Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You need to sweat the small stuff...

The past week or so I've written and trashed about a dozen blog posts in addition to the other dozen or so blog posts I'm typically working on at any given point in time.  I didn't really have any interest in commenting on the evil doing in Aurora as the pro-gunners provided the usual excellent viewpoints that I agree with and the anti-gunners trotted out the usual fodder... and most folks didn't change their mind or modify their lives on either side.

We've been very busy, and fortunately my beautiful, sexy redheaded wife has been takin' care of business as I am still trudging through this surgery recovery which was topped off with my first kidney stone which still hasn't passed.  Nothing like a gal blowin' smoke with some diesel power to take care of yard work and such.  Dang, I'm blessed with a life better than I deserve.

You see, I'm one of the most anal retentive over-thinkers that probably can barely be tolerated by most sane folks.  You're not supposed to sweat the small stuff, but I do... and I think you probably should too.

Most people don't mess up on the big decisions or things in life, but they slowly drown with the small things they let go and don't attend to... like a frog slowly cooking in a pot of warming water.  Face it, you're careful picking out a spouse, a car, a house... you research that sixty-inch flat-screen like you were finding a cure for cancer.  On the other hand, most folks blow past those little decisions and things in life, not giving due diligence, until one day we drown in an ocean of meaningless manure that we've piled up over time.

We try to live life by design.  It's no accident how we live, where we live, why we live, where we work, what we do, and why we do it.  That's not to say we haven't made a lot of mistakes, but I can assure you that we have seen the fruits of our labor over time from all that small stuff and the big decisions.

Sometimes, folks just have their heads in the sand or just figure somehow it will all work out or someone, maybe something, will take care of the problems.  I guess I've become tired and callous to many folks problems that are of their own doing.  If you're household income is $84,000 a year and you're losing your $385,000 home and the government won't help you refinance... tough, downsize and live within your means with some buffer space.  So you can't afford a decent gun for self-defense, but your monthly cable or satellite bill is $69.95... well that's over $800 a year for guns and ammo folks.  Did you know that you can get your kid a Ruger 10/22 and a pile of ammo for the cost of an xBox or Playstation 3 set-up?  Wonder which will still be around and working when your kid has kids?

Sports and athletics are great, but if you're spending a thousand a year on game tickets and memorabilia for your favorite team and don't have five-hundred in savings while your credit cards are maxed out... get a clue.  I'm not impressed if your eleven year-old played ball in sixty-seven games and five tournaments in four different states this summer... can he or she swim? use a map? know what to do if they're alone and lost? make a fire or shelter? build something? help someone out? handle a gun? fight off an aggressor? cook dinner? work with common tools?

I really think this country is coming to a crossroads from which there will be no return.  It's not red and blue states, it's not Democrats or Republicans, it's not conservatives or liberals... I think it's more basic than that.  There's basically two kinds of  folks in my view... those that want to take care of themselves and those that want taken care of.  Unfortunately, even a lot of those in the conservative or Republican or red states want taken care of more than they will admit.

That is not to say I don't think there is a role for government.  I just think the government needs to stick to the big things outlined in the Constitution and let folks sweat the small stuff.  Military... yes.  Government backed loans for school or houses... no.  Fire and police departments... yes.  Government run or backed healthcare... no.  Courts and prisons... yes.  Taking away my tools or abilities to protect myself and my family... no.

You have to be proactive in the small stuff.  That local official you elect today may be your senator or governor in twenty years.  The letter you write your congressman instead of another Facebook post that gets a few dozen likes probably has more impact for your cause.  A few minutes of talking and a back rub for your spouse will cost you far less than a divorce that really resulted from a pile of little things that slipped by.  Setting up a tent and building a fire in the backyard will be a better time and memory than Batman returns for the umpteenth time.

Well, shooting range upgrades, varsity tennis practice, state fair archery, the urologist, and a busted dishwasher seem to be the pressing items this week.  I've been rambling on and while I'm sure you've got better things to do than read through my diatribe... though if you've actually gotten this far... I'm curious... how much would you pay to be unarmed in a dark room with a hundred plus strangers?  $7.50?  $11.00?

If you're not doing much, stop on by... we'll be setting up a tent and building a fire.  Oh, and maybe tomorrow, think about things that are troubling you or naggin' in the back or your mind... 'cause maybe... You need to sweat the small stuff...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Side-saddle shell shucking...

