Hey Britbird, WELCOME!! here's something to help you feel more at home:
first off, my mom is from Hounslow, and i have family all over England (though mostly in/around London) where are you from?
I can definitely understand why you don't like guns. my mom is the same way. i doubt we will ever get her to use one. however, the fact that you're showing sincere interest in learning is great! My wife was scared of guns when i first started getting into them too but now that she's been out with me and she knows how to be safe around guns, she lets me have 3 loaded ones within reach of the bed (hey, we've got a small apartment, the kitchen is almost within reach of the bed!
). the most important thing to do is learn how to be safe.
control your muzzle (the end where the bullet leaves the barrel) by ALWAYS knowing where it's pointing and you'll be fine.
I would definitely suggest starting out on the lower end of the calibers (excuse me, calibres
) by going with a .22 and then working your way up from there. If you find that you can't shoot a .40 or .45....thats fine!! not everyone can!!! you need to find what the largest bullet you can handle is and work up from there. perhaps it's a .380 or a 9mm, whatever works is what you should use. play around (not literally) with different guns in each caliber too because they all feel different. My brother's .40cal kicks way harder than my .45, and my friends little .22 revolver is so loud it'll scare you to death the first time you shoot it, while i can shoot my .22 pistol without earmuffs....it's just the way the guns are.
as for your kid.....i think 7 is a perfectly fine age to introduce shooting.....what concearns me is what he's being taught. the younger they are the more impressionable they are and it's very easy to teach them life long lessons of safety, or teach them bad habits that they'll never get rid of! i too would suggest an air rifle rather than a "real" gun. they make great .177caliber "bb" guns that are in every other way similar to rimfire and centerfire rifles, but not as potentially deadly. It's a great way for them to learn the basics about safe gun handling and for YOU to guage their maturity level so you'll know when they are ready to move on to "bigger" guns.
There are plenty of things to learn so be patient, and KEEP COMING BACK HERE!! this forum is a great tool to get all your questions answered and get support should you need any. feel free to PM me too if you have more questions. remember, learn the safety, find something that feels comfortable, practice, practice, practice, and then try something new, and repeat. have fun!!