New here, and would like to ask a question, particualry to those with (young) kids and to the professional instructors that hang their hats here.
At what age do you think it is best to introduce a child to the world of firearms and what's the best way (in your opinion) to not only introduce them to the dangers of firearms (so they learn to respect them and not treat them as toys) but to the world of shooting for fun (and if need be defense)
Obviously a trained instructor would be best (at least at first) to teach them shooting skills/safety on the range, but whats a good way to get started??? (I'll try and elaborate if need be, but I think you all get my drift)
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December 9, 2005, 06:37 PM
I'd say at about 10, they're ready to handle anything mentally. Realistically, I don't have a problem with letting an 8 year old shoot, if someone is watching them closely. It really depends on the kid, though.
December 9, 2005, 07:06 PM
I started to teach my children about guns as soon as they could get out of the crib on their own. No, not shooting, but about how to respect them, about the potential for danger when someone handles them (note I did not say they are inherently dangerous on their own). I started to teach my kids how to shoot at a fairly young age. I would guess at about 6 or 7 for my son. Maybe a bit older for my daughter, 9 -10 but not because she is a she; it was because she was older and I taught her first and I was a bit more hesitant the first time around. Of course you cans teach a younger child to shoot but I was comfortable with them at these ages. In NYS they need to be 12 at a public range.
As for your last observation, that: Obviously a trained instructor would be best (at least at first) to teach them shooting skills/safety on the range, but whats a good way to get started??? (I'll try and elaborate if need be, but I think you all get my drift) I disagree to some extent. I think the best person to start teaching a child how to shoot is a parent; of course the parent should be well versed in the firearms they are going to shoot, and the parent should also be well versed in firearms and range safety (well beyond the paltry 4 rules of firearms safety - I still believe there are quite a few more very important ones than just 4). Of course this would mean that the parent is trained but not necessarily as a certified firearms instructor. In NYS a parent can teach a child so long as the parent has a hunter safety certificate. How this ever got passed is beyond me with the hunter safety course that NYS uses - it has very little to do with how to instruct someone in the use of firearms. Yet is does somewhat teach firearms safety. The absolute best way to train a young child, let's say 7 or 8 would be with a parent and a certified firearms instructor present. The parent should be allowed to take an active part under the supervision of the certified instructor. Much as it would be if you use a public range that has range safety officers or instructors supervising the range.
A good way to begin would be to give your children a brief lecture about firearms and ask if they want to learn more. Keep it short and fun at first. Emphasize that whenever they want to see a gun, they need to ask you if it is ok and they only can see one if you are present. (Of course you need to be ready to show them a gun at any appropriate moment they ask. If the moment is not appropriate tell them so nicely in a manner more of asking them if they think it is the right time - most times if it is not the right time they will say it is not after a leading question or two from you. You must promise to show it to them later and then must do so at an appropriate time not too far off.) As you teach them, using a real UNLOADED fir rearm (make sure there is no ammo in the room and none in your child's pockets) as a prop in a safe place, you explain firearms safety to them. Tell them guns are not bad on their own, only bad or disrespectful people make them bad. By disrespect you need to explain you mean those who do not follow gun safety rules and who do not respect others and themselves (because guns used wrongly can maim or kill innocents). Have the child learn all the parts of a gun. et the child handle an unloaded gun.
See if the child learned gun safety the first time you hand him/her a gun. If the child takes a gun with the action closed, either they are not ready or you did not teach them correctly. See where the rigger finger is sitting; see where they point it, and so forth. Never assume just because one thing was right, or even because all of it was right the first time that the child will get it right each time. Children are easily distracted and prone to not paying attention due to shorter attention spans.
Stress over and over again that they never handle a firearm unless you give it to them and you are their to supervise them; the same thing goes for ammunition. Tell them to leave firearms alone if they find one in the house, to let you or your spouse know about it. The same goes at school or anywhere else; they have to tell an adult they have seen a gun and they must not touch it. They should also tell other kids not to touch it before seeking an adult. If they can, they should get any kids around the un to leave with them to immediately seek out an adult. (This can be tricky if for instance a little brother picks up a gun - and the call is ultimately yours as a parent when it comes to want you need to tell the older children about such a situation. You don't want your little one to handle it, and maybe you think the older one should take it away. My own personal opinion, it is best for the older child to try to stop the younger one verbally and if that fails looking for mom or dad, instead of them wrestling for it if it comes to that. AGAIN THIS IS MY OPINION.)
