• Salesman holding handgun.

    Beginner’s Guide to Guns: 4 Top Tips for New Firearm Owners

    Apr 29 • How-To • 16328

    So, you’re a new gun owner, welcome to the club! You might be asking yourself, “What now?” We’re here to provide some judgment-free tips and answers to questions in this beginner’s guide to guns that you may not have known to ask. You’re probably a bit nervous and want to make sure you understand gun safety rules to avoid a mishap.

    It’s okay, we’ve all been there as newbie gun owners, and we know it can be a little intimidating to mingle with lifelong gun folks who’ve been speaking the lingo for decades.

    Keep reading to learn the beginner’s basics of:

    • Gun laws
    • 4 Rules of Gun Safety
    • Getting to know your new gun
    • Ammunition

    If you’re still just thinking about buying a gun, check out our 4 Quick Tips for Buying a Handgun (don’t worry, everything there applies to shotguns and rifles, too).

    Know Your Gun Laws

    "Gun Laws" written in letters made of ammo over a map of the U.S. with an American flag printed over it.

    Get to know all of your gun laws, including federal, state, county, and city.

    Gun laws can vary depending on where you live. State laws may be different from federal laws, county laws may be different from state laws, and local laws may be different from county laws. These laws may dictate the type of gun you can own, the kind of accessories you can use, how you carry it in public, or how you transport and store it. No
    beginner’s guide to guns could hope to cover all the firearm laws across the country.

    Failure to comply with these laws could result in criminal charges, so you should rely on reputable sources and expert legal opinions. 

    As a safeguard, reputable gun stores won’t sell you something you’re not legally allowed to have, but it’s still good practice to review and comply with laws regarding gun ownership in your locality. These laws are public information and are made available online by your state and local governments.

    Additionally, it’s important to understand the gun laws of the places you might take your firearms. Something legal in one state might be illegal in the next, so if you’re crossing state lines, make sure you’re up to speed!

    If you’re uncomfortable with your own research, you might want to consider contacting your local police department for more information about complying with gun laws or seek out legal counsel to help navigate the red tape. This will usually be a criminal defense attorney, but you can easily find firearm lawyers near you with a quick online search. The money you invest early could save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.

    The NRA-ILA Gun Laws page is a good starting point no matter how much experience you have. Also, if you’ll be flying somewhere, check out the TSA Transporting Firearms & Ammunition page before you travel.

    Beginner’s Guide to Guns: Gun Safety Rules

    Student at the outdoor shooting range getting advice from a firearms instructor.

    Learn from a professional.

    Even before you take your new gun out of the box (although you probably already have), it’s important to know and practice the
    four rules of gun safety:

    • Always treat every gun as if it’s loaded.
    • Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
    • Always keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
    • Always be sure of your target and what’s behind it.

    If you don’t have extensive firearms experience, consider taking a basic introductory safety and shooting course. A certified instructor will provide foundational information in an appropriate learning environment. They’ll teach you the gun safety rules and more. Most local gun ranges offer training, but instructor certification may vary. Most certified instructors are NRA-Certified which means, at the very least, they are qualified to teach an introductory course. 

    Safe Storage

    Safely storing your gun(s) and ammo is extremely important. Even if your home is child-free and you feel that you live in a safe neighborhood, it’s still your responsibility to prevent unauthorized access to your guns. In some states, there are legal requirements for gun storage, so be sure to check your local laws. 

    At OpticsPlanet, we have a wide variety of Gun Storage options depending on your needs. If you aren’t sure what to look for, read our Gun Safes Big & Small – What Do I Need? and Gun Safe Buyer’s Guide for pointers to help you whittle down your choices.

    New Gun Owner Accessories

    Some of the most important new gun owner accessories you can buy are eye and hearing protection. These two simple, yet all too often neglected, safety tools need to be at the top of your list. You can browse our selection of Shooting Glasses and Hearing Protection or learn more about Hearing Protection for Shooting Situations.

