The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > General Discussion Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 31, 2013, 10:14 AM   #1
gaseousclay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 4, 2010
Location: Frozen Tundra
Posts: 869
Introducing firearms to your children

I'm sure I'll get different answers from all of you but at what age is it appropriate to introduce firearms to your kids? My son is still years away from this but I initially thought 6 might be a good age but then I changed my mind and think older might be better. This way, I can enroll my son in a hunter education course on top of the things I've learned. I hesitate to start him young because I want him to understand the concept of safety and responsibility first.

What do you think?
gaseousclay is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 11:33 AM   #2
CWKahrFan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 3, 2010
Posts: 1,773
Here's my input...

Depends on what you mean by "introduce"... There are dozens of potentially dangerous objects and mechanical devices around my home from toasters to garbage disposals to electrical outlets, power saws, kitchen cutlery, automobiles, gasoline, prescription pills, etc... It goes on and on.

Informing and teaching the kids about ALL of them, one step at a time, even before they can talk intelligently about them is just PART OF EVERYDAY LIFE. I don't put guns in a scarier special category. They're just like all those other things that must be approached with caution and respect so that someone doesn't get badly hurt or even killed. I endeavor to not put any exaggerated emotional charge on gun handling per se.

Kids watch and observe everything... They're learning about how to drive a car safely, for example, before I even mention the subject to them verbally. When do I "introduce" cars to my kids?... I'd say from the first time they even see one... or maybe ride in one. Everything is process.
__________________
What did Mrs. Bullet say to Mr. Bullet? ... "We're having a BeeBee!"...

IF THE SHOE FITS, WEAR IT!... IF THE GUN FITS, SHOOT IT!
CWKahrFan is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 12:39 PM   #3
BuckRub
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 3, 2012
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 1,023
Start them out on BB guns around 4. Then 22 at around 5 and 4-10 and 30-30 and pistols around 6 and everything else at 7. Help them and explain safety along the way and at 8 hopefully your child will know and respect gun safety and when they're around 6-7 they should be able to help theirselves in case a home intruder stumbles up.
BuckRub is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 12:52 PM   #4
Mike38
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 28, 2009
Location: North Central Illinois
Posts: 1,148
My father let me shoot a .22 rifle at around age 10. Very closely supervised. He let me shoot on my own around two years later. Might be a bit older then most people would agree, but I stuck with it for my children. Better safe than sorry I guess?

I have a 6 year old grand daughter that wants to try shooting. Her parents (my daughter) do not own firearms but are not against such. I’m torn, but I think I’m sticking with the 9 or 10 year old mark.
Mike38 is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 01:12 PM   #5
Pahoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2006
Location: IOWA
Posts: 5,458
These are great days, for you !!!

Quote:
My son is still years away from this but I initially thought 6 might be a good age but then I changed my mind and think older might be better.
There is no set time and it's possible that he has already had an introduction. I compliment you on being a responsible parent and am guessing that this is your first man-child. In the coming months, you will see your influence on him, when it comes to guns, if you haven't already seen it. You will respond, in a responsible manner. You will know what to do, in your own best ways. ...


Be Safe !!!
__________________
'Fundamental truths' are easy to recognize because they are verified daily through simple observation and thus, require no testing.
Pahoo is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 02:52 PM   #6
SamNavy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 28, 2011
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 231
Also get the kid a bow. A month ago I spent $75 at BassPro and got my 5yr old daughter a "little kids" bow and a box target. The bow isn't strong enough to actually make the blunt-tip penetrate into the box, but I've told her that as soon as she can shoot the whole quiver (6 arrows) and hit the box every time all the way over at the shed, I'll get her a stronger bow that will actually stick in the target. She can do it at 5 yards, but not at 10. We practice a couple times a week... not gonna be long before I'm looking at one of the cheap plastic compounds on the rack at Dicks.

I think that the precision/concentration/patience that learning a bow requires is a basic building block skillset that transitions directly to firearms. A kid who has the discipline to safely knock an arrow-stance-draw-aim-breathe-release-followthough is way ahead of the game vs. the rather "simple" task shooting a gun.