Once you think a child is fairly competent regarding knowledge and practical application of firearms safety you may want to go to a range for some fun with a .22 rifle of appropriate size. Size is important. if the rifle is way too big and heavy it will not be handled safely and or will not be as much fun as a properly sized rifle. A lot of this depends on the size and age of your child. I would recommend a bolt action single shot, or bolt action repeater that is box magazine fed - no tubular magazines for the first time shooter as a box magazine is much safer. Safer yet is the single shot rifle.
Before you shoot, introduce your child to the range officers. Have them give a couple minute pep talk. Arrange for them (arrange this ahead of time when your child does not know you are making the arrangements) to ask to see the child handle the weapon at the firing line, while at the same time the range officer gives you and the child a quick once over on the range rules. This will accomplish 2 things: the range officer will be quite happy to see that the child is aware of basic firearms safety and the child will get an uplifting compliment from the range officer. That will go a long way toward self confidence for your child. It will also go toward supporting all you have already taught your child.
The NRA may have some good training aids, give them a call and ask.
By the way, how old is the child in question?
December 9, 2005, 07:10 PM
I've found that the four rules are a good judge of whether they're ready or not.
If they can recite AND explain the reasoning/logic behind each rule, then they're probably ready.
A good Hunter Ed course is also a good way to start 'em off (again depending on their age/maturity level.)
December 9, 2005, 09:02 PM
If you are teaching somewhat young children about guns, I respectfully disagree that the four rules are enough. The 4 rules of fiorearms safety fall far short of the safety rules that they need to learn. The first and most important safety rule to teach a child is that they do not touch a gun without it being handed to them by their parent. Also if they find a gun anywhere, they should leave it alone, tell other children to come with them, and then find an adult and tell the adult about where the gun is located. This is the FIRST test to see if the rules are sinking in. You leave a gun, SEEMINGLY unattended for your child to find as you watch from a hiding place. What does the child do once he or she finds that gun? The answer should determine whether or not the child is ready to move on past that particular lesson. If the child fails this test, the child is absolutely not ready to commence any further with firearms instructions until you are convinced the child has actually learned it. (The same applied to ammunition, but if you test with a firearm or ammo make sure both are necer together during the test. In other words do it with an empty gun and if you do it with ammunition make sure no gun is present.)
After that the 4 rules are a strating point but are also far short of teaching them firearms safety as a prelude to shooting. Other rules should included:
Know how to use each gun you intend to fire.
Use only the correct ammo for the gun you are shooting.
Use proper eye and ear protection.
Learn how to care for your gun and then do so. (Taht should be a big part of telling how children handle a gun before ever shooting it - watch them clean it.) If a 7-9 year old can put together a castle made out of leggos by himself, or if he can put together a video game set like a PlayStation out of the box, then that same kid can safely disassemble and reassemble a bolt action 22 rifle after being shown how to do it by a parent who is familiar with the technique.
If there is a problem while firing don't turn around so the gun turns with you. Instead, open the action if you can, place the gun on the bench or the ground, and raise your hand. (Many adults may find this a musing or common sense in that you would not turn around dso the gun turns with you, yet I have seen people do this time and time again at ranges all over the country, even long time shooters. Just think of a fairly young child, he/she has a problem and wants to turn to mom or dad to ask for help. That gun swings right around, often far enough to be a threat to anyone else down the firing line.)
Teaching children is not necessarily like teaching adults. While you still have to tell adults the same thing, it does not often sink in as easily with children. Of course, some people say more than 4 rules is too much. That is pure bunk. Teaching them right a step at a time is the right thing even if there are 100 rules. They learn more than 4 rules in school everyday - more than 4 are not hard, but don't expect a new safe shooter overnight. I think this is one of the reasons the 10 or so gun safety rules were cut back to 4 - people want it and they want it yesterday, not even now is quick enough for most. Take it slower with guns. Learning to do something they like, especially something that requires a very high level of responsibility like shooting, should require they learn all the rules first. The reward is they get to shoot. I learned this way at a summer camp and it sank in pretty deep. I practice safe firearms handling and make sure my children do too. That way it is all the more fun later, less need to correct and more time for fun supervised shooting because they got it right from the beginning.
I am a stickler for safety when it comes to guns. I admit to a negligent discharge before and one that was accidental (yes there is a difference). These were discussed in these forums somewhere esle before, so I will not go into them here. My children have never had one in quite a few years of shooting. I can only hope my training of them was good enough and that neither one of them ever will have one.
