Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Getting the Family on Board...

[Last week, we posted about the "Babes with Bullets" camp. Mik3 took his son and some of the kids out shooting and had some bright ideas to share...]

How do you promote action shooting sports?

I have been blessed with an awesome wife and two great children. Along with them, I'm also blessed with the good graces of all of my children’s friends.

I have been to their birthday parties, graduations, school musicals, plays, and have hauled them all, at one time or another, to events all over the place: we have been on vacations together, to Disneyland, on bike riding trips and canoe trips, and when we can, we do a shooting fun day. It doesn’t have to be super crazy, we just scheduled a day to all go shoot together, bringing a few different guns and plenty of ammo!

The kids absolutely love to go out and shoot and that makes me feel good! It is such a special feeling to be able to share my love for the shooting sports with them - to see the look on their face when they shoot is a gift!

They, of course, must listen to me go over the safe handling of the weapons and understand that safety is the number one concern. I usually teach them all at the same time how to handle the weapon that they will be firing, and when it is their turn, give them a brief refresher. Make sure you talk to them and ask them questions to help understand the level of their individual comfort zone and give them the support they need to have fun. When they are waiting to shoot keep them busy by having them learn to load magazines, pick up brass, and also support the other shooters so they get some positive feedback right away.

Remember to bring extra eye and hearing protection; the younger they are the better the hearing protection should be since you don't want them to fear anything - it should be comfortable for them at all times.

Don’t try to impress them either with amazing shots and ultra realistic targets or super tactics: I’m sure they're all playing "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" to learn all of that stuff, right? (HaHa!) Keep the targets as close and as still as they can be so that they can’t really miss. Make the targets fun: cans, buckets, balloons. Steel is fun also if you have some! When they develop their skills, they will let you know when they are ready for a more difficult shot and then, and only then, will they enjoy the challenge that the shot will bring them. We got shoot some trap with 20 and 12 gauge shotguns, then my AR15, my Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm Pro and M&P Full size.

This last trip was great I would like to personally thank Dennis and Lori Bearows for graciously allowing us to go make some noise on their awesome property! Especially for the cookies and pound cake we had after we were done! (Wow - life is good!)
It was nice to just spend the afternoon together shooting and enjoying each other’s company

We can get caught up in training to win a state match, and letting our egos think that winning is promoting the shooting sports. In reality, though, that is only a personal achievement; To promote shooting sports in your area try taking some kids to the range next time, or even some of your adult friends, that have never been able to shoot a rifle or handgun before.

The kids, after all, are the future of the shooting sports. We won’t be able to shoot forever and need to pass on and promote it so that it continues. Some day, when you’re in your 90’s, sitting in a rascal scooter without the strength to hold a rifle anymore, one of those children may just come by the nursing home to pick you up and take you shooting...