Shooting Lessons From Your Parents

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Marshall: How long have you been doing this?
Robin: My dad taught me how to shoot when I was a kid. Whenever I'm feeling lonely or depressed I just come here and it reminds me that...guns are fun.
How I Met Your Mother, "Where Were We?"

In Real Life, marksmanship and other martial skills are typically learned as an adult through military or police training. That doesn't have to be the case in fiction. If a character proves to be have Improbable Aiming Skills, their companions will assume that they gained these abilities through rigorous military discipline. Later in a flashback, however, it's shown that their skills were, in fact, simply a result of Dad taking them hunting as a child!

In a fictional environment where shooting is a useful skill, it is natural for a family member (nearly always a father or grandfather) to pass on their skills as a rite of passage to their child (almost always a son or grandson), who will then hone these abilities to a military-grade degree by the time they reach adulthood. This trope is widespread in The Western and settings with Proud Warrior Race Guys, but understandably less common in works set in modern, urban societies, where the ability to use a firearm is not a necessary part of day to day life.

May be used to humanize a Cold Sniper.

See also Military Brat.

Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Detective Conan movie "The Fourteenth Target", we find out that Shinichi was taught to shoot by his father during vacations to Hawaii, after he shoots Ran in the leg while she's held hostage by the villian
  • Lyrical Nanoha: Teana's older brother taught her how to shoot from a young age (up until he died). It plays a large role in her character arc in StrikerS.

    Comic Books 
  • In Brian Woods's Revolutionary War-set comic series Rebels, a young Seth Abbott is shown to have learned how to stealthily kill redcoats from his father, and continues to fight in the Vermont wilderness well into his twenties.
  • Tulip in Preacher was taught to shoot by her father. This was part of her father bringing her up to have stereotypically masculine talents, without actually challenging her gender, because he'd have preferred to have a son.
  • Thorgal: Thorgal tries to teach his children to fight so they can defend themselves during his frequent absences, though they have yet to reach his level (he once shot down another arrow midflight before it could hit a bird). Fortunately they all have powers to compensate for it.
  • The prequel comic for Mortal Kombat X implies this was the case for Jacqui Briggs after her and Cassie's ordeal through Outworld. With Jax giving her a handgun at the end and promising her how to use it.
  • In Robin when Tim gets a tranquilizer gun confiscated from his dorm room as a "riffle" Tim and Alfred use this to explain why Tim had it when Alfred poses as Tim's dad and rambles on amiably with the supervisor before agreeing to never send Tim another gun at school.

    Fan Works 
  • In From Bajor to the Black, we learn that Kanril Eleya's father Torvo, who lost an eye fighting in the Bajoran Resistance, had schooled both of his daughters in wilderness survival, which Eleya says came in handy during the Bajoran Militia's Hell Week (though she still had to quit early when she broke an ankle stepping in an animal burrow).
  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, Assassin sisters Johanna and Mariella Smith-Rhodes were both taught to shoot and swing a machete by their father, the formidable Barbarossa Smith-Rhodes. At the latest point on the timeline, an older Johanna is mother of three daughters. In a variation of this theme, she teaches all three how to shoot a crossbow accurately and how to swing a sword with intent. She considers this the absolute duty of a loving caring mother. While her oldest daughter is now a Witch and her youngest is keener on being artistically creative, the middle daughter is now following in Mummy's footsteps at the Guild of Assassins' School where she has the reputation, partly due to her mother's training, of being Little Miss Badass.

    Film 

    Literature 
  • Time Enough for Love. When Lazarus Long was ten years old, his grandfather Ira Johnson taught him how to shoot. The most important lesson he learned was to never trust anyone else's word about whether a gun was loaded or unloaded, but to always check it yourself. He says that that lesson - expanded to cover most situations - saved his life several times.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss and Gale both learned their archery and survival skills thanks to their fathers having taken them hunting when they were children, allowing Katniss to have an edge in the games that District 12 tributes rarely have.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Robin, whose dad Wanted A Son Instead, was taught by her father how to shoot when she was a kid. When Marshall is depressed from his break-up with Lily, she takes him to a shooting range to cheer him up.
  • Quantico: Shelby Wyatt quickly proves the best markswoman among the FBI trainees, being the heiress of a well-known hunter from Georgia.
  • The Big Bang Theory: In the episode "The Beta Test Initiative", Leonard takes Penny to a pistol-shooting range on a date, having discovered she was taught to shoot by the father who really wanted a boy. It is also possible Sheldon's father, or other significant male relative, attempted to teach him the indispensable rites-of-passage skills necessary to a young Texan.
  • One character in University Hospital was taught to shoot by her father.

    Music 
  • The Beyoncé song "Daddy Lessons" is a recounting of everything Beyonce learned from her father, including how to shoot.

    Video Games 

    Real Life 
  • Some Truth in Television: people from rural areas, being taught to hunt from a young age, are at least familiar with gun safety and maintenance. They don't automatically have all the skills necessary for warfare, but they have some advantage over someone who has no experience at all or has only handled handguns.

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