Kids and Guns: Exploding Targets and Something to Take Home

Range with kids

When you’re at the range with kids, make sure that safety is paramount but also make it fun.

A couple of years ago at the annual Southeastern Outdoor Press Association gathering we were at the shooting range pounding targets out to 200 yards and as close as 15-20 feet with a variety of guns.

We were using the Savage Model 220 slug gun with metal hanging targets at the far end of the range. Boom! Wait … wait … CLANG! That 20-gauge shotgun puts meat on the ground and is fun to shoot.

Bright targets that can be seen easily and "explode" on impact are great for everything from BB guns to big deer rifles.

Bright targets that can be seen easily and “explode” on impact are great for everything from BB guns to big deer rifles.

Then we had an array of Smith & Wesson guns from the big .460 and .500 revolvers to the lightweight self-defense pocket models. Plinks! and Booms! were taking out targets that included hanging soda cans, water balloons and regular paper targets. All these were at different distances and were darn fun to shoot, especially the soda cans.

It made me think that kids need to have fun at the shooting range, just like adults. Safety and marksmanship are the top priorities, no doubt. But lleaving the range with a big smile on your face after demolishing some soda cans, milk jugs full of water, water balloons, fruit and, yes, paper targets that can be taken home to put on the refrigerator is pretty important.

BB guns are fun to shoot and plink with, but kids definitely should treat them like any other firearm and have adult supervision when starting out with them.

BB guns are fun to shoot and plink with, but kids definitely should treat them like any other firearm and have adult supervision when starting out with them.

My dad was a pretty darn good shot with a rifle and bow, and I’m fortunate that he taught me to enjoy shooting. We often would have gallon milk jugs filled to the lip with water and the cap screwed on tightly. At 100 yards, a .308 or .243 does a wicked number on that jug and the explosion of water is fun to see. And then Dad would put some jugs on their side and tell me to shoot the cap.

At 100 yards, even with a scope, a half-dollar size milk jug cap is still a challenge for a young shooter. But I did, and we shot specific spots on targets from 25 to 100 yards, and I enjoyed it very much. I still do, and when I used to take our kids to the range I tried to make it as safe, instructional and fun as possible.

If you’re getting ready for the season, don’t forget that kids like tangible evidence of a good, positive event. Get something for them to shoot that blows up, get some paper targets — even if they’re shooting a bow — they can hang up in their room, and make it fun.

Gun Digest Paper Shooting Targets
See where your shots are landing with paper shooting targets from EZ2C Targets and Gun Digest. Each target is printed with high-visibility fluorescent EZ2C red and deep black inks.

GD TargetsWhen you can actually see where you shoot, you will shoot more often and shoot more rounds when you take your guns to the range – and what’s wrong with that? Targets are on 11″ x 17″ high-quality bright white paper. Each package comes with a pad of 25 targets.

Target Style Options:

  • Two 6″-4″-2″-1″ Bullseyes Stacked Vertically
  • One 8″-6″-4″-2″-1″ Bullseye Centered on 10″ x 16″ Grid
  • 10″ Target with Graduated Scoring Rings
  • Two 5″ Diamonds with 1″ Bullseyes
  • 8″ Diamond with 1″ Bullseye Centered on 10″ x 16″ Grids

Load up now for summer shooting fun!