Teaching my son about guns...


April 17, 2008, 09:59 PM
My son will turn four next month and even though I have showed him my guns and the different parts (slide, barrel, magazine, cylinder, etc.) I have not yet allowed him to fire any of them. I had thought about buying him a single shot .22 rifle to start with or maybe a pellet gun, but I'm not sure yet. I have pretty much drilled into his head how dangerous guns are and that they have to be handled carefully. What do you think is a good age to let him take his first shot? And how old were some of you all when you took your first shot? I had my first pellet gun in primary school if I recall correctly...

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April 17, 2008, 10:04 PM
i teach my 9 year old, and have been for about the last year... i wish i had started him earlier but i didnt...

April 17, 2008, 10:26 PM
That's great to hear.

I had a BB/pellet gun at about 10. However, it's not like my dad was a gun owner or anything. He's extremely anti-gun. I can't remember exactly how I got that gun. I think my mom bought it and my dad thought it was toy. Depending on the kid, I'd be comfortable with slowly teaching a kid at 4 years old.

April 17, 2008, 10:30 PM
mekender- Have you let him shoot yet?

April 17, 2008, 10:36 PM
buy one of the daisy lever action bb guns. lots of fun, and the kids only four. this way nobody has to worry about recoil or anything.

April 17, 2008, 10:48 PM
I'd like to teach my future kid at age 7, in honor of how the spartans did it.

Larry Ashcraft
April 17, 2008, 10:58 PM
My opinion, somewhere around age eight. At four they really don't realize the danger yet. (And I've had some pretty smart kids, with three kids and nine grandkids.)

My son pretty much grew up on a range, when we were shooting IHMSA silhouette, and he knew the safety rules as a toddler. Still, he got his first gun on his 8th birthday. A Chipmunk, and he gave himself a blister shooting it that first time.

He's 30 now, and an accomplished hand with any gun, be it Sporting Clays, IPSC, or rifle shooting.

Don't push it.

April 17, 2008, 10:59 PM
hockeybum~It's funny you mentioned that! I still have my daisy lever action bb rifle from all those years ago! I had forgotten all about it and you just reminded me! I haven't shot that thing in over a decade and I'm still what many on here would consider young.:D

April 17, 2008, 11:01 PM
I agree with the "dont push it"

At age 4 I teach that guns are NEVER to be touched unless Im letting you. period.

I think around 8 is a good time to let them try it out and work on the hands on safety rules.

April 17, 2008, 11:03 PM
Larry - What did you get him for his 8th birthday? You think a BB gun would work now or would he need to get used to the noise and recoil of a real gun. Of course, I don't want to scare him off from shooting.

April 17, 2008, 11:14 PM
My boy got his CZ Scout at 6yrs old. I probably wouldn't start much earlier than that, but he was ready. He is 7yrs old in this pic.

April 17, 2008, 11:15 PM
My kids are 5 & 7. They have been handling my guns since age 3 or 4. Last summer I started teaching them on a pellet gun. 5 minutes at a time kept their interest. I stared teaching them reloading about a year and a half ago. Depriming and sizing mostly. Just enough to capture their interest. Any time they ask to see something I open the safe and teach them proper handling. The biggest thing I learned is they have a short attention span. 5 to 10 minutes often satisfies their desire. now they are developing a joy for my hobby and can both load start to finish on a progressive and single stage, as well as tell me gun safety, nomenclature and handle a pellet gun very well.

April 17, 2008, 11:23 PM
DWH and tbtrout - Neat. Very intelligent children that you both have. My daughter will be next up, but she will only be turning 1 next month. I have a long way to go I guess...

Larry Ashcraft
April 17, 2008, 11:25 PM
Larry - What did you get him for his 8th birthday?
A Chipmunk. He shot it until he had blisters. The kid has kept me pretty much ammo-poor since then. :D

BB guns; We started our grandsons (twins) at age 6, shooting targets off the porch. They'll be eight in a couple of weeks, and they've both shot 22 rifles and pistols.

Depends a lot on the kid. These two have open minds and take safety seriously. I've had 14 year olds at the range who scared me. These two don't.

