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

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

Choosing the Right Gear

This chapter could be an entire book in and of itself. Even as recently as 20 years ago, there were hardly more than a few different pieces of equipment suitable for younger children to use when learning about firearms, firearm safety and firearm handling. Most of that gear was full-sized shotguns and rifles sporting a shortened stock for smaller-stature people. Fortunately, there have always been .22 rifles, .410 shotguns, and patient adults to teach their safe use.

This recommended equipment list is by no means 100% complete. There are, certainly, other products by other manufacturers that may well suit your needs.

As we have discussed in previous chapters, you can teach firearms and firearm safety with a minimal amount of equipment - basically some sort of firearm, a safe and open space, something to shoot at and some ammunition.

We will start with the most essential piece of equipment… the gun. This list includes my recommendations based on over 20 years of instructing and teaching youth firearm safety, handling and use.

When you are shopping for a firearm for you (or one to use to teach and instruct other s to use) it can be rather overwhelming, as there are dozens of models that will suit the purpose. There are two things to remember that can make this process a great deal easier.

The first is that there are many youth size models of almost all of the popular firearms out there from every manufacturer.

People always ask me what the “best gun” is, either for themselves or for their child. While there are certainly models and manufactures that I prefer, there are very few bad guns out there today. We have been manufacturing firearms for so long (Beretta can trace their lineage back all the way to the 1500s) that the process, parts, fit and machining have all become rather standardized.

The second is in regards to price and quality. Yes, you can buy some rather inexpensive firearms. This is one of those times when you absolutely do not want to make a purchase simply based on the price of the product. Ask yourself this very simple question: Is the future of enjoyment of shooting/hunting/competing side-by-side with my child for their entire lives worth an extra $100, $200 or even $300?

When you decide to introduce your child to firearms, you should begin putting some money aside just for that purpose and just for them. Not only will it allow you more flexibility when it comes to buying equipment and ancillary gear for them, it will also allow you to spend more quality and enjoyable time with your child because, let’s face it, everybody likes to get nice things!

It has reached the point in our house where I just have to casually mention that I will be heading to our local big box outdoor store and my children clamber over one another to come along. Sometimes a major purchase is made. Sometimes they just get a candy bar or other treat. The point is they are animated and excited to spend time with me doing things that I also like to do. The same can be true for you.

The first thing that I always do when checking the fit of a firearm to a youth is have them pick up the firearm and hold it in a natural and comfortable shooting position.

The good news here is that firearms, unless abused, rarely lose their value. It has been my experience that youth firearms tend to hold their value even better than standard size firearms, because there are fewer of them in circulation.

You can feel confident that, when you purchase a firearm that fits your child and will allow them an enjoyable experience, when the time comes you will be able to trade up and purchase another, newer weapon for them that will offer the same benefit. If you start your children young, you may have to go through this process several times.

If you are introducing and/or teaching your own child the basics of firearm use and safety, it will be a bit easier for you than if you are planning to teach a number of other children.

In asking other long time gun people what they do when introducing youths to firearms, one rule of thumb has remained consistent when picking a firearm, and that is the “fit-feel-function” rule.


I have been shooting guns my entire life. I have probably shot different makes and models that number in the thousands. Most firearms are built to what that particular company considers average. That is, they build the drop at comb (the amounts that the area where your cheek meets the stock is below the sight plane of the barrel); the length of pull (the length from the buttplate to the trigger); and even the length of the forend (the forward end of the gun where the hand that is not on the trigger goes to support it) and balance point of the firearm to fit a certain-stature individual that they believe will cover the broadest range. As you can imagine, that leaves a great deal of room for interpretation.

I am fortunate to have acquired numerous shotguns and rifles over my shooting career, but there are several to which I specifically gravitate because they just “feel right.”

This can also be translated to other sports and sports equipment. A baseball player uses a bat that has the proper length, balance, taper and dimensions to maximize their swing efficiency and power so that they can be a more consistent hitter. A golfer will perform best with clubs that are fit exactly to him or her. A club that is too long or too short poses a significant handicap when trying to play the game. A gun is the same way.

