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11 Y.O. son, cross-dominance and sights

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by 1911 guy, May 14, 2016.

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  1. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    I have an 11 year old son that has recently developed an interest in shooting. He's been generally ambivalent about it before, so I haven't pushed. Just general safety when we've gone shooting together a few times in the past. He has a grasp on finger off the trigger, muzzle awareness and use the safety if equipped.

    During our last few shooting sessions, I noticed that he is cross dominant, right handed and left eyed. Switched him to shooting left handed, as this seems to be the easiest fix, especially since he is young and will adapt easily. Already gaining comfort level left handed.

    He can't seem to get any consistency with iron sights, though. At 25 yards, he's all over the map. 24 inch groups kind of inconsistency. We went out today, in spite of the 50 degrees and rain. I gave him a choice last night of taking an open sight rifle (the one he's used previously) or a scoped rifle (another .22, bolt rifle with a fixed 4X) and he chose the scope. He put fifty rounds into about four inches at 25 yards today.

    My/his issue might not be a real issue, maybe just my own thoughts, which is why I'm asking here. I'm fine with him using a scope. My hang up, though, is how hard to push iron sights? Are they becoming an anachronism so forget it? Let him learn them after he's competent with a scope? Mix it up and learn both at the same time? As a Dad who is just happy to get his kid out shooting, I'm willing to go out and buy him a scope tomorrow. As someone who has used firearms professionally, I want him to learn irons as the default and glass as a convenience.

    What do the minds here at THR say? What have your experiences with kids been? I had kids late (in my mid 40's and my oldest is 11) and this is my first time around teaching younger kids. Have taught nieces and nephews, but they've been teenagers with more eye hand coordination and longer attention spans.
     
  2. Llama Bob

    Llama Bob Member

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    If he's shooting 24" groups at 100y, that says he can't see or isn't using the sights.

    In terms of the importance of iron sights, I suppose it depends on what you're doing. For the purpose of shooting at animals or people, they've pretty much been relegated to backups. Optics are simply so much more effective that short of intentionally trying to handicap oneself in a competitive or recreational context or as backups, they have no use.
     
  3. Hardtarget

    Hardtarget Member

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    Why not let him shoot the scope for a time to build confidence? I know...irons are basic but success is fun and helps enforce the fun of shooting. The irons will be a good step later as well as learning to use peep sights. Then he can try aim point type optics. Its all fun but with out early success he may not stick with it long enough to mature as a shooter...and get into trying the "new old " sighting systems.

    When my sons were learning I didn't even have a rifle with a scope. Irons and peeps were the choices. Every chance, we shot. They transitioned well to scopes. Your son will make the transition to irons, too.

    Get out and shoot! Thats all it takes.

    Mark
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I am also right handed, but my stronger eye is the one on the left.

    I'll start with a question: Can he close his left eye? Or for that matter the right one? I shoot handguns with my left eye blocked or closed, and peep sights on rifles the same way - without any problems. With optical sights he'll most likely use the right eye regardless.

    I presume he wears eye protection when shooting. Try blocking one side or the other and see what happens.
     
  5. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    Iron sights will always be with us... but let him get started with a scope to make the initial introduction less complicated.
     
  6. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    He cannot close his left eye without partially closing his right also. I tried that first, when I realized he was left eye dominant. My next option was to switch him to shooting left handed and work with the left eye. He's made progress toward that, I even have him play with his toy guns left handed.

    We do run eye and ear pro when shooting. My own opinion is that an adult can make a choice, even a poor one, for themselves. As a parent, I can't in good conscience make the choice against eye pro for my kid. Even if I feel it's not necessary in some situations, he can't make that choice for himself yet. I'd rather be overly cautious than regret it later.

    Along that vein of thought, I tried placing a piece of tape over glasses. Didn't work. He basically tried to look through or around the tape with his left eye. So we went left handed.

    I'm not an open sight purist. I just figure all shooters need to be able to use open sights to some degree and all drivers should be able to drive a stick shift. But I also want to balance that against him having fun and learning the other aspects of the shooting sports.

    Small sample size, but consensus seems to be that I'm over-thinking it and just let him use the scope for a while.
     
  7. ECVMatt

    ECVMatt Member

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    I was kind of a nut with iron sights when my son was learning. He was OK, but it was frustrating for him. On a whim, I put a red dot on his CZ Scout and it turned him from an occasional plinker into wanting to shoot every time we go to the desert or the mountains.
    He has become a very good shot and we have now moved onto a scope which he likes even better. I have always told him we will get back to the irons, but there is no pressure. In the end I feel getting him excited about shooting was more important the mastering the irons.
     
  8. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Good plan for now. I teach 4-H Shooting Sports, and I prefer the kids learn with open sights first, as it is easier to transition to a scope from iron sights than the other way around. But some kids show up with scoped guns, so I work with them on that.
    I have noticed that a scope will help shooters shoot better at any level of ability, but a good shooter having only shot irons will be a better shooter with a scope than the other way around.
    That said, shooting 24" groups at 25 yards has got to be demoralizing to anyone, and shooting six times better by using a scope shows that that's what he should be doing for now. There'll be time to teach him to shoot iron sights when he's got the fundamentals down.

    ECVMatt, you hit the nail on the head:

     
  9. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Member

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    For now, let him use the scope. He's 11, so just keep the focus on safety, then fun, then fundamentals of marksmanship. If he learns the fundamentals well with a scope, they'll translate easily to iron sights when he's ready for them. Iron aren't "that" complicated, but may be a little much for a kid who's trying to concentrate on everything else too.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. stringnut

    stringnut Member

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    I start people with a scope on rifles. It just takes a variable out of the process and produces results quicker. If starting with sights aperature is the way to go. Most , not all, open sights put on rifles any more are pretty poor. Some are so small even an experianced shooter has a fit trying to use them. Buckhorn, or semi buckhorn, are just as bad generally obscuring much of the target. Good iron sights are fun to shoot and a skill that should be learned, but, it doesn't have to be done at the beginning.
     
  11. judgedelta

    judgedelta Member

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    Whatever it takes for him to have fun and build confidence...
     
  12. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I start kids on air pistols with open sights. This is the approved NRA and 4-H method when I was trained as an instructor. If he has that much trouble there is a problem with his vision or the sights as in too small for him to see clearly or at all.
    It is always the best to shoot on the dominate eye side if possible. I would not worry about him starting on a scope. Some people will never shoot irons well due to vision problems. But I agree that it would be best case to learn on irons. The biggest thing like others said is to keep it fun, no pressure. Easy targets. Maybe some tanerite.
     
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