    There are tons of other shooting accessories depending on what sort of gun you have and what your applications are. If you have a handgun and plan to carry or attend classes, you may want a holster. Be prepared to try a few different ones to find what fits you. Gun cases are a must for transportation and come in very handy for storage. If your gun uses a detachable magazine, having at least two or three extra mags is always a good idea if only to save you reloading time when you’re at the range. If you have a rifle or shotgun, having a sling is almost a must if you plan to carry it at all.

    Learning the Lingo

    What’s the point of a beginner’s guide to guns if you can’t understand the language? Firearm lingo can be a confusing second language, even if you have some knowledge already. Here are some references we’ve put together to help you understand common terms you’ll hear in gun shops or at the range:

    You’ll also find great handgun tips for beginners in our Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Pistol. 

    Prep & Upkeep of Your Gun

    A pistol taken apart with cleaning supplies around it.

    Getting familiar with your new gun is one of the first things to do.



    One great way to get familiar with your gun is to clean it. Keep in mind the four rules of gun safety whenever you handle your gun. The first thing you’ll need to do is “field strip”, or take apart, your new gun. Refer to your owner’s manual for field-stripping instructions. Also, our YouTube channel is a great resource for learning a lot more about firearms maintenance, along with a host of other related content. 

    You’ll be fine buying any basic universal cleaning kit. Everyone who owns a gun should also own a gun cleaning kit for regular maintenance. 

    Beginner’s Guide to Guns: Helpful Articles on Gun Cleaning

    We also have several articles showing you how to clean the most common kinds of firearms:

    Dry-Fire Practice

    Dry-fire practice is training without the ammunition. Grip, sight picture/sight alignment, and the trigger press can all be practiced without firing a single round. It can not only improve your skills but save a lot of money on ammo. Do this before you take a basic safety course with a professional instructor. It will allow you to get a feel for the gun’s trigger pull and break, lingo referring to how hard it is to squeeze the trigger before setting off the firing pin. Again, we stress that your primary concern should always be the 4 rules of gun safety.

    Dry-fire practice is useful for all skill levels. Most professional competitive shooters practice this way frequently. It allows you to work the slide on semi-automatics and try out your gun without the danger of live ammunition. Of course, continue to follow the safety rules and treat every gun as if it’s loaded! Dry-fire practice can be done on all firearms, no matter what kind of action it has. To preserve your gun from excess wear, though, Snap Caps and Dummy Rounds are inexpensive and designed for only this purpose (and are essential for any rimfire gun).

    Off to the Range!

    All right, you’ve gone to your basic shooting class, you’ve done some dry fire practice, you’ve checked out Keith Warren’s Shooting Tips, you’ve read through A Day at the Range, memorized the four rules of gun safety by heart, and now you want to get out to the range for the real thing. Here are some important things to know before you go:

    • If you go to an outdoor range, bring your own targets and a stapler to hang them up. Indoor ranges generally sell paper targets, but you could still bring your own. 
    • If you have a scoped gun, bring a boresight to begin sighting in your scope. Boresighting is important and will save you a lot of ammunition, but it will only get you onto the paper. From there, you’ll want to get it dialed in for real accuracy. You can read more about this in our How to Zero A Riflescope article. 
    • ALWAYS clean up after yourself! It’s just the right thing to do and it is a common courtesy among shooters. Most shooting ranges have garbage cans readily available for just this reason. So, remember to dispose of any used paper targets (or keep them for bragging rights) and throw away empty ammo boxes; collect reusable targets; and pick up empty brass (most ranges have buckets for brass, too). One quick note, discard or recycle rimfire casings, they can’t be reloaded.

    A Few Words About Ammo

    A variety of individual ammunition cartridges in a variety of calibers.

    There’s a wide variety of ammunition, depending on what you need it for.

