I’m stepping up on my soapbox again. There, I made it. Here’s my view. If you’re shopping for a new firearm for youths, maybe you should consider a black gun.
“Has the altitude finally affected Kayser’s brainwaves? Is he unstable? Should we plan an intervention? Has the dude been sniffing deer urine?” Those are fair and warranted questions, but hear me out before you intervene.
OK, it might not be the right choice for a first gun. A single-shot .22 Long Rifle like the Thompson/Center HotShot or even the cute Crickett—a pint-sized firearm for small frames—fits the bill for a first gun over an AR, but let’s not kid ourselves.
You have to hook these kids today and reel them in fast to hunting. If you don’t, it’s hasta la vista, baby. Kids have too much going on these days, and hunting is just one of dozens of activities and interests that draws their interest like a sizzling burger focuses the stare of my border collie.
Sports, friends, smartphones, computers, video games and anything electronic can snatch their attention. Did I say video games? All of this competes for outdoor time and, trust me: I live at the edge of America’s outback in Wyoming, and these diversions even steal time from our family outdoor adventures.
So, once you introduce a youngster to a single shot, they hear the crack of a rimfire, and get a whiff of powder, think about an AR. They need to be mature and responsible enough to handle the more technical firearm, but that goes with moving a youngster up to any bolt-action or pump-action firearm. Why go tactical? Kids have already been introduced to the awe of ARs via video games and blockbuster Hollywood movies. It’s just natural for them to want to shoot the same hardware they see on the flat screen.
Do you still need some convincing?
- Most ARs either come or can be equipped with collapsible stocks to adjust length of pull for smaller-frame shooters.
- The average AR weighs 6-7 pounds. That’s light enough for youth to handle, yet heavy enough to absorb recoil.
- ARs come in a variety of calibers, but the popular military caliber of 5.56mm NATO/.223 Rem. is readily available and affordable.
- ARs provide the perfect platform for plinking, varmint hunting and even for predator hunting.
- If you want to use an AR for deer hunting, consider the .300 AAC Blackout or .300 Whisper for close-range hunts under 200 yards. Purchase a new AR upper and you’re ready for big game.
When it’s time for your youngster to leave the nest, an AR can be used for their own home and personal defense.
ARs: They’re not just for the military anymore, and could be the lure you need to get your youngsters hooked on hunting. Why am I on this soapbox? My son Cole just purchased his first firearm with his own cash from summer jobs. Yes, it’s an AR, a Smith & Wesson M&P15 to be exact. He’s glowing with pride that I hope continues for a lifetime.