Many of you will remember the first time Dad, Mom or Grandpa took you shooting. That gun represented represented everything that was wild along with your own freedom and coming of age. You were proud to handle it and even more proud when you hit the target! The look on Dad’s face said it all to you. Spring is a great time to take kids out shooting, introduce them to firearms and have family time that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Here are a few pointers:
1. Make it fun
2. Start them off with a small gauge shotgun (20 gauge or smaller) or rimfire rifle or air gun.
3. Paper is fun for serious shooters but kids like instant gratification (as this kid still does). Fun targets include suckers, charcoal, ice cubes, metal spinning targets, old produce (if Carlin can smash watermelons we can blow them up). These targets instantly react to the shot and are a lot of fun.
4. Keep safety in mind at all times and remember kids all react differently when taking those first few shots.
5. Make sure the gun fits them and is comfortable to shoot. Even the small 28 gauge is no fun in a gun that can not be mounted correctly. Also, make sure kids know which eye is their dominant eye as that is more important than being right or left handed…
6. Bring along drinks and snacks.
7. Remember…this outing is for the kids!
8. Make sure you pick up all your non bio trash and start kids off right.
9. Always insist on all shooters wearing eye and ear protection (that means you too).
10. Make sure you have a safe and clean back stop to stop your bullets.
11. Start kids off a short distance from the target…~15-20 yards and increase the challenge by moving out to 50 yards once they have shown success at shorter ranges.
12. Parents are the first and most important teachers in any child’s life but it would be a great idea to start kids off in a firearm Hunter Education class. Just the same, make sure kids understand basic firearm safety prior to shooting. Teach them respect for guns and remember: a.
Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction b. Treat every gun as if it were loaded c. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire. Have fun!
Get Em’ Out There