Amidst the sensitivity of the topic of guns, shooting as a sport remains to be one of the most effective ways to teach kids about responsibility, ethics, and citizenship. For this very reason, there are many who look into training their kids in the sport. However, how do you go about the conversation of introducing it to your kids?
A wide array of helpful materials are also available at holdrightedge.com, which can also be a useful resource for you along the way. However, in this article, we will be going over some helpful points as you talk with your kid about the sport of shooting.
Safety, Above All Else
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has covered the many ways in which introducing your kids gradually to the sport can be beneficial towards their full understanding of safety.
From exposing them to paintball for hand-eye coordination all the way to life skills found in hunting, such as with a bow and arrow, the foundation encourages exposure as a starting point to better understand safety in terms of being equipped, prepared, and responsible.
Their stand is grounded on the fact that an actual gun has very strict requirements; when they finally reach an age for them to own one, they are actually mentally prepared, are fully aware of the responsibility, and are also trained to handle one.
Things to Consider
When it comes to the life survival skills, it is pertinent to take some essential things into consideration, especially when you’re discussing a relatively sensitive matter with your kids:
Patience Is a Pre-Requisite
When you’re learning anything new–whether you’re young or old–this takes time. Be patient with your kid while they’re working on getting into the sport.
More so, get creative as you rear them towards it. You can start by bringing them to paintball pits, shooting games at the local fair, or even at the arcade.
The most difficult part about being patient is also being able to determine at what age you believe they are ready for the actual sport. As they train their eyes and their hands for better coordination and aim, be there to support them every step of the way and encourage them without unnecessarily pressuring them.
Safety Is the Core
Firearms are firearms, and they can definitely be harmful in the wrong hands. This is precisely why you should never forget to tell your kids:
- To treat all firearms as though they are loaded;
- To never let the nozzle of any firearm face an object that they don’t want to hit;
- To only put their finger within the area of the trigger if they are about to fire, lest it should be resting on a place that can’t pull the trigger accidentally;
- To always treat all firearms as possibly unsafe, which means they shouldn’t just merely rely on a safety device that’s mechanically equipped; and
- To always focus on their target, including the peripherals of the target.
Utilize Appropriate Equipment
Shooting a gun isn’t just about the aim but also the ability to keep it steady amidst a recoil. Since kids usually are still developing their grasp and familiarity with a gun, you can start them off with a BB gun or a 0.22 caliber rifle. The rifle is a piece of good equipment as it has less recoil.
Additionally, you might start considering a pistol as it also has little recoil, but they’re not actually encouraged because though they seem to be more manageable, their limited sight radius actually makes them more difficult to control.
Train the Foundations
Know and encourage your kids to use their dominant hand to work with their dominant eye when shooting. Additionally, part of the foundation is the right stance, position, breathing, and squeezing of the trigger.
When they’ve mastered aiming, breathing, standing, and pulling the trigger, you can take them out now for the bigger challenge of using a gun. Penultimately, never forget to train your kids using an unloaded gun.
Put the Fun in the Fundamentals
Because shooting is essentially a serious sport, your kid might find it taxing and might lose interest at some point. This is why it is pertinent that you pace learning with a bit more creativity.
Start off at the range by aiming for bigger targets. Only when they can perfect it should you challenge your kids to start aiming for smaller ones. This way, the sense of accomplishment throughout the learning process is preserved.
Be Open to a Change of Plan
Sometimes, in life, things just don’t work out. In case shooting doesn’t, you shouldn’t be so downcast. Look into archery as a possible option to get your kids to still learn the life skills behind the sport.
Seek Better Resources
If this gets more challenging, you can always ask for a professional or a coach to aid you and your kids. More so, there are also other shooting programs provided by specific organizations and foundations that cater to training kids.
A good hunting season can also be a great way for them to apply their skills along with learning from seasoned hunters.
The ethical use of firearms is something that is definitely part of the core of the sport. Responsibly owning one and using one will eventually follow. Certainly, it is between you and your child to decide which sport can teach these life skills best.