While not as important for the first few introductory sessions, if your child has desire to continue shooting, it will grow more and more important. This is doubly so if they decide to compete in any type of shooting events.

The first thing that I always do when checking the fit of a firearm to a youth is have them pick up the firearm and hold it in a natural and comfortable shooting position. There are several things you should look for right away.

Do they appear comfortable or uncomfortable holding the gun up? Does the gun seem too “front heavy?” Is their forward hand and arm at an awkward or uncomfortable angle or position in order to keep the gun held steady?

Does their shooting dominant eye line up correctly with the sights/bead of the gun?

How does the stock fit to their shoulder? Does it seem like they have their cheek farther back than it should be? Do they stand at an awkward angle (this is most often leaning backwards in order to compensate for a gun that is too long and/or too heavy)?

What type of firearm is it? If it is a shotgun, does it have a large, highly visible bead on the end that the child will have an easy time seeing? If a rifle, does it use open sights or telescopic sights? Telescopic sights (scopes) are some of the easiest sighting tools to use when instructing children, however, they are also rather advanced and I believe should be reserved for future sessions, with the exception being the youngest of children. In those instances, the enjoyment of the experience is the biggest key and making things easier on them will also make it easier on you.

Leaning backwards often occurs when the gun is too long and/or too heavy.

If iron sights are used, what type are they? The easiest ones are the simple “post and V” that we are all familiar with. I will often actually take out a piece of paper and draw the proper sight picture to make sure that the child can easily acquire it while we are there fitting them for the gun.


For the majority of my youth, I played baseball. I had a glove that became my preferred glove to use, so much so that I paid more to have it repaired than it would have cost in order to buy a new one. I could also pick up any bat and swing it a few times and immediately know whether I was interested in trying it out on the field or not. This is something that is much more based on the child rather than your observations, but you still need to be observant. You should also ask the child numerous questions regarding the feel of the gun.

How does it feel? Does it feel heavy? Can you hold it up okay? Are you comfortable? Is it easy to obtain a proper sight picture?

Have the child take a stance and pretend like they are shooting. See how long they can comfortably hold a proper stance before becoming fatigued.

Be aware that children tend to enjoy pleasing adults, especially when they think what they do will have benefit for them. Therefore, sometimes a child will give you the answer they think you want to hear. Observe them carefully when asking these questions to determine whether or not that is the case.

Remember, it is always better to find out something is not right and/or not comfortable at the store or when selecting from a number of different firearms than when you are already out on the range.


This is the point where you will need to make a choice as to what type of gun you will buy.

If it is a shotgun, will it be a single-shot? Will you choose an over-and-under or a side-by-side? Perhaps a semi-automatic? What gauge will it be?

For a rifle, are you buying a gun simply for fun, or will it also be used for competition or hunting? A first firearm is rarely a deer rifle, but on occasion it is.

For a recreational firearm, will you choose a .22 or a .17 HMR? Will it be a bolt-action, a break-action, or a semi-automatic?

A handgun? Will you choose a revolver or a semi-automatic? What caliber?

Again, entire books have been written on each of these subjects. This being a book on the introduction of youth to firearms, I would recommend the following: If your child is young or you are taking them for their very first experiences with guns, I highly recommend you do so with somebody who already has the equipment or will let you borrow it. The last thing you want would be to spend hundreds of dollars on firearms and gear only to have your child not have any interest in shooting.

You may be like me and just want a reason to go buy another gun. For those who are certain their child is interested, or who have this in common with me, read on for recommendations.


As mentioned previously, I am not a big fan of the .410 for a child’s first shotgun. The .410 is a “shooters gun” that yes, produces minimal recoil, but also has minimal shot string and has many less pellets than even a light 20-gauge load.

I am also not a fan of most single-shot shotguns on the market today. Most of them have an exposed hammer (something that, in my experience, makes them less safe) and are extremely lightweight compared to their double-barreled, semi-automatic, or pump-action brethren. The only plus side to these firearms is that they tend to be rather inexpensive. If your child is big enough and you find the right recoil pad, there will not be issues with extended shooting sessions.

