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Getting Kids on Target

Sometimes it is hard to gauge when a kid is ready to take that big step from their air-soft or BB gun to an actual firearm.  Recently one of my kids came to that crossroads. The most powerful thing he had shot was my old .22 rifle on several occasions.

I was headed to the range with my brother-in-law to meet some friends and put some lead downrange and decided at the last minute to
take my oldest son with us. On the way to the range I told him that if he wanted to he could try out my 9mm pistol. Once we got to the range he plinked away with an old .22 with iron sights and tearing the target up at 25 yards. He turned down the first offer to fire the pistol but it wasn’t long before he asked to give it a shot. After a quick rundown of the layout of the pistol he picked it up, chambered a round, aimed and squeezed the trigger. With the first squeeze of the trigger he was hooked, he finished the 18 round magazine (or clip if you prefer) laid the pistol down and turned to me with one of the biggest teethiest grins I have ever seen.

Some might expect the end of the story at this point but this just might be where it begins. The next step for my 11 year old son was a go at .357 magnum. First I showed him the 2 rounds he was going to shoot back to back and explained that the .357 could shoot a .38 round but the .38 could not shoot the .357 round.  He was a little hesitant of the .357 round due to its size. I took my old Taurus and  loaded the 2 rounds pulled the hammer back for him and let him take full control. He handled the .38 round with the same attitude he had with the 9mm, but when he pulled the hammer back and squeezed off the magnum round he let out an enthusiastic “HOLY COW”. In no time at all he sped through a box of .38 and a box of .357 magnum. Without any instruction he automatically started pulling the hammer back with the recoil return of the previous shot. He took the opportunity to shoot every pistol there from .22 all the way to the .45 my friend had on hand. The only time I had to correct him was on his over enthusiasm of rapid fire which is not allowed at the range we were attending.

After producing enough spent brass to create a sizable statue of Samuel Colt we moved to another part of the range to spend time on  heavier caliber rifles. My young son found his first love in the form of my buddy’s .223 bolt action target rifle. We gave him a chance to shoot anything that hit the bench. He handled the Mosin-Nagant and the .303 British without any problems. The only gun that he was hesitant about was the beautiful 45-70 he is behind in the picture, and that was only because of him seeing the gun move my shoulder pretty good. After minimal encouragement he saddled up on the rifle and squeezed the trigger. Everything came out just fine. Even after the kick from the 45-70 he jumped at the idea of heading to the shotgun range for his first ever try at skeet, hitting 9 out of the 25 with a Remington 1100 12 gauge.

If you have kids that are old enough to have a BB gun, think about taking them along the next time you head to the range even if all they can handle is a .22. I guarantee; not only will you concrete your love of guns in your kid’s life but also help their confidence, have a ton of fun and might even learn a thing or two yourself.


Happy shooting, God bless America and God Bless you and yours.


About James


  1. Great posting! My son and daughter started with squirt guns and worked their way through airsoft and now on .22s. I just took my 9 year to the indoor range for the first time yesterday and we had a great time.

    Ballistic bonding, is what we call it.

    • Thank you very much Drew. Like you I really enjoy getting my kids excited about shooting. With your permission I would like to use your “Ballistic Bonding” quote, I have never heard it stated that way and think that it is the perfect term for outings such as these.I love seeing parents ( or other adults for that matter)teaching kids how to properly handle firearms.

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