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How Early to Start a Kid Shooting?

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by puckhead, May 14, 2012.

  1. puckhead


    Feb 26, 2009
    The step kid will be 5 soon. What age did you guys start your kids with shooting?

    He know the difference between toys and real ones right now and we try and talk about things when we can.

    The dad sees him every now and then and he doesn't know what hun safety is. Loaded guns around the house, etc. So we would like to teach him before he gets taught wrong. Thanks guys!
  2. My son is 6.

    You saying your step kid's dad leaves loaded guns around the house?

    I guess the first lesson to learn is "Assume all guns are always loaded". Followed by don't point at anyone, and keep your finger off the trigger.

    With my son, since age 3, he's been allowed to handle different kinds of guns, as long as me or my wife is there. Any time he wants, he just has to ask. And we explain about the guns, how they work, what they shoot, what they might be used for. Stuff like that.

    And over and over again the basic safety rules.

    As for actually shooting, age 5 is about when he started on the BB guns, but not unsupervised. Always with eye protection. And I explain why the eye protection and how bullets and BBs can bounce back at your face.

    I'm thinking about maybe letting him shoot a .22 this Summer. He hasn't been asking, so no rush. But if time and maturity seem right, we will progress to that.

  3. phalanxr


    Oct 29, 2011
    I am not a parent so just personal experience here.

    I shot my first gun at 3, and my first ground hog at 3 in Penn.

    They held the rifle steady for me (Ruger), I looked through the scope and was told to put the cross on its head and pull back the trigger. Dead Ground hog.

    Been addicted to guns ever since.

  4. Bilbo Bagins

    Bilbo Bagins Slacked jawed

    Sep 16, 2008
    It really depends on the kid. Some kids are really unsafe and don't listen well, while some are very focused.

    My oldest daughter actually started later then my youngest daughter. My oldest has a touch of ADD and was a little too into guns, so I waited. My youngest wanted to shoot but she had a respectful fear of firearms, so she learned younger.

    I have one male cousin that was taught how to shoot when he was 6. He is 14 now and plans to join the Marines. However I have two nephews (12 and 10) that I will NEVER take to the range until they stop acting like morons. Those kids were unsafe with airsoft guns, yet their father is insisting the WE take them. :upeyes:
  5. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie

    Sep 6, 2001
    Age 4 or 5 for safety rules and helping clean guns, general discussions on hunting, safety, sport shooting, safety, etc. If kid can handle that level of responsibility, move on to a parental controlled BB gun for some backyard shooting challenge.

    Something I learned from Boy Scout Leadership training... at that age you have approx 1 minute of attention span per year of age. So a 5 year old has about 5 minutes before his/her attention begins to wonder. Keep that thought in mind when dealing with young people. (but don't treat them like kids unless they act like it... which they will)

    When my son was 6 or 7 and we were out in the desert plinking w/ my M1 carbine one day, he saw a jack rabbit and asked me to shoot it. We talked about it for a bit. "Why shoot it? To eat it? I only kill if I eat the things I shoot and I'm not planning to eat jack rabbit. I wanna see what your rife can do. It can kill a jack, trust me. Show me. Please."

    Lesson time? Bang. Dead rabbit w/ entrails strewn about a bit. We walked up the 30 yds or so to view results. He puked.

    "That's what rifles and handguns can do. Serious stuff. You understand?" Head nod. Maybe a tear.

    Lesson learned. He never did like hunting after that for some reason. Sad. But he is very safe around guns and a fair shot as a 29 year old.
  6. My dad stared me shooting a BB Gun at the age of 4. By 5 a single break pellet rifle. By 6 a Ruger 10.22 .22LR. I still shoot that same rifle today. At about 10 a Browning "Sweet" 16 gauge shotgun. At 14 I shot trap with my dad with a Browning 20 gauge and he taught me how to shoot a S&W 39-2 9mm handgun. At 16 a Browning 12 gauge dove hunting. The best memories I have of my dad are of him teaching me how to shoot, track, hunt, camp, and respect the outdoors and firearms. He passed last Christmas.

    Teach safety and respect with love and patients. You can develop the best times and memories parents and children can create. Good luck.
  7. WoodenPlank

    WoodenPlank Who?

    May 15, 2010
    NW Florida
    I started shooting at the age of 5. A friend of mine started his son around the same age, and 5 years later his son is making hits on 12" steel at 500 yards with a .308 Remington 700.
  8. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004

    I don't think the same age applies to every child when it comes to being responsible enough to handle a firearm safely. I'm not a parent, but it makes sense.
  9. I started with a .177 cal pellet gun when I was 6 or 7. And yes, once I did lose my privileges with that pellet gun for one whole month. But that drove home the lesson.

