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View Full Version : How old were your kids when you took them shooting?


a1fabweld
04-12-2009, 12:00 PM
I'm having a debate with the wife about what age would be right to introduce our kids to target shooting. I plan on starting them off on airsoft, then pellet guns, then rimfire rifles. My friend's daughter has been shooting at the range with us since she was 7 years old & she is very responsible with the rules of firearms safety. I think I was about 8 or 9 when my dad took me out shooting a rimfire for the first time. I had been pestering him for years prior to that to take me shooting & I think he got tired of hearing it so he took me. I want to get some feedback from you guys who have kids that shoot. Thanks.

ddimick
04-12-2009, 12:22 PM
I don't recall exactly when my dad first took me shooting, but I was probably about six or seven. Started with a .22 single shot rolling block rimfire, very cool and unusual little rifle, and got my own Marlin at age 12.

I'll take my own daughter when she's old enough to physically handle a rifle and capable of listening to and following instruction. She'll probably learn on my Marlin, and one shot at a time will be loaded into the tube until some of the initial excitement wears off. I won't let her handle a handgun until she's fully proficient in safe handling and range rules, and I expect that will probably take a few years.

I don't agree on starting with airsoft, though. I don't want there to be even the slightest confusion about what is a toy and what is a firearm.

SJgunguy24
04-12-2009, 12:28 PM
I started teaching my son when he was 7. Thats when I learned how to shoot. It really depends on the kid and their maturity level.

jksupplyco
04-12-2009, 1:15 PM
I started teaching my son when he was 7. Thats when I learned how to shoot. It really depends on the kid and their maturity level.



+1 on that.. Teach them the 4 safety rules, and make sure they understand what they mean before you start..

U2BassAce
04-12-2009, 1:49 PM
My daughter was 10. She received her first rifle a pink Cricket. Also took a self defense handgun class with me 6 months later with my Kimber 22 Rimfire.

big al
04-12-2009, 2:12 PM
i started with a .22 airgun when i was 12, and it took a while before i got into the "real thing". took my daughter into her first session at ten with a 10/22.

angelocris
04-12-2009, 2:30 PM
It really depends on the kid and their maturity level. +1

It really depends on each indivdual child (by child, I mean adult too). Several things you should ask yourself before taking/teaching someone to shoot.

1. Does the person listen, or do you have to repeat yourself several times to that person when calling their name or asking them a question? (You should never have to tell someone to stop firing or lay a firearm down several times as somone can get hurt or worse)

2. Does the person easily get nervous/anxious? (You do not want to give a firearm to someone who gets nervous and easliy forgots their are holding a firearm - can cause harm to that person or yourself)

3. Can the person follow directions? (goes back to #1)

4. Do you feel the person is mature enough to handle a firearm?

5. Is the person competent and sane? (Make sure that you really know the person that you are taking/teaching. You may be their friend, brother, sister, father, mother or whatever you may be to that person, make sure they aren't depressed, under the influence, ETC, ETC...

And lastly...DO NOT force someone to handle a firearm, if they do not want to! Not all people can handle firearms and most people I know that do not like firearms are the ones who weren't taught properly about them. Some were forced to fire one (peer pressure) because the person teaching them was not patient enough and was the wrong person to teach them in the first place.

MolonLabe2008
04-12-2009, 2:30 PM
I started my daughter out with shooting a BB gun at the age of 5.

By 6 she was shooting a 22.

Now she is 14 and she shoots all of the following (22,9,40,44,45,223,7.62x39,410).

Start them young.

http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/ii129/MolonLabe2008/2008_04120015.jpg

http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/ii129/MolonLabe2008/2008_04120005.jpg

http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/ii129/MolonLabe2008/2008_04120008.jpg

nicoroshi
04-12-2009, 2:34 PM
Daughter was shooting the .177 pellet gun at 8 or 9, and I took her shooting the 5.56 Ar-15 at 10 (she could easily handle the 6.8SPC also). When the hands get a little bigger (I figure 12 or so) she'll be shooting the .45 ACP, and 9mm Glocks. I would take her now but her hands are not quite big enough for a firm (and proper) grip on them yet.

AngelDecoys
04-12-2009, 3:07 PM
While I don't have kids, one of my best friends started his little girl at 3 years old. He stands right over her. She's a regular at the free monthly kids shoot down at the Manteca Sportsmen. She got a pink OLL for her 5th birthday and honestly shoots better than most kids her same age. And no, I'm not exaggerating here.

As has been mentioned, it depends entirely on the child's maturity. If you're planning on being right there next to your child (with total super vision) you can start earlier. If not, i'd recommend the airsoft, bb gun route.

