Originally Posted by 3boyzmom
Along the lines of teaching your kids...I have 3 boys who have done the airsoft & BB thing for quite awhile, and someone gave me a suggestion that I thought made a lot of sense. While I don't want my kids to be "afraid" of "real" guns, I do want them to have a healthy- VERY HEALTHY- respect for them. And one concern my friend had was my kids were SO comfortable with shooting their "toys" (not that someone can't be hurt by airsoft or BB) that they needed to CLEARLY understand the difference.
I just wanted to make sure this was reiterated.
Air guns are a fine way to learn shooting, but do NOT simply let your son have at it. Make sure he follows the same safety rules he would follow with a firearm.
I started with BB guns around 5 or 6, and quickly moved on to a .22lr rifle. My father was always very sure to hammer the safety points home every time, regardless of what I was shooting, and it paid off very well.
As for the age of your son, I would agree with others that maturity level matters greatly. Do you feel like you can trust him to make good choices? If so, I think he's at the perfect age to begin. By starting him early in life you eliminate both the stigma and awe of firearms. He won't have to be afraid of them and won't feel an urge to play with them because the mystery and wow factor isn't there. And should he come across one at some point, he'll be able to better manage the situation.
As for the safety aspect of shooting in general, I know the "mother bear" instinct is strong. But you have to understand that this instinct is being brought to bare based on misinformation. You find guns somewhat offputting and scary, and you're projecting that. When done properly, shooting is a very safe activity. He's more likely to get hurt (gods forbid) riding his bicycle. The majority of shooting enthusiasts will shoot their whole lives and never get injured. Not trying to be preachy; just offering a viewpoint.
Welcome to the site! Hope you stay a while.