We learned today that Wisconsin just adjusted their hunting regulations to be the 35th US state without an age requirement to hunt. The topic got us thinking why we love the T/C Contender, G2 and Encore platforms for kids. Personally, my brothers and I all had access to and training on Chipmunk 22s when we were growing up. When it comes to kids and shooting in this country Chipmunks, similar modern Cricket rifles, and BB guns seem to be the most typical first-rifles. They aren't necessarily meant for hunting, but they're compact, light, made with youth-sized stocks, and don't kick the crap out of young shooters. That all means they're great for training.
These features are pretty much in line with why we love the T/C single shots for young and first-time shooters in general. The break-actions we specialize in offer great access to caliber/recoil build-up; start with a rimfire and build into a .223 or even .7-08 (or the hundred + other calibers we offer). So much of bad recoil and thereby bad experiences for newbies lies with how a gun fits! If a stock is dramatically too long you know the kid shooting (or even small adult) is going to not have proper cheek placement, is likely to have the stock under their arm, shoulder all contorted up into their neck, and little to no likelihood of hitting what they're "aiming" at. That is generally why we love making custom stocks for each shooter. When we make a stock fit someone's hand and shoulder, and cast it off so they can look down the sights or scope without strain it is immeasurable how much more comfort is found under recoil. A well-fitting gun makes for a better shooter. No question about it.
Of course, we pride ourselves on being able to fit anyone, but when it comes to kids it can be a tricky situation. First off: they grow like weeds and who wants to break the bank for a new custom stock every year or two? I can't blame anyone for not wanting that . . . especially if they only have one kid instead of a hand-me-down situation about to take place. The ease of switching stocks, however, is another benefit to the T/C break-actions. Some shooters get around the length of pull/growth issue by bypassing rifles altogether and teaching kids or first-time shooters on pistols. Grips can be much more universal than the combination of features that go together to make a stock fit perfectly. Others bypass the expense of fully custom wood and laminate stocks by using the synthetics that are readily available and oh-so-easy to trim. We offer shortened synthetic stocks with butt pads reinstalled, or replaced as needed whenever requested.
Beyond the fit of the thing, we love working with something that simply makes you a better shooter. That's just how we feel about single shots around here. If you know you have a full magazine to back up your shot, how good a hunter do you need to be? How humane a kill will you take? Will that animal end up needlessly suffering as a result of running away from your bad shot placement? And how does that experience affect a new shooter? It's all related. People often don't even realize they rely on having a backup shot until they're "tested" by a single shot pistol or rifle. And when it comes to safety, having an exposed hammer that you don't pull back until you are ready and your gun is aimed down range is a great reassurance for inexperienced shooters. The Classic Contender and G2 models also feature a safety on their hammer, but the guarantee that the gun cannot fire when the hammer isn't back is a great thing to have when you're new to firearms.
If you're interested in discussing what options are available to adult and kid shooters alike, or are simply looking for suggestions on making a quality pistol or rifle work for the youth shooters in your life give us a call or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, enjoy some of our favorite youth shooter pics that we've received over the years. And remember that making that first shooting experience for a person of any age one that is as comfortable and as successful as possible makes all the difference in their future desire to shoot and their ability to do so safely!