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mutiny5050
12-19-2011, 7:23 PM
I just finished ordering my ar-15. I got a spikes tactical lower , DPMS upper and accessories. My son is 8 years old and is a zombie killing expert. He is not stupid and knows dad is building a AR. My question to you is how old were you when you first shot a gun? and how old do you thing is the right age to shoot? Personally I want to take my buddies double barrel shot gun out and floor him and show him how powerful a gun really is. But I thing gun safety should be taught since I am starting to get into it. Any suggestions?

Aces and 8s
12-19-2011, 7:27 PM
Flooring him with a shotgun isn't the least bit entertaining or the right way to go. I've been around guns since I was 4 and was taught safety etc. Finally started shooting with bb and pelet guns around age 8 , then shot a .45 at age 12 and haven'tnt looked back.

InGrAM
12-19-2011, 7:30 PM
In utero...

I was just old enough to walk when I was taught about firearms safety and I was shooting them when I was about 4.

The younger the better.

Edit: You started your kid to late. Start NOW!!!

jm13690
12-19-2011, 7:31 PM
You should have already started on gun safety. Make sure you keep everything locked up. Now if you want to get your boy into shooting explain mechanics to him. He is at an age where he can hold a gun so it could be time to start thinking of a Red Ryder and when you think he's ready go to a cheap used 22. The most important thing is safety though. Especially since I know how cool ARs were when I was 8.

Flying Bones
12-19-2011, 7:32 PM
I started teaching an "adopted" nephew of mine when he was 7, right after his mom passed away. He started with a .22, then AR15. By 10 he was running a .45 and 12ga. Result: He is now exremely responsible and respectful of all weapons, handles them with more confidence than most, and most importantly acts more safely than most adults.

That said, all kids are different. There are some 12 years olds that I wouldn't hand an airsoft gun. As the adult, lives depend your judgement.

mutiny5050
12-19-2011, 7:34 PM
Thanks guys, I know big 5 has a killer deal on a bb gun. Looks like I mite go this route.

ScottB
12-19-2011, 7:40 PM
I was 6 - but was not allowed to carry around a loaded rifle til quite awhile later - think Barney Fife.

brando
12-19-2011, 7:43 PM
Same here - was 6 when I first shot a rifle. About a year later I got my first, a Rem 70 .22LR. I still have it :)

Icypu
12-19-2011, 7:45 PM
My dad never taught me about firearms and I had a negative perception about them until my my twenties. I think it is important to learn in a little before the teens.

NapaCountyShooter
12-19-2011, 7:50 PM
I was 7. Started teaching my son the fundamentals at about 5, live fire at 7.

Flying Bones
12-19-2011, 7:55 PM
LOL, after BB guns, my Grandpa taught me when I was 7 or so with a 38 special that we would put primers in cases with about 1/2" of candle wax that we shot at paper...lol, he didn't want me to kill him I guess.

MrPlink
12-19-2011, 7:58 PM
I was around maybe 6 or 7 first time I shot a gun. Started with a .22 then got to shoot the Hk91. I had to pretend to be macho and that didnt hurt like a mofo too :D

slick_711
12-19-2011, 7:59 PM
I got started at 4 1/2 with a single shot bolt action Remington .22LR. Always supervised until I was over 10, and was drilled on firearms safety and handling from the beginning. Start with a BB/pellet gun and the four rules of safe gun handling, then build from there.

Stick with the four rules though, and maybe one or two extra regarding your family and home/storage as you see fit. There are lots of groups or sites that advocate firearms safety but provide 10-12 rules for gun use. All this does is discourage kids and weigh them down, the four rules if properly followed will prevent any accidents and are easiest to remember and follow when not cluttered up with frilly BS.

The most important thing is that they understand guns are not toys, can be dangerous if misused, and need to be respected. Kids are curious. If they know you have guns and don't know anything about them, accidents will happen when you aren't home. If you teach them about guns, gun safety, and remove that curiosity, they will understand the gun is not a toy and they can use it when supervised but not to touch it otherwise.

The old "here try this shotgun so you can feel the power" thing is always a bad idea. It either scares them off guns entirely or starts them off with a horrible flinch and bad marksmanship skills.

