Pay It Forward


IN my formative years, I was fortunate to have many wise mentors to show me the ropes and teach me some important life lessons.

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Austin Hansen, 11 years old, proudly displays the first 50 rounds of ammunition he reloaded by himself.

One of the earliest I remember came from my Grandpa, Peter Hansen. His motto was, “There can be excuses for many things, but bad manners is never one of them.” I have tried to live my life by that creed in both personal and professional encounters.

My Dad, Kenneth Hansen, taught me more than I can begin to say: from mundane things such as how to start an irrigation pipe, to reminding me that only hits count when shooting a firearm, to what I should do if I were the first responder at the scene of a homicide, and virtually everything in between. I hope I’ve grown into half the man he was.

Fast-forward to the future and now it’s my turn—and yours as well.

With the country becoming more urbanized by the day, it’s not as easy as it once was to teach the younger generation about the shooting sports. Nevertheless, to my way of thinking, it is important to make the effort. The sooner a young boy or girl can get behind the trigger, the better. Mentoring a young person teaches them respect for firearms, safety and, most important of all, responsibility.

Teaching a young person goes beyond just the shooting itself. After the “fun” part is over, take some time and show them how to clean the gun they fired. Little things like carefully wiping off a blued barrel with a silicone cloth so fingerprints won’t turn into rust when the gun is in the safe will pay off in the long run.

When they are old enough, you can teach them other aspects of the shooting sports, such as reloading ammunition.  Recently my grandson took his first turn at the bench (under supervision, of course) in an attempt to duplicate the Black Hills Ammunition .243 Winchester loads he will use for deer hunting this year. Checking zero the next day at the range, the first round punched the one-inch dot on the target dead center. The grin on his face at shooting ammo he loaded was worth more than a truckload of factory ammo.

As the saying goes, pay it forward. You’ll find it’s well worth the effort.

Until next time, stay low and watch your back.

About Author

Denny Hansen

Denny Hansen served 13 years with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (AZ) including duties with patrol and SWAT He is an NRA and Arizona DPS certified Firearms Instructor and an NRA and JPFO life member. The graduate of numerous firearm and tactics courses, he has been the editor of S.W.A.T. since 1988.

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