Michigan 4-H launches air pistol program

Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports is starting a first ever air pistol program. Find out how to get involved.

The 4-H Shooting Sports program in Michigan is proudly going where it has never gone before. This fall will mark the first ever air pistol training workshop for volunteer leaders. This first training will be held at the Demmer Center Oct. 3-4, 2015. With completion of this training workshop, Michigan 4-H will begin its first ever air pistol shooting sports program with 4-H clubs at the county level.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has been preparing for this moment for nearly two years. The pistol program underwent a pilot program where three different 4-H clubs incorporated air pistol as a program on a trial basis. These three clubs implemented regular pistol training and shooting just like other shooting sports disciplines. Members of the three clubs then met for a tournament to gauge their skills and to have some fun. Assessment was made from participants and the leaders involved determined the strengths and shortcomings of an air pistol program.

The results have been positive and Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports is moving forward. Air pistol is a means of teaching gun safety, marksmanship and competition that is unique from other shooting sports disciplines. Pistols are handled differently than other firearms and present a new challenge for participants when shooting. An additional attraction of air pistol as a 4-H program is its affordability, easy storage and adaptability for shooting locations. Most ranges used by rifle can be modified to accommodate air pistol.                                                     

Air pistol is recognized and supported by 4-H National Shooting Sports. Approximately 30 other states have adopted air pistol in their shooting sports program. There is an accompanying curriculum and competition for air pistol at the National Shooting Sports Championships.

What hasn’t changed is the means of using shooting sports to teach life skills and character traits. The primary goal of shooting sports is all about youth development. Air pistol is another way to attract youth to the positive effects of shooting sports and the opportunities presented by being involved with 4-H.

Implementation of air pistol is another example of 4-H’s motto of “Learn by Doing.” Air pistol within the Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports program aims to be very popular and successful. It will likely be around for many years to come.

For information about Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports, contact me at 906-774-0363 or baumga75@anr.msu.edu

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