All the best,
December 9, 2005, 10:00 PM
Sorry about the brevity of my earlier post. Call it a drive-by posting. :D But I do agree with everything that you posted.
My son is five. He can recite and explain the four rules. In our family, there is also Rule Zero - You don't touch a gun unless Mom or Dad says that you can. He knows the Eddie the Eagle program and has been tested at our home, with an empty gun, with the firing pin removed. In fact the first time we went to the range after he went thru the ETE program he proudly pointed out to me every gun there.....the ones on the benches, the ones on the tables, the ones in racks, and the ones people were holding and shooting. :rolleyes: He knows about eyes and ears, he knows the range rules. If you ever want the undivided attention of a kid, take them to a shooting range.
Anywho, when he shoots, I'm right there with him, as in I have my hands on the gun (right now it's just Rossi break-action, single shot .22 rifle). He/We shoot a few balloons or clay pigeons. Maybe 5-10 shots total. He does help me "clean" it, as in he wears rubber gloves and wipes down the stock and forearm with a clean, dry cloth while I clean the barrel. Mrs Scout and I don't think that he needs to be exposed to cleaning solvents and other chemicals just yet.
He probably has more fun when we go over to the trap/skeet fields as he gets to be trapper while we shoot and then hull scrounger once the guns get put away.
He's probably at least 2-3 years away from taking his Hunter Ed course, but does enjoy going "Hunting" with Dad. Meaning we go for a walk in the woods, Dad carries his bow (on the outside chance that we run across the dumbest deer in the world, which is completely near sighted, can't smell a thing, and just happens to be stone deaf :p ), and we point out various animal sign/items of interest: "Look Dad !!! Turkey scratchings and more deer poopie !!! Can we have our snack now ??"
If he shows a real interest later on, my club has a junior rifle program, a junior archery program and we are working on setting up a junior shotgun program.
December 9, 2005, 10:12 PM
I started teaching my kids gun safety as soon as they could understand what I was saying. At 5 I showed em just what a gun can do, by shooting milk jugs filled with water. A exploding jug demostrated the damage a gun can inflict. started on airsoft guns and all the rules. Now I let em shoot under strict supervision at ages 8 and 9. In fact just went out today to let my 8 yr. old shoot up a pumpkin we had left over from halloween. I plan on letting em shoot NRA junior competition if they decide they want to at age 12. As well as hunt with me.
December 9, 2005, 10:13 PM
Sounds like you are doing it right and no better way to do it when doing it with guns and our childen. Keep going for those walks. Who knows, that deer could be out there just waiting for the two of you.
We live in a petty urban area, no walking through the woods around here. Yet when we get away a few times a year, we get out there to see what we can see. I kind of hope we run across one like that next deer season when I take my son Brendan on his first deer hunt; he just turned 16 and can now go along with me. I was hopong he would want to go tomorrow, last day of the season, but it did not work out. Now I have to wait almost another year! The suspense is really driving me bonkers as to whether or not he will be better at it than me.
All the best,
December 9, 2005, 10:40 PM
I've got a six year old. I don't think he's ready to shoot yet, though we've had the "guns are very serious/four rules" talk a few times. Assigning an arbitrary numerical age is ok for an organization, but when it comes to dealing with an individual it's all about their skill/emotion/etc level.
My wife and I have the same discussion about racing; our racing organization has a "junior cart" program, and we come up with the same answer -- we talk with him about it, and continually assess his readiness. Kid's going to be a driver though, that's for sure (he's the one who will say "my mom raced when she was pregnant with me").
Scout26 -- I like your "rule zero", I'll use it like that.
All that said my grandfather taught me to shoot when I was four or early five, on an old Ithaca 49. I've still got that gun.
December 10, 2005, 01:13 AM
my 4 year old daughter has her own .22 rifle. she knows where to point it, that you don't touch the trigger unless you intend to fire it, you stay away from the muzzle, and you don't touch any gun unless you ask first, you keep it pointed either up, down, or at the target.
i let my 2 and 4 year olds handle my guns when they ask. it diminishes their curiosity. i have every confidence that if my kids go to someone else's house and another kid gets a gun out, my kids will immediately tell me and get out of the way of the barrel.
i think it more or less depends on the personality of the child. my 2 year old is going to be a little older than 4 before i introduce her to firing real shots. my 4 year old is very attentive, patient, and eager to learn. my 2 year old is just too much of a busy body. my 4 year old knows all the parts of a gun better than most of my friends and relatives. :cool:
December 10, 2005, 04:07 AM
Welcome to the forums.
