Shooting for the Holidays – I was about seven or eight when I saw A Christmas Story with my parents for the first time, and amazingly that year, I too got my first “real gun.” As my kids are getting older, I wanted to put out some ideas for the kids, the beginner, the hard-to-buy-for, and the non-gunner to help spread the freedom we enjoy to the masses.
My first rifle was a Red Ryder BB gun, and I loved that little rifle. Growing up in a suburb, I could still shoot it in the backyard at cans, army soldiers, and paper plates for years. While I still look at that fondly, I remember that rifle being harder to cock, especially for a younger patriot. Others are pumped that, to my recollection, is a bit easier. Safety is CRUCIAL as these still can hurt or even kill but offers thousands of economically friendly hours of shooting over the rifle’s life.
I would be hard-pressed to pick any other caliber than a 22lr as the first firearm for kids/beginners. My children learned early (2-3 years old) with my help on a Cricket and a trusty 10/22. The former is a bit harder to cock, but it forces the practice on the fundamentals and is built to their size. That said, it becomes small quickly as kids grow. There are a ton of calibers for hunting, and it depends on your quarry of choice.
When my seven-year-old wanted to go hunt deer, and I didn’t want to buy a new caliber (such as 243, which I think is excellent), they learned on 6.5 Creedmoor. She was a bit nervous due to the loud noise and recoil. However, she did great, and she shot a nice fat doe her first time out. My middle child will be trying to replicate with the same gun/caliber this season. The bottom line is getting a good quality firearm, but nothing cost-prohibitive. Ruger Americans have worked amazingly for putting meat on my family table for years. This rifle would be a good route for target shooting as well. For avian targets, I would focus on a .410 shotgun or a 20 gauge but using LIGHT RECOIL ROUNDS…. we want them to enjoy shooting, not fear it, and never do it again.
For the Veteran:
Most veteran hunters are extremely particular on their rifles, and some on their camo, scopes, or other gear…. this is where I fall, as do my family members that hunt. You have two options. The first is to try and see what new gadget they are looking at from them. Be advised that it is usually not cheap, and it may seem unnecessary to most. The second is to either buy it going in together with others or provide a gift card towards it. I love accessories like holsters, lights, cleaning kits, and tools, but if there is something I am watching for a price drop, that $50-$100 would go a long way toward that item.
For the non-shooter:
This category can be tricky, but I have done this with my staunchly anti-second Amendment or anti-hunting friends and family. I either take them to the range, pay for a range day with an instructor, or I take them hunting. A lot of anti-firearms rhetoric is based on fear, and once the individual goes shooting and sees it can be a fun pastime, they tend to be a bit less vocal, and some change their position entirely. I had one friend who refused to shoot because “guns kill people.” After going to the range and working with myself and another buddy, they bought a gun THAT DAY! He has since become a bit of a fanatic.
For this holiday season, spread the cheer and the passion that you share. A right is only a right if we exercise it, and as a shooter, we should be encouraging everyone to express it early and often.
Also be sure to check out JM4 Tactical for your holster needs!
Author: Ian Bolser