That is too young to be at the range...


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OH25shooter
November 15, 2004, 04:58 PM
At the local range I saw a dad come out of the pistol firing range with his FOUR year old son. He had ear protection on him and came to the counter to rent a 22 for the boy to shoot. The range officer said you had to be 10. But he still let him inside the enclosed pistol range. I was signing in and told the officer I did not want the pistol range and requested the rifle range. No way am I firing (along with atleast 4 others) a gun around a four year old boy. I'm sure others will disagree, but that's just too young to be around adults inside a six lane shooting range. I'm surprise insurance would allow for that, because recently all shooters had to stop using a holster due to insurance issues.

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rock jock
November 15, 2004, 05:11 PM
I agree. Kids at the age of four are simply too young to be expected to obey every command perfectly. It is not a matter of discipline; rather, it is due to the physical maturity of their mind. It is like asking a four yo to stand still for more than a few seconds. IMO, six or seven is the youngest that I would feel comfortable taking a child shooting.

mtnbkr
November 15, 2004, 05:13 PM
I agree. As much as I can't wait to take my daughter shooting, I wouldn't do it at 4yo. IMO, 5 is where you start with BB guns and the like. Maybe after a year or so as a responsible BB gun shooter, we could move up to 22lr...

Chris

Double Maduro
November 15, 2004, 05:37 PM
Keep in mind that every child is differant. I had my first bb gun at 4 and look how I turned out.

DM

Okiecruffler
November 15, 2004, 05:41 PM
My son was shooting at 4, but it was on my back porch, sitting between my legs, with my hands on the rifle at all times. Don't think I would take him to a range. He was a wormy little bugger.

rock jock
November 15, 2004, 05:45 PM
My son was shooting at 4, but it was on my back porch, sitting between my legs, with my hands on the rifle at all times. Don't think I would take him to a range. He was a wormy little bugger.
Exactly, Okie. I mean, you were essentially doing the shooting. Your son may have actually pulled the trigger, but his movements were never outside your control. A shooting range requires that each person on the line be responsible for their own behavior.

Henry Bowman
November 15, 2004, 05:47 PM
Keep in mind that every child is different. I had my first bb gun at 4 and look how I turned out.

DM -- that's the point! :neener:

Just kidding. I don't even know DM, but couldn't pass a set up like that. Anyway, I would take a mature 4 year old to shoot a bolt action .22 -- as long as I kept my hands on the gun at all times. That is, wrap my arms around the little one and basicly just let them aim and pull the trigger. My "aim" would assure that it at least impacted the backstop and stayed in a safe direction at all times. But I would do it when no one else was around, if possible, so as not to have distracting loud BOOMs from others going on.

You guys are being too judgmental. Anyway, it appears that the tike was only being allowed to watch. Give him/her a break!

Correia
November 15, 2004, 06:10 PM
None of you guys know the specificis of the situation. If the Dad was going to control the kid's gun in a safe manner, then there is no problem with letting a 4 year old shoot.

I'm the father of a 4 year old. She hasn't shot on her own of course, but there is nothing wrong with letting her watch as long as she is controlled in a manner that she doesn't go running down the berms or something.

pax
November 15, 2004, 06:53 PM
Seems to me the kid's parents are the ones who can and should decide what is safe or not safe. They know him considerably better than all the strangers talking about him on this thread.

I've known 2 year olds who could (and did!) sit through a two-hour church service with fewer wiggles than the adults around them. I've also known 10 year olds who couldn't sit still for 10 minutes at a stretch no matter what was on the TV. I've known 8 year olds I would trust with a loaded rifle and I've known 30 year olds I wouldn't trust with anything more deadly than chewing gum.

With good hearing protection, an attentive parent, and a reasonable ability to do what he's told, there's no reason to keep a kid that size off the range ... and plenty of reason to take him there.

pax

Before I got married, I had six theories about bringing up children. Now I have six children and no theories. -- John Wilmot

AK103K
November 15, 2004, 06:59 PM
Both our boys were shooting their own .22 Chipmunks at 4. They stood on a chair so they could shoot over the counter at our local indoor range. I never had any trouble with them behaving while waiting their turns either. One would shoot, one would wait his turn, sitting on a chair just behind us. I guess it depends on how you raise your kids. Our kids had their guns when they were born, and they were taught to handle their rifles as soon as they could hold them and were constantly drilled on the safety rules. By the time they fired their first live round, they had pulled the trigger on a snap cap thousands of times on the living room floor.
By the way, both my kids were shooting my MP5 by 5 years old, standing on that same chair, and had no trouble controlling the trigger in 2-3 round bursts or keeping all the rounds on the center of a silhouette target at 7 yards. They were actually better shooters with it at 7 than most adults who shot it, including "so called" combat vets. By the time they were 10, they had more trigger time on various SMG's than most adults have actually seen. You'd be amazed at what kids are capable of. But then again, your their programmer, so as my buddy always says "you plant potatoes, you get potatoes", so if your kids are knuckleheads, it aint their fault. :)

