San Jose Zouaves Rifle Club

FAQ: New Shooters

Can I come and shoot with the Zouaves?
Of course! We have two days when we run events - 1st and 3rd Saturdays.

On 1st Saturdays anyone may attend. If you've never participated in one of our events, we'll instruct you on safety fundamentals, as well as getting live practice with the course of fire at 200 yards. See the bottom of the page for sign-up information.

On 3rd Saturdays, anyone who has joined us as a paid Zouaves member may participate. For insurance reasons we can only take Zouaves members on this non-instructional day. We get right to the match, so it's a fun, but a more competitive focused day. Anyone who has participated in a 1st Saturday clinic may sign up as a member - just ask one of us how!

What will happen at a New Shooters Clinic (1st Saturdays)?
A typical New Shooters Clinic proceeds as follows:
  • Show up to 200 yard range, (top of the hill), at Field Sports Park, see below for a map. Arrival time is 9:30am, but check your informational email for details/changes.
  • Pay your fees and fill out any waivers or application forms.
  • If you don't have your own rifle to use, you may provide your Drivers License (as collateral) and be issued a loaner club rifle for the day.
  • We can sell you ammo, but it all MUST be shot that day. Any unfired rounds must be returned to us.
  • An instructor will take you 'up the hill' to be safety trained. They will cover safety, the use of rifles, and match procedures.
  • When instruction is complete, you will go to the target area to be trained on scoring and target preparation.
  • When it is your turn for live fire, you will go to the line and shoot the match.
  • You should be done around 2:00 PM

How long will it take?
The day runs from 9:30 AM to around 2:00 PM.

How much does it cost?
If you participate in either day, admission is $20 (paid to the County/Parks). If you wish to join our club as a member, then bring an additional $40 for a year's membership. If you need ammo for the match, we have some available (for use day-of only) for $40.

Note: We can only accept cash or checks at this time, and there is no ATM/CC processing on site.

What do I need to bring?
Your Picture ID, cash to cover your fees, your own rifle (if applicable), at least 60 rounds of ammo (if applicable), and yourself. We offer loaner eye protection and earmuffs, and we sell in-ear plugs for a dollar a pair. If you have your own eye and ear protection, you're welcome to use that instead.

The firing line is covered, but a hat can still help minimize glare and distractions. No matter what time of year it is, you should bring a long-sleeved coat, or at the very least a sweatshirt. Use of a sling, or being pelted by brass can irritate the skin. The firing line is a dusty place; It should not be your favorite coat. Wear pants; you will be sitting/lying on the firing line, which is an abrasive environment. Also, there are places for snakes, ticks, and other pests to hide around the range area.

We try to provide water, but stuff happens. Bring a bottle of water just in case. Also, there is no on-site food, so a snack or lunch is important. There are several breaks throughout the day; good opportunity to refresh.

It could not hurt to bring a pen. There always seems to be a shortage...

We'll supply you with: chairs, shooting mats, targets, stands, and if needed, we have shooting benches and shooting blocks for unscored participation.

Do I need to bring a rifle?
No. You may bring your own rifle if you wish (see below) but we are glad to lend you a club rifle at no charge.
If you have limited rifle experience, we will start you out on a Savage Bolt-Action rifle from the club, as those have been zeroed for our range. On subsequent visits, you may retake the cours with one of our ARs or M1 Garands!

I already have a rifle. Can I use mine for my first match?
Only if you have a good amount of prior experience - Formal training with another group, or a year or more of experience with the rifle you're bringing are the most common requirements.

Note: If your rifle's sights are new, there is a chance you may use your day's ammo sighting it in. There is no requirement from us that you shoot the official course of fire, so if a day with us helps you zero it, that's still a day well spent!

What kind of rifles can I bring?
We are generally quite inclusive about what rifles are suitable for competition, as long as it's California and Parks legal. It's also your responsibility to ensure it is in good working condition and has some kind of zero (50, 100, or 200 yards) to its sights. If the rifle is not reliably shooting, we may require you use one of ours for the day. If it is in need of a zero, you may spend your time zeroing it instead of participating in the official competition course of fire, if you'd like.

Do I need to bring ammo?
If you're shooting your own rifle, bring at least 60 rounds of ammo for the match and sighters. If you plan to borrow a club rifle, bring 60 rounds of factory ammo if you can. Our rifles take .223/5.56 for bolt actions and ARs, and 30-06 "Garand Safe" ammo for the Garands. We are able to sell ammo (at about a dollar a round right now), but any unfired rounds we sell you are not allowed to leave the range.

Is the New Shooters Clinic really newbie friendly?
For the clinic, we shoot the new-shooter match at a more relaxed pace to keep you from becoming overwhelmed. We want the experience to be fun and educational, but you will get a taste for the match, and may see some of the other shooters participating in it at a higher competitive level, which should help give you an idea of what to expect if you shoot with us again.

Do I always have to shoot the match course of fire?
We'd like you to shoot the match, and it's a lot of fun. However, sometimes we need to sight in rifles, or want to focus on one of the courses of fire only. As long as you're matching the cadence of the other shooters (no rapid firing except during the "rapid fire strings"), then you can work on some other related skills.

Do I need to make an appointment or call ahead?
You should make an appointment ahead of time. This gets you a spot reserved, and also helps us ensure we have enough instructors on hand to help you. Please email for information. While you can show up without a reservation, there is no guarantee we'll have space (we have a limited number of rifles and instructors), so it's best to email us beforehand and we'll get you signed up!

What if I am late?
If you arrive after training begins (usually after 10:00), you'll have missed part of the safety training, and we won't be able to let you to shoot, so show up on time!

I have other questions
Feel free to email us at, or you can even show up without participating and just chat with us. We'll be focused during each round of shooting, but find someone who isn't shooting and introduce yourself!

Santa Clara County Field Sports Park 200 yard range map (click to enlarge)

To reserve your spot for any first Saturday, please email:
For general inquires, please email: