Shooting Targets With Kids
Taking your kids shooting for the first time can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you are visiting ranges designed for safe firearms practice or shooting with your own targets, we will cover what you need to know before taking your kids out for target practice experience and which products we recommend for young shooters of all abilities.
Gun Safety for Kids
It is vitally important that anyone, especially minors, going shooting understand the basics of firearm safety long before they handle any firearms. We recommend anyone, including minors, looking to enjoy what this community has to offer take a Gun Safety course.
Gun Safety Rules for Safely Shooting with Kids
The cardinal rules of gun safety apply on and off the range, to paper and steel targets, and whether you are shooting by yourself or you are an chaperone for a younger person shooting:
- Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction
- Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot
- Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use
- Know your target and what lies beyond it
- Know how to use your specific firearm safely
- Use only the correct ammunition for your firearm
- Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting
- Never rely on your guns “safety” switch
- Store guns properly so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons or children
- Alcohol and firearms do not mix
Gun Accident Prevention
Gun accidents are preventable. For children that are too young to accompany you to target practice, there is a great resource, provided by the NRA, to educate youngsters on what to do if they ever come across a gun.
“The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program is a gun accident prevention program that seeks to help parents, law enforcement, community groups and educators navigate a topic paramount to our children’s safety. Eddie and his Wing Team are on a mission to help you teach Pre-K through 4th graders what to do if they ever come across a gun…”https://eddieeagle.nra.org/
Learn more about the program at EddieEagle.NRA.org.
The NRA also provides articles and classes for gun owners on how to properly store their guns to prevent accidents. In the following article, Gil Horman breaks down 6 ways to safely store your firearms, which covers everything from trigger locks to how to select the correct firearm-safe for you.
Read the full article here and make sure your firearms are stored properly at all times to prevent gun accidents: https://www.nrafamily.org/articles/2019/11/5/6-ways-to-safely-store-your-firearms
Safely Shooting with Kids at Ranges
Before you and the kids head out, there are a few things not to be overlooked before getting to the range.
Common Range Lingo to Know
Common range phrases or lingo should be covered before heading to the public range. These include but are not limited to: Commence firing, Ceasefire, Firing line, Hot and Cold, Downrange, Bench, Backstop, Firing lane, and Misfire.
Appropriate Attire and Safety Gear
Ensure that your kids are dressed appropriately and have the appropriate eye and ear protection. Though most ranges will provide ear and eye protection, we recommend calling beforehand to verify the range has appropriately fitting gear for kids or purchase your own gear to ensure a proper and safe fit. At most ranges, the minimum age requirement for children is 10-11 years old. All minors must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or legal guardian at all times.
Safely Shooting Steel Targets With Kids
Shooting steel targets with kids can be a safe and enjoyable time for all involved. In addition to the range safety recommendations above, we highly recommend reviewing safety information and protocol before every target practice session, even if you’re just practicing in the backyard.
Best Targets for Kids (and Dads too!)
Reactive targets are the way to go when shooting with the little ones. The instant feedback that reactive targets give when hit will not only help retain the attention span of the little ones, they are also just more fun to shoot! Here are our staff-recommended steel targets for shooting with the kids:
The Grizzly Reactive/knock down checks a ton of boxes. Fun to shoot, great for competition and training, easy to set up, portable and like all Grizzly products — Built to Last! The brightly colored circle is easy to see and fun to shoot.
With three poppers on one target, there are plenty of challenges for your team or yourself with our Trifecta Target System.Spring loaded AR500 steel that falls back when hit, and springs back up quickly immediately afterwards. The multiple targets will add another sense of fun to your shooting day!
Combining the Grizzly Ipsc Reactive and the Reactive Knockdown square gives you safety and loads of fun. The A-Zone portion of the target is spring loaded and resets upon impact. The main strike plate is mounted on our Galvanized swing bracket! The overall bigger sized IPSC portion will help the amateur shooters, while more experienced shooters can use the A-Zone portion of the target.
Unlimited spring loaded action, fun to shoot, extremely portable and compact. The Reactive Popper’s Industrial springs auto-reset the target when engaged. As with all our targets, hot dip galvanization ensures a rust-proof target. “Great target, well made, and stays put even with a .45! Very well made, very strong…” – Randy (Loyal Grizzly Customer)