TrapperReady
November 15, 2004, 07:03 PM
When my oldest son was 5 1/2, he went pheasant hunting with me. When he turned 6, he got a Rogue Chipmunk .22lr. We go to the range occasionally, and he gets to shoot under very close supervision. I've even let his younger brother squeeze off a couple rounds, under even closer supervision.

As a parent of two young kids, I view it as an essential part of my job to teach my kids about safe and responsible firearm handling. You can only do so much by talking about a subject... at some point they need to see for themselves.

Pax makes a good point. My youngest son, at barely four years of age, is more responsible than some of the pre-teens in our neighborhood. My oldest son, at six years old is more responsible than some of my friends were in college.

Now, do I think it appropriate for someone to plunk a four year-old down with a .22, a box of ammo and a lane all to themselves? No way. However, to carefully monitor and assist the kid, while ensuring all safety rules are followed at all times is nothing but good.

JohnBT
November 15, 2004, 07:15 PM
A young child at a public range? When dad's shooting there's nobody assigned to jerk the kid out of the way when some yo-yo gets careless about where he's pointing his gun.

Around friends and relatives? Sure. I started that young, although I wish I'd had hearing protection.

John

Byron Quick
November 15, 2004, 07:16 PM
Depends on the child. A little girl of five once burned through a 32 round magazine in my full auto Uzi. I had the buttstock extended. We had already gone through the handling procedures and what she would do and what I would do. I knelt on the firing line holding the Uzi pointing to my right and downrange. She placed her hearing protection on and stepped up to the firing line. She snugged the buttstock next to her body with her right arm and grasped the pistol grip on my command...finger off the trigger. I held the forestock with my right hand until she got her grip on it. Still holding the forestock, I pulled the bolt back with my left hand. I then released the weapon's forestock but kept my hand cupped about a quarter of an inch under the forestock. My left hand was in a similar position under the front of the buttstock. I then gave her the command to fire. Shooting about four to six round bursts she ran through the magazine. Managed control fine. After the first burst, she was pulling the forestock down to try to manage muzzle climb.

The biggest danger that I saw that day? I was worried that her grin might decapitate her.

TrapperReady
November 15, 2004, 07:30 PM
A young child at a public range? When dad's shooting there's nobody assigned to jerk the kid out of the way when some yo-yo gets careless about where he's pointing his gun.


My solution to this has been simple. On days when the kid is shooting, unless my wife is also there to help keep an eye on things, I don't shoot. My job that day is to make sure my kid is safe, both in his actions and from the actions of others. That takes precedence to my desire to punch holes in targets.

Majic
November 15, 2004, 07:30 PM
You know your kid and act accordingly. Mine was 4 and although I was right there hovering over him to help he was learning to load and shoot his air rifle on his own. If you give them nothing to do they will get fiddegty, but they are interested and you assign them a task they will be right there watching every move.
Don't expect to much of the little ones, but also don't be surprised at how much you can underestimate them.

Sean85746
November 15, 2004, 07:55 PM
I my exceedingly humble opinion...4 is a great age to start a kid shooting. I started at four with a .22 rifle.

My daughter is 7 months old...and she will inhereit that rifle. The rifle is a Steven's single shot bolt action.

We will start there and as her skill and interest grows...she will inherit my first handgun, one that I got when I was 6. A Ruger Single Six 4 1/2" fixed sight revolver.

I grew up on an horse ranch with 300 acres, and it was just a given that coyotes and other varmints were to be dispatched with all due alacrity.

HOWEVER...I wouldn't bring a kid to an indoor range until they were at least 10. That way, I can give the child my 100% UNDIVIDED attention. I don't want to have to watch all the others and the kid too.

Let's face it...unless I have shot with you before and you have demonstrated unquestioned skill and safe gun handling habits...I just assume you are a novice and watch you like a hawk too. So, a kid and alleged novices are not a good combo...IMEHO.

'Nuff said

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
November 15, 2004, 08:24 PM
I dunno...my brother and I were shooting with dad out at the farm, mind you, at age 4ish and so.