I, and the majority of the firearm instructors that I know, are fans of a youth-sized 20-gauge semi-automatic shotgun for a child’s first shotgun or shotgun shooting experience. The reason for this is that a semi-automatic uses a portion of the propellant and gases from the fired round to cycle the action, and this process can significantly reduce recoil. Couple that with today’s high tech, recoil-reducing pads mounted on the butt-stock of most firearms and you have a winning combination of pain-free experience with enough power to do the job.

Second-place goes to a pump-action 20-gauge with a recoil-absorbing pad mounted on it.

Following are my recommendations for youth shotguns:

Best value: Tristar G2 Youth 20-gauge Combo

This firearm is manufactured in Turkey (as are many of the firearms that we see on the market today, including Stoeger, CZ USA and others that are “branded”) and is also marketed under two well-known names in the firearms world: by Mossberg as the SA-20 and by Weatherby as the SA-08 20-gauge. They are manufactured in the same factory to the same specifications for all three companies, but I prefer the Tristar for several reasons.

I didn’t initially know why I was drawn to this gun until I had experience with it with several different youth of varying size…

The number one advantage to Tristar’s package is that, in addition to three stainless steel choke tubes, a barrel extender, and wrench in its own plastic case, it comes with a full set of shims as well as a complete second stock.

Remember our fit-feel-function rule? If you have children of your own, you most likely know how quickly they can change sizes. We have had to buy new wardrobes for my teenage sons in as little as 90 days! That can be an expensive proposition when you are talking about a piece of equipment that can cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars. These accessories allow the gun to grow with the child.

As we also discussed, a semi-auto has the benefit of its action taking up some of the recoil generated upon firing. Any time that you can make shooting a more pleasurable experience, it is more likely to become a passion rather than an occasional pastime.

The best part is that this complete kit is priced at or less than most other semi-automatic shotguns on the market today. Unfortunately, the G2 Youth is only available in a right-handed model. Left-handed version is only available in 12-gauge models.

Mid range: Remington Model 870 Express Youth

The Remington Model 870 has been sold in greater numbers than any other sporting firearm, ever. That speaks volumes. Priced a bit less than the G2 combo, this “bullet-proof” shotgun is a great choice if you are on a tighter budget, and especially if you have multiple children who will be using it as they grow up and through their firearms use.

A re-vamp of the old-style, hard rubber recoil pads, the new Remington G3 soft pad keeps recoil manageable for all but the most sensitive shooters. Left-handed version is only available in 12-gauge models.

High end: Benelli M2 Field Compact

Benelli has been at the forefront of innovation in shotguns since the 1990s. The heart of every Benelli shotgun is the Inertia Drive system, a unique system that has only three moving parts, requires zero adjustments and is the ultimate in reliability. This style of action also allows for a much lighter and well-balanced shotgun. Combine that with the company’s ComforTech recoil system that reduces felt recoil by over 48% and you have a gun that not only functions and feels good in hand, but is pleasant to shoot.

Available in both 20-gauge and 12-gauge, with left-handed version in 12-gauge only.

Benelli’s Inertia Drive system has only three moving parts, requires zero adjustments and is the ultimate in reliability.

The small stock and short barrel makes the Savage Rascal ideal for children in the 4- to 6-year-old range.

The Cricket was the first rifle built specifically for very small children.


For a first rifle or rifle experience, it’s hard to beat the venerable .22 long rifle. When introducing a youth to a rifle, I prefer a bolt-action simply because of its simplicity and safety, ease of loading and firing a single round at a time; the similarity to many of today’s hunting rifles (the majority of which are still bolt-action); plus the benefit that a .22-caliber produces zero recoil regardless of the configuration. It’s a win - win - win.

Following are my recommendations for youth .22 rifles:

Young children: Tie between the Savage Rascal and Cricket Youth .22

The Savage Rascal is created for young, small-stature shooters, is single-shot only and has some very nice upgrades for the price: Savage’s Accu-Trigger system, one of the finest on the market, and an adjustable peep sight, rather than just a simple notch-and-post style.