Whenever a question about kids and guns comes to mind I search for the threads that Pax has participated in involving kids. Not because she's the only one worth listening to, but because you can bet if she chimes in there's plenty of other good advice there as well.
Teaching a child about firearms starts at the earliest age. They learn from you that the gun is not something to be taken lightly. They will follow your example.
As to teaching them to shoot, it all depends upon how much you know about firearms and shooting and how good a teacher you are with small children (which depends upon patience and attentiveness). If you're very knowledgable, but better with adolescents, then you might want to get someone who's more comfortable with 6, 8 or 10 year olds to get them started.
I have a two-year-old daughter that started shooting this year. From the previous posts I know that many might disagree with this decision.:eek:
I was born on a farm and was taught from a very early age to shoot. We still spend many weekends a year at another family ranch and shooting is something we all do as a family. Gun safety is always number one and my daughter and her cousins all know it.
My wife and I have done this because we believe that firearm education and exposure is the best way to prevent accidents. Educated and experienced people make less mistakes.
I know that this is an extremely personal issue and I do not urge anybody to start letting their children shoot earlier than they are comfortable.
December 10, 2005, 08:07 AM
I started my boy, 4 at the time, with guns when I got my first gun a couple of years ago. I introduced it to him by him helping me clean it, pulling the patch through the barrell while I held it, etc. I let him carefully hold the parts, and as I did so, went through the eddie eagle procedure until he had it down. (i.e. if you see a gun, don't touch, leave the area, tell mommy daddy or an adult).
I also recommend "testing" this approach, by leaving a completely safed handgun lying around and see if the child, unsupervised, actually does leave it alone and come tell you about it. If the don't, time for more education.
Being a boy, he was very curious about guns so when I started collecting more rifles and handguns, he naturally wanted to hold them. I made him memorize the four rules ( he was 5 by now). He was able to handle handguns then, and I carefully watched him to make sure that as he handled them, he followed the 4 rules. I designated a "safe area" that he could point the muzzle, and he got instantly corrected when he violated any one of the rules.
I also asked him a lot of "why" questions about the rules until he seemed to be able to correlate them. Later on I took him to my range and I held the rifle while he pulled the trigger, which he liked, but isn't really shooting.
He's six now, I think I'll take him to the local gravel pit in the spring to shoot.
The Girl, now 3, is not so interested yet, but she's still pretty young.
December 10, 2005, 02:03 PM
To all of you who have replied so far, thanks!
Glenn, very detailed response thanks, it was a good read and exactly the type of response I was hoping to see, to answer your question, the child in question doesn't (for us) yet exist but is (for lack of a better term) planed on in the semi-near future. However in my mind I guess I was thinking around the age of 5 or so as being apropriate (at least to the actual shooting aspect, safety sooner), obiously depending on the child.
hso, thank's to you as well for the links to the other threads, there was some good reading in them as well.
(One) of my reasons for this thread is because Im looking to get a head start on things, as while it has been a long time interest, Im basicly new to owning a firearm and new to shooting and find it interesting (and occasionaly even helpful!) to read/hear things experianced people have to say on the subject (what ever the subject may be).
Feel free to add to this thread (or point to other threads) as I'd like to hear more opinions on this
December 10, 2005, 02:34 PM
It depends on the maturity of the child. My dad taught me to shoot when I was about eight or nine. I was always a little afraid of my dad, though, since we was a a strict father. In fact, at 33 (he's now 82) I still have a healthy respect for him. We would go shooting, and I would not horse around.
At home, I would never touch a gun without his permission, in fact, having been thoroughly trained by the old guy, I never had any interest in sneaking a peek at a gun.
For me, eight was a good age. When I look at my twelve year old nephew, though, I think some people shouldn't be allowed near a gun until they are about fifty. He is just not mature enough to do anything.
He's a spoiled brat. Frankly, in writing this post, I think that a little discipline is a good thing in childcare. All of this touchy feely cr%p that they use on kids today is really bad. We are raising a generation of hedonists. Well, that's just my two cents.
December 10, 2005, 04:25 PM
has a very good post on this topic. Xaviarsbreath has another on his website.
Our youngest is 21, but if I had little'uns in the house, first would be, do not touch it, go get adult, and (stolen from pax) any time you want to touch a gun, just ask and I'll drop what I'm doing and we'll go see the guns.