    When you’re new to shooting, the
    variety of ammunition available can be a little overwhelming. You may not know exactly what to buy. Here are some tips to get you started:

    • Make sure the ammo matches the markings on your gun.
      • The caliber and cartridge configuration will be clearly marked on the barrel and/or receiver of the gun, found in the owner’s manual, and readily available on the manufacturer’s website.
      • Just because it fits doesn’t mean it’ll work. Loading incorrect ammunition could permanently damage your gun and/or result in serious injuries.
      • Get help from a trusted resource like the manufacturer’s website, the store that sold you the gun, or a reputable website
    • Match your ammo to your application. What you want to do with your gun, like hunting, target shooting, or self-defense, will dictate what kind of ammo to buy. This is broken down in simple terms in our Selecting Ammo by Application buyer’s guide.
    • If you’ve never loaded a magazine or are having trouble with them, look over our article on How To Load A Magazine. Our Speed Loaders will make this process a lot faster and easier, especially for people who have diminished strength and dexterity in their hands due to issues like arthritis. They’re very easy to buy, just pick out the one that matches the make and model of your gun and you’re ready to go.
    • Depending on where you live, you can order ammo online for convenience and savings.
    • Here are helpful links for ammunition shopping:

    Parting Shots

    At this point, you should have a better feel for where to check your local firearms laws, gun safety, storage, familiarity with your gun, dry-fire practice, ammunition, and heading to the range. In addition to this beginner’s guide to guns, you can always learn more from our GearExpert blog and How-To Guides from our industry experts. Click the social links to share this article, leave a comment and tell us what you think, or visit OpticsPlanet for all your shooting supplies and more!

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  • dry fire

    How to Dry Fire: 5 Training Tips and Truths

    Apr 26 • How-To • 250

    Dry fire training is an effective and inexpensive way to practice shooting. In its simplest form, dry firing is target practice without ammo. You do everything as you would at the range except punch holes through paper. Most experts agree that the main purpose of dry fire is to learn about your gun, examine your ability, and improve your technique before going live on the range.

    “Dry practice … allows you to work on techniques and shooting skills off the range so that you can make the most of your live fire trigger time,” says Julie Golob, world champion handgun shooter and Smith & Wesson pro, in a video post about the subject. “Let’s face it, range time is precious.”

    Kirsten Joy Weiss, a champion collegiate shooter and social media influencer, explains dry shooting is so effective because it eliminates the extreme sensory experience of firing a gun. 

    “Without recoil [or] the sound of the shot going off, all you hear is the click of the trigger as you take the shot,” she says. “This allows you to focus on your sight picture and your trigger press and see the foundation of your marksmanship technique.”

    Another benefit of dry fire, which might be obvious to serious shooters, is all the money you save. “Ammunition is one of the biggest expenses of shooting and it adds up,” Weiss says, and adds that it’s not uncommon for her to shoot more than a thousand rounds in a single training session.

    Prepare a Dry Fire Place

    Glock snap caps magazine

    Before you begin dry fire training, you should first arrange a practice space. Find one that can be effective and safe because even though you’re not using live ammo, all four firearm safety rules still apply!

    Find a Place to Dry Fire

    “[Start by] making sure that you’ve found a good, safe place in your home such as a garage or somewhere you know that you will be pointing [your gun] in a safe direction,” says Krystal Dunn, a pro shooter for Federal Premium, in a video post.

    Dunn, along with all shooting experts, stress that you double-check that your pistol, rifle or shotgun is unloaded before you start dry shooting. More often than not, instructors will also urge you to remove all live ammo from your pockets and gun pouches, and some even suggest you remove it from the room entirely. 

    Arrange Your Space Appropriately

    Charlie McNeese, a rangemaster at the world famous Gunsite Academy, recommends that you mentally prepare for dry fire training as well. Therefore, you should arrange your practice space appropriately. 

    He suggests removing anything that might distract from training. “No radios, no TVs, no phones, nothing to distract us from what we’re trying to accomplish. And when we do things, we do things with a purpose in mind. Not to just waste time,” McNeese says in an interview.

    Dry Fire Target Ready

    Once you have a safe space, an unloaded gun, and a training plan, the last thing to do is to set up something to shoot at. Taping a target to the wall or simply using a sticky note will suffice. You just need something to aim at. 

    What Dry Firing is NOT

    dry fire

    Dry firing is more than pointing a gun at the wall and snapping the trigger. Experienced shooting instructor Paul Markel explains that all too often, shooters (and even professional gun-handlers) treat dry firing like busy work and, as a result, end up developing poor technique. 

