by JJ Sutton, Ammoland:
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Where it starts for most firearm enthusiasts is remembering their first firearm lovingly.
Maybe it was a Daisy BB gun. Maybe it was a .22 single shot rifle or a handgun.
I certainly remember mine and, yes, it was the Daisy. I grew up on a big remote ranch and there really wasn’t a culture of “Target Shooting” in my family. Our culture was about shooting something to get rid of it or to put meat on the table. We shot varmints to get rid of them, and we shot game animals for meat. I was wholly invested in shooting a rock squirrel with my BB gun and it took me almost a year to finally actually “get” one.
I learned A LOT about accuracy and appropriate distances from that Daisy BB gun that sticks with me still.
Now, fast forward to a new generation. I don’t live on that ranch any longer. I have a son and daughter who are being introduced to shooting in a different culture and in a different world than I knew.
Where does one start to introduce this generation to firearms? A custom AR15 of course.
With my son, we skipped the play gun stuff. No, Daisy BB gun. However, I did get a Gamo airgun once that shot pellets. That was for some pesky critters within city limits, but I wasn’t impressed and just couldn’t get the confidence from the thing, so it sat in the box for a number of years before I finally just sold it in a yard sale.
Due to the nature of my career and line of work, I am around firearms on a daily basis. My children see and hear firearms related conversations on a steady basis.
For my son’s ninth birthday, he received a Walther P22 and his learning started on a handgun and was related to self-defense shooting. Over time, and from watching and observing some of our training programs, then trying to duplicate what he saw, he learned to operate his handgun very well. In fact, as a ten-year-old, I would say that he could operate his handgun better than some law enforcement officers I have taught in courses! He could shoot right or left handed equally well. He could do reloads right or left handed. And he could do some complicated shoot, no shoot, and move drills as well as anyone in our beginner and intermediate courses.
At twelve years, he had proven to me that he understood his firearm and all related safety issues. He had proven his abilities and his responsibilities and he asked to attend a formal class I had coming up. It was a small sized Advanced Level Personal Defense Course that had a couple law enforcement officers, as well as a few seasoned concealed carriers in it. He was told the class would not wait on him, and if I thought he was acting unsafely or was slowing them down or distracting them, I would immediately bench him. He also asked if he could run the course with a Glock 19 Pistol.
I agreed, with the same terms. (He had already shot it a number of times in one on one drills under my dedicated supervision and I knew his abilities with it). He ran this two-day course alongside seasoned adult shooters and handled all the advanced level drills just fine with over 500rds fired. He was NOT at the bottom of the class and it raised some eyebrows that he could do mag changes as well he did and didn’t miss a beat when it came to some of the complicated drills and scenarios.
I was and still am very proud of his gun skills.
That is how my son was introduced to firearms. It was from a practical perspective and purpose driven. It was never about target shooting and it wasn’t a hobby. In this day and age, I think it was a completely appropriate way to address his firearms interest.
Let’s talk about the next level. As a twelve-year-old, he also has shot more full auto machine guns than any other kid I know! Working from the 1,800-acre facility of Pawnee Sportsmens Center in northeast Colorado for four years, I had access to lots of fun stuff. He has been around events I managed and around the guests I have had the privilege of knowing. One is Alan Samuel from Machine Gun Tours.
I have held numerous events that Machine Gun Tours was a part of. Machine Gun Tours has many full autos that should be in museums, but people get to live fire them rather than just see them behind glass. They range from 9mm full autos up to and including a 30mm canon – my son has shot many of them due to Alan’s generosity!
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