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

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by OH25shooter, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. OH25shooter

    OH25shooter Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. rock jock

    rock jock Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Well-Known Member

    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...

  4. Double Maduro

    Double Maduro Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that every child is differant. I had my first bb gun at 4 and look how I turned out.

  5. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. rock jock

    rock jock Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

    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!
  8. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

    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.
  9. pax

    pax Well-Known Member

    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.


    Before I got married, I had six theories about bringing up children. Now I have six children and no theories. -- John Wilmot
  10. AK103K

    AK103K Well-Known Member

    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. :)
  11. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    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.

  13. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

    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.
  14. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. Majic

    Majic Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. Sean85746

    Sean85746 Well-Known Member

    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
  17. Sylvilagus Aquaticus

    Sylvilagus Aquaticus Well-Known Member

    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.

  18. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Well-Known Member

    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.
  19. anapex

    anapex Well-Known Member

    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?
  20. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    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.

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