Children and the Range: What You Need to Do When Teaching Children to Handle Firearms Safely
An NRA Family article elaborated on some of the reasons why many American families today feel it makes sense to take their children to gun ranges. Among other things, the article mentioned how it is important to teach our young ones a thing or two about firearm handling and gun safety.
Teaching our children about firearm safety and handling can in fact help prevent numerous accidents and mishaps which might otherwise occur.
Children, Shooting Ranges and Safety
If you’re one of the many Americans who feel like your child could benefit by learning a thing or two about firearms and how to handle them, there is a way to go about it. We’re going to elaborate on a few tips to help you keep your child, others and yourself safe when taking your young one to the range.
Establish Basic Authority
Before you bring your child anywhere near a shooting range, you need to establish basic parental authority. Simply put, your child has to be groomed enough to listen to your instructions without question.
If you feel your child is fussy, stubborn, prone to disobedience, tantrums and acting out, it might help to wait till they are a little more mature before you let them near a firearm.
Teach your Child Gun Safety Basics
Before handing your child a loaded weapon, you need to teach them about safety basics. These include pointers like:
- Not pointing the gun at anyone
- Keeping the safety on
- Keeping the gun unloaded unless shooting
- Not playing with the trigger
- Not looking down the barrel
The better equipped they are with the rules of firearm safety the better it is for all involved.
Carry The Weapon Yourself
Whether this is the actual firearm you’re teaching your child to use or the bullets you put in it, make sure you don’t hand them to your little one to carry.
Even if your equipment is carefully placed in a carry case or bag, carry it yourself.
Support Your Child Till They Can Handle Recoil
Recoil for a child can be a lot to handle. At times, this may even be dangerous for others on the range. When you’re teaching your child to shoot, support them and cradle them in a way that your body helps absorb part of the recoil from the gun when fired.
Never Leave Your Child Unsupervised
This one is huge and it could not be more important to understand this than when at the range. Never, under any circumstances, leave your child unsupervised at the range. Even if you feel you need to head back to the car to grab a bottle of water or something of the sort, take your child with you.
Leaving a child unattended with or around a live weapon can be a recipe for disaster.
Don’t Skimp on Gear
Sure some of us tend to skimp on gear at times when at the range or practicing at home. We might forget our safety glasses, not wear vests or decide we don’t need ear protection. Though you might be able to shoot without protection in a pinch, your child needs protection.
If you’re taking your kid to the range, make sure they have the gear needed to keep them safe.
Start at Home
A range is a place where there are many people and a whole lot of live fire present. You could ease your child into firearm handling by setting up a home range. If you have the space, buy an AR500 steel target silhouette, gong or plate rack and practice at home with your young one without hitting the big range!
If you follow the steps recommended and stay alert at all times, you should be able to keep your young one safe and teach them a thing or two about handing a firearm and self defense! If you have any more questions about target and practice options, feel free to give us a shout! Safe shooting folks!