Teaching kids to shoot


June 4, 2010, 04:58 PM
A few threads have touched on this subject, but I couldn't find any that hit it head-on. I was reading the thread about the boy accidentally killing his father in 2007, *original thread* (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=279992&page=2) and it occurred to me that many of us - me included - learned to shoot from our fathers or family rather than a trained instructor. I'll teach my own kids to shoot someday.

I thought that amongst us, we could write a kind of a primer on how to teach kids to shoot.

Please contribute and keep posts limited to direct advice.


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June 4, 2010, 04:59 PM
The Four cardinal rules:

1- All guns are always loaded (until you establish whether they are or not).

2- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. Keep your gun pointed in a safe direction at all times: on the range, at home, loading, or unloading.

3- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target (and you are ready to shoot).

4- Be sure of your target. Know what it is, what is in line with it and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you haven't positively identified.

June 4, 2010, 05:02 PM
My english teacher said that when he let his son fire his 9mm for the first time I believe, he fired rapid fire being a pre teen (the rush of firing) and it jammed and he immediatly pointed the gun at my teacher letting him know it jammed. Also that first shot can get some spinning around.

My first thoughts went back to my father teaching me to shoot a handgun. He used a S&W .357 revolver loaded with .38 special wadcutters. He loaded only one cartridge the first several times I shot, leaving the other chambers empty. He sat just behind me, where he could easily catch me if I started to muzzle sweep to either side.

Even after I had been shooting for years, he always stood close when I shot.

He advised me to do the same, in case someone less familiar with guns had a failure to fire or became careless.

In short, keep your eye on those around you when shooting.


June 4, 2010, 05:36 PM
My kids are trained with air rifle and air pistol by our club trainer.
In Belgium nobody under 16 is allowed at a firing range or is allowed to handle guns except air rifles.
Our range is airguns-only every Thursday and there is a certified trainer there to train our kids.
They learn Olympic style bullseye shooting, proper stance, breathing technique and trigger technique and most of all concentration and safety.

To realy ensure safety, at home, my kids are not allowed to point even toy guns at someone, so as to train a safety reflex and because they get to opportunity to fire real high-end end rifles and pistol, they seem to have no need at al to play with toy guns.

foto: kids at the range, the littlest one is my ten year old daughter, between her brothers ( she is the best shot by far, which really pisses them off)
guy in the black jacked is the trainer


June 4, 2010, 09:11 PM
I always teach the young shooters, There is no such thing as an unloaded gun.I feel if you have it in your mind that it is unloaded you will treat it differantly.

June 4, 2010, 09:45 PM
Well, I started this thread:
So this is a recent topic for me.

1) Expose them to firearms early
a)Explain what happens in cartoons is simply pretend. (done a long time ago, but I think it is important to mention)
2) Ensure they can repeat the 4 cardinal rules and demonstrate what they mean.
3) Practice with no ammunition at home. This is kind of train the way you play. I really found out at the range that the excitement of the first time shooting is pretty overwhelming. Gentle reminders regarding posture, grip, etc are much easier if they were practiced at home.

Most importantly: make it fun and age appropriate.

June 4, 2010, 10:13 PM
I thought that amongst us, we could write a kind of a primer on how to teach kids to shoot.

explain and demonstrate how the gun works.
safety - stress safety.
reactive targets.
frequent, fun, and short range sessions.
- frequent to continuosly reinforce (safety, form, technique)
- fun is kinda self explanatory
- short prevents fatigue and concentration and focus wander

June 5, 2010, 12:00 AM
Take time and teach your kids when its okay to handle a firearm. Start them out small nothing wrong with the red ryder. IMHO a semi-auto .22 is the wrong gun to train with. Also I feel that a lever gun or a single shot rifle is the wrong way to start. Kids can't lower the hammer safely on a single shot or a lever gun. Start them off with a bolt rifle loaded one shot at a time. Encourage accuracy not spray and pray. Reactive targets are great for this. Something as simple as a saltine cracker or an egg. When they start getting into a little bit bigger guns go with a watermelon or bag of flour. I started my kids off shooting clay pigeons propper up with a stick. Let them have fun but letting them dump 25 rounds as fast as they can does not promote good gun handling skills.

June 5, 2010, 12:37 AM
I'm about ready to start my grandson with the .22 Savage mod. 72. It looks like the Stevens Favorite. I just finished a shortened stock for it so the rifle fits him better. He is six so we will start slow and careful. We have a range at my dad's place. Good back stop and no distractions.

We plan to keep the time short.
...the distance close.
...the targets fun. Shoot and see targets
clays on cardboard backer
He is rather competitive, so his dad and I will shoot, too. With me shooting, he will see its OK to miss some....:D

My son has a spinner target. My bet is it will be just right for him.

Don't forget the safety gear. Glasses and ear protection! Adults,too!


June 5, 2010, 12:44 AM
Start with something small. I saw a video of a 14 YO kid "learning" to shoot. He looked sideways, closed his eyes, squeezed off a round of .40, and screamed like a girl. Then he rapid fired the rest. Not a good way to teach somone.

June 5, 2010, 02:19 AM
I taught my kids young the 4 rules,
cartoons are funny but not true-guns can be dangerous and people shot can die.
I stressed that this is a grown up thing to do and you have to act like a grown up when around guns.
They learned all of the key parts of the gun they were to shoot so corrections would be simple at the range by reminding them of what to do and when ( time consuming to explain bolt handle and trigger, trigger guard at range.. range time is $$$$ here)
Dry fire drills in basement ( how sights work, squeeze trigger etc)
Range trip went so smooth the guys next to us couldnt belive it was the first day out
Keep the trip short, weather, excitement, fatigue issures and attention spans do not tollerate longer trips.
Targets at closer distances are good for self esteem and build confidence plus a nice tight group is soo cool right?
help the young / new shooters have fun and develop confidence..
my 11yr daughter shoots my ak74, ar15, hk usp 40 and 1911 in 38 super so does my 13yr boy, as well as a selection of 22's.
Never lie to a beginer it destroys trust in you.

Mark K. C.
June 5, 2010, 05:11 AM
I started my 4 kids on a BB gun when they had turned 5 years old. The same rules applied to the BB gun as they do to any other weapon. Now they are all grown and some married with kids of their own and they still enjoy a family shooting day. My grandson is 2 years from his first BB gun. It is already in my safe.

June 6, 2010, 09:05 PM
Props to those that are teaching the next generations about firearms. Without you future voting could really be in jeopardy.

June 6, 2010, 11:28 PM
Yep, BB guns are the best for little kids to start with. Start with safety, and if there are mishaps (kids are like that) a BB is not very destructive. After they've demonstrated good handling and safety with that for a year or two, you can move them up to a higher-powered pellet gun or a .22. Let them shoot your centerfire or shotgun rounds with full supervision, but if they show proper form with the smaller calibers, you can usually leave them to themselves, and just keep an eye on them.

Harley Rider 55
June 7, 2010, 01:46 AM
BB guns aside, I shot a luger at age 6. I got my first .22 at age 9 and bought my first shotgun at age 11.

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