by Ted Nugent
Too painful and numerous to repeat here, the horror stories are heartbreaking and endless; a parent wanting desperately to introduce their young son and/or daughter to the joys of the shooting sports before they are truly ready.
That is a deadly and dangerous recipe for disaster and the evidence is far too widespread to ignore.
I have personally witnessed how some youngsters are ready, with ultra-structured guidance, for the intense discipline of the very serious business of firearms fun as early as their 5th or 6th birthday. But I have also witnessed the life threatening dangers of pushing a 10 year old before they are physically or psychologically capable of handling or processing all that which goes with safe handling and firing of a gun.
The undeveloped muscle weakness alone of a small boy or girl, not to mention their childish minds, is almost always enough of a concern to force us to wait a few years.
Even with the expert experienced control of a qualified rangemaster, the instantaneous physics of even minimal recoil is a deadly force to reckon with in the wrong hands.
A few proven tips that can be beneficial to a smooth, positive, fun, safe first firearm experience can make all the difference in the world in order to make it something they will not only always cherish, but eagerly wish to repeat often in life.
It’s not just about recruitment into the shooting sports, but more importantly, retention.
First of all, waiting can only be good for them. The young mind is so unsettled that it is often the case that the parent is the one wanting the kid to shoot more than the kid does.
Let them watch for as many years as possible until you are confident their little undeveloped brains and bodies can grasp and handle the shooting dynamic.
Now I must admit that I baptized my kids as early as 4 years of age, but did it with BB guns under ultra-strict hands-on control in the living-room shooting at proper targets at close range, one shooter and one shot at a time in short duration settings to keep the young minds focused and intrigued.
They graduated to single shot bolt-action rifles firing very low dB .22CB caps under the same controls a year or so later.
It wasn’t until they proved their fluid, disciplined, 100% safe 100% of the time handling of the rifle that we moved up to .22 shorts, then .22 longs, then .22 long rifle ammo, always with ear and eye protection with total focus on muzzle control and my ready hands always right there.
Orange claybirds at 20 or so feet up against a solid dirt backstop goes a long way in learning sight picture, breath and trigger control and instant understanding of where the bullets are hitting.
I would highly recommend that it is a rare kid under the age of 10 or 12 that should ever be allowed to shoot a firearm generating recoil more than a .22magnum.
Once a parent is certain their kid can handle some recoil, a properly fitted lever action rifle in .38special is probably the best bet for their next phase when possible.
And here’s a great tip I don’t ever hear for moving up to shotguns; a proper fitting recoil-padded .410 with the lightest target loads available, shooting at stationery claybirds sitting on a dirt backstop at 20 yards is the best way to have them learn how a scattergun functions, points and hits.
I assure you that the fun factor approached thusly will endear them no end to the joys of safe, controlled blasting away with a shotgun for the rest of their lives. Kids love blasting away! Everybody loves blasting away as long as it is safe and sound.
As universal as the “use enough gun” truism is for experienced shooters, so to should the self-evident truth of “don’t use too much gun” mantra be our guiding light when it comes to the shootist baptism procedure.
As we plow forward fighting for the return of our precious 2nd Amendment rights in America, nothing is more important than crushing the vicious anti-gun propaganda ministry by introducing as many people as we can to the joys and pragmatism of the shooting sports as often as we can. When done the right way, we solidify the self-evident truth that unarmed and helpless is indeed unarmed and helpless and a very embarrassing irresponsible choice in life.
I personally have experienced untold happiness and fulfillment when introducing new shooters to this awe inspiring activity, sport, discipline, and lifestyle. As important as recruitment is, it is even more important to emphasize the importance of being a member of the National Rifle Association.
You can visit tednugent.com to join the mighty NRA at a discount, immediately joining forces in the asset column of freedom in America. Though the 2nd Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with hunting, I believe with all my heart and soul that every hunter in America should be a member of the NRA, as they also fight relentlessly for basic hunting rights across the country.
As we enjoy our summer family time in exciting anticipation of the greatest hunting season of our lives, now is the best time for the win-win opportunity to expand our sport, expand our freedom warrior base and better prepare our friends and family for the fun and even life-saving realities of gun ownership and participation.
Keep and bear like you mean it. It’s an American thang!