Want to make sure your kids can participate in shooting sports like skeet shooting, target shooting competitions, or hunts? Then they need to know how to shoot! Here are five tips for introducing your kids to shooting sports safely and effectively.
Kids and Shooting Sports: How to Get Them Started
1. Start With Gun Safety Rules
Of course, the best place to start, bar none, is with gun safety.
Every responsible gun owner has to educate their kids about proper gun safety practices.
For instance, you should immediately begin teaching your kids that:
- They should treat every weapon as loaded, even if they believe it to be unloaded.
- Safeties should always be engaged unless they are about to take a shot.
- Barrels should always be pointed at the ground unless they are about to take a shot.
- Never leave firearms unattended or ammunition lying around.
Drilling these basic concepts into their heads early will go a long way toward ensuring they never had an accident when they head to the range or on a hunting expedition on their own as an adult.
2. Choose a Good Firearm
Next, you’ll want to introduce your kids to shooting through a firearm that can handle.
You wouldn’t give a teenager a loaded magnum anything, right?
The recoil is simply too tough to control for someone who hasn’t felt a weapon kick in their palm before.
Instead, it’s a better idea to acclimate your kids to firearms by giving them easier to control weapons like .22 caliber rifles.
Such weapons are easy to brace against their shoulders and don’t produce tons of recoil while still being able to take down small game.
Thus, these rifles are great for many shooting sports, as well.
Of course, your mileage may vary on this point. Maybe your kids are particularly ambitious and want to start with the heavy stuff.
Just keep in mind that harder to use weapons require more teaching on your end.
3. Start with the Fundamentals
Regardless of the weapon you choose, you have to begin with the fundamentals.
Educate your kids about the basics of firearm usage aside from safety, like:
- How to hold a proper stance when gripping a rifle or pistol
- Where to place their fingers to ensure good trigger discipline
- How to load and unload a weapon safely
- How do zero their sites or otherwise adjust their weapons for accuracy
The first of these tips are particularly important since they can affect how safe your kids are when the rifle or pistol bucks in their hands.
Bad form can lead to minor injuries or, in the case of rifles, a bruised eye socket!
Take some time to go over the basics so they can progress to more advanced shooting techniques later.
4. Be Patient – They’ll Make Mistakes!
One thing to keep in mind throughout the entire process is that your kids will make plenty of mistakes regardless of their talent or your teaching ability.
Simply put, although shooting a firearm is a relatively straightforward activity, it also involves a lot of skill. Your kids don’t have it… yet.
To this end, try to be patient as they make mistakes, and don’t take them on a hunting trip with the expectation of bagging lots of game.
The worst thing you can do is make your kids feel unworthy of your time and attention.
If you want them to enjoy shooting with you in hunting or target shooting contexts, they need to have a good time and feel confident – you can provide both of those feelings.
5. Do Some Demonstrations
Lastly, don’t hesitate to demonstrate proper form, shooting technique, or other aspects of the shooting art to your kids.
In many cases, kids are visual learners and will pick up what you are teaching them more readily if you can demonstrate the right technique yourself.
Plus, this is a great opportunity to show off your shooting skills!
You might also consider joining an organization for youth sports shooters. This can encourage them to train more when practicing with their peers.
Follow all these tips and you and your kids are almost guaranteed to have a great time. Remember, more than anything, enjoy the time you spend practicing with your kids, too.
Have you begun teaching introducing shooting sports to your child? How's it going? Do share it with us in the comments section!