    “Thoughtless trigger snapping can lead to what many call ‘training scars’ or bad habits that actually detract from good marksmanship,” Markel says in his article on Officer.com.

    “Each and every draw stroke or trigger press trains the neuromuscular impulses in your body,” Markel says as he stresses technique over speed. “Strive for a perfect draw stroke or perfect trigger press each time,” he adds. 

    A Dry, Dry Fire

    racking the slide

    Markel’s article reminds me of an expression you hear in tactical training: slow is fast and fast is slow. That means a smooth and proper application of technique is better than speed. Most shooting instructors recommend you start dry fire training with a steady, slow pull. Pulling the trigger slowly will reveal so much about the firearm. You’ll learn:

    • How much pressure you need to apply to set off the gun. 
    • How much slack is in the trigger.
    • When the trigger engages the firing mechanism (or hits the “wall”). 
    • How much the trigger “creeps” to the breaking point. 

    Following that same line of thought, most instructors will also recommend you control the trigger reset. During dry firing, this means keeping the trigger depressed when you recharge the gun. With a controlled reset, you’ll feel the springs loosen as you slowly ease the trigger forward. Then, you’ll hear and feel the trigger click. In short, this dry, dry run will help you understand the mechanics of your gun and basic trigger control.

    How to Dry Fire

    By now, you understand the basic idea of what dry firing is, so now we’ll discuss how to do it. 

    In general, dry fire training involves drawing, presenting, aiming, and shooting your gun, but more importantly it’s about analyzing and improving those things. So, what should you try to learn when you dry fire?

    One Step at a Time


    For a shooter like Dunn, focusing on individual steps is most efficient. “I’m going to work on just focusing on my target and getting a nice natural grip on my firearm,” she says, and adds, “You can also practice your draw, your press out to your target, good sight alignment, and a smooth, steady trigger pull.”

    Move without Moving

    However, Weiss says she mainly focuses on three things: smooth trigger press, moving without moving sight picture, and follow through, which she defines as “the act of staying on the gun and within your sight picture without moving even after the shot is released.”

    What Weiss describes will lead to something called an after-shot assessment. After you pull the trigger, you should freeze and note where your sights are in relation to your target and then compare them to where you started, which should be center mass. 

    Finger Placement

    Top Shot champ Chris Cheng emphasizes working on trigger finger placement. In an instructional video, Cheng explains too much finger on the trigger or too little will pull shots away from the bull’s eye. “Proper trigger finger placement is at that point where (your finger) is about one-third out from that first knuckle,” Cheng says. 

    After figuring out proper trigger finger placement, Cheng advises focusing on practicing a straight and smooth pull to the rear and then putting it all together. 

    trigger pull

    Smooth Application

    Golob agrees that the most useful skill you can acquire through dry shooting is trigger control, but she also encourages you to refine individual steps as you go through the motions from drawing to shooting. 

    “Skills that are especially helpful for new gun owners to work on in dry fire are learning how to manipulate the slide of your firearm and practicing safe muzzle direction, teaching yourself how to acquire a proper grip every time, getting comfortable with a stance that allows you to control recoil, [and] building confidence with how to line up the sights for accuracy and speed,” Golob says.

    Will Dry Shooting Damage My Gun?

    The short answer is… it depends on the gun. 

    Most modern firearms, including rifles, shotguns, and striker fired pistols, will be fine, but, according to the NRA, dry firing could damage rimfire firearms. 

    “Rimfire guns are particularly susceptible … because the firing pin must hit the rim of the cartridge in order to detonate it,” the NRA says, and explains if there’s no soft primer to strike, the firing pin will hit the hard steel chamber, which could damage the pin. 

    dry fire

    Additionally, older single-action revolvers, especially ones popular among cowboy action shooters, can also be damaged if they’re fired on an empty chamber. Therefore, it’s generally recommended to invest in snap caps. These inexpensive dummy rounds feature a soft spot in the primer to provide a cushion for the firing pin to strike. 

