Where to do it: Westside Rifle & Pistol Range, 20 W 20th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-929-7287, westsidepistolrange.com). Mon--Fri 9am--9pm, Sat 9am--5pm, Sun 9am--3pm; $65 (includes instruction, use of a rifle, 50 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition and targets). Shooters must be 21 or over and submit information for a background check at westsidepistolrange.com. Return visits within three months are $35 plus cost of ammunition and targets.
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What goes down: "The most important thing is: Don't point the gun at anything you don't want to destroy," advises Westside Rifle instructor John Aaron, just before showing a class how to load a 10/22 semiautomatic rifle, the standard for all beginners. After a 20-minute gun-safety primer, students load their magazines and head onto the range.
The "New to Shooting" package lets those sans rifle license (which costs $250 and can take months to process) to throw lead on the cheap. Weekends fill up (possibly with Williamsburg kids who have arranged offbeat 25th-birthday parties for each other), so reserve a spot at least one or two weeks in advance. Aaron says the range has drawn about 100 people in their twenties every weekend for the past couple of months. But don't think that it's a bros-only club: About 75 percent of his students are female. "We get a real cross-section of New York in here. Women make the best shooters; they listen," he says. "Guys are like, 'Eh, John Wayne. Screw you all.'"