Just like with anything we talk about, supervision is a must. I wouldn't let any kid shoot a gun unsupervised, and even a cheap bow can be just as lethal... keep'em locked up just like your firearms when not in use.
SamNavy is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 03:23 PM   #7
Quadpod88
Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2013
Posts: 93
I was introduced to a 12 guage at age 9, started off missing skeet with my grandfather... this my be a little off topic, but you are talking about introducing guns to kids. I don't have a kid of my own but i want to get my brother a .22, he is 11 now, but my mom is anti-gun. How could i go about convincing her that with supervision firearms are safe and a good way to teach resposibility?
__________________
God made all men, but it was Sam Colt who made them equal.
Quadpod88 is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 03:40 PM   #8
ClydeFrog
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 1, 2010
Posts: 5,798
Kids & firearms...

Im not a child psychologist or a expert, but Id say 9/10 is a good age to start basic firearms and/or safety training. Kids around that age should be mature enough to use safe methods or be aware of their actions on a range.
Some children older or younger may be able to learn & be responsible but others may not.
Id start on a site or range that isn't active & doesn't have many distractions.
Hunter safety or NRA/Eddie the Eagle type classes are a value too if possible.

Author, father, sworn LE officer & legal use of force expert Massad Ayoob wrote a book dealing with issue of owning guns when you have children in the home.
www.massadayoobgroup.com
The main point is to teach safe or proper methods to kids, then set a good example for any youth to follow.

Clyde
ClydeFrog is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 04:07 PM   #9
perpster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 6, 2006
Posts: 165
No right/wrong answer, but consider the possibility that he gets introduced to a firearm under the wrong circumstances at a friend's house. Better for him to know what to do / not to do. The NRA Eddie Eagle program has some very good stuff for this.
perpster is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 04:44 PM   #10
tynman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 22, 2012
Location: NJ
Posts: 251
There is no right or wrong but in my case my kids ages range from 4,5,7 and 9. So I watch them and see how they act (boys are a little more careless) but I gave the 2 older ones a test with a BB gun, I told them the rules and how they should act around a weapon. It didnt work the first time so I had to go through the rules again and sure enough this time it work for the 2 older ones. So now I let them sit around the table and watch me clean them.(which they get borded watching but I make them tell me the rules). My 2 younger ones could careless at this point. But my next step will be taking them to a range with the BB gun and see how they do. Then we might move up to the 22.

So do what you feel is right for you and your kid.
tynman is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 05:11 PM   #11
gav1230
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 17, 2013
Posts: 147
Another thingnto remember is that if they are too young the noise and recoil might scare them and make them more hesitant to learn more.
gav1230 is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 05:37 PM   #12
TheNatureBoy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 6, 2007
Posts: 1,177
Since I'm a hunter as well as a target shooter my daughter is used to seeing my guns. I put her behind a scoped pellet rifle when she was 10, stepped up to a scoped .22 lr. about 3 years later, tried her on a .243, and purchased a Savage model 12 .22-250 for her earlier this year.
TheNatureBoy is offline  
Old August 31, 2013, 08:02 PM   #13
gaseousclay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 4, 2010
Location: Frozen Tundra
Posts: 869
Introducing firearms to your children

Quote:
Originally Posted by tynman View Post

So do what you feel is right for you and your kid.
I was thinking 10 would be appropriate for my boy. He's only 5 months old now so I have yrs to go
gaseousclay is offline  
Old September 2, 2013, 05:14 AM   #14
Gster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 2, 2012
Location: N.central Pa.
Posts: 214
My youngest daughter started showing interest when she was 10. She has killed deer with rifle and bow & arrow. My grandson started showing interest when he was 5. Started teaching him right away with one of them toy shotguns from Cabelas. All the while teaching the SAFTEY. At 6, I bought him his own Cricket .22 and taught him to shoot that. Here in Pa. we have the Mentoring Program for kids. Check it out here:
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal...=622413&mode=2
At 7 yrs. old he shot his first buck with a .50cal. muzzle loader.

