GunDiva: I want to introduce you to our newest GunDude, Robbie. We go way back to when we were co-workers at a gun shop. Robbie is a young 'un, but has decades of gun experience and has the best stories. I've been after him to write about his bear hunting adventures (which is not what today's post is about, but I'll get a bear story out of him eventually).
As I sit here looking at my son, I start to think about taking him to
the shooting range; and how my dad got me started. The first time I
remember dad taking me to the range, he sat down with me and told me all
about how the gun worked and the damage it could cause if it was
misused. He went over the safety rules again and again until I could say
every rule back to him word for word. After the talking part was done
he showed me the gun we were going to shoot. It was a nylon 66 .22 LR. As
I sat down at the bench behind the gun, I remember feeling scared that I
would somehow screw something up, but my dad just sat on the other side
of the bench and told me he didn't expect me to punch a one hole group.
He only expected me to hit the ground, but that was ok, only as long as
I followed all the rules and techniques of squeezing the trigger and
the breath control.
Finally the time came to load the gun and see what I
could do. Wouldn't you know, I was a natural... I hit the ground every
time! The metal popper was safe for the time being. I looked over at my
dad expecting to see disappointment on his face, but to my surprise I
saw a look of satisfaction. He said that I was doing everything right.
Then the other boot dropped and told me I was looking through the sights
wrong. He told me that I needed to line up the sights a certain way and
to focus on the front sight. We loaded up the gun again, and tried one
more time. I sat behind the rifle and concentrated on the front sight
and squeezed the trigger, and the gun fired and I heard a TWANG! The
popper spun around with the force of a well placed shot. I looked over
at my dad and saw something on his face that I rarely saw... He was
smiling. He then told me "Good job" and to keep going. Of course I
missed a few more shots but I hit a few more too. We stayed there a few
more hours with him giving me targets to hit and me trying to hit them.
Then he said that it was time to go.
He saw the look of disappointment
on my face and told me he would take me out again next week. Hearing
that made me think I was floating on cloud 9.
After a few more days at the range, my dad said I was ready for
something new for the next time we went to the range. The next trip to
the range my dad brought a different gun case. When I asked what it was
he told me I would find out soon enough. It was a long trip that day,
with all the anticipation of a new gun to shoot. Finally we got to the
range. I was so ready to see the new gun I was going to shoot! Dad had a
different idea though. We went and shot the .22 for a while. I was
getting done with a good string of shots when my dad put something down
next to me. I looked over and saw something I had never seen before.
Seeing the confused look on my face he explained what it was.
It was a
Colt AR 15. He explained everything about it, from how to load it to how
to take it apart. We disassembled it and reassembled it many times. He
said if I was going to shoot a bigger gun I was going to learn how to
clean it and know how it worked. I think I was the only five year old
that could take an AR 15 apart. Thinking back on it I think I was the
only five year old that had actually seen one. Of course, not too many
kids that I knew had ever gone shooting.
After all the talking was done
he showed me one more time how to load the magazine and then handed it
to me. I loaded only ten rounds in the mag then seated in into the
receiver, pulled the loading charge handle back then let it fly home
loading the gun and making it "hot". Looking at my dad somewhat nervous
about this bigger gun he told me not to worry about the recoil,
that it only kicked a little more than a .22. I relaxed a little at his
words. Then feeling a little more confident with those words I flipped
the safety off got a good sight picture and squeezed the trigger.
was a little startled by the much louder report, it was a so much
louder than the little .22. Of course I missed the steel popper I had
been aiming at. He chuckled and said that it was ok and to concentrate
on the sight picture. Realizing that the "bark was worse than the bite" I
settled back behind the rifle again and slowly squeezed the trigger
The shot missed again, but this time was a little bit
closer than the last. I finally hit the target 50 yards away on the
ninth shot! My dad clapped me on the back and told me that I was
starting to figure it out. Of course I missed the tenth round; but after
hitting it on the previous shot I was excited to load up another mag
and try it again. I found out quickly that it took a lot more time to
load the mag than to shoot it. I loaded the mag so many times that my
fingers started to get tired and hurt; my dad had to start loading
them for me. This was so cool! Finally after about three hours and 500
rounds my dad said it was time to pack up and head home. I hadn't
realized how much I had shot until I had to pick up all that brass. As I
was picking up all the brass dad told me that I was hitting the target 7
out of 10 shots, and that was pretty impressive for a five year old.
Now that my son is almost four, I can't wait to start talking to him
about how my dad took me out and started me out shooting. It makes me a
little giddy to think that I will follow in my dad's footsteps and do
the same thing he did with me with my son.