How young is too young?

Discussion in 'Training & Safety' started by TheDaggle, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. TheDaggle

    TheDaggle New Member

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    I'm waiting on my first gun, and wondering what a good age would be to take my son to the range and teach him basic gun safety and handling. He is 5, but very psychologically and emotionally mature for his age, and my dad took me out at 3, but I wonder if 5 isn't still a little young. Granted, I'm brainwashed by the liberal state I was raised in, but I'm really on the fence here. I'd like him to have a healthy respect for firearms as early as possible, without exposing him to something he isn't ready for. When did you start teaching your kids to shoot? Are you glad you picked the age you did?
     
  2. Tackleberry1

    Tackleberry1 New Member

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    My oldest son in about to turn 18. He had his first BB gun at 5 and his first .22 rifle at 6. By the time he was 9 he could out shoot most adults I know with his .243 deer rifle, of course he could not hunt WA State until he was 12 but that gave him a good 4 years of practice before shooting for blood.

    He was more than ready at 6 and begging me to take him before I finally did.

    Here is a quick list of why I think this was the right age for my son.
    1. He watched me load up guns to go shoot for many years before he was BIG enough to come along. You see, I did not push him to join me, it was his desire to be with dad that got him out there.
    2. I took him to the Mountain, not the Range. The first year of shooting was never more than JUST THE 2 OF US. These trips were about HIM, spending time with HIM, reinforcing my dedication to HIM, and teaching HIM proper firearm handling without the distraction of friends, family, or other shooters.

    This is the path my father used with me and it worked well for my son. Just remember that at these ages there brain is not fully developed, you'll have to coach him, remind him, and then coach and remind him some more but the lessons will sink in and he will never forget the time spent with you and the lessons leaned.

    To this day 1 take a week off and drive 460 miles to take my Father hunting each Fall. We reap what we sow and I'm sure my son will do the same for me when I can no longer get out there on my own.

    Good luck and be safe. Your about to embark on the best relationship you'll ever have!:)
     

  3. TheDaggle

    TheDaggle New Member

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    Posts like the one above are why this is my forum of choice. Thank you, sir.
     
  4. yesicarry

    yesicarry New Member

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    My Dad started me shooting at 5. My daughter is already beginnig training with a Nerf Dartgun at the age of 3..

    It all depends on the child's parent..
     
  5. Jynx

    Jynx New Member

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    I also fired my first gun at 5 years old. Dad started me out with a BB gun, and then later in the year allowed me to shoot the .22 revolver. My dad is an old school cowboy type though, so I guess it totally depends on the parent. My dad never kept his guns a secret from us. He just made sure to teach us what they can do from very early on. It was not uncommon for him to leave it in the bedside drawer. We'd sneak around looking for hidden candy, but knew better than to mess with the firearms. Out of my 2 older brothers and I, I am by far the most gun savvy and they asked me to take their sons out around 5 years old as well.
     
  6. masterPsmith

    masterPsmith New Member

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    They are never too young to start firearms safety training if you have firearms in the home. "Curiosity killed the cat", the same goes with children. Take away the curiosity with proper training and you won't have the problems other people have. I learned at an early age, as did my kids. My grandson started at age two, under my wing. He is five now and is a great shot. He is also a safer shooter than most adults that I know. He will not touch without first asking and will not go near my gun room without my permission or unless I am in there. If I am in my gun room and he comes to the door, he stops and askes if he can come in with me.

    Start them young to prevent future problems..............................


    Jim..............
     
  7. mpd8488

    mpd8488 New Member

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    I probably got a much later start then most folks here and didn't start until I was around 8 or 9 I think.

    Anyways, I don't have kids, but I've seen guys come with young kids to the range where I shoot and other shooters are always butting in between the father and sons. They certainly mean well, but I'm sure it makes the kids nervous (I get the same thing when I bring girls to the range too). Like Tackleberry said maybe take him somewhere where he can feel comfortable in his own shoes and not have to worry about impressing random folks.
     
  8. Car54

    Car54 New Member

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    I was in L.E. when my kids were born so I always had guns in the house. I began instructing them shortly after they began to "wander". I always kept my carry gun on top of the refrigerator and as they grew older I told them more and showed them more about the guns. My son is now into guns but my oldest daughter depises them even though her husband is a Border Patrol officer. (she voted for the other side too...*&%# liberals)
     
  9. detroit2786

    detroit2786 New Member

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    I'm glad you posted this question because I been wondering the same thing.

    My daughter is 3, and I have a son on the way in may. I have begun allowing my daughter to have some exposure to guns. It has been limited to letting her know what they are and instructing her never to touch one and if she sees one to go get daddy. It is cool to here her say Daddy Gun DON'T TOUCH!!every time she sees a picture, I haven't yet put her to a test , but I will probably do that shortly. This lesson did however stoke her curiosity, so they other night when I was cleaning my guns, I let her come into the room so she could see them. She was very excited, so I tried to reinforce the don't touch rule. I think she is doing good, but SHE really has no idea what a gun really is and probably won't for a while. I'd love for her to be profienct with firearms, it is a skill I wish I had learned.

    What about toy guns?

    Whe I was a kid I played with them and if my dad wasn't around we would point them at each other and play cops and robbers. If my dad ever saw us point even a toy gun at anybody he would take it away.
     
  10. dunerunner

    dunerunner New Member

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    No age is too young to teach gun safety. Ok, the child had to be able to communicate, but my granddaughters are three and I have already started teaching them.
     