Now I realize that everyone will have their own preferences and opinions, but the gals and I have multiple sets of three types of firearms at the ready for our home and personal defense... pistols, Ruger SR9 and SR9c... rifles, Ruger Mini-14... and shotguns, Mossberg 500.  We have many years of experience with these particular firearms and our guns have all been run fairly hard, well-maintained, and demonstrated excellent reliability.

While the guns are reliable and have different strengths depending on the situation, the gals and I need to practice regularly to be as reliable as our guns.  It's been a busy summer, the excavators are reconfiguring our shooting range out back, and I'm recovering from some significant surgery... so I've been doing a fair bit of dry-fire practice and reloading drills with dummy rounds.

Our home-defense Mossberg 500s have TacStar six-shell side-saddles for tactical reloads of 12-gauge buckshot or slugs.  There are various views, techniques, and opinions on tactical reloading with shotguns, but basically there are two primary methods most folks use involving keeping the shotgun up, shouldered, and in the fight with the strong-hand while the weak-hand loads additional shells.

The first method is done with the shotgun shells loaded in the side-saddle pointed down so the shooter removes a shell by pulling it up, then reaches over the top of the receiver and drops it into the open action through the ejection port.

The second method is with the shotgun shells pointing up in the side-saddle.  The shooter then pulls a shell down from the side-saddle, reaches under the gun and pushes a shell into the tube magazine with the thumb while the action is closed.

I've exaggerated the moves in the pictures so you can actually see the shotgun shell.  You'll also notice that in the final picture, for our standard set-up, we keep four additional shells of buckshot pointed down and two shells with slugs pointed up.  This allows for tactical loading of additional buckshot over the top of the receiver and what I might call "strategic" loading of slugs as needed from underneath into the tube magazine.

So if you decide to use or integrate a shotgun into your defensive plans... however you use or configure your shotgun for home or self-defense... they have limited round capacity... so practice tactical reloading and maybe consider some... Side-saddle shell shucking...

Update: I probably should have mentioned that the TacStar Side-Saddle shell carriers were easy to install and have held up well over time.  They come with all necessary hardware and screws... just use some medium thread-locker on the mounting screws... which I often do on most guns.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Practical Poetry...

I've always enjoyed good advice that sticks with me, good mnemonics can make for good memory.  I remember dad used to tell us kids as we drove along... no air conditioning in our cars except the windows in those days... "Don't stick your arm out too far, it may go home in another car."  I also remember, "If you're looking here, while walking there, you'll walk into a wall, totally unaware."  Good advice.

Little sayings like, "Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosy" kept me from bust knuckles or over-tightening bolts.  "Aim small, miss small" is something that iron sights and a distant target will prove correct.  Of course if you're old enough to have more than a few gray hairs, you may even recall the advice of the Burma Shave road signs...  

A guy
Who drives
A car wide open
Is not thinkin'
He's just hopin'

Well, I don't have the eloquence or flow of terrific blog writers like Brigid... but about ten years ago I wrote a poem for my daughter... in preparation for her first gun when she was seven.  I hoped it would help her continue the safe practices she had been taught and might be a good memory for her.  This is the first time I've publicly shared her poem as her copy is framed and sits on an end-table in our home.

My Daughter’s First Gun

I thank the Lord above
For you, my daughter to love,

So heed these words I say
It may save a life someday,

Safely point your gun
Never at anyone,

Never let your finger
On the trigger linger,

Do not load ammunition
Until you’re in position,

Remember to always track
Beyond your target’s back,

Unload your gun then check
The chamber you should inspect,

Protect your eyes and ears,
So they last through the years,

Whether fun, sport, or defense
Always shoot with common sense.

With love, your Dad

Yeah, it's a bit cheesy, but I'm not a poet and she was seven at the time.  She learned early on about gun safety and handling... and she took it to heart.  From a dad to a daughter... some... Practical Poetry...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Random Violence: Attack at the County Fair!

There is a lot of talk these days, including blogs and info on the web, about training and techniques for self-defense, concealed carry, prepping, and survival yet I still meet a lot of folks who figure they're basically safe and nothing will happen to them because they don't go anywhere dangerous.  True safety and security can only be achieved by what you do, not by what someone else doesn't do... and even then bad things can happen to good folks.

