Too Young?


Yo Mama
February 25, 2009, 02:37 PM
I have a young daughter, who I want to be a much better shooter than I. I don't want to start her too young, as to scar her and frighten her, but want to ingrain in her the fundementals. Her mother thinks she is too young!

What age would you say is too young?

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February 25, 2009, 02:41 PM
I believe 7 or 8 is a good age to start, but don't force anyone to do something they don't want to.
Safety starts as soon as they can comprehend it.

February 25, 2009, 02:42 PM
How old is she? I started my boy shooting when he was six and will start my daughter at that age also. Firearms safety lessons for both of them started as young as four.

February 25, 2009, 02:47 PM
I'd say safety starts at 4 or 5. Actual shooting can begin with a BB guns and .22 at 7 or 8.

Move them up to the .500 S&W at age 9, and by age ten they should be able to handle the .700NE.

/Note: The second sentence is implied as humor.

February 25, 2009, 02:47 PM
i started my brother shooting as soon as i possibly could. without me holding the rifle, he started at 8. other than that i had him shooting bb guns and had my rifle taped to the stand for him at 6.

Duke of Doubt
February 25, 2009, 03:09 PM
Safety first, shooting second. At four, my daughter could name all the principal parts of a military bolt action rifle. She understood not to touch guns without my direct supervision, and how we always "check the chamber." No loaded guns were accessible to her, but I probably needn't have worried. She was nine before she got her Red Ryder BB gun, and she was ten before she shot one of my .22s. No hurry. I was ten before I shot a .22. I had toy guns which shot various things before then, but I forbade my daughter any toy guns. We shoot REAL guns.

February 25, 2009, 03:28 PM
Depends upon the child. We all know supposed "adults" we wouldn't want to be in the same county with if they were holding a firearm and we know "children" who are 5 that you could trust with anything.

So, it depends upon the child. If she's interested AND she's responsible AND she has the attention span and memory to remember the safety rules then she's "old enough". That usually doesn't combine until 6-8 years of age.

February 25, 2009, 07:49 PM
Both me and my sister were about 5yrs. That's when I'll shoot for w/ my girl. Good luck!

Hungry Seagull
February 25, 2009, 08:07 PM
I bawled and hid behind da's legs during a living history skirmish, all those guns going off. I was maybe 5.

At 6 I was smelling the gunpowder smoke and getting excited. But am very very very late to the gun shooting for myself.

I say about 9is or 10 is where the body gets really good and strong with sharp eyes of a owl with steady nerves with good regular feedings.

February 25, 2009, 08:22 PM
Yo Mama

My son got his first air rifle at the age of 7, his first .22 rifle at the age of 10, his first .22 pistol at 14, and his first 9mm. pistol at the age of 16.

My daughter got her first gun, a .22 target pistol, this past Christmas at the age of 13.

Kids have their own interests and timetables. When their ready, they'll let you know. Always emphasize safety and responsibility, and most everything else should fall into place.

Yo Mama
February 25, 2009, 08:28 PM
She's a toddler. Let me preface by saying I will be holding the gun and she will only pull the trigger. Extreme control over the situation. She does this with me already with an air rifle, and I figure she would love the .22.

My biggest concern is scaring her, and her not wanting to shoot for a while.

She already knows the difference between a revolver, pistol, and shotgun. She's just getting rifle down. Her favorite books are NRA magazines!

No joke, last night I asked her if she wanted to go shooting with Daddy. She said, "Yes"!
I said she needed to ask her mother. She turns over to mom and says as excited as can be, "Shotgun, Daddy!".

Will shooting with her this young even help make her a better shooter, or am I just "jumping the gun"?

February 25, 2009, 08:33 PM
toddler. Let me preface by saying I will be holding the gun and she will only pull the trigger. Extreme control over the situation.

That's pretty much how and when I got started. But as with anything, let her tell you when she's ready. If she wants to go shooting with you, take her along and leave when she's had enough (I know it's hard to do). The days that she wants to stay at home with mom, let her, and get your trigger time in then.


February 25, 2009, 09:28 PM
I started my son out with a single shot 22 (Henry Mini-Bolt) when he had just turned two. I did what you are talking about. I squated down and held the rifle while pointing it in a safe direction, he pulled the trigger.

He is now a little over six and shoots all of my 22's and 17 HMR's and has his own .243 that he has been shooting since last summer. I built him a scaled down shooting bench that he does pretty good with.

I should note that we do all of our shooting at home. I would not have started him near that early at a public range.

February 25, 2009, 09:31 PM
Oh, I forgot to add not to forget eye and ear protection. Smaller gear can be found here:

That, and keep it fun. Paper targets don't have much interest for kids. Reactive targets do much better once they get big enough to hit them.

