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What age to start teaching kids to shoot

  • 4 years old

    Votes: 16 27.1%
  • 5 years old

    Votes: 7 11.9%
  • 6 years old

    Votes: 6 10.2%
  • 7 years old

    Votes: 8 13.6%
  • 8 years old

    Votes: 12 20.3%
  • 9 years old

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 10 years old

    Votes: 10 16.9%
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that's like, your opinion
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to find out some consensus as to what age kids might/should start learning to shoot. I am not a parent (yet, thankfully), but I am an uncle to a 4 year old, and one of these days I want to get him a 22 youth bolt (cz makes a nice one).

I understand that this has got to be something of a subjective decision as maturity levels are not constant among specific age groups, but if i would have to measure a guess, I would probably say start teaching him somewhere in the range of 8 years old.

i do not want to turn into this guy:

i can hear kids in the background.... I wonder whats down range????
 

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Less law not more prisons
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My 3 year old daughter has a pink cricket .22LR.

She understands it's a fire arm. Understands the repercussions of it. Understands not to point it at anyone. Hell, she even knows not to joke shoot ( even with hands, fingers, wooden pistols ) at anyone.

She can barely put together and intelligible sentence, but she can put a mans sized fist grouping at 25 yards. Makes me proud!
 

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I had a gun collection at 13 years old. I had a colt snub nose 38 spl. A old 12 gage shotgun, a 1911 government (witch I could hardly get my hands around) and a AR-7 in 22Lr. survival rifle. When I was 12 a got a toy AR-7 for christmas so I saved my lunch money to get the real thing. My brother was 17 years old so he helped me get some of them. If my mother and father knew about the guns they would have killed us. I look at 13 year old kids today and it scares me that they would have complet control over guns. As far as when should a child start shooting? as soon as they are responsable enough.
 

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Livin' the freekin' dream
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Sorry, I didn't vote in the poll because the answer I'm gonna give wasn't one of the choices.

Every kid is different. Some have interest when they may be 3 and some may not have any interest until they are about 10. It is up to you to decided if the time is right for you child.

I know that my dad didn't really start with me until I was 5. I am sure there were good reasons for it. One being that I had to learn safety first before I was even aloud to think about touching one. I think also that he wanted to make sure that I understood that not everyone was into guns and me running my mouth about it wasn't acceptable outside of the home.

Every kid is different. I don't think you can answer the poll with a general answer for every child.

JMHO
 

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I voted for 7 because that is the age my son is now. He has been shooting for several years. I would guess 4 was when he first started but that was with an air soft gun. He only could do that with adult supervision. When he was six my father bought him a BB gun. He got a 22 when he turned 7. My father keeps all guns including the air soft guns locked up with his guns and only lets him use them when he is with him.

The reason I voted for 7 is because after watching him for the past few years this is the age when I feel he has matured to the point that I do not freak out with the thoughts of him having the gun in his hands. He seems to be safe and realize the dangers at this age. He has had training from his father, grandfather and a class that was offered at Bass Pro Shops. He also had a training course during his first year of cub scouts. The training is what makes me feel better about it. Training for youngsters takes some time.

I would vote for younger as long as it was under very strict supervision or in class type situations.

My son at 7 already has qualified for his shooting badge. You must shoot five shots together in the size of a quarter from 25 feet. He has had two formal safety classes not to mention the family preaching safety. He will be supervised for a long time to come even at that. Guns are obviously dangerous even for adults. You can't be to safe and strict with children
 

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My 3 year old daughter has a pink cricket .22LR.

She understands it's a fire arm. Understands the repercussions of it. Understands not to point it at anyone. Hell, she even knows not to joke shoot ( even with hands, fingers, wooden pistols ) at anyone.

She can barely put together and intelligible sentence, but she can put a mans sized fist grouping at 25 yards. Makes me proud!
Go Girl!!!

But!!! Remember girls mature faster than boys as a general rule.

My daughter is four and she shoots my sons air gun with her grandfather but does not have the desire to shoot as much as my son.

However, if she did I would say I would probably have a greater trust for her earlier than I did him. I suppose now that I think about it all children are a little different. What I trust with my son at seven I might trust with my daughter by 5 or 6. Regardless, neither of them will be shooting without one of us right next to them for a very long time.
 

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Why do you ask? 2 Dogs!
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I didn't vote

Mainly because it has to do with the child and his/her maturity

I put BB guns in the hands of my children (3 of them) first before real firearms

All were at a different ages and all had one-on-one training from their father

My son was 6 yrs of age when I started him on a .22 rifle, he dropped it one day (it was unloaded) when we were shooting from a bench. It was taken away and a whole year later I let him try it again....