December 10, 2005, 05:35 PM
Hi I'm a young shooter and my dad stands right behind me too make sure I do EVERYTHING right. I think I do fine though:rolleyes: !
December 10, 2005, 06:27 PM
My daughter got her CCW at 3:
Just kidding! :D
She got a BB gun for Christmas when she was 4:
At six, she's my official mag loader/bullet counter/go-fer:
When we go shooting, I set her up off to the side & she shoots her BB gun to her hearts content. She's got her own eyes & ears and needs little supervision.
She hasn't shot any of the 'real' guns yet, but another year or so she'll be ready for her own .22 rifle.
December 10, 2005, 06:40 PM
Start telling them about gun safety as soon as possible !!!!!
for me when my son could take the gun apart and put it back together and could tell me the rules I had been preaching to him , I let him have at it and he as enjoyed guns and shooting ever since (for him he was about 9) now almost 22 his first gun that he purchased with his money was A Colt AR15
Competition target model , I was so proud !!!!!!!!!!!
December 10, 2005, 07:13 PM
Here's another good thread on the same topic, which includes a poll about the right age to take kids shooting: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=168298
From my perspective, there are at least three (possibly four) separate issues and a wide difference between those issues.
Issue #1: "At what age do I begin teaching my child about gun safety?"
If you have guns in your house, you should begin introducing your child to the Eddie Eagle safety rules on or before the very day he is old enough to get into your stuff when you're not looking. This means very, very young children! If he is old enough to talk, he is old enough to learn to parrot the rules back to you and will shortly be old enough that you can require him to obey the rules.
If you do not have guns in your house, you should begin introducing your child to the Eddie Eagle safety rules on or before the very day he is old enough to get into other people's stuff at daycare, at the neighbor's when you're visiting them, or at a babysitter's house.
In other words: it makes no difference if you have firearms in your home or not. As long as anyone in your child's world might leave a gun where he can find it, your child needs to know these basic rules. And he needs to learn them as young as you can possibly manage to teach them to him.
At this stage, what kids need to know is
If I find a gun, STOP!
Don't Touch It.
Leave the Area.
Tell an Adult.
Step one is to get at least some of those words into the child's head. At first they won't understand but you've got to start somewhere. Along with that, you're going to explain stuff like who is an adult (does your child know that the teenage babysitter counts as an adult for this?), what to do if you're not sure it's a real gun (act like it is anyway), etc.
When the child has gotten just barely big enough to parrot the rules back to you, and when he* shows any interest in firearms at all, it's time to add the next step. We state it as a rule for the kids to learn, but it's more a rule for you. Here it is:
If I see a gun and I really, really want to touch, I STOP. I don't touch it myself. I leave the area and I ask an adult to show it to me.
The reason you add this rule is because you are going to defang your child's curiousity by allowing him to touch and then hold a firearm. You're going to do this in an absolutely safe manner, and you're going to do it over and over again until your child no longer thinks of touching the gun as an exciting, attractive, forbidden thing -- but just as an ordinary and rather humdrum thing that he can do under friendly adult supervision anytime he asks to do it.
1) Find a safe direction: an underground basement wall, a brick fireplace, a hill out behind your house if you live in a rural area. You need a place to point the gun that will absolutely stop a bullet. If you don't have or cannot make such a place, please don't do the rest of this ...
2) Unload your firearm. Make sure it's unloaded. Check it three times, by sight and touch, so you are absolutely sure that it is unloaded.
3) Lock the action open. Check again to make sure it's unloaded.
4) Hovering over your child, show him the firearm. Point out the safe direction that the gun must stay pointed in. Show him where the ammunition comes in & where the bullets come out. Tell him whatever he seems interested enough to absorb, and emphasize that the gun must stay pointed in the safe direction and only in the safe direction.
5) Check again that it's unloaded.
6) Then hand your child the firearm. Hover over him, within arm's reach, and keep 106% of your attention on his hands. Do not allow him to point the firearm any other direction other than the safe one, but do allow him to poke, push, or prod whatever buttons he's interested in.
7) Let him hold the firearm for as long as he's interested and a little longer, so he's slightly bored with it. Tell him he can handle it again whenever he asks, but that he must ask first! Make sure he knows that if he asks, the answer will always be yes, just as quickly as you can manage it -- and that you follow through on that promise.
8) Chant the Eddie Eagle rules together, including the last one, as you put the gun away and lock it up safely.
9) Expect your kid to ask to hold your gun every couple of hours for a day or two, then every couple days for a week or two, then every couple weeks for a long time thereafter. Follow through on your promises and always reinforce the safety rules when you do.