Less than two weeks ago Greg Ellifritz, President of Active Response Training, wrote a terrific post about Random Violence.  Unfortunately, we had a young gal experience an act of random violence at our county fair this past Friday morning.  Truthfully, most prepared adults that I know couldn't have done any more to protect themselves than this young lady did... which was basically nothing.

Imagine... you're at the county fair... it's six-thirty in the morning... it's cool outside, the air is crisp... you're sitting outside your camper in the campground at the county fair... your sitting with three or four friends... less than ten feet from your folks in the camper... you're surrounded by other campers full of folks you know, you've been hanging out with them all week long, you're neighbors and fellow 4H'ers.

You see a younger man walking... he approaches and stops... he's ten to fifteen feet away... he looks at you... he asks, "Do you feel safe?"... you start to say, "What?"... but before you can even reply he's sprinted the distance between you and him... he knocks you out of your chair to the ground with a crushing punch from his fist to your face... he's on top of you... what do you do?

Fortunately, you're sitting with a friend... a teenager... a young man who will instantly prove himself in an adverse circumstance... a young man who leaps from his chair... tackles your assailant knocking him off you...  the attacker swings a wild punch at this young man... it goes wide and misses... then the attacker runs off.

Everything that has just occurred took place, not in minutes, but seconds.  From the initial observation of the man... to his strange question... to the attack... and finally to the assailant running off took a total of maybe less than ten, not more than fifteen seconds.  The sheriff's department was called... the young gal... all of sixteen... was taken to the hospital for treatment... and the assailant was caught... found lying on the ground under another camper not far away... apparently under the influence of drugs.

This is not an effort to find fault in the defensive or security practices, preparations, or abilities with anyone involved... I doubt that most folks I know could have done anything to prevent or avert this attack due to the rapid, explosive nature of it.  The primary lessons that can be taken away from this unfortunate incident is that you can't prepare for everything, you're not necessarily safe in numbers, and as a teenager, you're not necessarily safe when you're only ten feet from your parents.

Most folks have never suffered a devastating, dizzying blow to the face or head.  Most think they know what they'd do if attacked, but reality is different.  One thing is for sure... mindset matters and in a case like this... if there are not any friends to help after the attack... your mindset and training will matter... you'll need the will-power and ability to fight back.

This is what A Girl and her Gun has been talking about as she relates her story and training experiences.  If you haven't read her blog... go over and take a look.  Her reality is like that of these young folks at a county fair... forever altered by real, adverse circumstances.

While preparations likely would not have prevented the initial attack in this case... what about after the first hit?  Parents, are you preparing yourselves for self-defense and a mindset for survival?  Are you preparing your children?

Let's face it... you never know... you too could experience an act of... Random Violence: Attack at the County Fair!

Online version of newspaper article about the incident.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A fair week is always a good week...

Our county fair was held this past week.  In a rural county like ours, fair is kind of like a family reunion of sorts as you see family, friends, folks that you haven't seen since school was out or maybe you haven't even seen since last year's fair.

My main gal (wife) and I are both 4H Shooting Sports instructors.  Our shooting season begins in February each year, culminates in judging for the county fair, and ends the last weekend of July with our annual Top Gun/Top Shot competition or whatever we're calling it any particular year.

The 4H Shooting Sports kids range in age from eight to eighteen and participate in both interviews and shooting events during our county judging.

My little gal took first place in the Senior Archery division and will be heading to the Ohio State Fair in August to compete against the county winners from across the state.  She's won first place at the county level and outstanding of the day or first in class at state fair in pistol, rifle, shotgun, and archery over the years, so hopefully August will be a good opportunity for her again.

She entered the contest for the Clinton County Junior Fair Queen this year.  She was second-runner-up at the fair... but she's still my first place princess!  They kept her busy at various events like judging and sales.

Our 4H club had a nice display of our kids hard work and efforts... but no real firearms, bows, cartridges, cartridge parts, arrows or parts of arrows allowed on the fair grounds in these politically corrected times.  An empty shotgun shell on a display board is obviously a far more dangerous situation than a fifty-seven-pound eight-year-old in a show ring with an eighteen-hundred pound steer.

There were lots of good fair food and fixin's, but my recent surgery limited my time at the fair this year and definitely limited my eating opportunities.  I did see some of next year's bacon supply sleeping in pens over at the hog barn.

