The decision to train your kids to use weapons is a personal one. If you’re of the opinion that knowledge is power, then this article is for you. We’re not debating the merits of teaching your kids to handle weapons; that’s a completely different discussion and one that we don’t feel has a right or a wrong answer.
We’re simply providing some tips for those of you who have already decided to train your kids to use weapons if SHTF.
Another point that we’re not going to touch on today is age. This is because we know that kids develop differently and mature at different rates. We know that some kids are hunting with Dad at 7, and some aren’t allowed to do so until later.
Nobody knows your kid (or your weapons) better than you do, so when you think your child is ready, then that’s when they should learn!
Teach Your Kids to Respect the Weapon
The first thing that kids need to understand, even before they’re trained to use them, is that weapons are not toys.
Until your kids are old enough to understand this, you should store your weapons in such a manner that your kids can’t access them. Whether this is in a locked case, in a locked room, or on your person is up to you, but the easiest way to avoid an accident is to ensure that your weapons never fall into untrained hands.
Once your kids have access to your weapons, proper safety measures should always be taken, including:
- Teaching that WEAPONS ARE NOT TOYS! This should be lesson one, from the time that your child can understand the concept. Even toy weapons should be treated differently; regard them as early training tools for real weapons.
- Always be aware of the direction that the muzzle is pointing. It should always be pointed “down range” in case of accidental discharge (AD). Down range can include the ground, literally “down range” if you’re at a range, or in any direction that there is no chance of hitting anything that isn’t a target.
- How to safely carry it.
- Treat all weapons as if they’re loaded.
- How to tell if it’s loaded. Always assume that it is.
- Always make sure that the range is clear prior to shooting, throwing, or otherwise firing a weapon.
- Use proper safety equipment including eye wear and ear plugs if necessary.
Teach Your Kid All There Is to Know About the Weapon
The first thing that your child should be taught after learning basic safety skills is how, exactly, each weapon works.
Teach them the mechanics of it. If it’s a gun, teach them to tear it down and put it back together. If it’s a bow, teach them how to adjust tension, change strings, and use the sites, if there are any.
- How to load it and unload it properly
- How to clean it
- How to fire it or wield it
- How many rounds it holds, if applicable
- The range of the weapon
- The damage that it can do
- How it works mechanically
Teach Them the Limitations of Their Weapons
In the movies, broomsticks go easily through zombies’ chests and smoothly pull right out but we know that isn’t really how it works. All weapons have limitations and it’s vital that your kids know what they are.
Guns run out of bullets. A 30/30 is a great brush gun but it’s no good for distance. A broomstick may be great for stabbing one person (zombie, etc.) but be prepared to hang onto it and be aware that it’s easy to break it or lose it. You get the idea.
Teach Your Kids to be Resourceful
Do drills that include using critical thinking skills to turn common items such as brooms or paperweights into weapons that can be used for self-defense. Remind your kids that, even when using make-do weapons such as these, they still need to practice basic weapons awareness.
It wouldn’t do at all for your kid to whack YOU in the head with a broomstick instead of his intended target!
Be a Good Example
Even if you know for a fact that your gun is unloaded, and you’ve been a sharp-shooting professional for 20 years using the same weapon, practice all of the safety skills that you’re trying to teach your kid. AD can happen to you just as easily as it can happen to your kid if you drop your guard, and if your child sees that you don’t respect the rules, the importance of them will be lost.
Always use proper form and adhere to all safety rules, policies and procedures that you expect your child to adhere to.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Just as with all of your other prepping strategies, weapons training should be done so often that it becomes second nature.
We’ve already discussed how to conquer your fear in another article. If you’ve read that, you know that being thoroughly trained is one of the best ways to avoid freezing up. The same goes for self-defense and using weapons.
In a SHTF situation where life or death is the only option, muscle memory can save the day. Practice with your kids on a regular basis.
Teaching your kids to use weapons if SHTF or for personal safety or to hunt for food is a skill that comes with great responsibility. Kids should understand that though using a weapon is a vital survival skill, a weapon is a lethal tool that needs to be respected at all times.
We hope that these tips help you to teach your kids to use weapons in a manner that is safe and productive. Good luck and be safe!