    Parting Shots

    Some of the best shooters in the world dry fire. They aim their gun at their garage wall and do high reps in their basement or wherever they find themselves. They might even mix some dry fire in with their live fire just to keep things spicy. So, if you don’t have any ammo or just want to improve your overall shooting skills, start dry firing to enhance your technique. If you have other dry fire tips or tricks, share them in the comments below. 

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  • different types of riflescopes

    Best Types of Scopes for Different Shooting Activities

    Apr 22 • How-To, Shooting • 505

    When shopping for a rifle optic, there are several different types of scopes on the market that each excel in their own areas. In this guide, we’ll break down the best types of rifle scopes and AR 15 scopes for hunting, competitive events, and other applications so that you know the features, specifications, and type of weapon scope you need to improve your accuracy and overall performance.

    What is the Best Type of Scope for Hunting?

    best types of scopes for hunting

    It’s hard to crown the best type of riflescope for hunting because the optimal scope for you depends on the animals you’re hunting, the environment you’re hunting in, and the distance you’re hunting from.

    A good starting point is to figure out what magnification type and level you’ll want.

    Fixed power scopes: provide only one magnification level.

    • Pros: Consistency, are typically easier to use, and priced at a lower cost
    • Cons: You can’t adjust the magnification

    Variable power scopes: Provide adjustable magnification ranges.

    • Pros: Versatile and offer close-, mid-, or long-range utility at the click of a turret
    • Cons: Generally more expensive than fixed scopes and are more difficult to use. Don’t offer the same consistency as fixed power optics.

    3-9x variable riflescopes are regarded as one of the most popular hunting scopes, and they are a safe choice for undecided hunters. At 3x, you have a large field of view to track closer, fast-moving targets like deer, and 9x is ample magnification to acquire targets 300 yards out.

    I recommend using a fixed power scope if you will be hunting from the same distance on your outings. If you plan on hunting a variety of animals from different distances, then a variable power scope is best for you.

    What is a Hunting Scope?

    As the name suggests, hunting rifle scopes are a type of scope designed for hunting. Hunting scopes can come in a variety of forms, but true hunting optics:

    • Have robust yet lightweight construction
    • Are waterproof or water-resistant, fogproof, and shockproof
    • Have lens coatings
    • Offer easy adjustments (if variable power)

    Hunting scopes need to be durable enough to withstand brutal outdoor conditions but light enough for easy carry. They should be able to handle poor weather conditions and your weapon’s recoil without compromise. Also, they should have lens coatings that enhance image brightness, providing you those precious extra minutes of daylight. Variable power hunting scopes should be easy to adjust so that you can get your shots off quicker, which is essential while hunting elk and other difficult prey.

    Laser Rangefinder ScopesView through a laser rangefinder scope

    Laser Rangefinder (LRF) scopes use built-in laser rangefinders to provide precise distances to targets. LRF scopes can be quite expensive, but they eliminate time-consuming calculations and inaccurate guesswork.

    They are definitely worth the time and effort saved if your budget allows. However, they are not a necessity, and nothing beats the thrill of taking down big game with traditional glass. 


    Thermal Imaging Scopes

    Thermal riflescopes provide a true “apex predator” hunting experience, allowing you to detect targets night and day through thick foliagehunting with thermal imaging scope

    A thermal imaging scope:

    • Can spot camouflaged prey and even track blood trails from wounded game
    • Can be used 24/7, allowing you to hunt daytime or nocturnal animals without ever switching your optic
    • Has a long detection range and enhanced target identification


    So why is this not the obvious choice for best scope?


    A good entry-level thermal scope costs around $1,200, and it only goes up from there. Therefore, I only recommend these optics to experienced hunters who can use them to their full potential. They are also the best type of scope for hog, coyote, and predator hunting.

    If your budget allows, a thermal rifle scope is a highly efficient optic that cements your position on top of the food chain. Plus, they’re pretty damn fun to use.


