I might be the only guy who was ever thrilled to become an uncle just so I could try out more guns.
Oh sure, there are other good points to being an uncle, but with me it’s mostly the guns. Part of this has to do with the fact that “youth” models didn’t really exist when I was a kid, and most of the 22s on the market weren’t really kid-sized.
The generation my niece and nephew are part of has a whole world full of interesting kid-sized hardware that I never would have had a chance to play with if not for my role as an uncle. Of course, if I want to try out the kids’ guns, it’s expected that I also teach them to shoot, which is where things can get a little tricky.
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While teaching kids to shoot can present any number of challenges, the biggest one I’ve run up against so far involved sights and scopes. Obviously, open sights are the simplest and most durable choice for a kid. Iron sights don’t cost much and it’s pretty tough for even a kid to break them, but to the uninitiated they can be a little confusing.
So far I’ve tried drawing out a proper sight picture and describing the proper alignment. Sometimes the kid catches on, but in a lot of cases they just sort of soldier on a little confused.
The scope is considerably easier for a kid to understand. If they are told to place the reticle on the target, there’s less confusion.
The trouble I’ve run into with scopes is that it’s almost impossible to determine if the eye relief is properly set for someone much smaller than an adult, and it’s hard to get the kid to tell you if they have a full view or if there are black half-moons floating around.
Fortunately, the new technology of red dot scopes has come along and solved most of my problems.
The red dot offers the same simple sighting alignment that a scope does without any of the eye relief issues that have plagued me in the past. I recently placed a red dot sight on my nephew’s 22 rifle, and the kid took to it like a duck to water.
Formerly, he’d been using open sights. He’d been doing pretty well with them, but he had a tendency to shoot high off and on when he would forget to keep the front sight level with the rear.
I’m sure that when he’s a little older we’ll return to open sights and he’ll do just fine with them, but for now I like to keep his confidence high and his frustration low. The red dot fits the bill for this perfectly.
If you’re thinking the purchase of a red dot seems a little extravagant for a kid, there’s no reason to worry too much. Red dots basically come in two versions; there are expensive ones that will handle a lot of recoil and less expensive ones that won’t.
The less expensive models are right at home on a low recoil 22, and work just as well in terms of adjustment and outward durability as the expensive ones. The sight on my nephew’s 22 only set us back $40, and so far has been worth every penny.
If you want to teach a kid to shoot with a minimum of frustration for both the student and the teacher, an inexpensive red dot sight is a tool to seriously consider.
Featured image via OutdoorPros.com