These firearms, while very small, are still fully-functioning .22-caliber rifles and are certainly NOT TOYS.

Their small stocks and short barrels make them ideal for children in the 4- to 6-year-old range.

The Cricket is a pint-sized powerhouse built so much with kids in mind that the synthetic stocks even say “My First Rifle” on them.

The Cricket was the first rifle built specifically for very small children and has a unique safety feature that requires the user (or, more likely, the adult supervisor) to pull the metal disk at the back of the rifle in order to cock the firing pin. This means that even if a bullet is chambered, the gun will not fire until this step is performed.

.22 rifle best value: Marlin Model 925

This clip-loading .22 rifle represents one of the best buys around in a bolt-action repeater. It features a clean-lined, hardwood stock with swivel studs for an optional sling (a bonus if it will be doing double duty as a hunting rifle), a 22-inch Micro-Groove® barrel and a 7-shot clip magazine. I prefer magazine-style .22s to tube-fed.22s for the simple fact that they are easier to quickly load/unload and are much easier to check to determine if they are safe.

.22 rifle mid range: Ruger American Rimfire .22

Like the Tristar, American firearms company Sturm, Ruger & Company has build a platform designed to grow with a new shooter. Each Ruger American Rimfire® rifle includes two interchangeable stock modules that provide comb height options for scope or iron sight use. Standard models come with long length-of-pull modules, while compact models come with short length-of-pull modules. By simply removing the rear sling swivel stud, stock modules can be changed in seconds. All four stock modules are completely interchangeable across all models. They also feature an adjustable trigger dubbed “the Marksman” that allows adjustment between three and five pounds of pull. The only reason that this rifle is not the “best buy” is the inexpensive price tag of the Marlin model 925.

.22 rifle high end: Ruger 77/22

Rare it is that the same manufacturer has two of the three recommended categories, but since the demise of Weatherby’s Mark XXII, the Ruger 77/22 is the rimfire on the market that is built most like a typical, big-game rifle, with dimensions similar to their Mark 77 big game rifles, all the way down to the larger bolt handle and “three-position” safety. With an SRP of $899 (and well worth that price if you are serious about shooting), you can buy two or three “standard” .22s, even from their own line.

The Ruger American Rimfire® rifle includes two interchangeable stock modules that provide comb height options.

The Ruger 77/22 is the rimfire on the market that is built most like a typical, big-game rifle.


Second to the .22 rifles listed above (and if you are limited in your ability to find open spaces to shoot), would be a high quality air rifle in .22 or .177 caliber.

These quality (and quite powerful) weapons can be fired in the backyard or even the basement (be sure to check your local regulations first) with minimal space, and can even be used to hunt small game later on. In addition, you can pick up pellet ammunition for a very reasonable price - usually under $10 for 500 shots, and even cheaper with some less premium brands.

I recommend pellet rifles for two reasons. Lead pellets ricochet less than steel BBs, and airguns made to take only soft-metal pellets tend to be much more accurate than those that shoot BBs or combination BB/pellet rifles.

Gamo “Little Cat”

The Little Cat is the newest addition to the Youth Precision Airguns family from Gamo. With a 36-inch overall length and 525 fps with Match Lead Pellets, the Little Cat Airgun has been designed specifically for young shooters. It incorporates a wood stock, metal barrel, and comes standard with fiber optics sights. There is also a grooved cylinder for optional scope/optics mounting. The Little Cat Airgun is great beginning firearm to involve young shooters in shooting sports while teaching them the basics of shooting safety and target competition.

Stoeger X3

This is a gun that won’t disappoint. At just over four pounds, and with a relatively easy cocking mechanism, even young children should be able to comfortably handle and shoot it. One of the best warranties out there and a suggested retail price of $100 means it doesn’t break the bank, either.


