Homework - Guns the Right Way: Introducing Kids to Firearm Safety and Shooting (2015)

Guns the Right Way: Introducing Kids to Firearm Safety and Shooting (2015)


Homework? Isn’t this all about fun?

Homework is to learning what nitrous oxide is to an automobile. When used properly, it can greatly add to speed and power. Conversely, when not implemented correctly, it can result in serious damage to the machine.

Regardless of whom you are teaching or introducing to firearms (and especially if they have never had any experience before) you will want to assign a bit of homework for them to work on and practice in between your informational/educational sessions.

Certainly with younger children, you will want to have the parents on board and involved. If they are your children, that makes it all the easier.

If a firearm belongs to the person that you are instructing, they can use their own firearm for practice. If not, I find that there are several, very good substitutes for an actual gun.


If you are serious about instructing more than a few people in firearm safety, usage and technique, you should invest in several, quality firearm reproductions.

There are many sources for these, and my advice is to search online and order from a reputable company that shows good positive feedback in their reviews.

These replicas come in a variety of colors and configurations, in the shape of shotguns, handguns and rifles. If you plan on shooting any type of tactical or AR-style platform, you should pick up one of those as well

If you are handy, as one instructor friend that I know, you can even use wood to make some replica firearms that approximate the size, shape and weight of the guns that you are using.


If you don’t want to spend the money on an arsenal of replica firearms, there are several household objects that can do double duty for your student to practice with when they go home.

Even a 2X4 board cut to the approximate length of the gun the youth is using will work. If you have the time and materials, color one end brown (stock) and one end black (muzzle).

A standard broom makes an adequate substitute for a long gun. For a handgun, I have had people go home and use everything from a small cordless drill to a hot glue gun to a creatively constructed set of Legos. The most important thing is that every “firearm” has a clearly defined handle and a muzzle end.


Yes, toy guns can be used to practice some of the drills that we are going to go through as well. Anything that is a toy that approximates the size and shape of a firearm will work.


Now that you have something to practice with, what shall we practice?

Aside from failing to check a gun to see if it is loaded, the number two cause of firearm accidents is the improper or the unsafe handling of a firearm. This can include not maintaining proper muzzle control, such as turning around with the gun pointed out rather than up or down, not using the firearm safety or proper trigger control by keeping your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, not being familiar with a firearm, not using the proper technique to walk with or cross obstacles with a firearm, etc.

Remember, at the beginning of every session with anyone you are introducing to a firearm, it is an essential practice to review and refresh the four cardinal rules of firearm safety:

Treat every gun as if it were loaded, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and know your target and what lies beyond it.

Those four rules will prevent a great deal of issues related to firearm safety. There are more things that you as an instructor can and should do, however.

For young children, we modify these drills and also add the “Eddie Eagle” program teaching of “What to do if you see a gun” from Chapter 3.

The following homework drills, by no means all-inclusive, should help you and your pupils be safe, and avoid taking up “shooting time” at the range to train these skills.

Before we begin any drill, it is important to always remember that you should never, never, ever use an actual firearm that has not been double and triple checked to ensure it is unloaded and safe to perform any of these drills.

Drill #1: Pick up, check, walk, put down

This drill is exactly as the name indicates. The person picks up the gun/replica/object, checks it (or at least talks through and imitates the motions of checking it), uses a proper carry technique to walk across the room, maintains control of the muzzle, and puts it down safely.

Repeat three times, then add a partner who is instructed to do things at random for the final three to four times. The partner should walk around the gun side of the person holding the weapon, should randomly stop, should randomly walk faster, and do anything that may be unexpected to the person holding the firearm.

Advanced technique: Make the walk a bit longer and add different obstacles requiring the person holding the firearm to have to walk around, stop over, duck or otherwise maneuver in a way that makes it challenging to control the firearm.

Drill #2: Safe/unsafe

With a partner, the partner takes the firearm and holds, carries or places the firearm in various positions and then asks the students, “safe or unsafe?”

If the person you are introducing to firearms is going to be doing this drill with somebody else, it’s best to give them some sort of informational sheet that explains different things for them to do.

