1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

When to let kids begin shooting?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by GoBrush, Nov 29, 2005.


What age should I let my child start shooting 22's?

  1. Prior to Age 10

    88 vote(s)
  2. Age 10

    13 vote(s)
  3. Age 11

    1 vote(s)
  4. Age 12

    5 vote(s)
  1. GoBrush

    GoBrush Member

    Nov 26, 2005
    The Good Ole USA
    I have 4 children ages 5, 8, 11, 14. I have taken the 11 and 14 year old to the range and they both love it. The 5 and 8 year old keep asking when they get to go. Like most parenting things I kind of answer my own question by how it feels with each child what level of maturity they are but wanted to see if any one has a guide they have used.


    of course I teach gun safety as soon as they can talk. When they see me cleaning my guns etc. take the opportunity to teach
  2. mindpilot

    mindpilot member

    Nov 6, 2005
    A Black Box
    7 yr

    let my son start this weekend at 7 with a A Mossberg Plinkster, liked it alot.
  3. gulogulo1970

    gulogulo1970 Active Member

    Jul 29, 2003
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I started mine at age 10, before that my son seemed to lack the focus to stay safe or learn safety at a level where I felt comfortable. Some mature quicker and some later.
  4. pax

    pax Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    Washington state
    Provided that you ...

    • give 100% of your attention to watching what they are doing and keeping them safe (that means no shooting for you this trip!), and you
    • don't allow them to load more than a single round at a time, and you
    • always hover closely enough that you can grab and control the gun if the child forgets the rules, and you
    • immediately pack up and go home if the child misbehaves, or at the very instant the child is tired of shooting (not giving second chances, not giving the kid an opportunity to become bored, whiny, and sneakily rebellious), and you
    • never forget, even for a deci-second, that your child is not an adult and does not have an adult's attention span, common sense, or ability to anticipate cause and effect
    ... then you should be able to take even a very young child to the range. Just don't let your eyeballs or your mind or most especially your hands get too far away from what they are doing.

    Last edited: Nov 29, 2005
  5. jefnvk

    jefnvk Senior Member

    Jun 3, 2004
    The Copper Country, Michigan
    As soon as they want to, and can safely handle a firearm.

    I was running around with a BB gun for as long as I can remember, started shooting .22's at probably 5. Never once had an accident.
  6. Preacherman

    Preacherman Elder

    Dec 20, 2002
    Louisiana, USA
    I don't think you can put an age restriction on this. Some kids are "adult" enough to shoot at 5 or 6 years old. On the other hand, I know adults of 40 or 50 who I think are far too childish to be allowed anywhere near weapons! :eek:
  7. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Participating Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    Took the nine year old grand daughter this wekend,her first time.She was great,paid very close attention and picked up on the safety aspect right away.She got the hang of it pretty quickly,and seemed to really enjoy herself.
    I'd say its' very individual,and a judgement call.
    whatever you do don't start a kid off on a man-sized gun.It just don't work well.
    I highly reccomend the larger,no huge,shoot n c targes for instant feedback.The g.daughter thought they were neat.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2005
  8. Twycross

    Twycross Member

    Jun 3, 2005
    FT Bragg, NC

    I think that of all of us, you are really the only one qualified to make the call. You and you alone know the maturity level of your kids.
  9. larryw

    larryw Participating Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Adding to pax's sage advice:

    As soon as they're able to safely handle an airgun; depends on the child (my son and daughter both started at 4).

    But wait until 6 for firearms, not because of maturity, but because prior to roughly six they're very (very) prone to hearing damage. Plugs and muffs aren't enough as the sound is transmitted through bones.
  10. TonkinTwentyMil

    TonkinTwentyMil Member

    Oct 29, 2004
    Way past High Noon.
    It all depends upon...

    1. The kid's maturity and discipline.

    2. The stability and discipline which the PARENTS maintain in the household.

    I got my 1st gun (.22 rifle) at age 9, but that was long ago when (a) many young boys did, and (b) society, schools, and teachers did not demonize weapons as is now the trendy thing to do. Accordingly, a parent must be prepared to overcome all this... in addition to teaching a thorough Safety agenda.
  11. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Home Of The First Capitol Of The Confederate State
  12. dakotasin

    dakotasin Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    i started my daughter out at 6. she thoroughly enjoys shooting 22's.

    my brother started his girls out at 10 and 12.
  13. Steamship Trooper

    Steamship Trooper New Member

    Sep 13, 2005
    I voted for "yonger than 10", but it DOES depend on the kid.

