Have you thought about getting your Iowa Permit to Carry? If you've been on the fence or are too intimated to give it a shot — don't be!  Midwest Shooting in Hiawatha has tons of opportunities for you to learn, and even offers Women's Only Handgun Familiarization Classes to give ladies a comfortable learning environment.

They also have the Cedar Rapids area’s most comprehensive Iowa Permit to Carry Class. I was intimidated at first when I took the class, but I soon realized that everyone is there to learn. The course taught me A LOT, and gave me a nice boost of confidence.

After I completed the class, it was time to choose a firearm that I would be most comfortable with. All of the associates were extremely knowledgeable and always willing to help answer any questions I had.

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I'm someone who really assesses an item before getting it, so I spoke with several associates on different occasions. I shared my budget and said I wanted something that was high quality without being too bulky or complicated. They showed me several different options — and next came the fun part.

I got to test out my firearm options in the indoor range that consists of 19, 25-yard lanes with automated target retrieval systems. That's a fancy way of saying that you can move the targets electronically. The range has state-of-the-art ventilation and air-handling equipment that moves smoke and contaminants away from range-goers. It's also air-conditioned in summer and heated in winter. No more freezing your fingers off at the outdoor range in the cold or having to walk out in the line of fire to set up your target.

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Normally, to use the range you would have to have a range membership or pay fees. If you're there to purchase, though, you can "try before you buy". Before you're allowed to shoot in the indoor range, you must go through safety orientation that covers general firearms safety, range rules, and range etiquette. Once you've spent the 20 minutes doing that, you're free to shoot.

An associate was there with me as I was trying out the different firearms to gauge my thoughts on each. They explained the features of each firearm before I shot and offered pointers on my shooting. I've shot at outdoor ranges before, but it was nice being inside and having an expert there to guide me and offer advice on what I could adjust to stay more on target.

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I have smaller hands, so I chose one that I could hold comfortably and have the most control over as I shot. Of course, it was also the one that I stayed on target with the most.

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It was so nice being able to actually try the firearm before I took it home. If I hadn't tried out the options and been able to compare, I may not have noticed those subtle differences that can make all of the difference. Now, I feel like I can say with 100% confidence that I chose the right piece for me.

If you're a beginner, Midwest Shooting offers Pull The Trigger beginner's classes that you can register for, women's only classes, and private lessons. Experienced shooters can get their practice in at the range and test their skills by joining one of the Midwest Shooting leagues. If you're someone who is in the market, wants to learn, or just wants to use indoor range, I can assure you that Midwest Shooting is where you want to go. You'll get everything you need in a safe, welcoming environment. See you at the range!