He is 10 now and he shoots every gun I own, including handguns. He keeps me busy loading .45s because his favorite is the 1911.
I believe that when they start showing interest, that is when you start them. If they are interested, they will learn.
__________________
Gun control means: Being able to hit what you are shooting at.
Gster is offline  
Old September 2, 2013, 12:04 PM   #15
coronatj
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 22, 2012
Posts: 10
Good question. I introduced my son to bb guns a few years ago. He was probably 7 - 8. He has his own. In the past year, I have taken him out to the range and introduced him to 38's, 9's, .22 and 5.56.

Depending on how he likes the Savage .22 that is coming next week, I may pick him up his own youth .22.
coronatj is offline  
Old September 2, 2013, 10:23 PM   #16
kilimanjaro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 23, 2009
Posts: 1,631
I got my first .22 at ten years old, for Christmas. The whole family went out later that day to a public shooting area outside of Phoenix and fired off exactly one box of .22LR, cost 50 cents. It's a Sears & Roebuck youth rifle, still have it today, 50 years later.

Dad didn't lock it up, just made sure we shot up all the ammo each time we went out. I could disassemble it and clean it all I wanted at home. I learned pretty quick it was a lethal weapon and not to point it towards any living thing, loaded or not, unless I was 'hunting'.

Lots of kids back then had deer rifles or bird guns at twelve years old, they were in the gun cabinet in the living room along with Dad's rifles and shotguns. Always a bit jealous of them because our house had only a few .22rifles. That changed when I got an M1 carbine at fifteen my Dad got in a trade at work. Of course, Dad made sure we shot all the ammo up for that, too. Never kept ammo in the house, until the kids were in college.
kilimanjaro is offline  
Old September 3, 2013, 09:40 AM   #17
TDL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 25, 2013
Posts: 138
At the first sign of curiosity/interest: Demystify. I demystified the daylights out of my kids by making them clean weapons.

Also be aware that boilerplate methods of securing weapons at home are no substitute for knowing your kids. Your nine year old, or one of his pals, may well know how to go on youtube and find the one minute videos on how to defeat most pistol safe combinations in a few minutes.

If you have a six year old, condition one in a pistol safe maybe 99.999% effective. If you have a 15 year old who has some depression, each gun broken down into two parts and locked separately, and ammo locked in third location may not be enough.
TDL is offline  
Old September 3, 2013, 10:08 AM   #18
doofus47
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 9, 2010
Location: live in a in a house when i'm not in a tent
Posts: 1,252
TDL:
Quote:
At the first sign of curiosity/interest: Demystify. I demystified the daylights out of my kids by making them clean weapons.
I'm on the TDL plan. My 7 year old daughter is curious as a cat, so I have been cleaning my pistols and rifles with her for several years. She's used to seeing them before/after I go to the range or hunting. We go over the 4 rules, the names of parts, and what to do when you hand someone a firearm or if someone hands one to you.
I've brought my air rifles back home from my parents' place and we'll probably be out chasing cans next summer.

I'm in no rush to put a real firearm in her hands. She'll be ready when she's ready.
__________________
I'm right about the metric system 3/4 of the time.
doofus47 is offline  
Old September 3, 2013, 10:28 AM   #19
geetarman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 18, 2009
Location: Arizona
Posts: 2,736
I was introduced to guns when I was 9 or 10. My Dad never forced the issue on me. He waited until I started asking questions. When I showed interest in guns, he showed interest in teaching me how to shoot and shoot safely.

I took the same approach with my son. I waited until he began expressing interest and when he did, I began bringing him up to speed.

One negative though. . .he is a better shot than I am so I don't make bets with him any more.
__________________
Geetarman

Carpe Cerveza
geetarman is offline  
Old September 3, 2013, 11:29 AM   #20
gaseousclay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 4, 2010
Location: Frozen Tundra
Posts: 869
Quote:
I'm in no rush to put a real firearm in her hands. She'll be ready when she's ready.
I feel the same way about my boy. I think i'll take it slow and only teach him about firearms if and when he shows interest. I don't want to force it onto him.
gaseousclay is offline  
Old September 3, 2013, 01:01 PM   #21
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,343
Introducing firearms to your children

I'm surprised to see so many folks suggesting such high ages.