Now granted, my brother's son is fixin' to be 9 in January...he got started at about 6 or so...just because he has the 'wiggles' a bit. He's all concentration when he's out with the 'big boys' now.

His daughters were shooting at 5ish, though.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Sistema1927
November 15, 2004, 08:27 PM
As has previously been stated, each child is different. I had my daughter shooting a 1908 Colt .380 at age 4. I didn't start her brother until much later, due to the fact that he didn't exhibit the maturity and required attention to commands that his sister did until much later.

My daughter is now a mother, and I intend to take my twin grandsons, who are 4 now, to the range within the next couple of years.

Parents and grandparents should be allowed to make these decisions without any interference from busy bodies.

anapex
November 15, 2004, 08:44 PM
My oldest just turned four and he's been out shooting already. A watchful eye and a gun they can handle is all that is really needed. Besides you gotta think of it this way. Would you rather start your kid out now and teach him yourself or would you rather him pick things up from movies, tvs, friends, or an anti-gunner?

Standing Wolf
November 15, 2004, 08:45 PM
I've seen four-year-old children shooting under very close parental supervision; I've also seen grown adults with little or no more sense than four-year-olds.

Little Loudmouth
November 15, 2004, 08:51 PM
I started at 6. Some people are different, though.

Redlg155
November 15, 2004, 09:28 PM
As a father of four children, I have no problems getting mine to behave regardless of the age. Discipline is instilled into a child at a very young age, so we can't categorically say that 4 is too young of an age.

However, I would hesitate to take mine to an indoor range. There is always the guy out there trying to burn through mags as fast as he can pull the trigger. Between his antics you deal with the guy shooting a 454 Casull. Not exactly a good environment for young shooters learning live fire basics.

Good Shooting
Red

artherd
November 15, 2004, 10:34 PM
All kids are different. I was talking in complete sentences before I was 18 months old, long before I started walking even.

Jesse308
November 15, 2004, 10:43 PM
I started shooting at four. As long as there is good parent supervision it shouldn't be a problem. I see people at the range all the time, who shouldn't be shooting period and they are old enough to purchase a firearm.

HEiST
November 15, 2004, 11:33 PM
Both our boys were shooting their own .22 Chipmunks at 4. They stood on a chair so they could shoot over the counter at our local indoor range. I never had any trouble with them behaving while waiting their turns either. One would shoot, one would wait his turn, sitting on a chair just behind us. I guess it depends on how you raise your kids. Our kids had their guns when they were born, and they were taught to handle their rifles as soon as they could hold them and were constantly drilled on the safety rules. By the time they fired their first live round, they had pulled the trigger on a snap cap thousands of times on the living room floor.
By the way, both my kids were shooting my MP5 by 5 years old, standing on that same chair, and had no trouble controlling the trigger in 2-3 round bursts or keeping all the rounds on the center of a silhouette target at 7 yards. They were actually better shooters with it at 7 than most adults who shot it, including "so called" combat vets. By the time they were 10, they had more trigger time on various SMG's than most adults have actually seen. You'd be amazed at what kids are capable of. But then again, your their programmer, so as my buddy always says "you plant potatoes, you get potatoes", so if your kids are knuckleheads, it aint their fault. :)

I'd feel deprived, except my dad left me with a cannon.

Your kids can shoot a SMG better than a 'combat vet', I can frag an Excursion from 500 yards away.

:)

Soap
November 16, 2004, 12:02 AM
I started shooting at age 4 with a Winchester 9422. My dad kept his hands on it at all times and from the little still frames that I can recall, I was having a wonderful time.

crawfish
November 16, 2004, 01:05 AM
I have a 16 yo granddaughter (gd) who would have to disagree with you in no uncertain terms. She started with my first hunting handgun a S/W657 when she was four. Loads were primer and wax bullet but she did everything she had to do and did it safely. She is now a hunter/shooter who looks forward to this time of year and hunting season.

Bad Words
November 16, 2004, 01:38 AM
I wouldn't trust a 4 year old to not know better than to run downrange. If the father is shooting (which is why he's there - his son isn't shooting per range rules), then who is watching the kid? I understand that children can be well behaved at 4, but I wouldn't bet my kid's life on his ability to stay in a safe spot while my attention is drawn to my target. I'd be worried about having my sights pointed downrange, then seeing a four year old pop up in front of the target next to mine. I don't think that's outside the realm of possibilities for any 4 year old, no matter how mature.

