Gifts for the shooting sports youth

Are you in need of a gift for that youth shooting sports enthusiast? Use these tips to be resourceful when making that perfect purchase.

Quivers are required pieces of equipment in 4-H Shooting Sports, and can make good gifts for the holidays.
Quivers are required pieces of equipment in 4-H Shooting Sports, and can make good gifts for the holidays.

Gift-giving this time of year can be challenging, frustrating, expensive and sometimes even meaningless. How often have you bought someone a present, but wasn’t quite sure it was the right gift? Or how many times have you received a gift you really didn’t like? Don’t let this be so for the shooting sports enthusiast! There are multiple gift ideas that are practical and reasonably priced.

4-H Shooting Sports is a great program that has some costs associated with it. Rifles, bows, arrows and more all have a price tag and range greatly in price. Like most equipment, what you get is what you pay for. There are some exceptions and often the performance difference between high-end and moderately priced equipment isn’t that great. Be sure to take into account the level of participation your youth is involved with to help make your decision. Also, don’t ignore sales or second-hand equipment. The savings will be significant and the quality can still be very good.

Let’s start with the basics. 4-H Shooting Sports has requirements for equipment. Ear protection, safety glasses, quivers and arm guards are all required pieces of equipment. These are all relatively inexpensive pieces that can make a huge difference in performance. Also, it can’t hurt to have extras, so why not get another pair of glasses or some extra ear plugs? Don’t skimp on supplies that serve to protect participants; safety is very important.

Purchasing expensive guns or bows doesn’t need to be the norm. An expensive air rifle will not make you a better shot. I’ve seen some state champion shooters win with very basic equipment. Whatever you purchase, make sure it is in good working condition and fits the size/requirement of the youth participant and meets the intended use. The air rifle used at the Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports workshop is the Daisy Avanti Mentor 845. This is a very basic air rifle that is durable, accurate and easy to shoot. The Genesis Original is a popular bow used by many 4-H archery clubs that is easy and comfortable to shoot. Both are moderately priced.

Don’t overlook gifts that encourage time together. These can be passes to a local shooting range or sportsman’s club. These can be great bonding and family time, as well as an opportunity to sharpen those technical skills and accuracy. Also, consider as a gift taking a bow or gun into a sport shop for a tune-up or cleaning. The improved efficiency may greatly enhance accuracy, safety and enjoyment.

Above all, give the gift of time to spend with youth to help them develop their shooting skills. This will provide many memories as well as experience to strengthen youth abilities.

Keep the youth shooting sports enthusiast on your mind for gift-giving this year with gifts that can be enjoyed all year. Appropriately priced and youth matched equipment will make young shooters equally happy as other, more expensive items. Gifts that promote shooting sports have long-term impacts that support positive youth development and help create positive character traits.

Michigan State University Extension encourages participation in new experiences that are safe and expose youth to science involvement with 4-H science: Asking questions and discovering answers. Please contact me at for ideas on spending time outdoors with youth.

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to create a community excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). 4-H STEM programming seeks to increase science literacy, introducing youth to the experiential learning process that helps them to build problem-solving, critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Youth who participate in 4-H STEM are better equipped with critical life skills necessary for future success. To learn more about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth in STEM literacy programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Building Science Literacy and Future STEM Professionals.”

Did you find this article useful?