RAFA
12-19-2011, 8:06 PM
Is this Mutiny5050 from Bikeguide? (I remember the name from your photos)

Either way I have a little cousin (6 years old) that we started out on a AR15/.22LR. He loves it and its fun taking him out and teaching him. I wouldn't doubt that he could handle more but this way is cheap and still exciting for him.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7018/6541634641_a0dbe7f57a.jpg

bill_k_lopez
12-19-2011, 8:08 PM
Age has nothing to do with it, maturity has everything to do with it. If your kid is able to follow directions and you can give him the safety basics first then take him to an indoor range and let him shoot some .22s first. I never understand how or why people think its funny to give a kid, or a first time shooter (or a woman) a hot loaded .44mag or 12 gauge with 00 buck magnum shells as their first gun so everyone can laugh at them when the recoil makes the gun smack them in the head or knocks them over.

I'm dieing to take my boys out shooting, but the youngest one is too little and the older one just isn't mature enough (I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old). I started around 5 with my dad, single shot .22 bolt action at the Long Beach Police pistol range (when it existed, and was open to the public).

tanakasan
12-19-2011, 8:32 PM
^^ LOL...I guess I grew up slow!

My dad got us BB guns, bow/arrows and slingshots around 6. Got my first .22 around 10. Wish i still had it.

I do have an old metal tool box of my dad's that I use as a range box. Good memories!

Robert

chesterthehero
12-19-2011, 8:33 PM
as soon as they show a interest and the maturity to handle a firearm.. rifles first then handguns.. theres no such thing as "too safe" when it comes to handing your kid a loaded firearm..

i got my red ryder when i was 5 or 6... had access to the safe by 10... i wasnt allowed in the safe without an adult but all i had to do was ask and whatever my stepdad was doing would be put on hold and he would show me whatever i was wanting to see..

icenix
12-19-2011, 8:36 PM
I think I was 12-13 I think. Not really sure. I got my first Rugger 10/22 when I was probably 13-14. Of course it remained locked up unless we went shooting, lol, but I still have it today and I love that gun. I ran it out last year for the first time in many many many years and I didn't touch the scope or anything and it was perfectly accurate still.

bomb_on_bus
12-19-2011, 8:46 PM
I grew up around guns. My dad did target shooting, reloading, shooting clays, duck hunting a couple decades before I came around. I grew up shooting then stopped for those awkward teenage years and then got back into it as a grown up. My dad taught me the safety around weapons first then took me out shooting everything he had based on my age and what I could handle. I was shooting everything well before I could drive and I remember him saying how dangerous cars were because every idiot on the road is behind a 2 ton chunk of speeding metal where as not every speeding idiot has a gun LOL.

IIRC I was around 7-8 when I went shooting for my first time I was still in diapers when I went with my dad to the range the first time under my moms supervision.

tujungatoes
12-19-2011, 8:50 PM
IMO age is much less important than being physically strong enough to handle the weapon, and mature enough use it safely. If your boy meets those criteria I say go for it.

JaeOne3345
12-19-2011, 9:00 PM
I started at around 8-9. My father noticed I was running around with toy guns thinking I was a bad ***. He and his best friend took me to the range, loaded a revolver with ONE single 357 round and made me pull the trigger. HOLY ****!

I have had absolute respect for firearms since.

"Now, what do you think of that stuff you see on TV?"

"Fake, Daddy."

I always had things like bows and pellet guns for gifts growing up. My father always took me to the range and let me clean/handle his pistol. Because of this, I never felt the need to sneak into the safe. He told me the safe code at around 10 years old. I can honestly say I never, ever, opened it without his consent, even when I could. We shot often so it wasn't a big deal.

If you expose your children early, it'll be like anything else, i.e. touching the stove, the iron, etc.

I was also shown pictures of gun shot wounds and victims from both of my uncles (LEO).

I knew it wasn't a joke.

Dark Sky Solutions
12-19-2011, 9:08 PM
I started shooting when I was about 11. I have taught my son about respect for the gun and the 4 safety rules since he was old enuff to talk. He knows he can always come and ask me to see the guns in the safe. He can pull them out check if they are clear and laydown behind them to practice his cheek well. This last summer he wanted to start shooting so i started him off with the pellet gun. He did well but not to excited about it. I just built a dedicated AR in .22 and took him to the range last weekend. He practiced everything I have taught hi and he did very well at the range. Once he got behind the trigger of the .22 he went thru about 700 rounds in an afternoon.

