Many of us who enjoy shooting and have kids know that most of the time our boys are itching to go to the range before they can reach the trigger. Daughters on the other hand (in many cases) require some prodding to get them to the range, the first time. Sometimes it’s dad who is reluctant to teach his daughter how to use a gun properly. Either way, it is valuable knowledge for her to learn.
For some time I have been prodding my daughter to head to the range with me. The prodding finally worked and she headed to the range with me for the first time. She openly admitted she was a little nervous and a little scared about shooting. I told her that is all more the reason she should go shoot with me for she could overcome those feelings. I also told her I wanted her to know how to safely handle firearms in case she was ever put in the situation that she would have to defend herself or someone around her had a gun out.
When we pulled up to the range and she heard the noise the larger powered guns were making she was worried about her hearing, to which I informed her hearing and eye protection were required at all times. After doubling up with ear plugs and muffs we set out to the firing line.
We went over the range rules and procedures and refreshed her memory on safe gun operation. First gun for her to tame was a simple Marlin .22 rifle with iron sights. The first few rounds were a little wild so we went over breathing, aiming and pulling the trigger. You could tell the difference between pulling the trigger and squeezing the trigger wasn’t quite making since to her. By placing my trigger finger across her arm I demonstrated the difference and from then on her groups got tighter and better.
Next up was my old Ruger 10/22 outfitted with a scope. After a quick rundown of the gun she took off and started ripping up the targets. When she saw the shot placements clearly through the scope she started developing a smile that got bigger as she continued to shoot (she denies the smile but Momma has seen the pictures). After plinking around with the .22 rifles we moved on to the .22 pistols. This where her smile really started growing.
On this trip to the range there was a special treat for me to test, a Walther PPK. The PPK is in the middle of a restoration and we wanted to know if the work had brought the PPK back to shooting status. After a few test rounds I saddled her up behind the Walther and let her have at it. After she fired it I let her in on the fact that the Walther was the gun her great-grandfather had captured in World War 2 and the gun hadn’t been fired in at least 20 years. She jumped just a little with recoil and muzzle flip of the .32 but settled in on the next one.
She was a little intimidated at first when I put her behind the Sig Sauer P226 in 9mm due to the larger frame. It only took a few rounds for her to be in full control with no problems.
The one gun it took a good bit of persuasion for her to get behind was the 44 magnum rifle. After hearing that thing go off a few times she was real resistant to getting behind it. After some coaxing from me and a couple of other shooters she got behind it. She squeezed off a round and let out a little jump with the report but all in all did very good. She declined crawling back behind it at that time but commented later that she wouldn’t mind giving it another shot or two.
Let’s face it; we dads seem to worry more about our daughters than we do our sons. Maybe it’s the fact that we know that boys will be boys and that is the reason we worry more about our daughters. What better way to calm yourself than to know your daughter can properly operate a gun if the time ever comes that she has to. Hopefully our daughters never face a situation where they have to use the knowledge of guns we give them but I know I feel better knowing that she knows how to.
One other bonus about taking your daughter to the range is that it gives both of you more time to know and understand each other better. As a dad I can at times find it hard to figure out my daughter and her me. Range time together not only is a lot of fun but it is also a chance to spend some quality time with each other and instill more confidence in her to conquer future challenges.
Happy shooting, God Bless America and God Bless you and yours