Personally were I a parent, I'd start later than my friend (6-8) but the beauty of being a parent is YOU get to decide when you think your child is responsible enough to handle it.

JHC
04-12-2009, 3:21 PM
My sons were about 6 and 8 when I started taking them with me to the forest range, they took to shooting well and didn't have much trouble with remembering the rules, the only drawback to taking a 6 year old shooting is how quickly they lose interest and want to go home. Personally I think 7 or 8 is a good age to start them but there are exceptions.

Now for my exception, we were camping and I took the family plinking with the .22s and we had our not quite two year old with us watching, I would have never considered even letting her try but she was all excited from watching the boys and the wife nudged me into letting her pull the trigger once, so I loaded up the single shot and let her try expecting her to end up scared and crying. She pulled the trigger and thought it was the most amusing thing ever, she took a few more shots even holding the rifle on her own with me supporting the butt.

Obviously at that age the rules are very hard to teach but she has been learning, shooting and even has her own rifle now. She's almost 5 and her interest continues to grow so I'm nurturing it.

Yeah, Yeah, I know, she should have glasses on, I've set a bad example by rarely wearing them but we are changing.

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f242/crash76/jules.jpg
http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f242/crash76/gunsncamping033.jpg
http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f242/crash76/campnshoot008.jpg

Mr. Beretta
04-12-2009, 3:26 PM
All three at age 12 learned on the 22 single shot Chipmonk which still have. I plan on teaching the grand kids with the same rifle at age 12 as well.:thumbsup:

SJgunguy24
04-12-2009, 3:41 PM
I need to get one of those pink crickets for my baby girl, she'll be 1 in two weeks. I know it's a bit early to go gun shopping for her but i'd rather have it now than try later.

I also want to get AK's and AR's for both of my kids.Who knows what will happen in the future.

jkast003
04-12-2009, 3:51 PM
My son was 10 when he started shooting. The only thing he has shot so far is my 10/22. He has been asking to shoot the handguns so I will probably take him some time this week during his spring break.

oddball
04-12-2009, 3:58 PM
My son was 8 years old when I started him on shooting .22LR rifles, maiinly out of concern for safety at home. He got hooked and took classes from an NRA certified instructor for almost 2 years. He is now 10 and can easily shoot better than I can. He still shoots mostly .22LR, but he loves shooting my ARs. :thumbsup:

Tillers_Rule
04-12-2009, 3:58 PM
I don't have any children, but I think the first time my dad took me shooting, I was 10 or 11.

ErikTheRed
04-12-2009, 6:14 PM
My dad put my brother and I through hunter's safety class when I was 9 or 10. We used to shoot his Remington bolt .22 and his Liberty S/A .22 revolver all the time, learning safe gun handling practices. By the time I was in my early teens, my dad bought both of us new Mossberg 500's for Christmas.

I'm now 36 with 3 daughters-- 15, 11, and 1 1/2 years old. Both of my older daughters enjoy shooting, my oldest prefers my handguns while my 11 yr old is quite the marksman with the 10/22. Last time out (just last weekend), the 11 yr old took a shot with the .40, but she isn't quite ready for that yet. They understand gun and range ettiquet, respect, and dangers, and so far they've made me very proud with their maturity regarding guns. I figure my youngest will be firing the .22 by age 5, just as my others did.

radio2
04-12-2009, 7:19 PM
Check out this thread http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=139390

a1fabweld
04-12-2009, 8:50 PM
Thanks for your thoughts guys! I agree that their maturity level plays the biggest role here to fully understand & practice firearm safety. It's still going to be a few years before they are ready to shoot even a rimfire. I have quite a variety of .22's for them. They each have a GSG-5 in the safe even though they don't know it yet. Just wanted to get an idea of the average age. Thanks again.

xnv733x
04-12-2009, 9:01 PM
i took my 5 yr old daughter out a few weeks ago and sat her on my lap with my savage 17 hmr she did great and had a lot of fun she was hitting a 24" target at 50 yds pretty consistantly she insisted on working the bolt and loading the magazine on her own she now asks if we can go every wknd she was very conscious of being safe more than i expected she would tell me everyshot she was on target and was ready to put her finger on the trigger

jrcarr2
04-12-2009, 10:07 PM
I'm not sure when my dad first taught my brother and I. I was probably around 6 or 7. Started with bb guns and my dad taking us to the city range. My dad started teaching my friends when I was in middle school. My daughter is only 1 year old right now, but ideally I'd like to start her off around the age of 6 or so; though, I can't guarantee that right now.