I have a feeling he is hooked now. By the way my son is 7 years old, I don't think it is ever to early to start them on the basic principles and respect for the weapons.

just my .02

bruce_ventura
12-19-2011, 9:33 PM
My 8 to daughter started shooting a Cricket .22 youth rifle last fall. I started her with a bow and arrow a couple of years ago, and waited until she asked to shoot a firearm. She is very mature for 8 and takes direction very well. Now we shoot together about twice a month. Her brother is 5 to and he gets a sling shot when the three of us go "shooting" at the ranch. When we go to the range, she burns through about 500 rounds in a morning. She is hooked.

BTW, like most women, she is right-handed and left eye dominant. She is training herself to shoot a rifle right-handed.

I highly recommend starting kids with a rifle that fits them, preferably a single shot. My daughter's rifle has a sling and she carries it in the field. I hope to start her hunting rabbits next weekend.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

jvpark
12-19-2011, 9:55 PM
I started my boys with a BB gun at 5 and made them give up "playing" with guns. I made it clear they could not shoot BB guns and "play" guns around the house. They gladly gave it up all their toy guns (including Nerf)- nd know the trade off is that if they ask me to shoot the BB gun I would have to say... "yes".

They are also in Scouting which also helps.


If you think your kid is mature at 5 or 6 you are only kidding yourself... Period.

Horta
12-19-2011, 10:36 PM
My dad gave me his old 22-pump rifle for my 10th birthday. Before that, I had lots of experience with BB guns. For me, the time was just right. I knew about gun safety and had enough maturity not to do something stupid. The main consideration should be the overall level of a sense of responsibility in the young person. For me, any age younger than 10 would not have been appropriate.

duggan
12-19-2011, 10:47 PM
My son(14) and my youngest daughter(12) had Ruger 10/22s by age 11, both were taught gun safety well before then. My boy has shot everything my dad and I own, my daughter isnt a fan of recoil so she sticks mainly to the .22s my ARs (5.56 & 6.8) and my dads M1 carbine. I'm trying to get her into the handgun world but she got slide bit when she was younger and I figure she'll come around eventually. They have both gone hunting with me and have seen the damage guns can do to living things and have had that fact beaten (figuratively of course) into them well before they fired their first shots. Never too early to teach them would be the short answer I guess lol.

LTP90
12-19-2011, 10:53 PM
My mom has always told me she knew I was going to be into guns at a very early age, because at 2 while sitting in my high chair I bit my toast into the shape of a gun and started "shooting" at things.
I don't actually know when I first went "shooting" for reals(probably between 4-6), I only got to shoot at grandpa's house and you always wanted to shoot, but never wanted to ask, but always did anyways, and was extra incentive to be good/help grandpa(that incentive is still there 20 years later haha). I was 14 before I got an actual firearm, an 870 shotgun for 8th grade graduation, even though I had been lusting after a 10/22 since I was 10(I finally bought one as a Christmas present to my self the year I turned 18). I didn't get my 870 though until I had proven to my parents that I was responsible and could finish all my chores and keep straight A's as per the requirements for me to get a gun.

blackrifle242
12-20-2011, 10:28 PM
I was 5 and had a .22 bolt. I was 11 when I shot my first handgun (.38). My daughter is almost 4 and learned the nomenclature of an AR at the age of 2. She has not shot anything yet but has helped me clean and do some minor gunsmith work. I'm hoping to start her out in about 6 months. Also I would NEVER put a firearm in someones hand that couldn't handle it. i.e a shotgun in a 8 year olds hands that has never fired a firearm.

osis32
12-20-2011, 11:03 PM
I started with bb guns silhouette shooting when I was 10. .22 when I was 12 then my dad got a 7mm mag. What a shock. Now I shoot ar pattern rifles.

HBchevelle68
12-20-2011, 11:45 PM
The sooner the better. Let him know that its a serious subject. And teach him about a lot of the false myths and sterotypes that come with guns. Its never to early to learn about weapon saftey!!

triplestack3
12-20-2011, 11:53 PM
I can't remember how old I was, but I started off with an old Daisy spring loaded BB gun. I think I might have been about 12 when I got my first rifle. It was a .22 bolt action Stevens 53C. I still have it :)

PsychGuy274
12-20-2011, 11:59 PM
I just finished ordering my ar-15. I got a spikes tactical lower , DPMS upper and accessories. My son is 8 years old and is a zombie killing expert. He is not stupid and knows dad is building a AR. My question to you is how old were you when you first shot a gun? and how old do you thing is the right age to shoot? Personally I want to take my buddies double barrel shot gun out and floor him and show him how powerful a gun really is. But I thing gun safety should be taught since I am starting to get into it. Any suggestions?