Yo Mama
February 25, 2009, 10:19 PM
Ear plugs! I was going to see if they have small ear muffs! I can't wait to see them on her! :) I love being a dad.

February 27, 2009, 10:13 PM
I would say to start her off with a bb gun around 4-6 years old then if she likes shooting buy her a Davey Cricket .22

February 27, 2009, 10:35 PM
See this is what we need, more parents teaching the responsible and safe use of firearms to their kids! I'd say start her as soon as she's interested and able to hold the thing.

*EDIT: maybe you should look into getting her on of those pink rifles :)

February 27, 2009, 10:51 PM
HEY, I bought my 4 year old daughter a pink .22 for Christmas. What's wrong with a girl having a pink gun? It's a cricket, not a hello kitty, does that make a difference? I have no problem with her rifle being feminine, just because she's shooting guns doesn't mean she can't still be girlie. BTW she absolutely LOVES her pink rifle, and I wouldn't trade that for the world!

February 27, 2009, 10:58 PM
Get a BB gun, set up a plank on a couple of buckets and make it super-fun to knock those cans off of it. Safety is the constant lesson, Fun is the constant goal. Don't force it, don't base it on age. Big "bangs" too soon may not be what she wants. Let her wear daddy's favorite earmuffs while she watches daddy (from a comfortable distance) have fun shooting with a .22.

Take it slow, make it fun.



February 27, 2009, 11:10 PM
Oops, my pink rifle comment was meant to be sarcastic, my bad ;)

If a girl wants a pink rifle, I say more power to them!

February 27, 2009, 11:13 PM
small children can easily get scared by something simply by being around an adult they trust who is scared/nervous around that object. They are just like animals in that regard.

However you need to make guns a good integral part of things that fall under "normal' day to day things to do. IE clean your gun in the living room were they can watch and ask questions.
its extremely fun memory of mine. So is having my father hold a 22 or pellet gun up on his shoulder so i could look down the sights and shoot.
That is how you get the interest going.

However actually letting your kid sit on the range and shoot pie plates is different. Some social worker could have a field day with that if someone complained.

February 27, 2009, 11:59 PM
My son started shooting a bb gun at about 5 and a .22 at about 6. He took his first deer this year at 9.

March 1, 2009, 02:01 AM
Hey first of all... Its your daughter. Make sure shes interested, not just you. Im not big on advice but here is what I did. My daughter has always known what a gun is just as I did when I was young. But before I gave her a gun, I took her to a couple of shooting events and then made a big deal out of shopping for her very own small sized eye and ear protection. She picked what she wanted and... the muffs and lenses were HERS. She was almost four at the time and probably dont remember getting them but she was proud to put on her stuff just like daddy.
Then sure enuff she asked to shoot a gun when I was sighting in a muzzle loader. I was happy to oblige and loaded a cap only and let her try to sight and squeeze the trigger. When the "cap only" went off she was not happy. She wanted the noise too. So not wanting to scare her I loaded a small amount of powder and a sabot only. She shot, the gun went boom and smoke went everywhere like a muzzle loader did at that time. She was HOOKED. She absolutely loved it.
For her Fourth b-day we got her a davey cricket 22. It also was all "hers." She shot on occasion and I only stressed the safety issues at first, not shooting ability. For the next few years she got more interested, and became a better shot. Outgrowing the cricket, she now shoots a remington 597 she got for Christmas when she was nine. And it has a pink stock so daddy wont wanna shoot it. HAHA.
She took a hunter safety course by ten and is at least twice as proficient at gun safety than the guys that I Shoot around every weekend at matches.
She's my shooting partner and my huntin' buddy. :D

:oAnd this is from her..."Shoot like a Girl...If you think you can."

March 1, 2009, 02:10 AM
Here is a pic of my 4 yo at Christmas with her very own pink .22
Notice her finger placement, in general, good form for 4yo! The indoor range I shoot at has an age limit of 6, so she hasn't done any shooting with it yet(she has fired my marlin60 w/help), but cannot wait till the weather improves enough to go to our cabin.

March 1, 2009, 02:41 AM
Start her with something small. .22 maybe. I agree 7-10s a good range. Dont be handing her a 45 or a 30-06 or something though. That has bad idea all over it.
I tought my friends 5 y.o daughet to shoot with a .22 Walther. I would put 1 round in it and let her shoot. That way after she cant point it at you and shoot you :D

March 1, 2009, 12:48 PM
i started my daughter at 5 with a chipmunk 22 here is a video of her at 15 with a 9mm open pistol
she is starting to get the hang of it

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