My son shot my 10/22 when he was 18 months old. As soon as he could talk, every time he mentioned a gun, for instance if we were in Bass Pro or he saw my carry gun when I was getting dressed, we started rehearsing the 4 Rules. My girl is not nearly as interested but she too shoots the 10/22. She's 5 now and he's 7. Both can tell me the 4 Rules, though not always in the technical wording, and both will tell me what they'd do if they (or friends they are with) found a gun, there wasn't an adult handling it or even if the adult was being dangerous.

I strongly believe that waiting to teach them is dangerous. You may not expose your child to firearms until "X" age but there's no saying what they might run into at a slumber/birthday party or who knows what else.

They need to be prepared.

It's much harder to prepare them when it's an abstract topic than when they're actually shooting/handling a gun.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; September 3, 2013 at 01:56 PM.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old September 3, 2013, 01:54 PM   #22
Pahoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2006
Location: IOWA
Posts: 5,458
As soon as they start sharing !!!

Quote:
I'm surprised to see so many folks suggesting such high ages.
I started all my kids and Grand-kids, shooting, rubber-band guns. Can't remember their age but not long after "They" wanted to start sharing. They learned the four basic rules and once in awhile, they got their fingers bit. Just part of the learning curve and when they are young, they learn pretty fast. Last week, my oldest Daughter even brought up the time she almost shot our Zebra Finch and yes, she was aiming at it. ......

Be Safe !!!
__________________
'Fundamental truths' are easy to recognize because they are verified daily through simple observation and thus, require no testing.
Pahoo is offline  
Old September 3, 2013, 02:07 PM   #23
pax
Staff
 
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 6,904
For safety, start as soon as they are old enough to talk. Here is the program we used: http://www.corneredcat.com/article/k...-first-lesson/

To decide whether your child is old enough to go to the range with you, see here: http://www.corneredcat.com/article/k...for-the-range/

When you take your child to the range for the first time, here's the idea: http://www.corneredcat.com/article/k...-to-the-range/

My credentials: five healthy and happy young men, who managed to survive their childhood. Speaking as a mom, I firmly believe that it is a miracle when any male child lives to adulthood.

Stay safe and have fun!

pax
__________________
Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
pax is offline  
Old September 3, 2013, 08:59 PM   #24
TailGator
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 8, 2009
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,966
My dad let me shoot his Winchester 69A at his brother's farm when I was 7, with very vigilant supervision, of course. It was a great way to start learning about guns.

Dad is 88 now, in failing health, and he recently gave me that rifle. It is going to go to one of my daughters when it is my turn to pass it along, and hopefully thence to more generations.
TailGator is offline  
Old September 4, 2013, 11:26 AM   #25
lcpiper
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 15, 2011
Posts: 1,405
I am pretty much with CWKahrFan. It's hard to set a specific age cause all kids are different and they grow up differently, but even someone who doesn't own a gun needs to teach their children about guns or they run the risk that their kid might wind up in a gun accident while visiting other homes.

Think of it this way, how old was your first kid when you realized it was time to teach them not to reach for the pot and pan handles on the stove, and that the stove top could be very hot?

Most parents can reply with an age, but I would bet that in almost every case it wasn't the child's age that prompted them to start the lesson, it was seeing their child reaching on tip-toe for the edge of the oven.

I would say that not long after the oven lesson you should be moving on to the gun lesson. They need to be shown what guns are, what they are for, and that even though they are too young now to learn more about them, that they will get to learn how to shoot later when they are older.
__________________
Colt M1911, AR-15 | S&W Model 19, Model 27| SIG P238 | Berreta 85B Cheetah | Ruger Blackhawk .357MAG, Bearcat "Shopkeeper" .22LR| Remington Marine Magnum SP 12GA., Model 700 SPS .223
lcpiper is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:15 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.14358 seconds with 7 queries