Darryl Worley entertained folks with his brand of country hits including the patriotic "Have you forgotten"... which sadly, many in this country have.  One thing about country folks and fair... you see folks stop and step aside or tip a hat out of respect for veterans and military men and women... and hats come off while hands cover hearts every time the "Star Spangled Banner" is played.

While some in the blogosphere debate the validity of the term sheepdog, there's no question about it at the fair, because if you're alert... you'll see that sheepdogs are at the dog show two barns over... this is the sheep show.

Tractors pulled, diesel trucks smoked, daisy dukes badonkadonked, and folks had fun.  A fair week is always a good week...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Practicing with dummies...

There's been a lot of posts and information out there in the blogoshere about practice, drills, dry-firing, and other options or requirements by various folks for training minimums and routines.  While I think everyone should practice and train with their firearms regularly, I know a lot of folks who shoot fairly often, but rarely take the time to practice clearing pistol, rifle, or shotgun malfunctions.

If you're relying on a gun for self-defense, you need to know how to get it back into the fight as quickly as possible after a malfunction.  Most folks who follow this blog know I'm partial to Rugers and often my daily carry gun is a Ruger SR9c.  I've had good success with reliability for our numerous Ruger SR9's and SR9c's... but I've still had malfunctions... mostly due to ammunition problems.

I practice resolving pistol malfunctions using dummy rounds on the range at least monthly, and I practice clearing pistol malfunctions at least once a week during dry-fire exercises.  There are a lot of dummy rounds... dummies as I call'em... out there and I've tried several brands, but for regular use in practice... you can't beat the A-Zoom Precision Snap Caps.  They hold up well with a lot of use and abuse.

When I practice my tap-rack-bang process at the range, I often toss in a half-dozen or so dummies in a box of ammunition, load my magazines and then randomly shuffle the mags so I'm "surprised" when the failure to fire malfunction occurs.  I'll also use dummies to set-up "stove-pipes" and "double-feeds" to practice clearing other types of malfunctions that might require other than a tap-rack-bang.

I also will sometimes press the magazine release button while my gun is still holstered so I can practice drawing with a released magazine which causes a failure to feed after firing the first round.  You'll find that if this is the case, when you draw your gun... your magazine may not remain just unseated, but may actually fall out of the gun... fire your shot, reload with another magazine (don't go for the one on the ground unless that's all ya brung)... tap-rack-bang.

One word of caution... as an instructor... make sure your dummy rounds are clearly distinguishable by color... and that will help you pick'em up at the range... and even with dummies... treat every gun as if it were loaded following the safety rules.

So if you're not doing it already, maybe it's time for you to be... Practicing with dummies...

Monday, July 9, 2012

The best back-up gun you ever bought...

A guy who took my NRA Basic Pistol/Ohio Concealed Carry course a while back recently asked me about my recommendation for a back-up gun.  His Smith & Wesson M&P9 9mm is currently his only handgun and some folks might think I should recommend a S&W M&P9 Compact... or maybe a Shield or Bodyguard.

Well, I told him that the best back-up gun for him might be a .22 pistol... and in his particular case... a Smith & Wesson M&P 22 would be a good choice if the budget isn't too tight.  Yeah, I know some of you think I've lost my mind... or maybe you think I just don't know jack.  Well, I do know Jack... he lives up the road a piece.

This particular fella I'm speakin' about took my class almost two years ago and probably hasn't put two boxes of ammo through his carry gun since because money is tight... which in his particular case really means I'd rather spend my money on something else.  He's married to a nice gal who doesn't even want a gun in the house or around the kids.  In situations like this, a good recommendation is a .22 pistol.

Here's some reasons why:

Inexpensive to shoot:  A .22 pistol is easy on the budget when it comes to ammo costs.  That means you'll hopefully practice more and eventually save enough for that back-up gun in a larger caliber... but by then, you're other half will likely want their own gun.

Let's you focus on the fundamentals:  Many folks need to practice and work on the fundamentals of shooting, and you can do that with a .22...  Keepin' your sight alignment and your sight picture while you're squeezin' the trigger.

Similar operation: These days, it's very easy to find a .22 pistol that is similar, if not the same, as your regular carry gun.  The Ruger LCR can be had in .38 Special +P and .22, the M&P also offers a .22, and you can get 1911 conversion kits or 1911s in .22.

Introducing new shooters: You will find relatives, friends, kids, and even your better half will have a much more pleasant and successful shooting experience which will encourage them to try it again.