The Home Airgun Program is an excellent resource that has been put together by the NRA. It includes a guide that can help parents or mentors in selecting an air gun and building a safe and competition-qualifying airgun range, a list of recommended equipment, links to supporting vendors, and much more. The program also includes an informative powerpoint presentation that is designed to teach safety and marksmanship fundamentals, and even demonstrates the various shooting positions. This is an excellent resource to use hand-in-hand with this book and your new air rifle. Information can be found through the NRA’s youth shooting portal:


This is certainly not the most common scenario, but does occur, therefore, we should address both the concept of children and handguns, the conflict of many state, local, and national laws, and some of the reasoning behind why a handgun might not be the best choice for an Introduction to firearms.

I will never forget the first hunter safety course I took when I was nine years old. There were numerous, actual and fully functional firearms in the room with us. There was a representative of each type of firearm, as well as several different actions of each type. For shotguns there was a bolt-action, a pump-action, a semi-automatic, and an over-and-under. For rifles, there was a bolt--action, a single-shot, break-action, a semi-automatic and pump-action. For handguns, there was a toy revolver, a replica 1911 toy pistol and, finally, there were a couple of the paper roll cap-style cowboy six gun replica toys.

One of the first questions asked was, “Why do you have real rifles and shotguns, but only toys for the handguns?”

Instead of answering, the instructor called one of the adults to the front of the room. After picking up one of the shotguns and checking it to see it was unloaded, he handed it to him and instructed him to hold it out from his body at an angle. He said to the entire class that it was never, ever okay to ever point a gun at anybody for any reason and then walked around him while instructing the man to swing the shotgun and try and point it at him. As you can imagine, it was a bit of a comedy of errors with them circling and turning one way and then the other and finally twisting around turning the gun upside down and looking over his shoulder in order to point the shotgun in the man’s direction.

The instructor then did the same thing with one of the toy handguns. When instructed to turn and point the handgun at him, the man simply turned his wrist and the gun was immediately pointed at the instructor. “That’s why,” he stated. “Because even though we never, ever load these guns inside and even though we ALWAYS check each firearm multiple times before and in each class, it is easier to avoid an accident ever happening when you use something that can only hurt me or you if we are hit over the head with it!”

At just over four pounds, even young children should be able to comfortably handle and shoot the X3.

That demonstration made a powerful impact even to my young mind. Firearms are dangerous and potentially deadly tools. While the situation was somewhat lighthearted, it demonstrated the fact that it is much easier to control a long, long barreled firearm from the instructor’s point of view than it is a small, short-barreled firearm.

I highly encourage that, even if you would like to introduce your child to a handgun and that is the weapon that you will be purchasing and shooting together, at least for your first few sessions you use a long gun of some type. Once the basics of operation, procedure, handling, and safety are gone over, you can then easily transition those skills to a handgun.

Plus, the government has its own views on youth and handguns.

The Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, provides in part as follows:

18 U.S.C. 922(x)

The following is the “Notice” from the ATF rule:


(1) The misuse of handguns is a leading contributor to juvenile violence and fatalities.

(2) Safely storing and securing firearms away from children will help prevent the unlawful possession of handguns by juveniles, stop accidents, and save lives.

(3) Federal law prohibits, except in certain limited circumstances, anyone under 18 years of age from knowingly possessing a handgun, or any person from selling, delivering, or otherwise transferring a handgun to a person under 18.

(4) A knowing violation of the prohibition against selling, delivering, or otherwise transferring a handgun to a person under the age of 18 is, under certain circumstances, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

There are certain states that interpret this rule to mean that no child under the age of 18 shall “possess” a handgun - AT ALL.


If you do not own nor have access to any types of long guns, but have handguns (and, more specifically, have the specific type of handgun that the child will be shooting), I would still advocate that you start your first sessions with a toy such as a plastic dart gun or similar.

When choosing a handgun, the fit-feel-function rule will be magnified, as the vast majority of handguns are built to fit an “average” adult’s hand. With every firearm, but especially in this case, improper fit is asking for an accident with potentially fatal consequences.

Many handguns in the larger calibers have smaller handgrips designed for women or smaller-framed male shooters. ©National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc.

