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Getting youth started


falconpilot
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For those that have started their daughters in USPSA, what pistols did you start them with that fits their hands and size? My 14yr old can shoot my SV Open gun, but it’s big for her..not in the sense of recoil, just size and weight? Any recommendation from those who have brought their kids up in the sport?

 

Thanks

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My approach was to not push the physical aspects.  Young/growing hands.  I wanted to avoid potential physical problems and bad habits from using too much gun..

Starter gun was a single-stack Open gun (an old steel gun) shooting minor until his hands got big enough for a full size gun.

 

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I started my 16 YO granddaughter 2 years ago by building her a lightweight PCC. Seems like she naturally took to rifles. She progressed to limited, 3-gun, & steel challenge. Each progression I made sure the gun, whether pistol (CZ75), AR, PCC ( I built both), or shotgun (Benelli M2), fit and she could handle it especially the weight. Nothing expensive, custom built, or fancy. She now smokes most of us with her PCC and decided a few months ago to try my CK open major. She loves it and has gotten to where she is right with some of our better experienced open shooters.

 

She has had some formal pistol training by one of our local instructors & did a 3-gun class with Jerry, Lena, & Kay.

 

One thing that is paramount to young shooters is that whatever gun you get them is that is 99.9% reliable. That is one of the hardest parts for them to overcome. If they do poorly because of a malfunction you don't want "The Look" and long silent ride home.

 

She shoots a Magnum Research switchbolt .22 & a Ruger 22/45 lite in SC and has been top overall in every SC match in the Houston area. 

 

But she has a life outside shooting with her friends & school. Never forced her to shoot.

 

gerritm

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My daughter got interested in shooting at 16 and picked out a Beretta M9, because that's what she was watching airmen carry in the USAF security forces, which is what she wants to do.  I know that's not what they are carrying now, but two things here:  The sig isn't available in California, and any training/practice we do is more about getting comfortable and learning to learn about things that go bang.  Having her enthused about HER gun is a great step.  Rental ranges are great for this, btw.

 

I shot a LOT of ICORE and USPSA twenty years ago but just ran out of time and money with kids and family....but, SWMBO saw the utility of having a kid who is competent and comfortable if she does indeed serve and/or end up doing the LE thing, and so we went shopping.  

 

We did two range sessions of specific training on range safety and range commands, and she watched one local outlaw match, and then off to our "local" USPSA match we went.  (Local matches for us start at an hour away and get farther from there fast).

 

Reasonable goals are, in my experience of teaching others to shoot, everything if you want them to stay involved and love it.  We worked hard on "Muzzle, Trigger Finger, Front Sight" .  We skimmed little insignificant things like reloads-"I can do it, Daaad."  Safe movement, line commands, the 180 mattered more.  Set goal of working toward getting her hits without working on time.

 

Dad forbade running for the first time out.  Hard rule.

 

She's hooked.  "Holy crap, Dad, this is HARD!"  Yep.  sure is.  Big grins.  We shot two more matches, the second one in miserable rain/snow/sleet/wind conditions, and then....COVID happened.  We got back to a match last weekend and she ALMOST caught me when I made a HUGE mental error and opened the door for her by running past a whole array of targets--which of course she hasn't let me forget.  I opened the door but she couldn't QUITE get it closed on me.  Since she's made the decision to continue working on getting her hits, I work hard to not point out how much free time there is to be had by moving faster; gotta stay on the positives and limit input for improvement to gentle, occasional nudges.  Keep it fun!

 

She's shooting L-10 until she decides what else, if anything, she wants to try.  She's not burning down stages, and nobody cares.  Lemme tell you, everyone likes having her on their squad, and with a family work ethic, we have ended up being the only two setters and tapers on a squad.  She takes it in stride; me, less so.  Bums.

 

I will say that if you are hyper competitive and YOUR performance matters to you, be prepared to set that aside for a while, especially if you run different divisions.  It's hard to figure out your stage AND help her with hers, and still previs and prep adequately; it's a lot like running two matches simultaneously for me, but I'm OLD, and it shows.  I don't care, there is NOTHING better than spending a match day hanging out with your kid.

 

Anyway, this says "stage 3" but it was stage NUMBER 3, not her third stage ever.  This was her very first time out, first stage, and it was a serious 180 trap.  Several very experienced shooters DQ'd here.  The gun at this point was still pretty new, probably under 200 rounds, and she was getting occasional malfunctions.  Pretty proud of her Whack and Rack towards the end.

 

 

She's now recruiting one of her friends and her friend's CHP dad to start coming to matches.....yeah, she hates it  ;)

 

SA

Edited by Alleycatdad
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