In my opinion the first thing you train kids for is firearm safety. Tech them to respect the gun and handle it properly. After that just let them pull off rounds and have fun - they're kids, they wanna have fun.

Rich2011
12-21-2011, 12:03 AM
I started in the scouts when I was 10. I say it's never too early to start.
Here's my 7 year old from our last trip to Raahauges a few weeks ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uafSIAGTQTw&context=C3adc2fcADOEgsToPDskL4t3ucPOJWaZuHpkjA6qks

NorCalK9.com
12-21-2011, 12:12 AM
I was 6 my dad let me shoot his 38 snubby, @ 9 my uncle took me shooting with a marlin 22 tubefed semi auto I started shooting fast at the targets so he handed me another rifle and said have at it, I was gonna go rambo on them cans and boooooom 30-06 damn near broke my armbut I no longer wanted to shoot fast no more until I was about 16 lol.
But if hes responsible my vote would be for now!

REPR
12-21-2011, 4:35 AM
I think 7 is good age to start with a .22, fundamentals from 5. Also .410 from a young age to.

supersonic
12-21-2011, 6:19 AM
It's never too early. In fact, when my son was in utero, I would read firearm safety rules to him while resting my head on his mother's HUGE belly.:D

davek8s
12-21-2011, 12:08 PM
I think it depends on the kid. My oldest son, who is 15 now. Had to wait till he turned 10. He was just to hyper before that. My youngest, who just turned 7 has been shooting since 5. But he was born serious.

I think i was 9 when my uncle took me shooting for the first time. Mom wasn't thrilled. I had to wait till I was 20 before I got back into it.

gun toting monkeyboy
12-21-2011, 12:35 PM
I got both my daughters crickett rifles when they were 6. I started teaching them about gun safety long before that, and teaching them to shoot when they were 5-ish.

-Mb

p.s. don't do the shotgun thing. It is stupid and cruel. Set up a watermelon or other, similar fruit, and blast it for them. It gets the message across without the pain and humiliation.

shortround1
12-21-2011, 12:48 PM
I just finished ordering my ar-15. I got a spikes tactical lower , DPMS upper and accessories. My son is 8 years old and is a zombie killing expert. He is not stupid and knows dad is building a AR. My question to you is how old were you when you first shot a gun? and how old do you thing is the right age to shoot? Personally I want to take my buddies double barrel shot gun out and floor him and show him how powerful a gun really is. But I thing gun safety should be taught since I am starting to get into it. Any suggestions?

I was probably 8 years old when my Uncle first took me shooting. I'm sure glad he didn't hand me a 12 gauge, I would not have appreciated that very much. We shot a lot of 22 of course and even some .410 later. I think teaching gun safe handling and starting with lower caliber stuff is a good way to go.

chicoredneck
12-21-2011, 1:24 PM
It is up to the parents to evaluate their children and decide the right time for themselves.

I started when I was 4.

trg-s338
12-21-2011, 10:14 PM
Subscribed

jvpark
12-22-2011, 1:41 AM
Man, I am amazed... It's like guys boosting about when they lost their virginity. IMO, YOU cannot teach a child how to shoot at 4,5 or maybe 6... They do not have the capacity to understand the severity of what they are doing.
I wanted so badly to take my son shooting at 7, until my good friend lost his eye shooting. I'm not in a rush for my boys to grow up too quickly... BB guns are good enough for now.

johnthomas
12-22-2011, 2:05 AM
Don't do the shotgun thing. An eight year old shoulder could dislocate or break. If the stock slips it could break ribs. The barrel could come back and hit him in the head or face.
The idea of teaching gun safety is, I will say this slow, G U N S A F E T Y!!!!!!
Hurting someone on purpose is called assault. Hurting a child on purpose is called child abuse.

chicoredneck
12-22-2011, 5:31 AM
Man, I am amazed... It's like guys boosting about when they lost their virginity. IMO, YOU cannot teach a child how to shoot at 4,5 or maybe 6... They do not have the capacity to understand the severity of what they are doing.
I wanted so badly to take my son shooting at 7, until my good friend lost his eye shooting. I'm not in a rush for my boys to grow up too quickly... BB guns are good enough for now.


How can you possibly know whats best for someone elses child without knowing them personally?

It's up to the parents to make the call.

