Taking Kids to the Range

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by pax, Sep 3, 2007.

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  1. pax

    pax Member

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    There's a new article up at my site. This one's about taking kids to the range.

    http://www.corneredcat.com/Kids/firsttrip.aspx

    Anything I should add? Or correct?

    Thanks,

    pax
     
  2. telomerase

    telomerase Member

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    Good article, Pax. I would add that most ranges I have used have not been good ones for teaching children (or adult newbs, actually). Bad range etiquette and lack of safety is very common, and blast from .454s and .300 ultraboomers is pretty distracting. You make a good point about the showers of hot brass from other shooters.

    The optimum no-distraction solution is to visit an isolated farm range and shoot some .22 standard-vel loads out of rifles (with, as you say, properly sized stocks). Of course not everyone today knows a farmer... heck, I know people that don't believe in the existence of farmers!

    Children raised on 18 hours a day of video games and public skool are pretty dangerous, too. (Not any more dangerous at a gun range, it's just something to keep in mind :uhoh:)
     
  3. mrsig

    mrsig Member

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    Pax,

    I would only caution that some ranges will frown on anything that is not a paper target. A bipod is also useful for shooting prone or from the bench. The rifle is less likely to be moved around if it is on two legs. It has been helpful with my kids.

    - Sig
     
  4. Highland Ranger

    Highland Ranger Member

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    As a father of five, my tips:

    - one at a time for the first trip

    - no more than two per adult afterwards

    - although it may be good form in adults for them to learn iron sites first, consider that a scope is easier to learn and initialy more rewarding as it is easier to suceed. I had good luck doing it backwards, raising the level of challenge and maitaining interest

    - bolt actions are your friend to keep the focus on aiming at and hitting the target. Semi auto's will bring out your little one's inner rambo

    - long guns first; handguns are cooler perhaps but more dangerous and harder to teach downrange control

    - let them handle guns at home practicing the four rules; make sure they can recite them;

    - for the yellers out there (of which I am most certainly not one) correct them gently but firmly

    - reactive targets better than paper

    - I've heard a demonstration of destructive power is useful, but I did not bother. Kids knew that guns are destructive

    - electronic muffs: are cheaper now; those $60 6s' are great for making sure you are heard

    - if possible, go to a dedicated rimfire range and go off hours, like during the week when you are more likely to have it to yourself
     
  5. SteveS

    SteveS Member

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    Pax, excellent article. I can't think of anything to add and I like the fact that you emphasize fun. Highland Ranger, you also raise some good points. I only have one, but I would agree with your tips. My daughter has a Crickett and has a hard time using the peep sight, so I am thinking of adding a 1X red dot and seeing how she likes that. She is only four, so I am most concerned with teaching her safety and having her be comfortable and not fearful.
     
  6. Black Adder LXX

    Black Adder LXX Member

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    I think it does the trick quite nicely. Thanks again for all you do. I know your site has helped me quite a bit.
     
  7. cmidkiff

    cmidkiff Member

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    Good article Pax... you're sight is becoming a wonderful resource!

    My standard saying is 'our objectives today are (A) to have a good time, and (B) to go home with the same number of holes in you as you arrived with.

    One more recommendation: Keep the first range trip short, leave while the child is still having fun. Telling junior to sit in the car while daddy runs through another hundred rounds is _sure_ to ruin the experience.

    I have 4 daughters, aged 11-20 now. Each started shooting somewhere between 9 and 11, depending on how ready I believed them to be. All are now fairly proficient shooters, with a good understanding of firearm safety. Two of them really enjoy shooting, the other two will go once in a while. Don't force it, shooting isn't everyone's favorite activity, but _everybody_ should have a good practical understanding of firearms and firearm safety.

    Oh, the recommendation of no more than 1 kid per adult for the first trip, and 2 kids per adult after that... you're right on the money with that one.
     
  8. barman

    barman Member

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    Besides having fun, taking kids to the range teaches them discipline, self control and respect.
     
  9. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    Excellent article. Very informative.

    The only thing you might have a problem with is having the child wear a hat with a brim. I've found that brimmed hats often get in the way of a good sight picture, expecially when shooting rifles with iron sights.

    We usually have the kids reverse their caps when shooting. This protects the back of the neck from any brass from "next door".
     
  10. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    After taking a friend's 10 year old to the range a few months back, I can STRONGLY suggest using a small bolt action as the first gun. Semi-auto's can be very dangerous as they like to 'share the joy' and/or seek approval of adults next to them and swing the gun around in the process.

    Also the kid I took to the range had some sort of problem and shouted DIE DIE every time he fired, but I'm sure most kids aren't like that...are they?

    Oh and someone mentioned a red dot. I definitely agree as kids simply get frustrated lining up everything.
     
  11. mrsig

    mrsig Member

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    The one per trip at first is a good one. I now take two of them (9 and 11), but make them share one gun. One empties a magazine, opens the bolt, removes the magazine and sits on a bench behind the yellow line. The other child then comes up, inserts a magazine, and starts the process over. They have fired like this at club level adult small-bore matches. The adults will give them hints to improve their form. All is well as long as the kids listen to range commands.

    - Sig
     
  12. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Member

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    Take a kid shooting!

    The young fellow asked if he could shoot the big Sharps Business Rifle. I said sure, as long as his dad was ok with the idea. His dad (in the background) said "Sure!", so I showed him how to use the double-set triggers, open and close the breechblock, and cock the hammer to half and full-cock. Here he is, tickling the set trigger to send 535gr of lead downrange in a cloud of smoke. He drilled the 50-yard bullseye squarely in the "X". :D

    bigrifle.gif
     
  13. sm

    sm member

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    delete
     
  14. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Member

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    Why take children to the range when paper targets are less hassle?
     
  15. pax

    pax Member

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    Gewehr ~

    Great picture. It sure looks like your young man is having a load of fun! :D

    Everyone ~

    Thanks for the tips. I'll update & include some of them on the update.

    pax
     
  16. Andre Ben Talib

    Andre Ben Talib Member

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    I liked the article pretty well, but then I have no kids yet. I was a kid once, though, so i remember that point of view. I always prefered shooting outside in an informal setting-- less noise and smell and a more relaxed atmosphere.
     
  17. pax

    pax Member

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  18. shooter429

    shooter429 Member

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    Nice Job

    Well thought out. Bravo.

    Some of our best times have been out shooting together. Enjoy and stay safe

    Shooter429
     
  19. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    Pax, some suggestions for the paragraph on targets:

    FROZEN plastic water bottles or milk jugs are more fun for longer than bottles or jugs filled with liquid water. They don't ricochet, but they do react...a great combination. Plus, when my kids were little, they loved to dig through the ice chunks to see the deformed bullets after we finished. Once they were ready to shoot bigger stuff, shooting frozen milk jugs gave them an immediate handle on the power difference between .22s and say, a .38 special or a .30-30.

    Paper plates make cheap, highly-visible targets for young shooters.

    Thanks for writing these ideas down. I've seen too many dads who come to our range with little kids (and sometimes their moms), and don't seem to know how to make sure that the kids and moms have a fun, safe experience. You've given them a great tool!

    BTW...I was always careful to follow precautions for lead exposure!
     
  20. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Wow, "First Trip to the Range" is outstanding.
    Assuming my daughters provide me some grandchildren (hopefully not too soon), I'll be using this article.
     
  21. pax

    pax Member

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    luzyfuerza ~

    Thanks, I added those. :)

    More, anyone?

    pax
     
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