Dear Shooting Ranges… Let kids shoot for FREE

FORT BENNING, Ga.--Spc. David Sprecher, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, answers questions from Mackenzy Crawford (right), 14, Columbus, Ga. as Glenn Fausti (left), 13, Columbus, fires his rifle at Pool Indoor Range. The two youngsters are among 52 kids who make up the Fort Benning Junior Rifle Club, instructed by members of the USAMU International Rifle team. (Photo by Michael Molinaro, USAMU PAO)
Dear Shooting Ranges… Let kids shoot for FREE
Eric at the Gunmart Blog
Eric at the Gunmart Blog

United States –-( I want to take a minute here and address one thing that I feel needs to be done that could greatly help facilitate the next generation getting into the shooting sports.

We as a community talk a great deal about getting the next generation into the shooting sports.

Its a major point of emphasis, and I feel that we do a great deal already to help usher the next generation into the hunting and shooting sports… but there is one thing else that I feel would be a great way to help get the next generation shooting. Shooting ranges need to let kids that come in shoot for free.

I’ve got young kids who are just starting to come of age and are making their first trips to the local shooting range. I try to take them shooting as often as I can but for me, and others like me, the biggest barrier to going more often is simply the cost. Range fees and ammo costs can make a trip to the range really pricey, really quick. For us, its most definitely the biggest limiting factor as to how many times a year we can take The Kids to the range. Simply waving the range fees for The Kids would do a great deal to help facilitate me, and others like me, in getting that next generation of shooters out and shooting more often.

Yes, there are probably some ranges out there that do this, but in my rather extensive travels and at all of the numerous shooting ranges that I have visited around the country I have yet to see a single range that is doing this. None of my local shooting ranges do it, but we do have a local driving range that lets kids hit for free. Its great. I can take the kids there in the morning and let them hit a bucket of golf balls and it doesn’t cost a dime. Yes, the driving range loses out on $5, but they view it as an investment in the future of golf. They also know that it is a great investment in customer relations. All of my buddies and I know that the driving range does this good deed for kids and because of it we are all willing to drive out of our way to go to that particular driving range instead of one that is actually just around the corner. I am more than happy to give my money to someone who is willing to give back in such a way, and I am pretty sure many more of their customers feel the exact same way.

The same will also be true with shooting ranges. Do you want to grow your customer base? … Get more people into your guns shop? … Have people go out of their way to spend money at your shop instead of at the store up the road that might be a little bit cheaper? … Want to have more shooters come use your range during off-peak hours? Then start giving back to the kids. Wave their range fees when their parent shoots too. Don’t charge the parents a dime if they want to just bring their kids in to shoot. Give back to the kids and the parents and the grandparents will beat a path to your door.

So, if its something that you want to do as an everyday thing, or you just want to open up your range once or twice a year for a free “Bring your kids to the range day“, then do it. Give back. You will be making a small investment in the future of the shooting sports, and I promise you that you will gain paying customers because of your good deed.

Eric at the Gunmart Blog – Eric is a gun blogger, firearms enthusiast, and sorry excuse for a hunter. He is also an AmmoLand Shoting Sports News Columnist. Leave him some comments on this article before you go. You can also follow Eric on Facebook, Twitter and at his blog, Gunmart. Visit: