DO I NEED TO JOIN A CLUB?
It is mandatory that all newcomers to the sport join a club as a probationary member. The club will provide the introduction, equipment and instruction that a beginner requires. Their personal details will be passed to the police who can carry out various checks to see if it is appropriate for that individual to hold a firearm.
When searching for a club, newcomers to the sport should look for Home Office approved clubs. There are some non-Home office approved clubs in the UK but the regulations governing them may not provide the best experience or easiest access to the sport. The NSRA have a club finder.
Often for security reasons the location of rifle clubs are not broadly publicised, but clubs are relatively common and exist in both obvious and unexpected places. Some clubs are tucked away in old quarries or on farms out in the country side, some share facilities with local Army or Territorial Army units and some are in the middle of residential areas with houses on either side.
Types of club
Home Office Approved – These clubs are registered with, and have been approved by, the Home office and operate in a manner which enables newcomers to the sport to shoot as probationary members whilst learning
Non Home Office Approved – These clubs have fewer than 10 people that run within specific guidelines, for example, all members must have their own Fire Arms Certificate and no weapons or ammunition can be stored at the range. More information on these clubs is available from the Home Office
N.S.R.A. Affiliated – A club can be affiliated to the N.S.R.A. irrespective of whether it is Home Office approved. The N.S.R.A. affiliation gives clubs access to a wide range of competitions and qualifications and provides insurance for the club members and third parties.
HOW DO I CHOOSE A CLUB?
Having identified Smallbore target rifle clubs within a specific area the next important step is to contact the club (or clubs) and arrange a visit to their range. Use the Links page to find the clubs website or use the NSRA Club Finder which will give the contact details of the club secretary or another person to contact about club enquiries.
Clubs vary in size and will have different numbers of Qualified Instructors/Coaches/Range Officers and Ranges available. It is recommended that newcomers to the sport aim to join Home Office approved clubs which have N.S.R.A. membership because this provides the greatest opportunity to develop in the sport and allows access to a wide range of events and courses. Clubs with a small number of members can be just as good as clubs with large memberships, for new starters the important factors will be the availability of instructors. There is nothing worse than joining a club to find that no one is available to help you improve your scores. It is always possible to change clubs and this provides the opportunity to learn at a club with an instructor and then move to another club that may be more convenient for travel etc.
It is not often that a club will turn away someone who is interested in shooting without a very good reason, usually there will be a waiting list that can be joined or the club may suggest other clubs in the area who do have space.