And my son; if you are ever in a gunfight with him, hope he is on your side. :D

April 17, 2008, 11:28 PM
Larry - Cool. He's probably a better shot then I am. LOL!

April 17, 2008, 11:34 PM
yeah, he can out shoot me with the .22 rifle... he put about 350 rounds through a walther p22 the last time we went out to the range and is now begging me to get a .22 pistol

he doesnt like my 12ga... he didnt like my 9mm too much... but he did like shooting an AR...

course he laughed at me when i shot the 378 weatherby that my friend brought along...

go slow, start him on a .22 and dont ever make him sit around and watch you... once he gets bored, its time to pack it up... if you make it a bad experience for him, he will start to not like it...

April 17, 2008, 11:40 PM
Kids understand death, My girlfriends little brother is 3 and he understands the concept that Grandma is in heaven and she isn't coming back. That aside. I had to watch my dad shoot so that I could see all the safety quidelines in action before I was every able to shoot.

I also started out with the daisy red rider lever action

April 18, 2008, 12:01 AM
I started with a bb gun at 9 or so. My oldest son was just under 4 years old when he first shot a gun. He wanted to watch me shoot, and then asked to shoot (with help holding and aiming) my 22 revolver. Then he said he wanted to shoot the "big gun" (1911 in 45) I figured one shot and the recoil would scare him. I was wrong. Ended up shooting an entire mag with me helping him support the gun. Big smile on his face that I still remember.

He was always taught that he could only handle guns with my permission and supervision. Same rules applied to my other 3 kids. Never had any problems with any of them.

My oldest is now 23, owns more cool guns than I do and, like me, is a 4H shooting sports instructor teaching kids 8 and older the safe use of air pistols and 22 rifles. All my kids, daughter too, love to shoot.

Long story short, start them young, teach them to be safe and they will probably be hooked for life.

April 18, 2008, 02:17 AM
I appreciate the advice from everyone and the stories of your little ones. Hopefully this will be something the kids and I can enjoy for years to come as long as we don't ALLOW the "grabbers" to take away our rights, and with that, our traditions.

April 18, 2008, 02:33 AM
DISCLAIMER: I'm 22 with no kids.
I wish my dad had gotten me into shooting. He's not a gun owner, but very pro-2A.Dad is an ex-Marine, so I was expected to handle even my toy guns safely (at least don't point them at people) very young. I think this taught me that guns are to be respected, but they gotta be fun. :)
From my experience, I would teach him safety (don't touch...) until he asks to shoot. At that point, you know he's interested on his own. At that point, I'd get a pellet/BB gun. He'll get to pull the trigger and be satisfied for a while (he's doing the same thing as Daddy as far as he's concerned). Move on from there.
Again, I don't have kids, but I'm trying to speak AS a kid.
Good luck, and if nothing else, keep up the safety lessons.

April 18, 2008, 08:26 AM
Cel, my youngest nephew was given a red ryder bb gun for his 4th christmas. He is now 5 years old. He was taught gun safety by both my father and I. He knows that if nobody is around that the BB gun is to stay locked in the gunsafe. When he wants to shoot he can ask and we will open the safe for him, let him get his gun out and he is to lock the safe back. We take him in the yard and let him shoot at cans. He fully understands what happens at the end of a gun barrel, at first he didn't since he was only allowed to shoot paper targets hanging on the rack. Now that we allow him to shoot cans he can understand that there is something coming out of that barrel.

When he is shooting we make sure that he places the gun on safety before cocking it for the next shot and only removes the safety once his sights are on target.

When he is either tired of shooting or out of bb's (Normally the latter) he brings the gun back inside and wipes it down with a cloth and returns it to the safe.

He's a crack shot too. Three cans, three bb's and fifteen yards is his normal setup.