In a controlled situation, I would have no objections to a 4 year old firing a gun.

c_yeager
November 16, 2004, 03:53 AM
Shooting under supervision on private property is one thing. Having a kid on a crowded "hot" range is another. I personally wouldnt be comfortable shooting at an indoor range with a child that young around. If I had a nickel for every parent that "just knows how responsible their child is" but, suddenly finds that they cant controll them I would be a rich man. Now I am not saying that THIS four year old or YOUR four year is irresponsible I have no idea if they are or arent, and THE FIRING RANGE is not the place to do this research. If i am shooting on an indoor range I do not want to have to worry about someones kid getting underfoot. And I don't think that is unreasonable. A nice wide open rifle range with the kid behind a bench might be another story though.

Nightfa11
November 16, 2004, 10:23 AM
By the time they were 10, they had more trigger time on various SMG's than most adults have actually seen.


Ever considered adoption? (of a 37 year old, mind you :uhoh: :D )

Gunsnrovers
November 16, 2004, 11:03 AM
Too young to shoot? No. That depends on the child.

Too young for a public range? Yes. Too many variables. Too many strangers. Too many people you don't know who don't know you or your child.

rock jock
November 16, 2004, 12:47 PM
I have no problems getting mine to behave regardless of the age
I hope you are not seriously saying that your kids did exactly what you told them w/o having to be told twice when they were only two or three?

peteinct
November 16, 2004, 12:53 PM
Hi everybody, What about lead poisoning? I know children are more affected by some chemicals because they are still growing and developing. Lead is bad news and indoor ranges have lead in the smoke and dust kicked up from the floor. My blood lead levels were up from indoor shooting although I probably went more than the 4 year old.

pete

Gus Dddysgrl
November 16, 2004, 01:42 PM
I agree with the general trend here. Under proper supervision a 4 year old could shoot. It is not the age, but the mature respect of firearms (Notice I did not say maturity. My father would claim to be immature at times and he is much older. However he does have a mature respect for firearms.) that will allow a child to learn to shoot. This respect is instilles in the child. I do also agree that it is the parents fault in the way the child was/is raised. Also it seems a bit young to have the child there at 4 at the public indoor range.

I started shooting at like 19/20. I had shot before at my cousins house with my dad and bro(we lived in the city they had a nice large yard in the country). I wish dad had gotten into guns when I was younger so I could have been brought up with them.

Gus

CAS700850
November 16, 2004, 01:57 PM
I have a four year old, and without sounding too biased, he's a wonderful child. But he is a child, and tests his limits and/or acts impulsively as any child will do. That is why I haven't taken him to the dgolf driving range yet, much less the shooting range. I've seen the boy run towards the street after a runaway soccer ball. I've seen him reach out and touch a hot skillet without thinking. The horrors of his acting without thinking at the gun range are too much.

Plus, as has been pointed out, when I'm at the range I am appropriately focused on what I am doing, that being the safe handling and firing of my guns. I cannot properly divide my focus between that task and watching my son.

My plan at this point is to take him shooting when he's 8. THat's when I started.

St. Gunner
November 16, 2004, 02:15 PM
I guess I am a bad dad, my little one has been with me on the range since she was about two and a half. Our first range session I blew up a jug full of water to show her what could happen if she didn't listen. One of our next outings I shot a bobcat for her to see that bullets do take life. The range has been one of the few places she listens everytime, the first time.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=396

M67
November 16, 2004, 02:40 PM
My father started me at two-and-a-half. Grampa's yard, M1 carbine and .22 revolver, Dad held the gun or my hands to make sure of the safety. I can actually remember it, and date the memories, because that's the summer Dad turned the M1 in for a G3 (gov't property).

I don't remember when I first visited a range, but probably before my 4th birthday. That would have been a club range where the other shooters knew Dad, I guess that makes it different from a commercial range with strangers. I think the other shooters found it amusing to watch a four year old demonstrate safe gun handling. But I'm quite sure my Dad or someone he trusted kept a close eye on me at all times.

Full auto? I think I was 8 or 10 before I got to shoot a gun that was designed for it. But I'm probably one of the few to have experienced a P08 Luger go "full auto" on me (malfunction) - at the age of 3. :D

Seriously, a responsible four year old shouldn't be a problem, but it does of course help a lot if the father is responsible as well. Children are different, parents are different - and shooting ranges are different.

I think it is better for a child to learn safe gun handling at the earliest possible age, than it is to "learn" from Hollyweird and teenage friends...

cracked butt
November 16, 2004, 03:04 PM
Hi everybody, What about lead poisoning?

That would be my biggest concern also. I wouldn't take a kid to an indoor range.

I think its just fine to have a 4 YO shoot a .22 so long as the parent gives their undivided attention, and the kid is mature enough for it.

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