JamminJ
12-22-2011, 7:36 AM
You may enjoy reading this thread:
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=502895

BRANDON7766
12-22-2011, 8:41 AM
I just finished ordering my ar-15. I got a spikes tactical lower , DPMS upper and accessories. My son is 8 years old and is a zombie killing expert. He is not stupid and knows dad is building a AR. My question to you is how old were you when you first shot a gun? and how old do you thing is the right age to shoot? Personally I want to take my buddies double barrel shot gun out and floor him and show him how powerful a gun really is. But I thing gun safety should be taught since I am starting to get into it. Any suggestions?

Shot ARs since about 7 or 8. I remember shooting it off my parents deck on the farm for the first time...nearly dropped me on my butt lol. I had my own guns in my teens but honestly never did anything but shoot them on the farm...I'm a new shooter by my skill level but not by my time around guns lol.

Agent Tikki
12-22-2011, 8:47 AM
Man, I am amazed... It's like guys boosting about when they lost their virginity. IMO, YOU cannot teach a child how to shoot at 4,5 or maybe 6... They do not have the capacity to understand the severity of what they are doing.
I wanted so badly to take my son shooting at 7, until my good friend lost his eye shooting. I'm not in a rush for my boys to grow up too quickly... BB guns are good enough for now.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSYCQC4D7KU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei_m1mesIo4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Vcgissg1P4

till44
12-22-2011, 9:01 AM
I took my oldest boy out the first time he asked, he was 3 and is now almost 5. He doesn't come out often, maybe 1-2 times a year but he enjoys heading out with dad, grandpa, and a few friends to shoot. An adult is always right there with him and really has the control of the gun, he's more there to line up the sights and press the trigger. I started him out with a .22 and it's all he has shot. He knows the rules and follows them.

I was introduced to shooting when I was his age, got my first .22 when I was 10 for Christmas, and have been an avid shooter since. With all of the exposure to guns at an early age they lost any of the "mystery". I didn't need to sneak into my dad's safe/closet to look at the guns, if I wanted to look them over I only had to ask. I was also taught the rules from an early age so I understood how to act around them. I'm doing the same thing with my kids, full access with my permission/supervision as early as they show interest and instruction/education as early as they can understand.

Ronco
12-22-2011, 9:11 AM
I was 6 years old. My uncle let me shoot his Ruger MK I Target pistol. I plan on teaching my girls to shoot as soon as they are ready.

Bosley
12-22-2011, 1:14 PM
I still remember my 9th birthday...all my presents were opened and I was feeling pretty good...I wasn't sure what was going on but my mom was bringing something else...what's this I thought...I wasn't even expecting it...man oh man...it was a crossman 22 cal pump pellet rifle...it was the real deal...it would shoot a hole through both sides of a coffee can at 50 yds...it was tough to pump the entire ten times so 7 or 8 was usually enough...it was my go to gun when I wanted to catfish but didn't want to dig worms...I would pop a bird and string use the guts like worms...worked good...I actually wore that gun out to the point the barrel slid off one time...this was after years of shooting ...I can still hear the little packs of pellets rattling...I wore that gun out man...by the time I was 11 I was competent enough for my first shot gun and I can honestly say that I had learned proper gun handling skills with that 22...My grandfather always preached to me about how dangerous that little gun was and how I had to always be careful...those lessons have stayed with me to this day...Thanks grandad...

regalado1
12-22-2011, 2:03 PM
I began really talking safety with my son when he was around 5 years old. Didn't quite take him shooting, just constantly reinforcing the safety aspects every chance I could. This was at first mostly inside the home while I was cleaning my guns after a range trip kind of thing. As soon as he was able to tell me on his own the proper safety measures with whatever I asked him, I then talked to him about shooting and getting him out there.

He first got a bb gun and we would shoot cans together. All the while, I am observing him, his safety awareness and "quizing" him if you will. What about this, what about that, situational stuff. I found out right away that he was extremely solid in his answers. Mature beyond his years in this regard. I figured that all the talks we had up to this point really had sunk in deep. I was really glad I took this long reaching approach, although admittedly I hadn't really thought it through this well even my own mind. Hind sight and all.

I think he was about 6 or 7 when I got him his own Ruger 10/22. He has been shooting it since. He is a really good shooter. Patient. Safe. Knowledgeable (as an 8 year old can be). Just this last range trip he shot my M4 for the first time. Single round. About a half hour later he shot another single round. He did okay with it, but I could tell it was still just a bit much for him at this point. I'll hold off a bit longer before he makes that jump.

