Plinking can be a great way to introduce new and young shooters to the joys of the shooting sports. And, goodness knows, right now it would really be a good idea to introduce young shooters to the enjoyment of safe shooting sports. It’s a way to bring on the next generation and to reinforce the importance of the Second Amendment.
In any shooting session, but especially with young shooters, safety must always be the most important aspect of every trip to the range. Regardless of where we shoot, we should always make sure that the bullets will go into a suitable backstop. But we also need to be careful not to set a bad example by shooting at any sort of glass object or anything that is likely to cause a ricochet or injury to others.
Some of the best plinking targets consist of various biodegradable objects that do not cause a danger to others and can be absorbed back into the soil. Raiding the refrigerator for old fruits and vegetables provides a good source of targets—and they will splatter when hit, providing a bit more excitement for the kids. Letting the kids shoot some pieces of fruit with a .22 LR hollowpoint will reinforce the idea that their .22 is not a toy.
One of the best sources of targets that I have found for plinking are charcoal briquettes. I’ll scatter them out on the ground at various ranges. These make a nice gray “smoke” when hit with a .22 bullet and leave no doubt when the shot has been dead on.
Going online, parents can find all sorts of spinning targets that are suitable for plinking with rimfire firearms. And don’t forget the various zombie targets that the kids like, too. I have found that using plinking targets that do something when they are hit really helps keep the kids’ interest up and their attention focused on the task at hand. They learn safety and marksmanship much more quickly when the fun level is high.
Regardless of what kind of targets you use for plinking, be sure to clean things up before you leave the area. It is not good PR for the shooting sports if someone has to come along and clean up your mess. I have fun watching a group of parents taking their kids out for a day of plinking. It’s supposed to be about the kids, right? It nearly always ends up with the adults grabbing the guns and trying to outdo each other. It just naturally takes us all back to our childhood. But you really ought to remember to let the kids shoot, too—once in a while— it’s the right thing to do!