Now I know this doesn't apply to everyone's situation, but if you've only got one handgun and your budget is tight or your family isn't too accepting... I'd encourage you to consider a .22...

...it may be... The best back-up gun you ever bought...

So what do you think?

Friday, July 6, 2012

No damsels in distress 'round here.

As we get ready for the county fair next week... my little gal took first place today in the Senior Archery division of 4H Shooting Sports for our county.  That means she'll take her blue ribbon and trophy home and head to the Ohio State Fair in August to represent Clinton County.

We've tried to raise our daughter with a simple guiding philosophy... we want to "Raise a Christian daughter who wants a man in her life, but never needs a man in her life."  Now there are a lot of facets to that philosophy, but I'm glad to say she's turning out to be quite a gal.

Gals, I know some of you take care of yourselves, but I've also met some of you who need taken care of.  As I watched my daughter tune and make adjustments on her bow the other day... it was a bit of pride and sadness at the same time... one more thing she can take care of herself... the pride... and one more thing she sure doesn't need me for... the sadness.

There's also another feeling... a feeling of peace and contentment.  I know that this gal can take care of herself.  I know she has abilities, knowledge, common sense, and most importantly... confidence and a good dose of self-esteem.  Nobody, especially a guy who has no clue what chivalry is, is going to walk over her... make her helpless and dependent... abuse or take advantage of her... at least not without some quick repercussions... plus some gunpowder and lead.

I also know that while it may pain her at times waiting and wondering who the right guy is... whatever guy she allows into her life will be a pretty decent fella as she has her priorities straight and it will take a good guy to appreciate and accept a strong, intelligent gal for rodeo partner to ride life without gettin' thrown.

I'm prayin' she'll keep hitting her mark in life... but make no mistake, this ain't no tom-boy... this is an All-American, God-Blessed, Country Gal who bested the boys at the shootin' range today and will be spiffin' up and lookin' pretty as one of three Junior Fair Queen finalists on Sunday.

I was recently reflecting on a lot of gals in bad and unfortunate situations that have crossed our paths over the years... but thankfully I'm seeing more and more gals standing up and taking care of themselves and their families.  There's a lot to learn as our society and families, in many cases, has not really prepared gals well for being on their own in a world filled with a lot of guys who should be livin' in caves.

Gals, just a thought to think on... make sure if you have a man in your life, especially a man who will be your kid's father or even around your kids... just... make sure it's because he's wanted, not needed... (If a particular gal who knows us is wondering if this is partly directed at her... well, if the shoe fits.)

...and guys remember... No damsels in distress 'round here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Have a terrific INDEPENDENCE DAY...

How's your safety and happiness?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,  That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Yeah... it's hot here in the midwest, but I've got no complaints when I consider the men and women layin' it on the line in hotter places for our safety and security...  a big THANK YOU to the men and women serving in our military around the world.

The gals and I hope you and yours... Have a terrific INDEPENDENCE DAY...

Monday, July 2, 2012

My daughter's first gun...

Every shooter I know has a personal connection to, and often still has, their first gun... not necessarily the first gun they ever shot, but the first gun that was really their very own gun.  My first gun still gets regular use and has a special place in my memories and our gun safe.  One of my great pleasures as a parent was giving our daughter her first gun... and her second... and her... well you get the point.

There's just something special about a gun that is yours... not your dad's, your uncle's, your friend's, but yours to keep and use.  My daughter's first gun was a Marlin Model 15YS single-shot .22 youth rifle which her momma and I gave her as a Christmas gift when she was seven years-old.

That model has now been replaced by an updated model in Marlin's line-up, but there are many similar choices out there from reputable companies at affordable prices.  Some of the considerations about when and why we chose this particular type gun for my daughter's first gun might be of interest to other parents considering a first gun for their youngin's.

As a long time NRA and 4H Shooting Sports instructor, along with previous experience in law enforcement... it seems I get my fair share of questions about when a child should get their first gun and what kind of gun that should be.  I'd like to discuss both of those questions, although opinions do vary on this subject matter.

Let's talk about WHEN a child should get their first gun...

Every child is unique and different.  There are many factors involved, but you must remember that every child is growing and maturing physically, emotionally, and intellectually at different rates.  Getting your son his first gun on his tenth birthday just because you were given your first gun birthday on your tenth birthday is not very sound reasoning.