Issue #2: "When is my child old enough to go to the range with me?"
This is a variable, but if the child isn't old enough to really understand what's going on, there's no benefit to balance the risk from noise & lead exposure.
Additionally, your child needs to be obedient enough that he won't grab things he shouldn't, wander around when told to stay behind the yellow line, or pester other shooters.
Issue #3: "When is my child old enough to be taught to shoot?"
When your child is old enough to learn and intelligently follow the Four Universal Rules of Gun Safety, he is old enough to learn to shoot -- provided you yourself are ready and able to give him your absolute and undivided attention while he does so. That means that on the first outing (and perhaps for a long time afterward) you will do no shooting yourself. Your only job will be to hover over your new shooter and make sure he behaves safely.
Four Universal Rules:
1) All guns are always loaded.
2) Never point your gun at anything you do not want to shoot.
3) Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you have decided to shoot.
4) Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
If your child is too young to recite these rules and explain them, he is probably too young to benefit from a trip to the range.
Additionally, your child should have some respect for adult authority (will he STOP when you say "stop"? Are you sure?) and should be able to understand whatever range-specific rules that you will explain to him along the way -- stuff like, "stay behind the yellow line and don't touch anything on the bench for awhile." If you cannot trust your child to obey these simple instructions, he does not belong on the firing line.
For the first outing (and for many subsequent outings), you will want to
load only one round in the gun at a time.
hover constantly and never be outside of arm's reach so that you can grab and control the firearm if the child begins to do something dangerous.
keep your eyes and mind on your child's actions so that your child doesn't have the opportunity to do anything dangerous.
That's about it. I've see I've left out stuff like safety gear (never ever let your child on the range without ear plugs or muffs, wraparound eye protection, and a brimmed hat), and there's plenty more to be said about this very large subject. But I hope this has been at least a little helpful!
mom to five very active boys
* Yes, yes, I meant "he or she." Girls need to know this stuff too. I only used "he" because it's easier to type and because, dangit, all of mine are "he."
December 15, 2005, 03:57 AM
Great work at the range the other day...way to slay those targets! You're ready to advance to "steel pop" targets! Let's go shooting this weekend...my treat! You're going to love that "ping", "ping", "ping" sound each time you nail a steel target and it falls over. Then, shoot the far left target and they'll all stand back up to be knocked down again!
For anyone who does get the connection, I'll make it explicit. "LittleSureShot1994" is my daughter. Please welcome her here. She has been shooting for quite some time now and is the youngest female shooter at the indoor range we have membership at here in Michigan.
"Dad Dee" A.K.A. (Doc2005)
Yup, she's my LittleSureShot! :cool:
December 15, 2005, 07:10 AM
My son's firearm education started about 6 months ago. He's 4, and the first thing he learned was that he was NOT to touch any gun without Mom or Dad handing it to him. About three months ago, I bought him his first toy gun. Even though this really IS a toy, I use it to help teach him the four rules. He's not bad on muzzle discipline, but still not great. However, lapses in that are ok since it's a plastic toy (and no, I don't mean a Glock :neener: ). I figure I'll use his actions with the toy to gauge when he's ready to shoot.
When he is, then it's time to shop around for a .22 for him :D
I can't wait :D
December 15, 2005, 11:27 AM
Welcome to THR. :) I think it's cool that you shoot with your dad.
December 25, 2005, 02:09 AM
I started my first son off at 4 years old. He was very mature and could stay focused on the task at hand. I purchased a Chipmunk .22 for him because it had a decent trigger, unlike BB guns, and loaded it with 22 shorts. We shot together with him sitting in my lap from a shooting bench and then when he was 6 we attended a shooting club for kids at a local range where he shot while standing. About that time I got him a Daisy Buck BB gun.
Everytime we went shooting I had him recite to me the basic rules of guns safety even though I was right there all the time to make sure he did nothing wrong. I did the same with my second son.
Both of my boys, now 7 and 10, are good shots and very responsible with firearms. I remember when they were 4 and 7 we went with some friends to WalMart to pickup some fishing tackle. There were some BB guns, out of the box, sitting chained to the shelf. My friends kids, who were older than mine, ran over to them and started swinging them in all directions including mine. My boys looked over at me like "Dad, they are not following the rules".
I was proud of them that day.
I can not tell you when your child is ready to shoot but if you teach them the rules, and they can understand them, then I think you are well on your way.
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