
Let’s Go Shooting
National Shooting Sports Month is a hit. Preparations are underway for 2019 By Jodi Stemler
e all know that target shooting is popular in the U.S., with an estimated 20 million people participating regularly. But when you factor in the youth, family, friends, and other guests who experienced shooters bring with them to the range, the number pushes 50 million—and if those individuals continued to shoot, we could more than double the number of regular target shooters.
Turning interested shooters into regular shooters could increase your business and improve the industry as a whole. To make this happen, everyone engaged in the industry needs to reach out to someone with an interest and say, “Let’s go shooting!” This is the goal of National Shooting Sports Month. With partners at shooting ranges, gun shops, and others in the shooting sports industry, the month is a focused period of time to increase awareness and opportunities to get more people out on the range.
Kicking Off National Shooting Sports Month
In 2017, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) designated August as National Shooting Sports Month, and in the first year of the campaign, nearly 200 range and retail businesses across the country hosted 345 events or promotions. With a year of experience and awareness under its belt, 2018’s National Shooting Sports Month was set up to be a huge success. NSSF’s goal was to double the number of events and get more ranges and retailers engaged. At the beginning of August, NSSF launched the brand-new LetsGoShooting.org website to serve as a hub for National Shooting Sports Month events and promotions. Going forward, the site provides numerous resources for both new shooters and those who want to get more active in the shooting sports. It also provides safety information and links to local retailers and ranges. Accompanied by the hashtag #LetsGoShooting, NSSF encouraged everyone to get busy on social media sharing their events or their fun times out shooting with friends. On July 28, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke kicked off the month by spending time shooting at The Range of
National Shooting Sports Month helps increase awareness and creates a focused period of time to invite newcomers to have fun on the range.
Richfield in Wisconsin, focusing on the importance of firearms safety, the conservation dollars raised through purchase of ammunition and firearms, and, of course, how much fun it is to get out and shoot. Zinke’s message for National Shooting Sports Month: “Be safe and let’s go shooting!” The month also got a boost from a presidential message offering the White House’s support. “During National Shooting Sports Month, we celebrate the wonderful American tradition of shooting sports,” wrote President Trump. “I encourage all Americans engaged in shooting sports to continue promoting a culture of safety and to continue exercising the responsibility and duty associated with the right to keep and bear arms.”
Partners Across the Industry
National Shooting Sports Month provides a recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) opportunity for all aspects of the shooting sports industry—and the industry is certainly starting to rally around the opportunity. In 2018, nearly 500 local retailers and shooting ranges across the country participated in National Shooting Sports Month events. NSSF offered its partners market-
ing materials, hats, and T-shirts, along with many other resources to help provide new shooters with a quality learning experience. The ranges took it from there, many offering a variety of shooting experiences. In Virginia, SafeSide Tactical offered four different types of First Shots programs—general, senior, women, and youth—at its locations in Roanoke and Lynchburg. Kevin Dixie with No Other Choice (NOC) Firearms Training near St. Louis, Missouri, hosted inner-city kids for a day to learn about firearms manufacturing, engineering, operations, and career development before taking them to a local range to learn safe firearms handling. In Fort Worth, Defender Outdoors offered specialized classes, including “Survive in the Home,” “Doorways & Corners,” and “Train a Teacher Day.” Julianna Crowder, founder of A Girl and A Gun, saw National Shooting Sports Month as an excellent opportunity to get more women involved in the shooting sports. AG&AG asked all of its chapters across the country to host a “Bring a Friend” event during the month of August and challenged its members to bring someone new with them to have a fun day at the range. “We built our organization to carry the ‘Let’s Go Shooting’ mes-
sage every day,” said Crowder, “so having a dedicated month with NSSF being the ‘wizards behind the curtain’ pushing this message out on a larger scale is an amazing asset to us and the work we do.” In addition to events, National Shooting Sports Month gave manufacturers an opportunity to spotlight their products through the Trigger Time Sweepstakes. Seventy-six companies donated more than $30,000 worth of gear for giveaways promoted through social media with the help of professional shooters and other shooting sports enthusiasts. According to NSSF’s Shooting Range Services Coordinator, Ann Gamauf, “Manufacturers were fantastic donating such incredible prizes to the Sweepstakes. This was a huge growth from last year and really helped drive a lot of social media attention. Our winners were thrilled when I called them to let them know they’d won, and the manufacturers have been awesome about getting the prizes shipped out. It’s really been a great partnership this year.”
Looking Toward 2019
The extra promotional efforts paid off. The 2018 National Shooting Sports Month featured more than 1,000 events and promotions, the targeted social media and digital resources generated more than 13 million impressions throughout the month, and LetsGoShooting. org had over 120,000 unique visitors to the site. “National Shooting Sports Month is an industry-led effort, and we are thankful to our partners at all levels of the shooting industry that got involved,” said Zach Snow, Director, Shooting Range Services for NSSF and the coordinator for National Shooting Sports Month. “This gives all of us in the shooting sports industry the opportunity to celebrate what we love, and we hope to get even more industry on board for National Shooting Sports Month 2019.”
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