advise on getting my kids shooting


March 2, 2013, 02:54 AM
Hey there, after lots of browsing around figured I'd properly introduce myself. Im Eric from DFW. Father of 4. Want to get the two oldest into target shooting and eventually competition. My oldest is 10 & has shot clays and taken deer with his rifle. My oldest girl is 5 going on 18 and has been hunting with me but has only practiced shooting with her air rifle. Where do I go from here.


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March 2, 2013, 04:51 AM
We need as many new shooters as possible, otherwise there won't be anyone left to complain when politicians try to steal that right either. The best incentive I can think of is simply fun; if you can add a variety of reactive targets or add some competition (maybe "winner picks our lunch/dinner for the day"?) then you'll start them off in the right direction. If they have some school friends the same ages, and you can get their parents' permission for a trip to the range (all safety gear included; IMPORTANT) that's even better, because they'll already have a natural competitive impulse. A box of earplugs and safety glasses, a 22 rifle with a brick of ammo, and a box of stale chocolate cookies to shoot at is one of the best kid magnets that I can think of, and it's relatively cheap to boot.

March 2, 2013, 05:35 AM
Welcome to The High Road, Eric.

Reactive targets are always a great inclusion for anyone, and kids tend to like em even more than the rest of us. I haven't crossed the bridge you're at, as my only kid is two years old. :p but I can tell you what made me enjoy shooting so much.

My brother and I are a couple years apart, and we started shooting together at ages 6 and 8. Our targets were usually empty aluminum cans, which we always enjoys knocking down, denting, etc. At some point after we progressed to shooting our pellet guns unsupervised, we decided to start shooting our little green plastic/molded army men - the kind that come a few dozen to a bucket for $4-5. We set em up on long mounds of dirt and got in the prone, and pretended we were "at war." The bonus was the army men were surprisingly reactive, and pretty difficult targets, even at as little as ten yards.

Some people are firmly against letting their kids even point toy guns at each other, so I assume they wouldn't let their kids even shoot at toys shaped like people. If that's you, that's fine. The point is, try to think like a kid. Sometimes shooting is even more interesting if you combine it with something else (like our "war" games). If they're competitive, come up with some varied events for them. An episode or two of Top Shot might give you some ideas you can adjust for at home.

Hope this helps you out a bit.

March 3, 2013, 06:14 AM
If your kids enjoy clay targets you might want to look for a SCPT team in your area. SCPT teams shoot trap, skeet and sporting clays.

March 3, 2013, 04:32 PM
Thanks for the input. Went out yesterday and got a case of clays. I just rigged up a target stand and screwed a few screws into it to hold up the clays. It worked ok till the wind started up. Looks like I'm gonna need to work something else up or buy a plinker. Anyway we had a blast.

March 3, 2013, 05:03 PM
I would check around with your local ranges. Most of them have some sort of junior program for NRA smallbore 4 position shooting. These are very good programs and kids learn a lot in them. There are NRA awards they earn along the way as they improve to help keep them motivated, and there's matches they can attend where they would only be competing against others of the same ability. I went through one as a kid and two of my three kids have enjoyed them as well. I can't rcommend them high enough and as I said the kids learn safety, shooting skills and have a lot of fun.

March 3, 2013, 06:03 PM
I would say tell them they can't.

Seriously, at young ages keep it fun active and as short as they want it. If you make it like eating vegetables, they won't have any interest.

For equipment stay away from loud firearms and/or ones that recoil.

Had a young fellow come out to our place one day that didn't want to shoot a suppressed AR we were playing with one day after his dad told him it shot the same bullet as the kids handy rifle.

Later on that day he decided to at least give it one shot at the 300 gong. 100 rounds later he said it was more like shooting a .22 than his handy rifle.

March 5, 2013, 10:42 AM
welcome to THR!

when i was that age, i got shotgun reloading components and a box of clay pigeons for christmas. i also had a 22lr that i could squirrel hunt with, but mostly i preferred my BB gun and i would spend hours and hours shooting every wasp and bumblebee i could find.

but the real answer to your question is that kids that age just want to be doing what their dad is doing. So if you want them interested, don't 'take them shooting'. You just go out and shoot and ask if they want to come along.

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