April 18, 2008, 08:32 AM
i started my son at age 4, but i only let him shoot, while i was holding the gun. but even with that, when the first shot fired, he had the HUGEST GRIN on his face that said it all. so i continue with that working our way to having him be able to hold and shoot on his own. we do now at 6 years of age, let him shoot 1 round at a time at a target. BUT , i have an old bb gun (it was mine as a kid) that i let him take when we go for walks in the woods. that really shows me how well he is doing. at this stage, he is pretty good about muzzle control for about 15 minutes, then his mind wanders, and i take the gun away from him. i CONSTANTLY tell him about keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. and when he makes a mistake, we stop, i tell him about it, what he did, and why i am taking the gun away from him. i WILL make him safe with a gun, or he will not own a gun. it is that simple. congratulations on teaching your son, teach him well. it may save someones life some day, and it may be your own!

April 18, 2008, 10:34 AM
My Twins are turning 7 this June. I bought them BB guns a couple of years ago, but never gave them. I'm planning on giving the BB guns this year. They will only be used under my direct supervision. The rest of the time, they will be locked up with my guns.

I figure if they do well with the BB guns, maybe I'll buy them .22s in another 1-2 years.

I think I was 8 the first time I got to shoot. I always wanted a BB gun, but my Dad said I didn't need one since we already had .22s. He saw no benefit to BB guns. I guess if we had a .30-30 he would have seen no benefit to a
.22. :rolleyes:

Sato Ord
April 18, 2008, 10:38 AM
I was five, and my big brother Jim is the one who taught me to shoot. Dad was bit busy working a full time job and running a 52 acre farm.

I started with a Remmington Nylon 66 that Jim had traded a bow for. I quickly moved on to a 30-30. By the time I was eight, and we had moved to the "burbs", I was firing everything we owned, including Jim's .44 magnum Super Blackhawk, and his Texas Magnum rifle.

I didn't get my own first gun until I was eight. It was a Daisey BB gun. It was lever action, but it wasn't one of these wimpy RedRiders you get at Wally World. The following year Jim gave me that same .22 I first started with.

I still have that Nylon 66, and I'm looking forward to taking my son out with that same .22 this weekend for his first time ever shooting a real rifle.

My son is eleven. He didn't mature and develop his sense of responsibility as soon as I did, so he didn't get his first BB gun until his tenth birthday. I have had to delay his further training with firearms because I live in the city, not on a 52 acre farm way outside of town.

Any time some one asks me about a good age to begin teaching a child about guns I say as soon as possible. Children under about four can't be expected to really understand the dangers, but they can be taught hands off (and I am a firm believer in keeping firearms out of reach of such young children).

Now, when should you start teaching your child to shoot? That's a whole 'nother question! You know your child and his maturity level a lot better than anyone else. Can he grasp the idea of gun safety? Can he be trusted to keep the muzzle down range? Does he, or she, (don't want to leave the girls out, they need to learn to shoot too), even have the strength to cock and hold the weapon? Can he/she understand about getting a sight picture, or will he/she simply point and shoot and develop bad habits that will have to be corrected later?

Think it over, and look at your child objectively. Most ranges require the child to at least be old enough to look over the top of the bench even if they don't post a specific age.

April 18, 2008, 12:03 PM
I say start 'em as early as possible.
I was 4 or 5. Started on a .410 shot gun with Dad doing most of the holding.
That said, all the guns were locked up till I was 12 or so.

April 18, 2008, 08:15 PM
Great advice and stories from all! :D

April 18, 2008, 08:30 PM
bought my little cousin a single shot 22 and started her at age 5 she is now 8 and she would shoot every minute of the day if she was allowed

mustang 22
April 19, 2008, 12:11 AM
I started my son off at the age of 4, he had not started kindergarten yet. I let him go to the range with me and afterward he would help me clean up. by the time he was 5 he could pretty much field strip every firearm in our house. There was no mystery to them and he was well versed in firearms safety. He started shooting at 5 1/2 with a single shot 22 and there has been no stopping him since. He is 24 now and one of the best riflemen I have ever seen. I gotta tell you, I am Proud!! :D

April 19, 2008, 05:27 AM
I started both my boys shooting around 5 years old. Started with a 22 single shot which they stayed on for a couple years until I bought them their own .22s. I let them decide what they wanted for their first .22. One chose a 10/22 ruger and the other wanted a pump.

My older boy is now 11 and is very good with his 10/22 but he prefers shooting my M4 now. My 7 year old is deadly with his pump .22 but has not really shown much interest in anything larger yet.

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