    Night Vision Scopes

    night vision riflescope reticle

    Night vision riflescopes differ from thermal scopes in that they cannot be used effectively during the day. NV scopes use built-in infrared (IR) illuminators to create a bright, visible sight picture in dark settings. This makes them an ideal scope for hunting hogs, coyotes, and other nocturnal predators.

    While thermal scopes can detect targets in any lighting through thick grass and extended ranges, night vision scopes are still a reliable (and far less expensive) choice for nighttime hunters. The biggest benefit is price, with Gen 1 night vision optics going for hundreds rather than thousands.

    Check out this night vision vs. thermal guide to learn more about the pros and cons of these technologies.

    Outside of hunting, night vision scopes are sometimes preferred by law enforcement and military because they produce clearer images, which helps with surveillance.

    Scout Rifle Scopes

    Scout scopes have low magnification and extended eye relief to enhance your accuracy without compromising your target acquisition speed. With a forward-mounted position, scout riflescopes are designed to be used with both eyes open, providing maximum situational awareness.

    Scout rifle scopes are one of the best optics for deer hunting because they make shooting moving targets easier. You’ll also be taking your shots from shorter distances that the low power level can reach.

    What is the Best Type of Scope for Varmint Hunting?

    Varmints are pests that can negatively impact the ecosystem and wreak havoc on your backyard. Rodents, coyotes, and foxes are all examples of varmint, and .22LR is plenty of firepower to take them down. A rimfire rifle scope is one of the best varmint hunting scopes if you own a rimfire weapon.

    Rimfire scopes are some of the cheapest optics out there, as they are usually less durable (built to handle soft recoil). If you’re just plinking pests, a 22 rimfire scope is the way to go.

    What is the Best Type of Scope for Competitive Shooting?

    Competitive rifle shooting comes in many forms, and the best scope for you depends on the type of event you’re competing in. For this section, we’ll cover the best optics for long-range precision competitions and 3-gun events.

    Bench Rest and F-Class Shooting Competitionsbest types of scopes for competitive shooting

    When it comes to long-range and precision shooting competitions, you’ll need a scope that is capable of providing precise aiming points from 600 to over 1,000 yards, depending on the competition. Keep these features in mind while shopping for a bench rest scope:

    These competitions aren’t static, and you may shoot from a variety of ranges and elevations. You will rely on your turrets to quickly adjust your optic for the next stage, and BDC reticles help you calculate optimal shot placement while accounting for distance and angle of incline/decline.

    Also, target elevation may change throughout the stages, so your optic must hold zero throughout adjustments. The best type of rifle scope for these competitions is a target scope.

    Target Scopes

    Target scopes are long-range optics that prioritize precision and clarity. With advanced mechanical precision comes heavier equipment, but since these events don’t require much mobility, the trade-off is worth it.

    Target scopes tend to be less durable than hunting scopes because you’re not expected to be shooting in poor weather conditions to harsh environments. Another thing to consider is price, as a good target scope is generally more expensive than other glass due to advanced optical lens coatings and highly technical turrets and features.

    With that in mind, you need a target scope to keep up with the competition. Models can start anywhere from 10x to 25x magnification, so it’s always a good idea to research the competitions you’re interested in to know what power level is best for you.

    3-Gun Competitions

    3-gun competitions are aptly named for their use of pistols, shotguns, and modern sporting rifles (MSR) in matches. Target scopes are a good choice, but in 3-gun, it is more about the features your optic has rather than using a specific type of rifle scope.

    Some essential features of a 3-gun scope include:

    • Low-power variable magnification
    • Lightweight
    • Second Focal Plane (SFP) reticle

    You have to be able to shoot with both eyes open in a 3-gun match. Even slight magnification can make this difficult, so your 3-gun scope needs to have 1x magnification capabilities and generous eye relief.

    However, you can also expect targets from 500-600 yards out. 1-4x is enough power for 3-gun, but some matches may require a scope that goes up to 6x magnification. I recommend buying a 1-6x scope to cover all of your bases.

    3-gun MSR scopes should have a similar construction to hunting scopes. You’ll be moving around a lot and need a light yet rugged optic that can hold up. Don’t be shy about spending a bit more on a high-quality scope mount, as you need a sturdy mount that reliably holds zero.