Proper muzzle control is a critical aspect of firearm safety. (A: unsafe B: safer; C: safer D: unsafe)

Drill #3: Mount - Aim - Bang

I find this drill to be exceptionally useful when introducing someone to the shotgun, but it is useful with every type of firearm.

The youth, after ensuring the firearm is unloaded and safe, picks a spot and/or target, identifies it, mounts the gun, takes aim and simply says “bang.”

This drill accomplishes two things very well… It increases the speed at which the pupil identifies targets, increases the speed at which they mount the gun and obtain the target in the sights, and, when done properly, greatly increases their ability to have and maintain proper form.

Mount.jpg AND Aim-Bang.jpg: Mount - Aim - BANG!

Safety is the number one thing to consider whenever guns are involved. There is no such thing as “too safe.”

Everyone you introduce to firearms should be quizzed often and at random on the four cardinal rules of gun safety until they can rattle them off without thinking about them and in any order.


By Gail Luciano, Educator for 30 years

There are many opinions for and against the value of a child doing any kind of homework. Many children will balk at the first use of the word. Some parents will argue that their child has too much homework, not enough homework, or they don’t find it necessary for their child to have any homework at all.

Why, then, do educators continually require any type of homework from their students?

The main reason is to reinforce what the children learned at school while maximizing the time available for teaching. But, do children really learn from spending at-home time doing homework instead of participating in fun or extra-curricular activities which they enjoy a great deal more?

First, let’s discuss how kids learn from doing homework.

This concept has been debated since education in schools began, but mostly it is from a combination of the active recollection of the previously taught concepts, the repeating of information to commit it to memory (such as in studying for a spelling test), and the physical act of writing and practicing the concepts that the student has learned.

Is homework necessary? There are actually numerous reasons for assigning homework.

Students might merely need reinforcement, or a review of new concepts they have learned while the content is still fresh in their minds and easier to recall. Sometimes students may need to finish an assignment they fell behind on due to lack of time or focus. Other times, homework is a longer or more involved assignment, such as a report or a project that cannot be finished during the normal school day or the instruction time available.

Homework can also simply be time allotted for studying for quizzes or tests. Many times it is just an added incentive that you try to help a student get more motivated in a particular area of study. So, outside of learning material content, what else do children learn from doing homework?

Assigning homework will, first, help a child develop responsibility for himself/herself and his/her actions. He/she was given a task, now he/she must complete it and return it at the appropriate time. The child is held accountable. He/she needs to act independently of the teacher/instructor and make decisions on his/her own. Second, doing homework can help a child develop needed life skills like overcoming obstacles (I don’t “get” this, so, how do I proceed, what should I do next, what do I need to do to figure this out?); communicating effectively (Will the teacher/instructor understand what I am trying to say or accomplish?); making decisions (What are the consequences if I do not finish this task?) and setting goals and achieving them (I am going to finish this task. Now it is completed.). These life skills, along with many others, are what help us accomplish our goals and live our lives to our full potential.

Finally, doing homework can help children learn to manage tasks efficiently. They have to be prepared to move through the task from its delegation to the finished product. They must plan, create, organize and prioritize. This involves a great deal of decision making, like, “What are my options?” and “What is important to me?”

Whether or not you assign homework to your charges is your personal decision as an educator/instructor. The decision should be based on your experience, expectations and what the individual child is capable of producing without unneeded stress.

Learning should be fun, be it instructional time or homework time. You, as the educator/instructor, should put every effort into making the experience interesting, meaningful, and perhaps most importantly, challenging enough to stimulate their learning, but easy enough to make it doable.

This requires a great deal of time and effort, as your job is to give every child the means to work up to his/her full potential. Therefore, you might have to be extremely creative, as each child has his/her own individual learning style.

Homework, if assigned for the proper reasons, can be extremely valuable to a learner, especially to one who may be struggling with a specific concept or task. Just because you are teaching to a large group doesn’t mean you have to delegate a homework assignment to the entire group. Think about the individual student’s needs and go from there.

Careful and specific assignment of homework can have exponential results. It will allow your students to understand core concepts while allowing you to maximize your time together without having to tediously repeat things.

For the best results, homework should be interesting to the student, meaningful, doable without a great deal of stress, and fun! Remember, the secret to quality teaching is to make learning an enjoyable experience.