Maybe you had five years of shooting around the farm by the age of ten where your son has yet to fire a gun in his whole, short life.  I've shot with eight year-olds I wouldn't think twice about handling a gun at the range or while out hunting... and I've met sixteen year-olds I wouldn't let near a gun, let alone behind the wheel of a vehicle.  You need to look at each child, assess those aspects I previously mentioned and make your own determination as a responsible parent.

Another thing to remember, it's not about YOU!  It's about that young gal or guy who may or may not share your enthusiasm for shooting or your particular type of shooting.  I know a young gal all of twelve years-old that seems to get frequent belly-aches while at the skeet range.  She racks her shotgun while her dad and brother keep shooting... and heads for the club house to text her friends.  She clearly has little interest in shooting that pricey over-under or dad's continual pushing for her to reach perfection at clay-bustin'.

When should a kid have their own gun... I'd say when they reach a level of responsibility, maturely, and trust that is equal to the challenge and opportunity of an adult activity and tool, which guns and shooting are.

The other question I'm regularly asked is WHAT should be the first gun for a child...

Now I've got some opinions on this question that may not sit well with others, but I'll lay them out and some of the reasoning for them... you can obviously draw your own conclusion.  If you have a child that has a fair bit of shooting experience with your guns or other guns, or if they're already well into their teenage years... your choices for a first gun can cover a wider range of different firearms.

If this will be the first gun the child has ever shot extensively and they are on the younger side as in pre-teen, five to ten years-old, etc. you should get a gun that fits the child.  Yes, they will grow out of it, although there are a lot of youth model guns out there with adjustable and replaceable stocks that will allow the gun to grow with your youngin'.

I strongly feel the best first gun for many kids, especially those still fairly new to shooting, is a single-shot .22 youth rifle with "iron" sights.  I think it lends itself to the fundamentals for shooting successfully.  They're accurate, cheap to shoot, and recoil is practically non-existent.  There is a longer sight radius than found on pistols, it's easier for a child to focus on the front sight with that longer sight radius than with a short sight radius found on a pistol, and that helps build basic marksmanship skills... which a "scoped" gun won't do.

A single-shot .22 youth rifle makes the young shooter think, handle, and operate the gun with each and every shot.  That builds muscle and process memory, plus... the chance of an errant finger on the trigger firing a second or third successive shot accidentally is non-existent.  It also tends to slow the young shooter down so they think and focus on making each shot... as I often see kids with semi-autos sending a lot of lead downrange, but not really improving their skills at shooting.

The single-shot .22 youth rifle is typically light enough that the youngin' can actually hold and operate the gun without assistance.  They are simple to make safe... and they are easy to take down for cleaning... which should be the young shooter's responsibility... not mom's or dad's.  It's hard to beat a single-shot .22 youth rifle for durability and accuracy.

Now I realize some young shooters are getting their first rifle in their teen-age years and while a single-shot or bolt-action, magazine fed .22 rifle still makes a good starter gun... they'll likely want a semi-auto like a Marlin 60, Remington 597, Smith & Wesson M&P15-22, Ruger 10/22, or one of the many other reliable offerings on the market.  If that is the direction you go, I would highly recommend you hold off on purchasing a scope for junior until they've mastered the fundamentals of shooting and marksmanship.

I previously mentioned the adjustable M4-style stock of the "AR" styled .22 rifles which are great for growing youngin's, but remember that some of those guns are still a bit heavy for really young shooters to hold and operate without assistance.  Also, if you get a compact/youth model of a Ruger 10/22 and other rifles, you can always replace the compact stock with a full-size stock later on.  Oh, and when they get the fundamentals of shooting and marksmanship down, by all means... go ahead and let them add a scope.

There's a lot to think about when getting that young gal or guy their first gun and the best thing for success is a responsible, loving, caring parent that will carefully evaluate their particular situation and then commit the time to make it a successful learning and bonding experience that will last a life-time.

Remember, time is the biggest and best investment you can make with your youngin's and shootin'... 'cause I believe nothing is better for a gun owner than a life-time of training and practice.  Get them involved with shootin' opportunities in your area like Boy Scouts, 4H Shooting Sports, NRA youth shooting clubs, local club fun shoots, or shooting range leagues.

That's what we did for... My daughter's first gun...

NOTE: Posting and comment moderation may be a bit slow this week as I'm still recovering from surgery last week and those severe Midwest storms still have our internet access at home down and out... I hope you and yours are safe and well.