    First Focal Plane (FFP) reticles change size as you adjust, whereas SFP reticles are consistent. FFP reticles may cover up close-range targets so buy a 3-gun scope with an SFP reticle for clearer shots and consistency. Upgrading to an illuminated reticle can also increase your reticle and target acquisition speeds.

    Tactical Scopes

    Tactical rifle scopes are preferred among law enforcement and military due to their unprecedented accuracy. When every shot counts, these are the optics you want on your weapon.exposed turrets on tactical riflescope

    “Tactical” is a term thrown around a lot, but true tactical scopes have:

    • Uncapped turrets
    • Medium to high magnification range
    • FFP/BDC/Illuminated reticles


    Uncapped turrets are harder to adjust but offer more precise dialing.

    They typically have FFP, BDC, and/or illuminated reticles for fast target acquisition and precise holdover points to calculate difficult shots. Tactical scopes can be used in a variety of applications, but they are often more expensive than other glass.

    While incredibly precise, tactical scopes are optimized for the first shot, meaning they don’t offer the consistent accuracy of target scopes. You can hunt with a tactical scope if you have experience, but tactical rifle scopes are best used in military and law enforcement settings.

    The Full Scope

    I hope by now you have a solid understanding of what type of rifle or AR 15 scope to use for your application. As we learned, one type of scope can excel in multiple areas, and finding “the best” scope relies heavily on user preferences. In the end, aligning the scope’s features with your shooting activity will dictate what optic you should buy next.

    As always, I love hearing your product recommendations, so if you have a favorite scope for a certain shooting activity, drop it in the comments below!

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  • OpticsPlanet, Inc. Celebrates 20 Years of Gear™

    Oct 28 • News • 3671

    Put on your party hats because OpticsPlanet, Inc. is celebrating 20 Years of Gear™ as your Destination for Gear. At the dawn of ecommerce, OpticsPlanet was one of the first companies to sell premium optics online and has continued to grow through our commitment to offer the widest selection of outdoor and tactical products possible. Throughout our journey, we’ve added high-performance gear from best-selling brands to our roster including Holosun optics, Aero Precision gun parts, and recently, Winchester Ammunition. What’s more, we’ve released exclusive products you won’t find anywhere else including customized tactical and hunting gear from OPMOD.

    OpticsPlanet’s success has opened doors of opportunity to give back to the community that helped them get this far, including the OpticsPlanet Cares program that has provided over $500,000 to various organizations in support of both enthusiasts and the heroes who bravely serve our country. Over the last several years, the company has shown unwavering commitment to aid those who serve through direct donations to organizations such as Hope for the Warriors® – a nonprofit veteran service organization that assists combat-wounded service members and their families and Ranger Road – a nonprofit whose mission is to help veterans through their transition from military to civilian life.

    We’ve continuously expanded our selection to provide you with everything for your outdoor needs. Take a look at the timeline below to see how we went from selling monoculars online to becoming your Destination for Gear.

    Of course, it isn’t truly a celebration without proper party favors. Make sure to stop by our 20th Anniversary Gear page to score exclusive items that are only available at OpticsPlanet! We have limited-edition Men’s T-Shirts, Women’s Tees, Beanies, Jackets, and other commemorative apparel for sale.

    Visit our official 20 Years of Gear™ site to learn more about OpticsPlanet and our history of gear. Thank you for helping us celebrate 20 Years of Gear™, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to provide you the biggest variety of outdoor equipment to fuel your active lifestyle.

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  • Eastern Wild Turkey

    The Best 5 States for Turkey Hunting in 2020

    Apr 22 • News • 6491

    Spring is here, and it’s time to dust off the igloo cooler, tighten up your bow strings, and fit your favorite turkey hunting choke to your long hibernating shotgun, because we have prepared the absolute top states for you to go turkey hunting this year!


    Turkey Hunter

    With our 2018 best turkey hunting states guide being such a big hit, we wanted to rerun the program in our turkey hunting computer and plug in the newest numbers to give you the best chance of bagging a record gobbler (currently 37.6lbs).


