My daughters turned a new leaf yesterday! There are times when I want to do activities with them that, in my fatherly opinion, KICK ASS. Often times they do not agree.
Example: For the longest time, I have loved building and flying model rockets. A few summers ago, the girls agreed to do it as an activity one weekend. We bought some rocket kits, brought them home, built them, painted them, and then went out to fly them. It seemed like the perfect activity: a blend of craft project and science. Making memories with my kids building stuff, AND exposing them to things that can inspire their natural scientific curiosity? YES! These are my favorite things. However, that would be the only time we flew rockets: they were afraid of the sound they make when they take off. For those of you who’ve never done it before – it’s just a hissing sound of moderate volume. It’s really not a big deal.
On with the story:
A few weeks ago, I picked up a Glock 36 .45 pistol. As a gun owner and a father, safety is an utmost concern. I believe that one of the best ways to ensure the safety of my kids is through education. Curiosity is what kills. I don’t want my kids being curious about guns – I want them to thoroughly understand them. I don’t care if they become gun fanatics or not – but I do want them to be that kid among their friends that knows how to handle a loaded firearm, unload it, check it, and make it safe. When the idea first came up of taking the girls shooting, I was certain that they would balk.
They didn’t balk:
My bro-in-law Joe and I took the girls up shooting on Sunday afternoon. My good friend Bracken let me borrow a couple of .22 pistols and supplied a big fat box of ammo – HUGE thanks to Bracken. They were great teaching tools for the girls. Joe was a sniper in the Army, so naturally, he started our shooting session by teaching the girls about the parts of a gun and taught them the safety procedures and etiquette of the shooting range.
I started by teaching them about the parts of a bullet, explaining the mechanics and physics of it. One of the guns Bracken sent us with was an interesting single shot bolt action .22 pistol. It was good for the girls to see how the round fits into the firing chamber, to see the firing pin, to cock the action, and to see the spent casing eject out as they open the bolt. After the girls became familiar with loading and shooting that gun, we moved on to a Browning Buck Mark .22 pistol. This was a great gun for them – accurate, the slide is easy to operate, stable, and basically no recoil. They very quickly took to the Buck Mark – both Kin and Kel loved shooting it.
THEN… the girls wanted to try shooting the Kahr .40 – I was very surprised. You see, my girls are both famously wussy. But they wanted to try it out! The Kahr CW .40 is a very compact .40 cal semi-automatic pistol. Because of it’s diminutive size and it’s use of the very high pressure .40 cal cartridge, it kicks like a mule. I had to help them hold the gun, but ultimately, it was their hands on the grip and their finger pulling the trigger. I just wrapped my hands around theirs to make sure it did not fly out of their little hands.
Makinley (my 12 yr old) and Makelle (10yrs) both shot the .40 a few times, though Makelle shot it more than Makinley did. I was so proud of them for daring to shoot such a powerful gun! Ultimately, they both loved shooting the Buck Mark .22 pistol. It’s heavy, solid, simple and a real joy to shoot.
I saw some progress too: Yesterday was my second outing with the Glock. We set up these targets at approx 15 yards. I put 14 rounds into the target (there are more than 14 holes, they are errant shots from my girls missing their designated target). My group sat high, but I was pleased that most of my shots were in a 5″ group. For what it’s worth – I shot a few clips through the Kahr, too. My groups were much less focused. The Kahr is much harder to shoot accurately than the Glock, even though the Glock fires a much larger round. At any rate, I’m excited to get to the range again – and so are my daughters!