'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

14 March 2011

New Shooters

All of us who are shooters are responsible for introducing new people to our sport. When it's your grandchildren you are getting to instruct the joy of teaching is increased by an order of magnitude. The DO wanted me to begin the kids' introduction to the shooting sports. When they heard about it both Jaina and Brendan asked every day when we were going shooting. So on a bright and sunny day, after a couple of rainy ones, we loaded up and headed for the range.

Here are our shooters, Jaina 6 and Brendan 5.

What's the best way to begin the shooting careers of a 5 and 6 year old? I decided that fun was the order of the day. In that light I thought a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun and a Crossman pellet pistol were ideal. First up the Daisy. Ever given a range safety brief to small children? I tried to break it down into words and concepts they could understand but the 4 Rules were covered and enforced. Jaina was sent to durance vile in the front of the Ford twice but she learned not to go forward of the firing line. She wasn't the only violator as you will see later.
Brendan volunteered to be first. He caught on quickly.
Jaina was next. She's a natural, getting a hit on her third shot ever.
Jaina kept reaching for the trigger with the wrong hand but she also learned quickly.
Did I hit it? Can I go check?
Steady. Raise it to your eye and squeeze the trigger.
Brendan tended to shoot high until he learned not to cant his head too far and raised the stock to his face.
Hey, I think there's holes in there. Targets were a milk bottle and aluminum cans at about 10 feet. Success is key as is simplicity in teaching methods.
The girl was a natural, switching form the milk bottle to the cans in a matter in just minutes.
Here we see Lu pouting in the front of the Ford for a firing line violation. She was a good sport and the kids learned that the rules are inviolate with immediate punishment for anyone who commits a violation.
On to the pistol. The kids thought it was OK but preferred the Daisy rifle. We shot the pistol a few times, mostly for familiarization, then switched back to the rifle.
Brendan has ham like hands. They're thick and strong but he has stubby fingers. Grip was interesting. That's my boy.
See son, here's how you do it.
Jaina has longer fingers but even she had a hard time reaching the trigger.
Good job sweetie.
Proof of success.
Look Papa, I hit it! Yeah, that's one of Grandpa's old police hats. Once I gave it to him he rarely took it off, even to sleep.
And a good time was had by all. A grateful grandfather/range instructor with his two prized and happy students. I don't know who had a better time. I think it was me.
I think the next session I'll eliminate the Crossman. It's almost full sized and a bit too big for the kids' small hands. I'm looking for a smaller pistol. Next time I'll also introduce a .22 into the mix. By then Jania will be 7 and Brendan 6. I'm looking at a Chipmunk.
If you've done this you understand exactly how I felt. It was an awesome experience. If you haven't then do everyone a favor and try it. It's not only joyous fun but it's also the future of the shooting sports and, indeed, the Second Amendment. If we don't get the next generation interested you can be sure the opposition will do their best to bring them into their sphere of influence and the results will be disastrous.
Besides, there's nothing like the smile on the face of a kid who's just rung the gong for the first time. Priceless.


Scott McCray said...

Outstanding - all three grins are PRICELESS!

Six said...

It was a great time Scott. The kids couldn't stop talking about it. They're hooked for sure.

Murphy's Law said...

Most excellent way to create memories that will last lifetimes.

Six said...

I was inspired by your range time with Spud ML. Those stories are classic.

The DO said...

The kids ARE hooked! Brendan got a dart pistol from his Dad when we got home, and he took pleasure in explaining all the rules to his dad! IT was especially important to note not to put your finger on the lever (Mom quickly corrected to trigger) until you were ready to shoot. He remembers, the lessons really did sink in!

Six said...

That's great sweetie! I tried to explain it in a way that they could grasp and it makes me happy that he remembers. I'm hoping it'll stick.

Theredneckengineer said...

Those grins are unmistakable, those are the grins that have lifelong memories behind them.

When I taught my stepson how to shoot, I started out with a Red Ryder to teach him the 4 rules. He was 8 at the time and he is now 13 and has an absolute love for shooting and is a strict follower of the 4 rules. My 6 year old son is next up, and he is taking to the Red Ryder just as good as I could hope for.

Six said...

Allright TRE. The Red Ryder strikes again! Every kid needs a BB gun and a good teacher.