    My kids started with .22s at about 10 years old.
    Last edited: May 14, 2012
  10. travis34769


    Mar 12, 2007
    Mine got his first gun at eight months old.... A crickett .22 lr in blue. :)
  11. puckhead


    Feb 26, 2009
    Thanks for the great info guys! Really makes you think about things a bit. He already knows the difference between a real gun and a toy and will come tell me or mom if there is a gun around. Even if he happens to see mine if my shirt gets lifted up he asks why it isnt in the safe. I think we have a good start so far. Just need to to keep working on the rules!

    As for the dad having guns laying around, he did when they lived together, don't know about know . I just dont want him to teach the kid the wrong things.
  12. Steve in Az

    Steve in Az Glock 21

    Aug 12, 2000
    You can tell when your kid is focused or distracted easily. My first grand son started at 7, but he was focused and paid attention, we waited on his little brother until he was 10, because he was too easily distracted. Distraction and firearms don't mix. You'll know when the time is right.
  13. The answer is "when he is ready". He is ready when he wants to and is able. How would we know? Seems to me the boys mother and you should be asking/evaluating the boy.

    I always treated my children like they could do MORE than they have demonstrated. There is a good reason for this attitude. Because they CAN.

    There is no set age.
  14. How would we know? Because humans are similar.

    If you tell me your kid can count to 100 at age 5, I'll wonder if my kid can.

    But if nobody's kid can count to 100 until they are 18, then I won't expect my 5 year old to do it.

    Just serves as a vague reference point to know what other parents have seen with their kids. Something like that :)
  15. Just_plinking


    Jan 24, 2012
    I always wanted/asked for guns as a kid. I got a bb/pellet rifle when I was probably 8 or so. My parents gave me a .22 for Christmas when I was 10 (I think). It was one of those "A Christmas Story" scenarios where they implied I might have to wait 'till I was older.

    Anyhow, I got one, and the way they went about it impressed upon me the responsibility of treating guns with safety. They let me keep it in my room, and I never thought about putting rounds in it w/o explicit permission.

    I wouldn't argue against other opinions, but I think I would wait 'till I was sure that the kid really understood the seriousness of the responsibility associated with guns before I introduced them to shooting an actual gun.

    On the other hand, we lived in the suburbs, and my Dad had guns, but shooting/hunting wasn't a hobby for him. If you go out and shoot a lot, I can see the need to start earlier so that you don't have to wait to share your hobby with your kid.
  16. plouffedaddy


    Apr 1, 2011
    No crumb crunchers of my own yet but my nephew is 6 and there's no guns in his house (father is a felon) but his mother wanted him to learn about guns, gun safety, respecting firearms, ect... I've taken him out shooting 22s and he loves it. I have to temper his excitement to keep him from doing unsafe things (like finger in the trigger guard, ect...). He just loves guns and is a pretty decent shot too (must be the young eyes).
  17. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

    Jul 13, 2003
    First let me thank You for doing the right thing. Sorry to hear about his father. It seems like You may become his role model soon instead. Good luck. My daughter was very interested in the guns in general and we talked about them since she was 7 years old. I explained how they work, why are we using them, why do I carry one at work and all the safety rules as well. She's very small for her age, so I decided to wait till this year with her introduction to our favorite sport. Last year we started with some basic archery though. She's 9 now and still having a hard time to keep her .177 pellet lever action from Daisy on target. However she had a blast during her first shooting session (right behind our, new house). We are already planning for the next time. What a good time it was! Those memories will last a lifetime...just make sure to take the camera with You.

    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  18. MadMonkey

    MadMonkey Spershul Furces

    Aug 18, 2010
    My dad started me on a BB gun when I was about 4... progressed to a Browning Takedown .22 when I was a little older. I still own it today (I'm the 3rd generation owner). Still shoots like it was new :supergrin:

    My older brother is more of a hunter type while I prefer competition/combat style shooting, but we mix it up and are both pretty decent. My sisters never really got into shooting, but all four of us took the Hunter's Safety Course (I was too young but took the test just for fun and got the highest score in the class :rofl:).

    If I have kids one day, they'll be exposed to firearms at a very early age and safety training will start when they're old enough to understand.
  19. Nestor, how does she do while sitting at a bench?

    With my 6 yr old son, having him stand to shoot is asking too much. But when sitting down, and resting the gun steady at a bench, then he gets to learn how to align the iron sights up, and work on his trigger pull. And good accuracy.

    And of course the trigger on his Daisy is crap, and the ergonomics of trying to reach it with the lever in the way, is crap. But he at least is learning how to use the sights, without having to worry about the gun bouncing around.

    Just a thought :)
  20. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

    Jul 13, 2003
    Thanks! I may try that. I was providing some support up front by keeping the barrel on target while she's was working the sights, but bench is much better idea indeed.
    I agree - trigger is awful, but she's doing fine so far :wavey: