View Full Version : How old do you get the kids shooting?

May 20, 2009, 10:07 AM
I have two young sons (3 and 6) and have been teaching the older a little with soft air. My dad started me on a .22 at age 5 after a little work with a pellet gun. Now to me 5 seems a bit young but hey, I practice better safety than some of my Army buddies that didn't pick up a rifle untill boot camp.
what are your thoughts?
I thought about setting up a poll but the question seems a little to broad.

May 20, 2009, 10:08 AM
Sorry, I meant to post this in the general forum

May 20, 2009, 10:30 AM
I have a daughter and she took her first Russian Sow at 9 years old.

She's been shooting with me every other weekend for about 2 years prior to that. When she started showing interest is when we started her shooting.

If the child is eager, responsible, and has an appropriate attention span and emotionally stable (not easily frustrated/disappointed) then it's time to start, irrespective of age.

I was VERY impressed with how well my child was behaved on the range on our first outing. I made it clear to her that this is a serious responsibility, and she responded splendidly.

To this day, a single violation of the safety rules is grounds for an immediate withdrawl from the range. I think this is important. Everything STOPS if safety is violated. No if's and's or buts. No anger, no lectures. If you violate a safety rule, you need to take time to think about it. I adopted this rule from USPSA and 3 Gun Shoots. I think implemented correctly, it's a great rule.

I only have the one child, but if I had more, I would bring them to the range one at a time. I don't want to foster competition between the kids until safety is the habbit.

May 20, 2009, 10:49 AM
one nice thing about teaching my kids will be our location, my parents have some acerage that is perfect for shooting so I don't have to worry about others around me doing something stupid. I'll just have me and my boy to keep an eye on.

May 20, 2009, 07:18 PM
My son first showed interest in shooting at Cub Scout day camp where they had a BB gun range set up when he was 7. I thought he might be a bit young but he took to air rifles right away. A year or so later he was shooting .22lr. At 23 (and thousands of rounds later) it's still his favorite caliber to shoot.

When he was young he understood the safety aspect right away. Finger and muzzle control - that was key for me. He was better then than a lot of adults I see now.

I'd give it a try. Sounds like you have a great location to work in.

Have fun.

May 20, 2009, 07:39 PM
my oldest son who is 17 now started shooting at age 3. he is freakin amazing with a rifle in his hands, probably why he wants to be a scout/sniper in the US ARMY. he leaves for basic in 12 days. my youngest is 15 and he started at about five. fortunately we live in the country and they are always out with their 22's or the oldest has his 308 out. they have been tought gun safety from the very beginning and they do a fabulous job at it and it has earned them the responsabilities and freedoms they enjoy.

Brian Pfleuger
May 20, 2009, 07:44 PM
It depends somewhat on what you mean by "shooting". My son shot my Ruger 10/22 last summer, he was 2. I held the gun, he pulled the trigger. He thought the little things flying out the side were where all the fun was!:D

"Shooting" independently? Maybe 7 or so with a BB gun, depending on responsibility. We'll work up from there.

May 20, 2009, 11:31 PM
I had my kids shootin 22's and Mini-14's full prone on one of those MTM riflerest/cleaning center things when they were 4 or 5? Independantly.

Ages 3 to 6 are very formative years and lots and lots of gun safety can be instilled in them at this time. My kids got soo much hands on in those years that its no wonder they're both very safe. I'd let them 'handle' (not 'play'!) with guns if A) they asked first without touching, and B) could recite the 4 rules of gun safety to me first.

Tucker 1371
May 20, 2009, 11:42 PM
I was 7 when I got my .22 Chipmunk (I shoot it still but its WAY too tiny:D), I remember my grandpaw and his friend who owned the gun shop looking at me really funny when I shouldered the rifle left handed :D. My grandpaw grilled me on the 4 rules before he ever let me shoot and it's stuck with me.

May 21, 2009, 12:05 AM
With a .22 both my boys were about 5, with a bb gun just about right after they were house broke (out of diapers). We get started young in my family and we're not even red necks (no offense to anyone :D) as were all born/raised in southern California.:cool:

May 23, 2009, 11:47 PM
I just recently took my son shooting for the first time, he was 4 years & 2 months and absolutely loved it. After seeing what fun he had now his five year old sister wants to try so next time both will be going. Life just gets good and then even better.

