5 Tips for Target Shooting with Kids
When it comes to teaching young children about firearm safety and gun fundamentals, how you approach it will make all of the difference. You want to make shooting a fun and memorable experience for the kids, and to do this you will have to look at it from their perspective, rather than the perspective of an adult.
While there is no one size fits all when it comes to teaching children to shoot, here are a few basic tips for your next target shooting trip with children
1. Safety First
When it comes to dealing with firearms, safety is obviously the biggest thing to remember. When you are shooting with kids, this becomes even more important. While firearm safety might be common knowledge to most adults familiar with guns, take the extra time to teach the kids about properly handling the firearms. Before every shooting trip, remind them to:
- Always treat a gun as if it was loaded.
- Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times.
- Never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire.
- Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
No matter what types of guns you will be shooting with the kids, always remind them of these safety rules and help them to follow them. It is best to help them practice these safety basics on something like a low-velocity air rifle (like a BB gun) first, in order to help them learn the basics and gain some confidence.
2. Teach the Fundamentals
While you do not want to bore a kid with every single little detail of a gun, you should cover the fundamentals of the firearm from the beginning. Keep it as simple as possible and cover things like how to properly hold the gun, how to aim it, how to slowly squeeze the trigger, and how to manipulate the safety. Depending on the age of the child, you can make this as basic and simple or as advanced as you need to. You can also cover how to load and unload the gun, always stressing the safety rules, and keeping a close eye as they use and practice with the firearm. Be sure to answer any questions a kid might have about the gun, and take the time to show them everything that you are explaining.
3. Use an Appropriate Gun
When shooting with kids, you want to ensure that they have a good time. In order to do this, do not have them shoot a gun that is overpowered for them. A gun with a lot of recoil, even those that seem mild for adults, can give a kid a bad experience. A larger gun will also make it harder for a child to learn how to properly shoot and handle the gun. Most people tend to start their children out with 22 caliber rifles because the recoil is very manageable for kids. With a comfortable, low recoil gun, a kid can feel much more comfortable and confident while out shooting.
4. Have Plenty of Patience
Sometimes taking kids out shooting can be stressful, and that is ok. Just remember that it takes time for kids to learn something new, so be sure to have plenty of patience. Do not rush or pressure a kid when starting to shoot, especially if they are not ready physically or emotionally. Knowing when it is the right time to introduce a kid to shooting can be a little difficult, but even with kids that have experience shooting you need to exercise as much patience as you can. Just remember that kids will be watching your every move, so if you remain calm and patient as you help them learn to shoot, they will also be much more calm and relaxed, making it much easier to teach and to learn.
5. Make Sure They Are Having Fun
While this may seem obvious, this is probably the most important tip out of them all. Learning how to shoot and be safe around firearms should be a very serious matter, but you should also make sure the children are having fun while doing it as well. If they are having fun, they are much more likely to want to do it more and more and will learn much faster. Try to do anything you can to help them have fun, whether it is having plenty of reloaded magazines ready to go, or switching to different targets. A bigger target will be much easier to hit, therefore resulting in more fun for the kids. You can also purchase interactive targets, such as dueling trees, bouncing, or spinning targets that can take the fun to a whole new level for a kid. Whatever it takes, the more fun you both are having the better!
Hopefully, these simple tips will help you on your next shooting trip where there are kids who want to shoot as well. Taking a kid out target shooting is a great way for them to get introduced to firearms in a controlled setting, and let them build up a new skill and their confidence. Taking your kids out target shooting is one of the best things you can do to spend time together and have some unforgettable memories, so make sure you take the extra time and effort to make it the best that it can be for them too!
Have some youth shooting tips? Leave them in the comments below.