For years people have looked at me as crazy for submersing my kids in firearms training. I look at it like a life skill similar to swimming. It’s a skill that one day could save your life. Both are also skills that, if you can’t swim or shoot, will mean almost certain death at the time that you need that skill.
The first thing all my kids learned was the four firearms safety rules. Make them recite them to you and explain their meanings before touching feeling squeezing any firearms. NOTE – I never allowed any toy guns in my house!! We live by the rule GUNS ARE TOOLs, not toys, and all firearms are always loaded.
After they learn the firearms safety rules, set them up on a low-powered spring action BB gun effective range of 100 yards or so. Let them shoot at an old coffee can or a big can of beans. When shooting this, they will learn all about sight alignment and sight pictures to hit their target effectively.
After they have shown you they know how to handle a BB gun, always keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and their finger off the trigger until their sites are on target. Then you can move them up to an actual firearm. I started my kids on .22 pistols and bolt rifles. My oldest son Noah began to on a smith and Wesson M&P .22 pistol, where he learned how to holster and unholster safely and how to do a proper magazine change.
After a few years of the weekend father son time, my oldest quickly had shown he wanted to take firearms to the next level. It was at that point when I hired the professional instructors at Southwest Tactical Defense Group to help take my kids to the next level above and beyond my ability with firearms.
After years of shooting both rifles and pistols, hitting tons of steel and paper, it quickly became apparent to me that although my son could handle a firearm better than most grown men going into basic training. There was one part of firearms he had yet to understand. What a bullet does to soft tissue, And there’s only one way to learn that lesson a hunting trip!
For my 40th birthday, my wife booked me the trip of a lifetime. A Coastal Brown Bear Hunt in Alaska! So, of course, I asked my oldest son Noah to come! We flipped a coin to see who would get the first go at the first Brown bear we saw, and Noah won the toss. On day one, we get out of the tent and sit in our chairs to look for bears, and in the first 2 mins, we spot a 7 ft adolescent bear heading down the beach in our direction. The guide tells Noah to grab his pack and rifle, and it’s on !! The bear gets to about 600 yards, and the guide told Noah it was only about 6-7ft because it was a young bear; Noah decided to pass on the bear. He got up and walked away. At the time, I didn’t realize how big of a decision he had just made all on his own until later that week.
Day 5 rolls around, and Noah says dad, I hear something behind us in camp. I laughed and told him to sit down he was hearing things. He came back to me a minute later saying the same thing. So I got up and looked and sure enough, there was an 8ft brown Bear headed right towards us into camp. I grabbed my rifle and shot the bear twice in the heart and lungs with a .338 Winchester magnum with 250grain bullets. Made Noah stand over the guide and me as we skinned the bear for the next 3 hours.
As we skinned the bear out, we realized we had shot an old bear over 20 years old & I kept talking to Noah about the events that led up to that. Eventually, I asked if he was sad; he passed on that day 1 Bear. A tear built in his eye, and he said dad, I only gave on him because he was young, and I wanted him to have a whole life. It was then that I realized mission accomplished !! He understood what that trigger pull meant! How big of a deal taking a life was! This trip taught him a lesson that I never could, and for that I am grateful.