Safe and Fun: Family Recreational Shooting

Tomorrow evening, Dec. 6, at 6:00, the Light Rifle Class League for winter family recreational shooting starts at the Kittitas Valley Rifle & Pistol Club range here in Ellensburg, Washington. The 16-week league happens at the range at 608 West 15th (immediately west of the city shops).

It still surprises me a bit that, no matter where or when I mention the this or any other family-oriented small-bore shooting league, someone has a story to tell about learning to shoot with an old .22 rifle and some adult family member – and a wonder about why we don’t all give ourselves that sort of fun anymore.

The way the world looks at firearms has changed – as we see pretty regularly. Yet, an innate sense of the need for people to learn to handle firearms safely – and with the pleasure so much of our population took from recreational shooting just a generation or so ago – still burns in parents and families. Maybe it’s true that every kid who learns to safely enjoy handling and shooting a simple firearm makes society’s future a bit more secure.

I regularly hear parents talking about wanting their youngsters to learn to be safe around all sorts of firearms. It’s nothing new, really. The last of the Hucklings and I were on one of Captain Don’s boats out of Westport a decade plus back, chasing sea bass – rockfish – on the Pacific Ocean. On the boat with us was a woman and her 12-year-old son. We were enjoying the fishing; her son and the Hucklings were nuts about it. Over sandwiches she explained that the boy’s father split when he was born, and she was determined that the boy grow up with what she called a “solid foundation for life.” The men she most admired – solid and balanced in their lives – fished and hunted and cooked what they harvested. As a city girl, she said, she hadn’t had much of that, but determined that her son would, and enrolled every mentor she thought worthy. He had done a bit of .22 shooting with a friend and his wife, and she was now looking for an organized, regular target shooting opportunity, so he could grow up “relaxed and safe around all the guns that surround us these days.”

There were not as many of those organized ranges as she expected, but I heard she found the kid a shooting home. I’m guessing she got her boy reared to be one of those men she admired.

I don’t pretend that learning to shoot well and safely is the only way to a solid adulthood. I am certain, however, that every kid who has proper training in a fun and relaxed setting will be better able to deal with potential firearm problems down the road than one who hasn’t. Our good luck here in Paradise is that the Kittitas Valley Rifle & Pistol Club offers – in the midst of its competitive league activities – its family-centered Light Rifle Class League for winter shooting.

If you have a .22 or a good air rifle and want to involve your family in a winter-long program of inexpensive fun, instruction and good shooting, this is your opportunity. Come to the club’s HQ (608 West 15th Avenue) tomorrow and meet the range and those who operate it. If you can’t make it tomorrow, you will still be able to sign up for the winter league. I can assure you, based on a long history of shooting and countless conversations with other shooters, the training and shooting pleasure of this winter will still light your youngsters’ eyes a half dozen decades down the road. You will make a family memory that will never fade.

Here is an opportunity for you and your family to develop the skills, patience, discipline and confidence that family recreational shooting programs promise and deliver. It starts just in time to be one of the best Christmas gifts you will ever hand your household.

Hal Mason and other officers will tell you that KVRPC’s Light Rifle Class League is a “do your own thing night under a rangemaster’s watchful eye, and a lot of fun. We have swinger targets and paper targets, and at times we set up some steel critters. All in a warm safe environment. Cheap too.” The 16 week league program starts tomorrow. Bring your favorite .22 caliber rifle or .17 or larger air rifle (under 10 pounds) or even BB gun, ammo and a desire for safe fun. Everything else will be waiting for you; regulation 10-bull NRA targets, a modern heated range facility, the direction of a qualified range master and coaching as needed/desired.

One other family-related opportunity at the KVRPC range is the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting for Women class, taught by Marilyn Mason. No previous experience or NRA affiliation is needed to learn the skills and earn a course certificate. Reach Marilyn at 509-962-3002 or

The KVRPC range is at 608 W 15th in Ellensburg. Everyone who enjoys shooting light rifles is welcome to come, learn about, and take part in the 18-19 shooting season. Call Mel Goudge at 509-925-4285 or Hal Mason at 509-962-3002 for more details

This range and opportunity is for you and your family. This is for you to discover (or rediscover) the joy of safe recreational shooting and the deep pleasure of watching kids or grandkids develop skill and confidence as they punch little round holes in paper. This is for lifelong pleasure.

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized