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Old April 11, 2013, 03:33 PM   #1
Glockstar .40
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What age were your children when you taught them to shoot?

Im pleased to announce to my fellow TFL'ers that I just found out im going to be a Dad!! so my question to you is at what age did you start to let your child handle/shoot your guns?
He alone is my Rock and my Salvation, my Stronghold; I shall not be shaken!
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Old April 11, 2013, 04:25 PM   #2
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Congrats!! I let my daughter shoot my .22lr pistol at the age of 10. That's how old she was when I started shooting again so I don't know if I would have done it sooner or not. Possibly. The kids gun safety class I took her to was for ages 6-10. I was a bit nervous around some of those kids but they were well supervised.
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Old April 11, 2013, 04:44 PM   #3
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My guns? She's 10 and it'll still be some time before that happens. However, I bought her a Cricket single-shot .22 about a year ago. Of course, I restrict access, but it's her gun.
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Old April 11, 2013, 04:57 PM   #4
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I let my son shoot a .22 rifle when he was 9 years old. I also took him out hunting for the first time that same year.
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Old April 11, 2013, 05:00 PM   #5
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I was not much older than 10, with a .45....(Mom I'll be back 4-dark)
Times have changed.. Heck we would take are new guns for show and tell at school. and That was not that frigg'en long ago!
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Old April 11, 2013, 05:20 PM   #6
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Age has little to do with it. Maturity, and your feelings on the issue, as a parent are far more important. I've seen 5 year olds that I thought were mature enough to shoot under very strict supervision. I've also seen 16 (and older, honestly) year olds I wouldn't trust with a water balloon, let alone a firearm.

The key things are, keep the guns out of reach, but don't let them get curious. I have a 1 year old and a 4 year old, so I it's pretty obvious they aren't ready yet. But when my 4 year old asks to see my gun, I show it to her. I'll even make it safe and let her touch/hold it. When I'm cleaning guns, it's in the open, and if she wants to help, she gets a seat right next to daddy so she can "help." They aren't some forbidden fruit. Her curiosity gets satiated. But all guns that aren't on me, are locked up out of reach. In addition, she can already recite Eddie Eagle's little saying when you see a gun:

-Don't Touch
-Leave the Area
-Tell an Adult

And I'll quiz her on it every once in a while too.

Also, congratz! Being a dad is the most stressful, difficult thing you'll ever do. It's also the most amazing, wonderful, life changing, experience you'll ever have...and it's WELL worth it.
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Old April 11, 2013, 05:25 PM   #7
Brian Pfleuger
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My son shot a gun for the first time when he was 18 months old. I held my 10/22 and he pulled the trigger. He thought the shiny things flying out the side were much more interesting than the "nothing" that happened where we were pointing.

At age 6, when I was satisfied that he knew (could recite) and would follow the 4 rules, I began letting him shoot the 10/22 "unassisted", which constitutes me loading it and placing it on the bench and letting him pick it up and shoot it.

When he was 5, he hit a 14" square piece of paper at 290 yards with my .204.
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Old April 11, 2013, 05:25 PM   #8
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Seems to be a rash of internet nanny's lately that view any child with a gun as either child abuse or a potential mass murderer.....sad, but best to keep anything gun related with kids to yourself and in private.
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Old April 11, 2013, 07:15 PM   #9
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I built a cut-down Colt single-shot .22 rifle for my daughter and gave it to her on her 6th birthday.

Her son inherited it and it’s waiting in my safe for the next generation.
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Old April 11, 2013, 07:18 PM   #10
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Congratulations, glocstar!

When should they start shooting? Years after they have begun seeing them, imo. Single digits? Double digits? You'll know when they get there.
I'm right about the metric system 3/4 of the time.
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Old April 11, 2013, 07:44 PM   #11
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When they start pointing !!!

I just found out im going to be a Dad!!
Fantastic and as they years go by, you will find out that "this" is the best work, you will ever do. .....

Now then, you did say; handle/shoot. Well then, whenever they show an interest but don't over do a good thing. Just measure the amount of receptivity. It's really an evolving and progressive activity of which, the most important aspect, is sharing time with Dad. Makes absolutely no difference if it's a boy or girl. I have two grown daughters and both learned how to shoot at an early age. Currently they have little interest in guns but can relate to them. Most of what we share, are the times we went shooting. ....
Wow, this is starting to get to me .....

Be Safe !!!
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Old April 11, 2013, 08:01 PM   #12
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I just got my 4yr old a Daisy Buck BB Gun for Christmas. He's shot it once, he's more interested in building lego's. I'm not going to push the issue, but he is learning not to touch guns without an adult, and other gun safety rules. Maybe this summer we'll work some more on shooting but if he does not want to, i'm not going to push him into it.
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Old April 11, 2013, 08:01 PM   #13
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Personally I plan to teach them safety check, proper handling, shoot, final clear safety check basics like most people will. Then take them shooting(repeating safety checks).

Save the best for last...Stories of what goes wrong when you think you can touch it, show it to a friend, or shoot it without me being present.

Followed up with graphics, bringing them down from the hi they are on from a fun day of shooting and leaving the reality to do it's job.

I Think back when I was a kid doing something dangerous until something bad went wrong. Maybe I did or didn't realize how dangerous it was...but I knew when it went bad and I never forgot it.
If you ever have to use a firearm, you don't get to pick the scenario!
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Old April 11, 2013, 08:21 PM   #14
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For my 10th Christmas, my Dad bought me a BEAUTIFUL Marlin 81DL. I still have it and still shoot it and every time I do ... I think of my Dad ... a REALLY GREAT GUY! Thanks, Pop!

But, he started me shooting eariler that that ... by a year or two. We started with his Winchester 68 SS Bolt 22. (Like the 67, but with a rear peep sight mounted on the barrel just ahead of the chamber). It was his "squirrel rifle".

I can still remember lying down behind an old, fallen, rotted log ... opening the bolt ... inserting a cartridge ... closing the bolt ... pulling back the cocking piece. I can remember him coaching me ... center the target in the sights ... deep breath ... let it out ... squeeze the trigger! God, It's like I'm still there. Oh, there are the kinds of memories that you just NEVER forget!
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Old April 11, 2013, 09:14 PM   #15
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There was a 4 year old boy not long ago who recently shot a woman. The family was at a barbecue, the woman went in to the bedroom with the man to see his guns, and he took out a pistol and then placed it on the bed to grab a rifle. He didn't see the 4 year old boy come in and pick up the gun.

My point is, regardless of when you start them shooting, starting them on gun safety (and safety in general) as early as possible can't hurt.
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Old April 11, 2013, 11:56 PM   #16
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I started my son with a 22 on sand bags at age 6. Good point made about maturity, everyone is different. Teach safety first, then shooting. That is the way I was taught by my Dad and it has worked well for my son. Be sure to use eye and hearing protection, very important. Let them move at their pace and remember to have fun. It should be something they look forward to. My son is now an avid hunter/fisherman which I think is a result of learning good basics at a young age.
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Old April 12, 2013, 01:13 PM   #17
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i started with a .22 Chipmunk at the age of 6. my dad and i would go out to our alfalfa fields and shoot sage rats for hours. we had a good family friend that was a class 3 FFL dealer that taught me all of the gun safety rules along with my dad. he also let me hold a M60 at the age of 12 my dad finally let me go shoot rats on my own when i was 10 (but he wasnt ever far away on the tractor). heck my parents wouldnt even let me have a bb gun because they thought i wouldnt treat it like a "real" gun. they were wrong, but i do understand why they thought that.
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Old April 12, 2013, 01:38 PM   #18
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I am somewhat embarrassed to say I didn't get to it the way I always thought I would have.

First, I had girls. Not to say I wouldn't have loved to teach them earlier, just that they didn't always show an interest, and because I was in the Army and we relocated very often, and spent much of their youth in Korea, (Korean wife), opportunities slipped by.

I did take them to play paintball. Both got to shoot in Jr. ROTC. The oldest went on to ROTC and shot well there, (I have her coffee mug she earned at Ft. Benning ). And the youngest, 24 now, can shoot better then I ever could. She would embarrass many of you here so if you're ego is easily bruised you should steer clear of shooting against her. She is of course half-Korean, small, very petite, like size 0, and not only does she not miss, she doesn't miss center ring, and she has fired single rounds into the X of the X ring.

I am very proud of both, but I can't take credit for their proficiency.
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Old April 12, 2013, 01:44 PM   #19
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Congratulations, and welcome to the wild ride of parenthood. It will be the hardest, most frustrating, most sleepy and yet the best thing you have ever done.

My son is going to be 7 in July, he will get his first BB gun this year. I have a policy in the house that he can ask ANYTIME, they are never mysteries, never something to look for, just a very dangerous tool. (he understands that better since I am a woodworker and we work with tools all the time together). I actually started him on a Bosch nail gun! He knows the safety rules, and he can check all of the firearms for bullets, and he is good about muzzle control. I figure we will start with a bb rifle, then a bb handgun next year, then a pellet rifle, then he should be ready to start on the .22's.
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Old April 12, 2013, 02:01 PM   #20
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at what age did you

My 6 year old daughter can pop a soda can pretty reliably at about 15 paces using her Cricket .22 LR. She can do it all by herself. I started working with her as soon as I felt she would be able to listen carefully enough about safety rules etc.
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Old April 12, 2013, 02:35 PM   #21
Jim Rau
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I let my kids handle guns as soon as they became interested and started asking questions about them. I lived rural so I would shoot in back of my house and as soon as they were walking they would watch me and their older siblings shoot.
I would let them shoot when I thought they were big enough to shoot and not hurt or scar them. I would start them out with a BB gun and go to a 22 pistol and/or rifle. Eventually they all shoot my FA M16A1 (it was my issue weapon when I was in TEU/SWAT). They are all still active in the shooting sports and hunt. The youngest is in is 40's. And they passed it on, as all my grand kids enjoy shooting.
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Old April 12, 2013, 02:37 PM   #22
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I started them both at aged six with a Stevens Favorite single shot 22 with a cut down butt stock.
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Old April 12, 2013, 02:43 PM   #23
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Congrats it's a crazy ride.

I have a 7 year old daughter and 5 year old son. They both have BB guns. They only come out of the case for shooting. They are both learning the 4 rules and muzzle awareness. They also have "fishing knives." They sell these wooden folders in kits. Great practice and fun. They treat them just like the real thing because to them they are the real thing.
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Old April 13, 2013, 04:23 AM   #24
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Great , great , great question. I think it depends so much on the child- and often their physique more than anything. Nothing bugs me more than giving a small child something way more powerful than they can handle. I recall when I was small firing a very powerful 12 gauge load- put me off shotguns for years.
"Beware of the Man with one gun...he probably isnt into guns enough to be safe with it".
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Old April 13, 2013, 08:32 AM   #25
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I'm going to have to disagree with Death from Afar. I think giving a child ( depending on the child of course) a slightly larger firearm gives them a greater appreciation for exactly how powerful and potentially dangerous a firearm can be. I started shooting .22's around 10 with my dad and it's some of the best memories I have, as long as your kid takes it seriously and is responsible I would say there is no age to young to start shooting. Congrats
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