Shooting In The Desert

The basic safety rules for shooting are:
Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
Be sure of your target and what is beyond.
Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.

 
Regardless of where you shoot, these rules remain constant. But if you’re shooting in the desert at a competition, training school or just shooting rocks, you also have to consider the constant threat of dehydration and the nasty sunburns caused by not having enough protection from the sun.

The folks at Gunsite in Paulden, AZ, are so serious about student dehydration that they post pee charts in the bathrooms so shooters can compare the color of their urine to their level of dehydration.

The folks at Gunsite in Paulden, AZ, are so serious about student dehydration that they post pee charts in the bathrooms so shooters can compare the color of their urine to their level of dehydration.

Searing summer temperatures, dry air and the lack of shade make water loss an extreme issue. Dehydration, in serious cases, can lead to death. The folks at Gunsite Academy shooting school are so serious about it that they even have pee charts in their bathrooms so you can compare the color of your urine to your level of dehydration.

 
In order to prevent the loss of too much fluid, bring more water than you usually drink. The higher the temperatures, the more fluids your body loses to sweat and, if the environment is arid, your sweat can evaporate so quickly you might not notice you’re sweating.

With an omnipresent sun, it’s tempting to wear shorts and an awesome Tactical T-Shirt, but in the desert, it’s better to cover up with long pants and long sleeves.

With an omnipresent sun, it’s tempting to wear shorts and an awesome Tactical T-Shirt, but in the desert, it’s better to cover up with long pants and long sleeves.

A helpful tip for efficiently managing your water loss and water intake is to frequently take sips of water instead of draining half of the bottle at once. Consuming a light snack when taking in a bunch of water is important because electrolytes in your body are expelled with sweat and large water consumption. Without enough electrolytes, your body becomes dehydrated faster and your muscles and brain are negatively affected and your shooting will suck, not to mention you might not be as safe if your mind is muddled. One sign of dehydration is being thirsty, so a good rule is to not wait until you’re thirsty to drink. By the time you realize you’re thirsty, you may have already lost a significant amount of water.

Shade can be a scarce commodity in the desert so be sure to bring plenty of high SPF-rated sunscreen and reapply often—one application doesn’t last all day.

Shade can be a scarce commodity in the desert so be sure to bring plenty of high SPF-rated sunscreen and reapply often—one application doesn’t last all day.

In the desert, the summer temperature skyrockets during the afternoon. Because of the high temperatures, wearing less clothing seems desirable, however, that can be far more dangerous than helpful. UV rays are known to cause cancer, and the American Southwestern has higher sunlight intensity due to its proximity to the equator. With the lack of clouds in the sky and pretty much no shade, skin cancer and sunburns are at a higher risk. Sunscreen is a must out here and the general rule of thumb is that if it takes you less than 30 seconds to rub it in, you do not have enough on. It’s better to have on too much than too little, and reapply often—one application does not last all day.

In addition to the heat, be prepared for dry, dusty conditions.

In addition to the heat, be prepared for dry, dusty conditions.

Ensuring safety is the number one priority when shooting. Refusing to follow the rules can cause serious damage to yourself, and to the ones around you. Shooting in the desert can be a fun filled experience for you and everyone involved, however, ending up in the emergency room because of dehydration or getting “lobstered” by the sun shouldn’t be high up on your bucket list.

Shooting in Desert DSC_0678

Shooting in the desert is great fun. Follow the basic gun handling safety rules, plus the ones specific to the super sunny weather.

 

 

By Sierra Jackson and Scott Mayer

www.tacticaltshirts.com

www.john1911.com

“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

 

 

Scott Mayer

Scott Mayer

Writer at John1911
Mayer began his outdoor industry career in 1993 on the NRA Technical Staff where he became American Rifleman magazine first Shooting Editor. Mayer left NRA and entered the business end of publishing in 2003 as Advertising Account Executive for Safari Club International SAFARI Magazine and Safari Times newspaper. In 2006, Mayer was named Publisher of Shooting Times magazine where he was also tasked with launching and leading Personal Defense TV, the first television show of its kind.

In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.
Scott Mayer

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