Kids are strange and wonderful creatures that present adults with many challenges. I suppose the three basic challenges are keeping them safe, keeping them fed, and keeping them entertained. Kids are reckless eating machines with short attention spans. It is usually easy to get them interested in some activity: shooting for example. Keeping them interested can be a lot tougher.
Shooting at paper under the necessarily strict rules of most gun clubs and public ranges can get boring in a hurry, even for many adults. A great way to stoke kids' enthusiasm for the sport is to take them plinking. An accurate .22 handgun and a few tin cans will keep most youngsters entertained for hours and have them nagging to go again.
The most difficult aspect of putting together a tin can safari may be finding a safe place to shoot. Urban development and ever-sprawling suburbs have eaten up many of the places where casual shooting used to be commonplace. If you live in the West, there is plenty of public land and natural backstops where you can safely take the kids for an afternoon of shooting. In the East it may take more planning.
Perhaps you have relatives or friends who own a farm or other sizable acreage of open land. Maybe you do not know who owns a large tract of undeveloped land nearby but it might be worth finding out and asking permission to take your kids plinking there. With today's sue-happy society, they may understandably turn you down, but you won't know until you ask. It is surprising what most people will do to accommodate children.
It may be you have to drive some distance to find a suitable place. It is worth the effort. Make a day of it. Bring chairs and other items to make the outing more comfortable and, of course, plenty of food. Wherever you find to plink, do not shoot bottles or other things you cannot easily clean up when you finish.
The effort expended in taking your kids plinking will pay big dividends in the long run. Not only will you strengthen the bond between parent and child and make some memories, but you will also help strengthen your child's desire to shoot and get them through those fickle years when kids' tend to easily lose interest in all sorts of endeavors. Plinking will help keep them motivated.
Editor's Note: An article on a Ruger SP101 in .22 LR by Wayne VanZwoll appeared in the August issue of Guns & Ammo magazine, which is currently on newsstand. This article was inadvertently run as Ruger is not producing an SP101 in .22 LR at this time, and this model is not currently available for sale.. Guns & Ammo prematurely released this story; Ruger hopes to begin shipping this model by August 1, Ruger will make the official announcement.
Both Ruger and Guns & Ammo apologize for any confusion or inconvenience from the article being published.