First Day at the Range

IMG_7758On a cold, sunny Saturday, I drag the kids to introduce them to some real shooting sports. No more traveling into the woods, worrying about location, setting up hap-hazard targets. Now, I have access to a range.

Background: I like to take my kids into the outdoors, and live in the most ideal area to do it, Wallowa County. However sharing the woods with cougars (mountain lions), bears, and now wolves makes me more nervous about doing so. As part of my self-reliant, DIY attitude I finally acquired a sidearm, joined the local gun club, got trained, and applied for my concealed permit. With steel & ammunition teasing, I just had to get out and do some shooting.IMG_7762

The Eagle Cap Shooter’s Association supports a really awesome range. It’s beautifully laid out with all the amenities and safety features I hadn’t even hoped for. They put on regular events all year long. Best of all, it’s a mere 10 minutes from where I work, making it a lot more convenient then chaining up for an hours drive into the snowy woods!

My son got a new BB/Pellet gun for Christmas, and also had an itchy trigger finger. My daughter (too old & cool for an air rifle) borrowed my .22 for the day. She was hesitant to go, stating she ‘already knew IMG_7759how to shoot.’ I threw in a little reverse psychology and told her to prove it! The sun was shining, and the range empty, so conditions were great.

We made use of the enclosed shelter and benches. The shade and concrete benches added a bit of discomforting cold, but we didn’t mind too much. After familiarizing ourselves with the targets, and lacing the paper ones with fresh stickers, we set to work. I gave them the rules of the range, and reiterated all the gun safety basics.IMG_7760

  1. Listen to Dad
  2. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction
  3. Wear eye/ear protection
  4. Listen to Dad
  5. Use the safety (there’s no such thing, it’s ultimately YOU)
  6. Etc.

IMG_7757Both kids wanted to use scopes, but I said they’d have to prove themselves with iron sights first. “But that’s harder,” was the complaint. “Exactly,” was my response. If you can shoot well with iron, you’ll be even better with glass. It turns out being a good marksman was harder than they thought. Not many of the kids’ shots found the target that day. When I proved it wasn’t the rifles, I explained that it takes practice to be good at it, like anything else worth attaining in life.

When we had our fill at the benches (and a doughnut) it was time to move over to the handgun range. In truth, they would have kept going, but I’m on my last box of .22LR, and have been unable to re-supply, so rationing was the determining factor here. Finally, I was going to break in my new gun.IMG_7768

After much research, consultation, and bargain-hunting I acquired a Smith & Wesson M&P .40 caliber pistol. I had shot one (along with numerous other makes/calibers) with a buddy this fall, and really liked it. I got the field kit model that comes with holster, extra mag, mag holder, and speed loader. I haggled with a local dealer who gave me a fair price.

With 15 rounds per magazine, it was a perfect 5-shot split between each of us. (I did get a clip all to myself, though…) At first, I started off supporting them in various ways, as they were intimidated. With my boy, I supported his grip to absorb some recoil. (I got a slide burn for my trouble.) My daughter was content with me behind her. After the IMG_7770first shot, however, they realized it wasn’t knocking them over, or smacking them in the face. Not only could my 8-year-old handle it on his own, he was hitting targets at 20 yards! (Perhaps not the exact ones he was aiming at.)

We blew off steam, picked up our brass, and called it a day. Unfortunately, I think we all have the fever now, so I’m gonna have to make ammunition a budget item so we can go more often.

Hope you enjoyed the post!

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