bluestaterebel
04-12-2009, 11:31 PM
starting the kids off on a bb rifle. they love it! 7 and 8 yrs will move on to a 10/22 soon although i am thinking bout getting a chipmunk or crickett

JayRuff
04-13-2009, 12:59 AM
haha, now that is too cute. I don't have any kids yet but I do have a little brother that is 15 months old, I am planning on teaching him gun safety early, I'd like to get him into shooting 22's first when he turns around 5, luckily my mom is very Pro-Gun, I'm not planning on having kids till I am in my late 30's, perhaps one day when I have kids maybe my little brother will take my kids shooting :thumbsup:

My sons were about 6 and 8 when I started taking them with me to the forest range, they took to shooting well and didn't have much trouble with remembering the rules, the only drawback to taking a 6 year old shooting is how quickly they lose interest and want to go home. Personally I think 7 or 8 is a good age to start them but there are exceptions.

Now for my exception, we were camping and I took the family plinking with the .22s and we had our not quite two year old with us watching, I would have never considered even letting her try but she was all excited from watching the boys and the wife nudged me into letting her pull the trigger once, so I loaded up the single shot and let her try expecting her to end up scared and crying. She pulled the trigger and thought it was the most amusing thing ever, she took a few more shots even holding the rifle on her own with me supporting the butt.

Obviously at that age the rules are very hard to teach but she has been learning, shooting and even has her own rifle now. She's almost 5 and her interest continues to grow so I'm nurturing it.

Yeah, Yeah, I know, she should have glasses on, I've set a bad example by rarely wearing them but we are changing.

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f242/crash76/jules.jpg
http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f242/crash76/gunsncamping033.jpg
http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f242/crash76/campnshoot008.jpg

jrcarr2
04-13-2009, 1:13 AM
starting the kids off on a bb rifle. they love it! 7 and 8 yrs will move on to a 10/22 soon although i am thinking bout getting a chipmunk or crickett

bb guns are a good way to start. I think my dad took us to the city range (actually ran by the city where I grew up) so we could get used to the range rules. Heck, I can still quote the range master.

jtippins
04-13-2009, 1:13 AM
All four of my kids shoot. The youngest was two :) Let them shoot a 10/22 Ruger to start.

Now they can all handle the Mini14, AR and Colt Delta Elite 10mm - None of them can fire a Glock or S&W double action yet... and they can't even hold up my Ruger 610 revolver.

Just started my 6 yr old on target shooting and sniping with a 22LR - gonna move him to a 243 in about 18 months or so... just got to get more range time. BTW - I was five when I got my first gun - 20 gauge savage arms single shot - dropped to the ground :)

kenjimatic
04-13-2009, 9:27 AM
My 4 year old son is very anxious about shooting, but I feel that he isn't ready to shoot a real gun yet. I have a 1911 air soft that I let him shoot in the backyard with me supervising. He is still too anxious so I'm not going to let him shoot my big boy toys yet. Probably in a couple more years I'll let him start shooting my AR with the 22lr conversion then my Sig with the 9mm conversion.

WyoDuner
04-13-2009, 11:52 AM
My son has been shooting with me since he was probably about 4. At 5 I got him a pellet pistol to teach him sight alignment and gun safety. I bought him his first real gun for his 7th birthday - a Beretta U22 NEOS pistol. My son is very mature for his age and very intelligent and has demonstrated a solid understanding of gun safety and proper handling.

He is now able to completely fend for himself when we are out shooting (desert shooting) loads his magazines, etc, etc. He is familiar with the operation of most of my weapons.

I do keep a VERY close eye on him though - he is still a kid and doesn't have the focus or attention span of an adult.

Clark_Kent_X
04-13-2009, 5:12 PM
dont have any kids but my old man got me a bb and pellet gun when i was 6 and started shooting real guns when i was about 10 or 11.

mala in se
04-13-2009, 5:21 PM
my son has been shooting pellets since 8. i started him w/ .22lr the beginniing of this year. i had bought a 10/22 late last year and gave it to him for his b-day last month as he just turned 10. he can quarter sized group at 25 yards.

i started shooting when i was 27...

i think i will start my daughter earlier though. will see...

DJBSR
04-13-2009, 5:46 PM
My son was 5, I had to shorten up a Red Rider BB gun but definitely started with safe gun handling basics.

Jonathan Doe
04-13-2009, 9:07 PM
I believe they were about 5. By 10 or 12, they were able to handle full auto firearms.

Gator Monroe
04-13-2009, 9:12 PM
My only daughter was 20 when she finally went out to shoot with me ...

Digital_Hate
04-13-2009, 9:29 PM
youngest was 4 and oldest at 5. bought them both cricketts