Young children should, when deemed ready, shoot nothing larger than a .22-caliber handgun and, after demonstrating safe knowledge, skill and handling of that firearm, move up to possibly a larger caliber such as a .380 or 9mm.

There are several, quality .22-caliber revolvers and smaller-framed semi-automatic handguns out there that will fit a youth well enough for them to shoot, and many firearms today in the larger calibers have smaller handgrips designed for women or smaller-framed male shooters that will suit your purpose.


Even if you are not already aware of what an airsoft gun is, your child most likely is. Airsoft rifles shoot a small, plastic pellet of .24 caliber (6mm) at velocities between 400-500 fps from what are more and more realistic-looking and functioning replica firearms.

Airsoft rifles shoot a small, plastic pellet of .24 caliber (6mm).

Crosman 1911 pistol.

There are now airsoft rifles that mimic the most technologically advanced military assault weapons, ones that are identical copies to the colt 1911 and the Beretta model 92, as well as just about every other major firearm manufacturer’s popular guns.

There are airsoft rifles manufactured to resemble hunting rifles, some complete with functioning optics. There are others that are replicas of shotguns that fire several pellets out at once to mimic the shot pattern experienced with a typical shotgun.

As you can imagine, there are many, many practical uses for these replica firearms to be used in the instruction and introduction of youth to firearms. I have used many of them myself, up to and including safe indoor shooting sessions with the youths I was instructing.

Airsoft replicas of shotguns fire several pellets out at once to mimic the shot pattern experienced with a typical shotgun.

Make no mistake, though, these “toys” are still very, very dangerous.

And that brings up the other side of the discussion. Marginalizing the danger to which you’re exposed by replicating a firearm as a toy can build up and insensitivity to risk or, at the very least, allow habits to be built that can have deadly effects when transferred to their real counterparts.

Whenever we use an airsoft (and in the past 10 years I have yet to meet a child that I was using it with who did not know exactly what it was) we have the same type of safety instruction as we do when we use the “real” guns.

We talk about all the same dangers, all the same handling precautions, how to check it to see if it is loaded and, most importantly, we reiterate and reinforce the fact that we never ever, ever point this or any gun at anything we do not want to kill or destroy.

We use eye protection when shooting the airsoft guns, and at least talk about the fact that if we were using a firearm that shot bullets instead of plastic pellets, we would make sure we used ear protection as well.

I urge and encourage you, if you choose to purchase one of these airsoft weapons, that you maintain the same safe control, handling instructions and access to them that you would any other firearm.

There are now airsoft rifles that mimic the most technologically advanced military assault weapons.


Throughout this book we talk about introducing youth to firearms with guns such as a .22-caliber rifle and/or air rifle. The main reason for this is recoil. defines recoil as “to spring or fly back, as in consequence of force of impact or the force of the discharge, as a firearm.”

Put simply, recoil is the impact felt to the shoulder when shooting a rifle or shotgun as a result of the firing of that gun.

We’ve all heard the physics adage that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Recoil is the reaction of the firearm to a shot being fired out the end of the barrel.

Improperly introducing someone to recoil can give that person a significant aversion to shooting guns. A great deal of the introductory process of shooting is done with specific steps taken to avoid a bad experience with recoil.

My very first shotgun was a Beretta Companion single-barrel 20-gauge. It weighed almost nothing, had no recoil pad and was way too long for me. It also had substantial recoil. I was already well into my shooting career at that point, though, and was hardly affected by those bad experiences.

We found a slip-on rubber recoil pad that, while slightly lengthening an already long gun, helped tame any recoil I experienced shooting on the range.

Back when I started shooting there really was no such thing as a youth gun. The only option was to take a standard manufactured shotgun and cut a couple of inches off the stock. The challenge here was, of course, that there were also not many recoil pads manufactured to a smaller butt end of stock dimension.

Fortunately for children who want to shoot, that is no longer the case. There are many, high-quality firearms that are both fit and balanced specifically for a small frame shooter. Thanks to technology, there are also some fantastic recoil reducing pads and inserts that can remove recoil from the experience almost entirely.


