Passing the baton

In today’s world of technology, many people sit staring at their television for hours on end; young people in particular are increasingly immersed in video games and the virtual world. The groups of bored teenagers you see gathering outside shops and on street corners lack a positive source of recreation.

As the older generation, we need to provide them with an alternative to the sedentary life of computer games – and open their eyes to the beautiful countryside we have all around us. That’s where Pass It On comes in. We believe that, by teaching youngsters the fundamentals of safe and enjoyable air rifle shooting, they gain positive experience and learn important lessons about responsibility.

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THE INITIATIVE

One of our many aims at Pass It On (PIO) is to educate people about the use of air rifles in a safe, secure and knowledgeable environment. We believe that knowledge is power. If we teach kids, teenagers and adults how to enjoy air rifle shooting safely, then we are making a positive contribution to their lives, and spreading the word about responsible gun use. PIO’s educational scheme offers kids an alternative to sitting in the house, playing violent games on their computers; we think it’s more002_PassItOn Derbyshire important that youngsters learn the reality of a shooting a real gun, one which should never be turned on another person. And they must learn about both sides of air rifle shooting – the immensely rewarding satisfaction of a responsible attitude, and the dangers inherent in airgun misuse.

For years, air rifles have been used for pest control and sporting events around the world. We have target clubs up and down the country, and the humble air rifle even has a place in the Olympics. Nonetheless, we hear many people – largely through what they hear in the media – see airguns as ‘very dangerous’. To the people concerned, Pass It On poses one simple question: how can an inanimate object be dangerous?

After all, an air rifle only becomes dangerous when picked up and used irresponsibly. Through our educational programme, we aim to stamp out airgun misuse and hopefully demonstrate that, at its core, airgunning is a safe and exciting hobby.

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THE EVENT

The first Pass It On event in my neck of the woods was the Young Sports Derbyshire shoot, held at Duckmanton Primary School, and it was a great success. Team Wild came along to show their support and give some first-hand advice to the kids who attended. We also had Dean and Martin from DVS Chesterfield, who were fantastic in showing people the air rifles, and giving instructions on how to shoot on the range. With their help, the event ran smoothly, and kids and adults saw first hand that shooting is a serious sport – and also one that provides a great deal of entertainment within a safe, structured environment.

004_PassItOn DerbyshireThe sporting writer, Eddie Jones, came along to answer questions on all things hunting, and he brought along some hats, a rucksack and a gun case donated by Jack Pyke. We raffled these items off to some very satisfied customers, who were impressed by the realistic camouflage patterns on display. We also had a visit from Ferret Feet, an organisation that re-homes ferrets. They demonstrated some working ferrets, and let the kids walk them around the field. Though quite apprehensive to start with, once the young attendees had interacted with the animals, they soon became more confident and went away with a much greater understanding about the role ferrets play in country sports.

The air rifl es that we used at the event were kindly donated by Edgar Brothers, Armex and Brampton Gun Room of Chesterfield. Edgar Brothers sent us two Hatsan Striker 1000S rifles, and we found these spring-piston, synthetic-stocked guns to be very well engineered and a pleasure to shoot. We had one in .177 and one in .22 – and they were put to good use on the range. They were very accurate and easy to handle and cock, which was an ideal introduction for the younger kids.

Armex sent us a Colt 1911 Dark Ops .177 CO2 pistol, and a Buck Mark URX spring pistol in .177. The Colt is a truly fantastic gun, with a solid metal construction, adjustable sights and an eight-shot rotary mag. This was a hit with everyone, young and old, and got some great remarks when used on the range.

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The Buck Mark URX is a nice lightweight pistol, with an easy cocking action, and a pleasant feel in your palm, perfect for youngsters in fact. It features an auto safety and adjustable sights, with the added benefit of a scope rail, so it’s a brilliant pistol for target use too.

As for targets, we received a kind donation of spinning targets from Danny at Gr8fun Targets. They were a great addition to our range, and they certainly took a beating with hundreds of rounds shot at them. But, their 3mm high-grade steel construction ensured they didn’t falter. Gr8fun manufactures and builds all their targets here in the UK and we can’t recommend them enough.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the companies who made such kind donations to the Pass It On event. We’ll be re-using all the guns and targets in many future events – so they’ll be instrumental in teaching a new generation of shooters about the important part that airguns play in country sports.

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