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Two of my four daughters [not shown] shoot. One lives in The Land of Hope and Glory, a country where shooting sports and shooting smack are equally acceptable. The other is estranged. So I get to do the family shooting thing once a year with one of my girls. It’s a seriously enjoyable experience, unlike any other family activity. Watching her pleasure at mastering a gun, knowing that she’s gaining a skill that could save her life (and the life of her family), fills me with pride and pleasure.  But again, it’s a black swan event. So I have a question for those of you who are more family firearms fortunate than I: does the family that shoots together stay together? Is hunting more of a bonding experience than target practice, or is it all good?

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  1. Absolutely. I introduced my three sons to shooting and hunting at a very young age, and it is absolutely a unifying experience. The oldest is away at school now (soon to be followed by number 2), but he always asks me to reserve time at the range or arrange a bird hunt when he’s home on break. the four of us also communally rigorously research every potential firearm before we buy the “next” one.

    which is actually, how we found this site.

  2. Not if one shoots a 1911 and one listens to editor / trollsI. Heck websites breakup under those circumstances.

    Raised five kids as a single dad. W shot for recreation weekly, shot IDPA when I could. Kids – 4 boys 1 daughter – have shot every gun under the sun. We all still do. They just bring their friends and families with them now. A good life for a family.

    With some pride I decided after reading TTAG this week to go bsck to my old user name. Thanks.

  3. My family is very close anyway, but when I get together with my siblings out in the country, we often pool our guns and have all the kids shoot whatever guns they want, with maybe some tannerite as an extra treat. It’s great fun, and it’s really helped me keep a close bond with my nieces and nephews as they’ve entered their teens and early twenties, the age when kids are flying off in all directions. It’s an activity most of the adults and kids enjoy.

    Also, some girlfriends and I will be hosting a skeet party this spring for a group of young ladies, including a friend’s daughter, who are making their debuts, so that’s another way I’m bonding over shooting.

  4. I’m going to say yes. My wife and I come from very different backgrounds, hell different hemispheres of the Earth. We’ve been married for 8 years and for most of that didn’t really share any recreational activities outside of the home. Until last year when I got her to start going to a few local pistol matches with me. She’s hooked. Now a weekend spent reloading is considered prepping for “date night”. If I am having a new custom race holster done, the only thing I have to do is get one for her too. Rather than being a point of contention it’s a bonding activity. Getting my wife to go full bore on shooting is the best thing that could have happened to my marriage. Our daughters (5 and 6) eagerly await growing big enough to be able to participate too.

    • I agree, from similar experience. My wife of 9 years was politically in a separate hemisphere. The current political climate forced her to audit her views, and in the realignment process, indifference to firearms became keen interest. Though that interest did not at first include her own familiarization with weaponry, proximity to my guns and interest in the stress-relief that a day at the range produced led her to want to shoot. Her brother also has a few guns, and lives in an old farmhouse, so we started bringing some guns out with us when we visited, and rekindled his own interest as well.

      An entertaining afternoon of shooting along with some good barbecue goes a long way to bind the family together. You don’t have to argue politics, talk sports, or gossip about aunt Betsy’s gout when you can see who can hit that pop can the most times consistently instead.

  5. Hunting and target shooting are both good. Entrusting a firearm to one’s child is one of the greatest signs of respect a parent can provide. By doing so, you are saying: “I believe you are worthy of responsibly wielding a power that was once only granted to the nobility and those who served under them; you a citizen, not a subject.” I don’t remember the first football or baseball my parents gave me, but I do remember the first firearm and going into Montgomery Ward with my dad to pick it up.

  6. My daughters (8 and 6) both ask to go shooting w me and my wife gets together w other stay at home moms on regular basis to shoot.

  7. Understand the pain of an estranged daughter. The other lives in Maine and I in El Paso. See my Maine daughter about once a year. Shooting at the Fort Bliss range has been an incredible bonding experience for us. She proudly shoots like a pro (much better than I) absorbs everything she can learn, and is enthusiastic about having a way to protect herself. Even stole my club hat to wear in Maine. I’m unable to hunt, but given the chance I’m sure she’d do the OFWG proud. I’m disabled after a full life in the healthcare field. I’m convinced our bond has inspired her recent choice to go back to school in the healthcare field.

  8. Before our daughter was born, my wife and I would go to the range together. We both took Randy Cain’s 3-day basic pistol class together, too.

    Because of childcare issues, she went on her own to a pistol class last year, and I stayed home to keep an eye on our daughter.

    All the more amazing considering she was an ‘anti’ when we started dating.