    So, if you’re looking for an out of state turkey hunting adventure or just wanting to see how your state stacks up, or even just to look at some cool turkey stats, then you’ve come to the right place.  Be sure to leave a comment below if you think we’ve overlooked what you consider the best state.



    5) Michigan

    Michigan Upper Peninsula

    Turkey Population: 220,000

    2019 Spring Harvest: 34,000


    Michigan is often overlooked when hunters talk about the best turkey hunting states in the US.  There are too many positives in hunting here though to look past.  First of all the state boasts a 30% hunter rate and a 100% chance of getting a license.  Secondly, there is a ton of land to hunt on, they are the 11th biggest state in sq mileage and are the most forested area in the Midwest.  Thirdly, and most importantly Michigan is filled with a ton of wild turkeys.  Michigan in fact had the biggest spring 2019 harvest of any state at 34,000 gobblers.


    Two great added side bonuses – Michigan has changed their rules to allow hunting from raised platforms, and in several areas of Michigan have also extended the season out to June 7th for this spring wild turkey hunting season.


    -$151 for a nonresident license.


    4) Mississippi

    Mississippi Bridge

    Turkey Population: 283,000

    2019 Spring Harvest: 27,153


    The combination of an extremely robust gobbler population (over more than a quarter of a million birds waiting to be claimed), and a very liberal bag limit of 3 turkeys, puts the Magnolia state in our top turkey hunting state list.  On top of this, they sport a ton of WMA improvements that have helped develop the perfect conditions for a thriving turkey population, with a more natural and mature habitat setting.  With one of the earliest starting seasons in the country most hunters are usually in a hurry and itching to get out on the hunt, but a tip from a long time hunter, top gobbler activity usually doesn’t peak until mid- April.


    -A 3 day license goes for $132.


    3) Texas

    Texas Longhorn

    Turkey Population: 500,000 Rio Grande Turkey, 10,000 Eastern Turkey

    2019 Spring Harvest: 18,004


    What many describe as a turkey hunting heaven, the Lone Star state, has more than a half of a million turkeys to try and bag this season, they also have the most liberal bagging limits of any state at 4 gobblers, so getting your fill won’t be a problem.  If you’re looking for the Rio Grande wild turkeys you’ll want to look to the grasslands of Decatur, where their conditions are perfect from the prior year’s prepping of burning and mulching.  In south South Texas the season runs until May 3rd, and in the Northern counties it runs until May 17th.


    -The cost of a non-resident license is $126.


    2) Kentucky

    Kentucky Wild Horses

    Kentucky Wild Horses

    Turkey Population: 350,000

    2019 Spring Harvest: 29,500


    Kentucky was one of the States that was left out of the best of lists in 2018, it was near making the list, but this year it has jumped to number 2.  The main reason for the jump was that the reproductive success had a huge increase over 2018 and 2019, and that should most likely lead to a very strong 2020 and even 2021.   

    An interesting side note for those looking to do some turkey hunting in the blue grass state -the current record holder for a bagged turkey was in Kentucky in 2016, at an wopping 37.6lbs.


    -Out of State permit will run you $85.


    1) Alabama


    Turkey Population: 427,000

    2019 Spring Harvest: 25,625


    Imagine you lived in a state that was more than 75% timbered land, imagine that it had more than 20 million acres of perfect turkey spawning habitat, well you would find yourself in the state of Alabama.  This perfect turkey habitat is one of the main reasons almost a half of a million birds are jam packed into a state that is on the lower 25 in terms of land area.  This combined with being able to shoot a bird a day, and up to 5 combined for fall and spring, makes the Sooner state the #1 best state for turkey hunting in 2020.  


    Also, a great bonus is that it has one of the lowest costs for an out of state hunting license for any state at $51.


    Products to help make the most out of your hunt:

    Choke Tubes

    Carlson Choke Tubes


    Crossbow Scopes

    Game Calls


    Other turkey articles of interest:

    Wild Turkey Recipes

    Must Have Turkey Hunting Gear

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