The ShockEater® Recoil Pad is the latest advancement in energy absorption and recoil dispersion. Simply put, it keeps you shooting longer, while increasing accuracy, comfort and consistency with your long guns. Made with proprietary Nano-Poly™ technology, the ShockEater Recoil Pad is designed to reduce peak felt recoil without increasing length-of-pull or altering appearance. At only 8 mm thick and 1.4 ounces in weight, it provides superior shock absorption in a form that is lighter and thinner than any foam or gel can provide.

The ShockEater Recoil Pad is conformal to the shoulder area, supporting proper gun fit and improving pitch and toe angles at the butt-stock. This combination of unique fit and absorption properties allow for maximum comfort and reduced felt recoil. More comfort, less pain means hitting your target with greater consistency. The ShockEater Recoil Pad is compatible with many of the leading shooting vests and shirts, making it the optimal accessory for a variety of shooters from first-timers to seasoned veterans.

The ShockEater Recoil Pad is designed to reduce peak felt recoil without increasing length-of-pull or altering appearance.

So, what exactly is “Nano-Poly technology?”

What this means is that ShockEater works at a molecular level. When moved slowly the molecules within the polymer will just slide past each other, making the material soft to touch. But when a high-energy impact occurs (like a shotgun recoil) the molecules grip onto one another, locking together, to become almost solid for just a few milliseconds before releasing and becoming soft once again. It’s during those few milliseconds that the molecules quickly absorb the recoil and transfer it into thermal energy. As the molecules in their near-solid state try to slide past each other, they create molecular friction - heat. This friction is spread throughout the molecules of the entire pad in just milliseconds - so fast it never heats up to the touch. It seems like the energy just disappears. That’s also why they call it the ShockEater … it will literally “eat” the shock and vibration associated with recoil.

I have used this product with both youth and adults firing everything from 20-gauge shotguns to .375 H&H and .416 Rigby dangerous big-game rifles and everything in between. This amazing product works, and works well!


This combination package includes everything that the new or youth shooter needs to begin safe, recoil-reduced shooting: Shockeater recoil pad; Shockeater Youth orange shooting vest, designed to be used with the Shockeater Recoil Technology pad; a set of reusable earplugs and a set of ANSI-rated eye protective glasses. All at a price that is significantly less than the purchase of all of the items separately.

The ShockEater combination package includes everything that the new or youth shooter needs to begin safe, recoil-reduced shooting.


A slip-on product to fit most any gun, the Shock Pod recoil pad from Recoil Tech opens up the range of possibilities for youth shooters. Children often start their shooting experience with a .22 rifle and move up as they get older. Major factors in determining when a young person can move up to a larger rifle or shotgun include the child’s size, strength and pain tolerance.

The Shock Pod, from Recoil Technologies, comes with customized options for every shoulder shape. They are twice as wide as the gun stock, which reduces the pressure by half to the shooter.

Many young shooters want to shoot the more powerful guns but the recoil is too intense for them to shoot comfortably. The strong recoil of a big gun leaves bruises, creates flinching in anticipation of the recoil and affects shot placement. This can all lead to frustration and lack of desire to progress to harder recoiling guns or the continuation of shooting altogether. By reducing the amount of felt recoil, the experience becomes more enjoyable and successful.

With the recoil reduced, firearms become much more manageable for younger shooters. Young marksmen can see improvement much more quickly and easily as they build their skill without the worry of jolting recoil.


Limbsaver pads are designed to specifically fit a wide variety of rifles, shotguns and muzzleloaders, so that you can use the same rifle/shotgun that you have without adding additional length of a slip-on pad. These recoil pads incorporate anti-muzzle jump technology and can reduce up to 70% of felt recoil. They are easily installed in seconds and are built for all-weather conditions.

Limbsaver has become such a successful product that some manufacturers license their technology to come standard on their firearms. They are also available in slip-on and custom, grind-to-fit models.

Limbsaver pads can reduce up to 70% of felt recoil.