Let's just say, he had more respect for what we were doing the second time around.
 

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Opinionated old fart.
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Only a wise parent of a child knows the child well enough to determine if he is responsible enough to learn shooting. Mine started at 8 years old because thats when she had the patience, maturity, upper body strength, and the ability to follow instruction well enough to learn.

Setting an arbitrary age for anything is a flawed concept. Just look at the drinking age of 21. Some get resposible at 16, and some finally get resposible at 35. If you know your child well enough(as you should), and you are a critical thinker (many are not) ,you will know when its time.
 

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Sweat more, bleed less!
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Every kid is different IMO. There are "grow-ups" that I would not trust around a gun even if my life depended on it. I was 16 when I started helping out at hunters safety courses. For a simple answer and if i had to pick i would say start teaching safety ASAP and shooting when they can safely walk around with a gun.

I would start as soon as they start to show some sort of interest towards guns. I taught my little brother and many new shooters initial gun safety. Most kids I’ve seen start around three or so, that seems to be when curiosity really kicks in and they are old enough to relatively understand cause and effect. I don’t tend to teach too much less than five years or so because the attention span is so short it’s really hard to get any real point across. At that age I simply introduce them to a gun and make sure they know what to do if they ever come across one (don’t touch it and tell the nearest grown up). I also want them to understand that curiosity is ok, if they want to see it, just ask. I am a firm believer that if you remove the forbidden apple, it’s no longer a problem. Not to say I do not lock up my guns or keep them in a safe place but I am 100% certain that I could leave a gun on my couch and invite my 3 year old brother over and the first thing he would do is tell somebody.

I always start new shooters out on a wood dummy gun (yes even grown-ups, you’d be surprised how many careless and fatal mistakes are brought out by this exercise) and I monitored their safety and awareness. After many field outings and only after I feel they have that down, we enroll in a hunter’s safety class to get their “red tape badge“. If they are not old enough I continue to work with them on safety but will not allow them to shoot with me until they get their hunters safety classes out of the way. This shows they are mentally prepared to focus and this is something they want.

After they have shown competency in gun safety and obtained their hunter safety we moved on to a BB gun to practice fundamentals of marksmanship. A BB gun also brings on a new level of respect because it’s no longer a piece of wood that is relatively harmless. Even though we pounded safety into them, there was still the fact that you could mess up without any physical scaring, besides me slapping them upside the head :) Now they had something that could do some damage but not as much as a .22.

After I feel they have the fundamentals down, we moved on to a bolt action .22lr with iron sights and start to get an understanding on ballistics. Dispelling Hollywood myths is especially fun with grown-ups that think shooting a gun is simply a ‘point and shoot’ affair. When they have a firm grasp on ballistics we added optics. The same applies when I introduce semi autos, shotguns, hand guns and higher powered firearms, the fundamentals just become more apparent and mistakes are less forgiving. The rest is history. We still shoot BB guns and .22's for the majority of our practices.
 

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I agree with all the aspects of safety and maturity that have been brought up.

I started teaching my daughters firearms safety and the basics of marksmanship when they where 4. I started teaching them about it because at that age, at least with mine they where capable of picking one up. be it hand gun or long gun. The safety issue and understanding what the weapons where capable of doing is what i drilled into them first. I didn't want my kids to be at a friends house and be stupid or stick around if their friends where being stupid. My daughters weren't allowed to touch a gun un-supervised until they turned 14. So ten years of teaching and maturity got them to this point.

So over all i think it is about knowing the child and the level of what they can safely do. But as far as teaching safety and what the dangers are is first. They should know to walk away from another kid that pulls out a gun to show it off or play with it. Or even if they can see that the adult if there is one doesn't show proper safety.
 

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I think it depends on the child.
My daugher was mature enough to take directions and understand at six years old. She has a pink crickett and also shoots a Walther P22 very well.

My nephew however is the same age and he might not ever be ready. He was not brought up with guns out in the open like my daughter, my sister forces her husband to hide his guns, so the boy treats them like a curiosity always looking for them. This scares me, so he does not spend much time at our house.
 

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RESET CONGRESS!!
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I was born into a family of hunters, farmers, and fishers.
There was a home made rack in the hallway with rifles and shotguns.. they weren't locked up or hidden somewhere. I was taught from the get-go that they were not to be touched.
I was taught to shoot at about 9 years old... and only with supervision.
Depends on the child, the parents, and probably where you live. We could walk out of the house and shoot.. country kids just grow up with that. If you are in Detroit or NYC.. I assume that's much much different.
 