  9. Regarding hunting, the best times I had with my late aunt and grandmother were quail hunting. Mom gave me my first gun, a Rem 1100 lt, for bird hunting. My son doesn’t want to hunt, but he enjoys the family shoots.

  10. Got to teach the kids shooting skills.
    The two boys maintained expert in the Corps.
    Daughter made sharpshooter.
    Their medals are pinned on the wall in my shop above mine.

  11. I had not hunted for about 40 years. Then, on his own my son, who is 36 decided to get into hunting. Now I’ve jumped thru all the hoops required and have my first license in 40 years. So you could say that a son got his father into hunting.

  12. Anything that a family does together will enhance their natural bonds. Even robbing banks, which worked well for Ma Barker and her family.

  13. I can’t speak to hunting, but shooting in general is a great family activity. Until the anti-gun BS of the last year conspired with declining finances to deep-six the tradition, I went out plinking every weekend with my son. We’ve spent a lot of quality time together that way.

    The wife and daughter aren’t as interested, but they come along once in a while. Even though my daughter doesn’t enjoy a day out in the boonies with guns the same way the guys do, she’s proud enough of her results to put her favorite bullet-holed targets on her keepsakes shelf.

    Her best friend comes from a very anti-gun family; they don’t bug us about it personally and we keep it low-key, so I don’t know if the kids have ever talked about it. But sometimes I do wonder what her friend thinks about those bullet-holed items next to the tiny ceramic cats and the Hello Kitty collection. 🙂

    From just plain enjoying time spent in each other’s company to actively practicing responsibility, safety, cooperation, and building skills together — it’s one of the best family activities I can think of.

  14. I just showed this vid to my gf and asked her how she can say my rifles are too big or scary for her when this little girl can handle them so easily.

    I am not in good graces right now. The temp in the house has dropped 10 degrees.

  15. I shoot more and more with my two lads now that the youngest is 7. That boy is a hellion, but he settles down on the range because he knows the consequences of going crazy (aside from unhappy dad). We’ve been working on bringing mom along. We just have to find a gun that’s “all hers.”

  16. Any enjoyable activity that strengthens familial bonds will help a family stay together.

    For us, it’s not shooting (sadly). Being a poor college student I still can’t go as regularly as I want to anyway. (Not until my tax return comes back, at east!) It’s actually movies, on our end. That, and food.

  17. My most treasured memories of both my Grandfathers are the times I shared in the duck blind or chasing pheasants. I still hunt often with one of my Uncles and and cousin, and the other Uncle I shoot competitive clays with.

    Its a bonding experience that has kept us in constant contact I think would be missing otherwise. And its not so much about the hunt, but talking about each others lives and staying involved with our families.

    So in short, yes. And I hoped to pass the tradition on to my three boys and their cousins as well.

  18. Honestly ANY activity done in order to bond with family is awesome. Not just shooting.

    Shooting is a dang good time, though. 🙂

  19. Yes, it brings my family together and all my boys watch over each other and their sister. I’ve had two of my oldest recently tell me they are glad to have been shown something they can pass on to their children.

  20. We have gone shooting only a couple of times as ours have been growing up. It turned out, however, that even a few trips can make a world of difference in today’s environment.

    The older one is off to college in a very gun-unfriendly jurisdiction, but she has been thinking of taking a couple of her classmates to a range. She has also been pressuring me to let her open-carry back home, now that she is over 18, instead of waiting until she is 21 and can carry concealed. We are still debating that part …

    So yes, definitely take them shooting, the more the better.

  21. I introduced all of my children to shooting (which I picked up rather late in life), and now it is one of their favorite things to do with me. We shoot at the range as well as trap, and they bring their friends as well, so we’ve introduced many more young people to the sport. Nothing could be better!

  22. As none of my kids want to learn, I can’t offer my personal experience. They live with the ex, who is not against guns, and who encourages them to go shooting with me. So far, no takers.

    I have a friend who is a widow. She and three of her four girls go shooting at the same local range I go to. The other (the oldest) joins them whenever the young lady is home from college.

    So maybe it brings a close family closer. No so close family, not so much.

  23. I greatly look forward to shooting with my son. He just turned 1yrs old. I have to wait a bit. In the mean time I just wish I could get the Mrs. to shoot more with me.

    • Even a one year old can handle one of those .9mm pistols that the media is always talking about. Unfortunately, ammo is hard to find. Without a microscope.

  24. I want to thank all moms and dads, uncles, etc. For teaching kids to shoot. This nation owes you its gratitude. Sadly, it is not readily forthcoming. So thank you.

  25. Considering it’s one of our family’s most anticipated events, and it’s helped bring additional members into the family, I would have to say that yes, shooting together draws us closer.


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