Today, I took my ten-year-old daughter to my brother’s place out in the sticks for her first experience exercising her 2A rights. Since Jeff is in a rural area—no close neighbors, plenty of space, a big hill in his backyard woods for a backstop, completely legal for us to shoot all we like without disturbing anybody. Which, I admit, we have been known to do from time to time. He has quite the little arsenal available for blasting away at tree stumps and whatever other disposable flotsam we can dig up: a nice four-inch-barrel Taurus .357 Mag; a gorgeous 1911-style Kimber in 10mm, the envy of all who make its acquaintance; an Uberti Cattleman classic cowboy hogleg replica in .45 Long, the Hombre model; assorted other pistols including a cute little NAA .22 Short folder, which I figured might be perfect for Madeleine’s first shooting lesson; a Savage 7.62×51 bolt-action equipped with fancy Bushnell optics; and a Mossberg 12-gauge pump with pistol grip, a real wrist-breaker.
After sitting her down for The Speech (the Four Rules, the differences between revolvers and pistols and their mechanical basics, calibers, etc) we went out to start the plinking proper. We’d be shooting targets of varying types, as usual: some proper store-bought paper targets with pictures of assorted varmints printed on ’em, a few gallon milk jugs filled with water, several old plastic five-gallon paint buckets, a cinder block. We loaded some mags and cylinders, and I started off with the little .22 pocket rocket.
Which was louder than I expected it to be. Which caught poor little Madeleine unawares, and frightened her half out of her wits.
But after some tremulous clinging to Daddy’s waist, she recovered her composure quite nicely, settling down to really enjoy the day’s adventure—although not quite enough to actually fire any of the real guns herself, mind. She stuck to a vintage pellet rifle my brother had obtained from his wife’s grandma, who has had it for years and years and was happy to pass it along to Future Generations. Madeleine is grateful indeed, although it was a bit large and heavy for her, making it awkward to handle for now. Next year she’ll be fine with it…but by then she’ll have moved on up to the louder stuff. On the way home, she inquired about the chances of a .22 revolver from Santa this year, in fact.
The Kimber shot like a gunsmith’s wet dream, with a smooth-as-silk action, an easy trigger break and a lot less felt recoil than any other 10mm I’ve ever shot; the cowboy gun was just a sheer delight. The Savage turned out to be my go-to for the afternoon, which kind of surprised me because I’m not usually all that much of a rifle guy. After I’d hit the cinder block dead center with it and blown it literally to smithereens, though, I found myself concerned only with how completely I could destroy the next target.
It was a beautiful fall afternoon all around; a good time was surely had by all, and I consider it a fine first step on my young ‘un’s journey to becoming a liberty-minded, confident, aware citizen instead of just another hapless, helpless serf. A few pics below the fold.
The Hendrix Memorial Open-Air Range, with targets.
Madeleine’s initial preference in shooting irons. The cats all scattered the moment she picked it up.
Cradling the heirloom pellet gun with a satisfied smirk.
A choice portion of the day’s available arsenal.