May 24, 2009, 12:06 AM
Recently at my ranges open day, we had heaps of kids want to try shootin' various guns. I was in the CAS section, so we had the Ruger single 6 22's and 22 leverguns. Some kids were 'with it' enough and could grip the single 6 firmly.... a few of them had a shot or 5 with a 44 mag Vaquaro.... some of these kids were quite small :eek: but were well supervised (as in 'stood over')
Other kids, even bigger, 'boofier' kids werent holding the 22 firm or controlled enough (like holding a dead fish) and of course, for these kids the 22 was all they shot. :cool:

So, you have to look at each individual kid and arm them & teach them accordingly. You cant generalise and say when a kid is 5 he/she can ONLY handle a 22 (or airsoft) and when they are 7 they can instantly handle a 357 for example. You can usually tell what a kid can handle by their hold (firm & controlling muzzle flip), their understanding.... and of course their 'general ability'

Like adults, some 'have it' & some 'don't'...... some will 'learn & improve' & some wont! no matter what you do.

The most important thing is to know the kids temperament (if they get angry, will they do something stoopid?) they have to understand they have a deadly instrument in their hand..... If you think about it, you will know what stage a kid is at..... just be careful and have your 'eagle eyes' turned on at all times :D

May 24, 2009, 12:22 AM
Mine started when they could carry the rifle. My daughter (27) is neutral on the hunting issue, 100% on the SD side. Also a first rate shot just like her mother. My son (25) enters SEAL training soon. Need I say more about him?

The really funny part is that I can still outshoot HIM!

May 24, 2009, 12:57 AM
he is probably foxing around you? He probably knows better than to 'show up the old man' :eek:

A fate worse than death :D

May 24, 2009, 11:23 PM
My grandfather started teaching me with an old winchester 22 pump wheh I was about 5.
My dad started teaching me with a S&W K-22 Masterpiece at 7yrs by 8 I was hip shooting.

May 30, 2009, 03:41 PM
My ooldest is now 13 and a half he started late at about 7. My younger 3 started when house broke. My youngest daughter was about 1 and a half the first time she shot the BB gun. I really like the Creckett for teachin the little ones to shoot rimfire. Love the single shot and short overal length. Makes shooting fun for 'em. Actually I have 3 that are begging to go out in the backyard right now. Start 'em as young as your wife will let ya. No, start when they want to spend time with you out side. The earlier the better thats my motto. It is what works for me.

May 30, 2009, 07:07 PM
I started my daughters off at 9 and 4 on pellet rifles, but my oldest hasnt taken to the guns like the younger one did. My youngest, now 9, is my shooting buddy. She started off on a single shot Springfield .22LR, and now she shoots my 10/22. We get some clays and I put them out at 25, 50 and 100 yards, and those are all hers. Its getting to be pretty expensive when she's out there with me, but she's a damn fine shot. She will even shoot the little pieces that are left over, with regular dispatch. I want to get her a .22 pistol, because the 9mm and .45 are way too big for her hands.

El Paso Joe
May 30, 2009, 08:06 PM
I started at 4. My sons when they were a bit older. Daughters 7 or 8. Grandson (only had access to one so far) at 2 1/2 with a rubber band gun. The same safety rules for a rubber band gun as for the 22 he will have a few years down the road but the mistakes with the rubber band gun are easier to cope with. Although I don't remember any mistakes with the others.

May 30, 2009, 08:11 PM
Both of mine started around 5. My son is 16 and my daughter 19 now. They killed 2 bull elk side by side while i was at work last year. Train them right as early as possible and you will have no worries later.

June 27, 2009, 05:19 PM
Both of mine shot their first handgun at age 5 at that time i had a Colt 1911 45 with me behind them in case the recoil got away from them. My son can out shoot me and my buddies former Marines , army, and Law enforcement officers.. He has been in the Ky National Guard since he was 17 (he is 18 now)and is as i am writing this in Basic. My daughter can shoot real well at 16 but is not really into it.

June 27, 2009, 05:57 PM
I'd say someplace between the ages of 5 to 10. Each individual is different and so are the places available to take them shooting. If you have private land and a safe area to shoot I think it's easier to take a younger child out and teach them to shoot than it is at a public range.

then again, some people aren't ready to handle a gun when they're in their

June 27, 2009, 07:25 PM
My boy started coming with us early, like 4 I believe. After a year of being at the range, witnessing proper procedures and practicing safety steps at home he was able to start shooting at about 5. I'd load 1 round in the gun at a time for the first few trips and then progressively put a another one or 2 in each trip.