Spending time at the range getting your gear dialed in can seem like a daunting task at times, but there are ways to make it more fun and involve the entire family! Here are a couple ideas to shake up your routine the next time you hit the range for added fun and memories.
I always designate a certain place the kids have to sit while I shoot. They know that’s their spot, and it makes it much easier to keep them in one safe place. Also, don’t forget about hearing protection for the little ones. My son, Jax, doesn’t mind wearing them one bit since I have muffs on too, so he of course wants to be just like me and fit in with everyone else. I also recommend using a suppressor, because it is super beneficial not only to you as a shooter, but for those around you.
Kids love being helpers, so I often times will set up a spotting scope or give them binoculars so they can tell me where the shots placed. They think it’s fun, and it keeps them paying attention and engaged.
Once you’re all sighted in, I highly recommend using reactive targets that either make noise when you shoot them, like a steel gong, or targets that spin. If you don’t have any of these, simple balloons or water balloons work well too! Anything so the kids know when a target has been hit is ideal so that something exciting happens.
Children and new shooters are super curious, so when you’re making adjustments talk through what you’re doing. They may not understand every aspect of it, but the more you explain, the more confident they will feel someday doing all the steps on their own. If you’re taking different ammo out to test, explain how some shoot faster and why that changes point of impact.
If you plan to be at the range for a while, bring along some snacks and cold drinks. Take a little break from shooting and break out the snacks (after washing your hands). Kids love this, and it’s kind of like a picnic. It may not seem like much to you, but for kids it can be really fun. Pack some of their favorite foods that they don’t always get at home to make range time something special.
Let them shoot
When the kids are old enough and your gun is dialed in, let them take a few shots as well. Make sure to walk them through what they should do and what will happen, and go over all of the safety instructions. Remember, just shooting is a fun experience! Take a few photos so they can always remember it, and make sure to remind them what great shooters they are. A little confidence goes a long way.