Taking children to the range and teaching them to shoot is something all parents take pride in. When it comes to personal protective equipment, however, one size does not fit all. Children have smaller bodies and are more sensitive to things that adults may take for granted, and this sensitivity can make or break their trip to the range. In this article, Doug shares his approach to personal protective equipment which ensures kids are comfortable while wearing their range gear.
It was nearly a year ago now, the day after Thanksgiving, when my son sent his first live round down range on my parent’s property. After months of firearms safety, handling, and dry firing, we gave my father the honors of walking his grandson through the first shot.
He was 4 years old…
From my childhood youth model bolt-action .22LR, under the coaching of his grandfather, my son sent his first round 25 yards down range striking a full can of Barbasol, sending it spinning into the air with an impressive foamy trail. The shooting continued as my son put rounds into soda cans, shaving cream cans, swinging steel targets and, of course, plenty of them missed the target going straight into the backstop. The day was cut short, however, because my son was complaining that his child-sized eye protection was hurting him under his ear protection. This was the beginning of what would become a real problem.
We belong to a private range about 5 minutes from our house and we’re fortunate enough to have a range that does not have an age requirement. In fact, at our range, children are not just tolerated… but are enthusiastically welcomed! More than once I’ve enjoyed watching my son walk up to the crusty old men with beards and ponytails who were shooting black powder and ask them to show him their rifles. In an instant, these rough looking old guys turned soft and the next thing I know my son is sending a .50 caliber round down range from a flintlock rifle surrounded by proud and smiling old men he just met. After a few minutes, however, my son would pull off his eye protection because it was hurting his head under his Peltor children’s ear muffs. He’d be done shooting for the day… not because he was actually finished shooting, but because he had reached his tolerance limit with his personal protective equipment.
With no idea what to do, I turned to my best friend…
I had a real problem on my hands – my son loved shooting but his eye protection was hurting his head enough that he didn’t want to shoot. As any good dad in my position would do, I turned to my best friend for help. I told Ben about the issue my son was having with this eye protection and asked if he had any recommendations… and, without hesitation, Ben said “SoundVision!” See, my friend Ben is a jack of all trades, and master of many including wood working and machining. He’s that classic annoying big brother who knows everything and is capable of doing just about anything. When he told me about SoundVision, he opened my eyes to something I would have never otherwise found.
SoundVision is a rather simple solution to a problem I never knew existed until my son had an issue with it. In short, it’s eye protection that is connected to the ear muffs with a Velcro® system on the outside of the plastic cups. The benefits come from the fact that it doesn’t break the seal for the ear protection preventing additional sound from reaching the ear and it doesn’t get pinched between the ear muffs and the shooter’s head causing discomfort. It fits both adults and children, meets all the standards for impact resistance, and allows my son to finally be comfortable on the range. This eye protection is so effective and comfortable that both Ben and I have adopted them for ourselves too, and I have purchased another couple sets for my wife and daughter for when she’s ready to shoot.
In sum, I can’t imagine a better option for a child’s eye protection than SoundVision. It allows for excellent eye protection while maintaining the sound-barrier seal, fits all shooters from the smallest to the largest, is a “no brainer” to add to your ear-pro, and it prevents discomfort for the young ones which allows more time on the range and more opportunity to teach this next generation of shooters.