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Weed 'em and reap
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I am trying to find out some consensus as to what age kids might/should start learning to shoot. I am not a parent (yet, thankfully), but I am an uncle to a 4 year old, and one of these days I want to get him a 22 youth bolt (cz makes a nice one).

I understand that this has got to be something of a subjective decision as maturity levels are not constant among specific age groups, but if i would have to measure a guess, I would probably say start teaching him somewhere in the range of 8 years old.

i do not want to turn into this guy:
‪3 year old learning to shoot‬‏ - YouTube

i can hear kids in the background.... I wonder whats down range????
It depends on the child. Heck, there are some adults that I wouldn't trust with a gun, but both of my daughters shoot. My 9 y/o has a 10/22 and has been shooting for a little over a year. My 5 y/o is allowed to fire a few shots, but doesn't quite get the concept well yet.
 

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It is dependent upon the child, his or her level of maturity and how well he/she has handled responsibility rules in the past. Is the child able and willing to follow directions? Does the child follow the rules you have for your home? Does the child respect the rules at school? Some kids might be ready at age 5, others might never be ready. Each particular child is different. I know some 50 year olds that can't follow a few simple rules at the range. On the other hand, I know some children that master firearm safety at a very young age.
 

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Like most of the others I also believe all individuals learn and mature at different levels and also know several adults of all ages who I don't believe should own, possess, shoot much less carry guns. Sadly several of them do, but I digress.

First, I hope that everyone knows that it is impossible to "child proof" firearms. Regardless of where you lock them or how they will eventually find them or figure out how to get at them. When they do they will want to play with them because they are inquisitive by nature. It is far easier to "gun proof" your child(ren) by educating them about firearms at an early age. I took my son to the range at 4 y/o after first asking his pediatrician what I could use for hearing protection (he recommended putting some small cotton balls just inside his ear canals and smearing Vaseline over them to seal them in...they worked great!), I let him squeeze the trigger of my Ruger Mk II target pistol while I held it and pointed it down range. He really got a kick out of watching 2 clay pigeons shatter when hit. I then gave him a graphic demonstration of the destructive power of various firearms by shooting different size plastic bottles full of red colored water with the last being a 12 gauge loaded with 000 buckshot from 12'. That gave him a mental image of what I meant when I told him that firearms must be respected because they are able to kill.

At 6 y/o I bought him a Daisy BB gun (wish I'd have kept mine, the new ones stink!) and an archery set with 15# pull long bow which he could only shoot with me supervising him. By age 10 I got him a .22 single shot rifle and took him squirrel hunting for the first time. Last year I got him a youth model Remington 870 20 gauge and a Marlin .22 WMR bolt action. Earlier this Summer I got him a Savage .22 bolt-action (offered to get him a 10/22, but he elected for a bolt-action) and gave the single shot to my brother for his grandsons to shoot when they're at his house for visits.

My son has always shown great respect for firearms and will not touch one without asking first to this day (he's nearly 16 now). He has access to his red Rider BB gun and my RWS .177 pellet rifle, but everything else stays locked in the safe. My wife and I still get complements on how polite and respectful he is when away from us.

Considering the behavior I've seen in kids his age & younger than him I know how blessed we are. I genuinely enjoy spending time with him one-on-one, whether it's target shooting, camping, hunting, fishing, taking him to a movie or just going for a drive and talking. He knows that and likes that I let him choose what we'll do a lot of the time.
 

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Mine start with an air rifle around 2 or 3, get their own at 5, and upgrade to their own 22 at 8 when they start rifle safety with the 4-h.

ETA: Having their own of course is dependent on their maturity and ability at that age.
 

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Some of mine were ready to start at 5, some waited until they were teenagers. We usually go in groups and everyone watches everyone else for safety. We don't shoot every week, sometimes not even every month, so we all need to keep sharp and remember the rules. We also take a lot of novice shooters when we go so they take turns going over safety with the new folks. It is easy to get complacent, even the most seasoned veteran.
 

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Me with my nephew at age 3:

That's a real M4 with MILES gear attached. Pretty much the Army's version of laser tag triggered by blank ammo. Too bad it's not available to the public to teach kids to shoot. By the end of the day, he was dropping targets ot 100 meters consistantly without my help. He was even handling three round bursts like a pro.
 
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