    Friend of mine got his son a Cricket when kid was seven. Fast forward a few years, and his eight year old daughter has no interest.

    Twin nieces, 5 years old. One LOVES to go shooting with Dad and Uncle, the other doesn't. Go figure.

    And there are folks well into physical maturity that I wouldn't allow near anything more dangerous than a Nerf football. A small one.

    Best answer is- "When they are ready"
  14. mainmech48

    mainmech48 Participating Member

    Jan 23, 2003
    Pax pretty much laid it out. My father started teaching me basic safety rules and proper handling with a cork gun (anyone else remember those?) when I was in kindergarten. He and a cousin of my mother's even took me along on hunts for quail and small game (in clement weather) up near Yreka, CA.

    A couple of practical things from my own experience that've worked out well over the years:

    The Four Rules are the first thing we cover. It is best made understood that these are Gospel. Deal with any lapse firmly, seriously, and at once. Make it known that a repeat will mean that the day is over, and follow through with the threat. Harsh as it may seem, it is necessary to instill that these are Absolutes.

    Whatever you choose to start them out with, make sure it's in proper proportion to their size. It makes everything else go a lot smoother and more quickly if they don't have to cope with machinery way too big for them. $150 for a Cricket, Savage "Cub" or the like is money well spent.

    Basic child-sized ear and eye protection is cheap and readily available. Get them, and always set a good example by using your own. Even if hearing protection isn't strictly necessary when using SV shorts or Colibris, it's good policy to get them into the habit of always using it.

    Reactive targets help provide the kind of positive feedback to proper execution that captures and holds their interest in the earliest stages. The old shooting galleries had the right idea, and it's a real pity that they've pretty much passed into history. Once they've gotten the message that they can hit a target when they do things right, they usually want to learn how to do it better. That makes the move to paper targets where the positive reinforcement is less dramatic easier.
  15. chiliedog

    chiliedog New Member

    Nov 13, 2005
    I would say start with a BB gun, or maybe even an air soft that you can do in the basement or garage at pop cans, pinwheels or domino's (my favorite) keep the sessions short and safe.
  16. stevelyn

    stevelyn Senior Member

    Mar 9, 2003
    Fairbanksan in Aleutian Hell
    When you think they're ready. Some kids will be ready earlier than others and some later. Age is mostly irelevant.
  17. scout26

    scout26 Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2003
    Illinois - The Deadbeat State
    My Daughter started at 8. Went to Hunt Safety Ed and her first Turkey hunt at 9.

    My son got a Rossi Combo (.22LR and .410) for his fifth birthday. He can recite and explain the Four Rules.
  18. Spot77

    Spot77 Senior Member

    Apr 1, 2003
    9 years old for my daughter.

    Holding a Marlin model 25 in .22lr was a bit tough for her at first, as was working the action on it. But after a few mags worth, she was gettingthe hang of it.

    Pax had great advice. I'll only add that it's important to NOT GET FRUSTRATED with a kid who isn't performing or handling the firearm well. Patience goes a long way towards keeping it fun for the kid. And fun is what keeps them interested.
  19. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    0 hrs east of TN
    Depends on the child and the adult supervision. My daughter is 7 and is fine, but I never take my attention away from her while she handles a rifle and she never handles the rifle without my attention on her.

    Pax's criteria are sound.
  20. MikeIsaj

    MikeIsaj Active Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    North of the City of Brotherly Love, West of The P
    Good advice from all here. My older son went shooting the first time at age nine. My youngest didn't start until he was twelve. He has some ADHD issues and did not have the self control and attentiveness to give me a good feeling about taking him. I may have been wrong because he is an excellent shooter and needs very little correction of safety. Focus and concentration has improved through shooting.

    You know your children best. I would recommend only one at a time. It is very hard to closely supervise more than one.

Share This Page