  11. mudslinger79

    mudslinger79 New Member

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    I have 2 boys, 7 and 10. I bought a semi-auto .22 Marlin. I've taken them both to the outdoor range. It's 100 yards, giant backstop and never busy. They have both learned with my .22 and are quite good. I've taught them the fundamentals of handling and proper care. They have both read safety guides and I regularly quiz them. They both have nice bb guns and are very careful. They wanted to learn so I taught. They know NEVER to handle a weapon loaded or unloaded with no supervision.
     
  12. VitSports6

    VitSports6 New Member

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    I bought my 6 year old son his first rifle, A Henry Youth Lever Action .22 for Christmas, He loves it!
    I've been working on him about not pointing even toy guns at people, But as a 6 year old, Its a work in progress...
    He likes to go out to the range with me to shoot, But tends to get board after about 20 rounds.
    I think its also wise to wait until they can hold the fire arm itself as well, But that is a personal opinion.
     
  13. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    I started my son on a bb rifle at 4 years old. I stress safety practices very seriously. I started him on a 22 rifle at about 6. He had a single shot for a while, He is 11 now. He scares the crap out of me that I will not be able to keep up pretty soon. He has confiscated my 10/22. I almost never get to shoot it anymore. He also shoots my Ruger 22/45 pistol. He has shot my 357 a few times. But he really like the 22.
     
  14. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    The first few times he shot a pistol I stood directly behind him with my hands on his. After I felt he was ok I relaxed a little. We can now share a table and shoot at the same time.
     
  15. mudslinger79

    mudslinger79 New Member

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    :DWhile at the outdoor range my oldest son begged me to shoot my Mosin/Nagant M91-30...I did. His shoulder was sore for 2 days but ill never forget his expression after pulling that trigger!
     
  16. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Active Member

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    When I was growing up in the country long guns were leaned up in a corner. That was the accepted place for them. I was taught at a very early age (4 or 5) to respect firearms. By the time I was 8 or 9 I was hunting groundhogs with the single shot Remington .22 by myself. I started teaching my kids about gun safety at a very early age as well. My son and youngest daughter started deer hunting at about 11 or 12 years of age and are totally safe with a gun. I feel there's no such thing as starting to teach them too early to respect firearms.
     
  17. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I bought my daughters their first head sets as soon as they could walk. By the time they started kindergarten they were adept at safety. They started shooting as soon as they asked to, about 9-10. When my oldest went to summer camp at about 12, she elected to do the shooting thing. Single shot .22's on 50 foot outdoor range. The instructor got very upset with her that she shot the center out of the targets from the get go. He asked her how she could shoot so good. She said "we live in the country and my dad is a cop." He left her alone after that and concentrated on correcting the problems with the boys who thought they knew everything. He would march the boys down to her end of the range (she got an exclusive place and the end and unlimited ammo). There they would get the lecture about a girl outshooting everyone of them because she know how to do it "right". She would snicker and continue cutting out the bulls eye methodically walking bullets around the circumference.
     
  18. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    All very good posts, folks. Just to stick an oar in-

    1. Take your kids when you go shooting, if you are prepared to spend some time with them. Does NOT mean that they shoot when they are too young- they get to see YOU shoot- and learn from you. I was about 4 when I was going to turkey shoots with my Dad. Never fired a shot at those until I was about 8- but I loved being around and listening to the big boys.

    2. Get them eye and ear protection that fits them- and teach them to put them on the right way EVERY TIME. It hacks me off, but I run into folks that brought their kids to the range, they are shooting a .999 Crunchenboomer Magnum- no hearing protection on Junior, who is sitting on the bench, flinching. I keep a bunch of disposable foam plugs in my range box for the kids.

    3. Do not start kids with a gun that will cause them pain, or failure. A 47 lb kid handed a 12 g or an 8mm Mauser for his first shooting experience will not go well. Find a .22 that will fit the kid. All else fails, get a cheap 22 bolt action (used is fine) and a bandsaw that can shorten the stock by 4 inches. When he gets bigger, get him a better gun, put that one aside for his kids.

    4. Although I have been saying HE, do not neglect the young ladies. Those that have been around for a spell have heard me prattle about my shooting buddy- youngest granddaughter, age 14, who wants an M1 Carbine for her birthday. She will look you in the eye, and ask you to put money on the next target if you are ill advised enuff to tell her you think its cute that a little girl comes shooting.

    5. Keep shooting fun, and within the abilities of the youngster. The 8 yr old should probably not be struggling with a .308 on the 500 yard line. But a .22 on the 25 yard line will put a big smile on his face.

    6. Take the kids shooting. In a few years, they will be voting on whether YOU can continue to own a gun.
     
  19. mrm14

    mrm14 Active Member

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    My dad started my brothers and I shooting and firearms safety at about 6 years of age. Our first rifle we got to shoot was a lever action .22. Then to a SXS .16 guage and later to other types as time progressed. I was particularly good and shooting skeet and trap before I was 10 Y.O.

    Dad had a "no nonsence" approach to teaching my brothers and I precision and accuracy and to not waste ammo. To not only hit the target but to place the round on the target exactly where you were aiming. It was alot of work on dads part particularly when we were younger.

    In our house, when my brothers and I were kids, toy guns were not allowed except for squirt guns. Dads rule. All firearms were locked up at home and none of my brothers and I had any interest in trying to get at them until dad took us shooting or later hunting.


    Dad was born in Missouri in 1913 and came from a family of relitively impoverished dirt farmers. Running trap lines and hunting at a young age was a necessity of life for my dad and his brother to help put some food on the table and add to the family income. My dad and my uncle (dads older brother) were crack shots with any firearm they had in their hands. To this day it still absolutely amazes me how they could hit any moving or stationary target they shot at and placed the shot exactly where they wanted it.