Responsible Shooting: Teaching your Child to Shoot with Airguns
Many of us first learned to shoot on BB and pellet airguns we were given as children. The feel of the gun, the jump of the recoil, and the satisfaction of plinking cans had many of us hooked with our first trigger pull. Using airguns as a teaching tool makes as much sense then as it does now, as they handle, resemble, and shoot in a similar way. If your child shows interest in shooting, use airguns to teach them respect for the power of any gun and a lifelong love of shooting sports.
The Right Age
Around age 10, your child may be ready to start shooting, but that's not always the case. Ultimately, your child's maturity is more important than their age, and it's your role as a parent to decide if your child can handle the responsibility of firing BB and pellet guns. Airguns are not toys, and serious injury or death can result from improper use. However, if you train your child to shoot safely, airguns don't have to be scary! Shooting airguns help teach firearm responsibility and learning the techniques needed to place accurate shots.
Before shooting with your child, explain each part and function of your airgun. For young shooters, an air rifle is a great place to start. Air rifles are easy to hold, sight, and fire accurately--even after a few minutes of training. Many lever-action spring rifles, like the Red Ryder, Lil' Sure Shot or the Lil’ Duke, are simple enough for children to operate. Educate them on loading, using the sights, and the safety function, before they pull a trigger.
Next, children need to understand how to shoot safely. The first rule? Remember eye protection! A set of safety glasses can easily prevent injuries that last a lifetime. Lead contamination is also a risk of handling pellets. Be sure your child knows to not touch their face, or eat and drink before washing their hands. Pay special attention to instilling proper trigger discipline and to never place their finger near a trigger until ready to shoot! Additionally, to teach your child how to carry an air rifle safely: with the safety on, finger off the trigger, and the muzzle pointed downward and away from people and animals alike.
Now that safety is out of the way, it's time to hit the range and have fun! Fun is what airguns are really about! The first target a child shoots should be easy to hit so they aren't discouraged from repeated misses which will be early and often! As they progress, reactive targets like Air Venturi's Spin-O-Matic or shooting games like AV's Dueling Tree targets can make shooting exciting and challenging. Over time, you child's shooting proficiency will improve and you can show them more advanced techniques, such as controlling their breath and different shooting stances.
Making Airgunning Last a Lifetime
By teaching your child to shoot and maintain airguns, you can make sure they know the proper methods of handling, shooting, and maintain their airguns for a lifetime. Shooting airguns is a rewarding and exciting pastime that's been enjoyed by millions worldwide, and if you've done your part, your child will handle any airgun with the respect they deserve.