A great thing is to watch my son explain gun safety to his friends when they over to our house. It's a pretty good feeling and makes me proud.

My advice to the op is to first really talk to your son. Make sure he understands the safety and reasons behind it. Give him hypothetical situations and then ask him, what would you do in this situation. Then, take him out shooting, maybe start with a bb gun or air gun, then up to a .22. Stay at a .22 and just enjoy shooting with him. I don't agree with flooring him on a 12 gauge at all. This might be the worst thing you could do in my opinion. Hope you choose right for you and him and enjoy shooting safely together for many years to come. It seems pretty obvious that most of all have great memories of growing up shooting with our families. I know I do as well.

the86d
12-22-2011, 2:12 PM
I took my son out his first time, and he is 10. He HAD A BLAST! He had to be reminded only once to keep the barrel pointed down range. He LOVED the Custom H-BAR AR-15 w/M855, 10/22, AND the SR9. We will verify "muzzle awareness" the day after Christmas.

Hell, my lady and I didn't want guns in the house because of the kids... However, we recently went on a rampage due to Obama driving this country into the ground faster than people can collect on the 1st and 15th. We officially have 5, all bought this year. She is getting a Biometric safe for Christmas, for next to the bed so one can be in the chamber, just in case.

I started him on the 10/22, then the AR, then the 9mm.

RONIN.
12-22-2011, 2:41 PM
I was 4 years old, Right when my mother got remarried to my USMC 8654 step father. Who is the reason I joined and am in the career I am in now. As others have said it is not age, but maturity level of the child that should determine what age is good for them to begin going shooting.

Hell my 18month old, knows to stay away from the safe. He points and says "dada toys.. no touch" the earlier you start with children to respect guns, the better. As my son gets older he will be taught proper gun safety but as he is so young now.. no touch works..

I also agree, that there are some immature individuals in this world. that are much older that should know better gun handling skills, like gun shop employees. I can not count the number of times i have been muzzle swept by a gun shop employee or person looking at buying a gun.

mutiny5050
12-25-2011, 5:17 PM
Thanks for the great advice. I am teaching him gun safety with a air soft pistol. He loves it. Just not ready for the 22 yet. Maybe in a couple years.

Gnome
12-25-2011, 9:59 PM
I think every child is different. It all depends on the child. I know my nine year old is interested, but he lacks the maturity. He needs more time. On the other hand, my five year old daughter has shown less interest, but believe she would be easier to teach. Weird, huh? :rolleyes:

I think I will start my daughter off with a Lil' Cricket single shot .22 rifle (Pink of course), and my son with a Ruger 10/22. Cheap ammo and low recoil.

Crunch130
12-25-2011, 10:08 PM
Ever wonder why they give those big fat pencils and crayons to kindergarteners? They don't have the hand/eye coordination or the fine motor skills to use the normal ones yet, that's why. It's a matter of neurological development, aside from being too small to hold most guns properly or not having the strength to operate them.

I'm an NRA rifle & shotgun instructor. Wait until they're old enough to have some chance of success and not learn a bunch of bad habits, like the photo of the little boy with both hands on the AR pistol grip.

I have dealt with more "older" kids and Boy Scouts who have ZERO trigger control ability than I can count, and these are the kids who say they have shooting experience. They jerk their triggers and therefore have a tough time hitting their targets at all. In BSA, you're shooting BENCHREST from 50 feet at A-17 targets, which are about 1.75 inch dia.

So wait until they're 9 or 10, then start them on a .22 bolt action. (Before that, airsoft or lower-powered air rifles are fine.) Peep rear sight preferred. You can get them from Williams and Lyman for many rifles or universal to fit a scope groove. I know, it costs more. The best money you ever spent. The crummy sheet metal open rear sights that come on lower-priced sporters with the little notched elevation ladder are not generally good for much and new shooters have a tough time with them. And do not give in to the temptation to scope everything - for close range target shooting you can actually be MORE accurate with decent peep sights than a scope. And make sure the rifle fits them properly - if you can't hold it properly, you can't aim properly, and you can't hit anything. End result - frustrated shooter who rapidly loses interest.

Finally - the 12-ga shotgun trick. Please DO NOT go knock some kid, new girlfriend, or whoever, on their butt with a hard recoiling gun. The idea is to get them to ENJOY shooting sports, not run the other way screaming or develop a ferocious flinching habit. That generally starts with a rifle that the recoil isn't a threat to them, and they can practice good shooting form.

Regards,
Crunch