Although teaching children how to shoot is a hotly debated topic, met with mixed reviews, it’s important that gun owners be responsible and proactive, teaching basic gun safety. In fact, many studies show that children with experience shooting and handling guns are less likely to participate in criminal activities. Children as young as eight years old can be taught to effectively handle and fire guns.
- Target – The first step in teaching how to effectively handle and fire a gun is setting up a target. Children are visual learners, which is why metal spinning targets are an excellent option. Since these targets provide immediate feedback, children can adjust their aims to reflect more accurate results. Jumping Targets offers a wide variety of high quality AR 500 targets that are ideal for family shooting practice. For people that live in a neighborhood or community, check with local law enforcement to see if shooting is permitted. If not, visit a local gun range or a gun club.
- Youth Programs – Many local gun clubs offer community youth gun programs. Before parents join clubs, make sure that they offer children’s programs, which helps involve the whole family in shooting sports and activities.
- Volunteer – For parents that prefer to teach their children themselves consider joining local gun clubs to become certified instructors. This helps make sure that parents are practicing safe, effective gun handling techniques prior to teaching their children.
- Guns – The best type of gun to teach children how to shoot is a single shot bolt-action .22 rifle. These petite weapons offer little kickback and are easy for children to hold. If parents don’t have this type of weapon, these can be purchased at an affordable price point or can be traded. Many estates also sell these weapons, as they are very common. Guns should fit children’s sizes. It’s best that a gun be too small than too big.
- Expenses – It’s important to have a sufficient supply of ammunition. Fortunately .22 ammunition costs 0.04 to 0.05 cents per bullet. Older children can go through approximately 30 to 50 rounds of ammunition within an hour.
- Enhancements – As children begin to improve their shooting skills, it’s important for parents to increase their shooting challenges. As children become more experienced with guns, parents can choose from more advanced targets, such as shooting gongs, dueling trees or gopher and rabbit steel targets, which are all offered by Jumping Targets.
- Rapport – It’s important to talk to children, offering words of wisdom, advice and encouragement. This helps them feel as though they are progressing with their shooting accuracy and makes learning fun, enjoyable experiences.
- Merit – To help children set shooting goals, parents can refer to the Citizenship in the World merit badge, which is designed for Boy Scouts. Boy Scouts’ offers several shooting options, including rifle shooting, air rifle shooting and muzzleloader rifle shooting.