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My son is very young still, only 2 years old, and therefore way to young to understand anything about gun safety or gun use but I'm curious at about what age are most kids able to learn some gun safety and gun basics. I've seen kids at young at 8 shooting competitively.

What's the best first gun for a young child? Do you start them with a real gun like a .22 or start with something like a BB gun, pellet gun, or airsoft gun (being sure to teach them that it's not a toy even though an airsoft can't hurt you).
 

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With Myself my boy was about 5-6 and we started with proper safety with firearms. We started with a pump BB gun in the basement with the home rug backstop. At about 8-9 he went to a .22. All along proper safety was reinforced and mandated. He just got his first pistol at 12 - a CZ 9.

I guess it all depends on your child and when you feel comfortable with them learning about firearms.
 

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Depends on how responsible the individual is. I know some adults who should never be allowed in the same room as a gun. On the other hand, I've seen some 10 year olds who exhibit proper safety/handling techniques. The important thing is to be open about it from the time they are old enough to earn 'complex' tasks and grasp abstract concepts such as death and responsibility, and be vigilant in controlling access to guns, or any other potential hazards. I have a boy and a girl (2 months old), but I have already begun noodling the idea. By the time they are old enough, I should have a pretty solid game plan.
 

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boy and a girl (2 months old),
Twins?!?!?! Cool!!!

I've been thinking abought the same thing, my Daughter's only 15 months old but I have to plan her life for her! :D ;)

As I rember, my Grandfather took us out shooting wiht a .22 abought 8, we shot bb guns in the back yard at my friends house at 11 or so and I got my first bb rifle at 12.

I'll probly start my daughter younger, and see how it goes, she may have no intrest at 6, and may love it at 7, or not be ready till 8. Just have to play it by ear.

I do plan to keep my regular schedual of shooting on Mondays and I guess abought the time she asks to go "were daddy gose" is when I'll talk to her abought it.
 

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It's never too early and they're never too young to start learning about gun safety. They're much more observant than they get credit for and soak up knowledge at an early age. I can honestly say that I started teaching my boys basic gun safety as early as 1 year. By 2years, they were shooting, with help of course and at 5 years old, were given Chipmunk .22 rifles for their birthday. Even if a child has no desire to shoot, they should be taught the safety aspects if you are going to have them around the house.

Teach them respect for firearms and you will never be sorry.

Semper Fi, GySgt
 

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Josh--Yeah, twins. And they're both colicky...you do the math!:bawling:

I was thinking about what age I was when I first took an interest in guns (started playing cowboys/indians, war) and had toy guns. I guess I was about 4 yrs old. It may be sooner or later depending on the child, and familial influences (did I just make up a new word?) In my case, as soon as their strength and dexterity develops enough to enable them to manipulate objects, I will start. And as GySgt said, I think, even if they have no interest in guns, they WILL know about gun safety because they will be in a "gun environment". At the very least, kids should know how to use a gun, should it ever be necessary for defensive purposes.
 

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Sooner the better. If a child grows up with guns, they won't be a mysterious, thrilling "no-no". My two daughters helped me clean my guns since they were toddlers. They each got Red Ryders at about 4 (I had to cock them) and Chipmunk .22's at 6. We started handguns & shotguns when they were around 8. The oldest doesn't have any more interest in shooting at this time, but does have her own guns. The youngest, still in high school, loves outshooting the boys. The guys in school think she's the coolest thing happening. I'm putting a 1911 Caspian 9mm together for her now. Take the "forbidden thrill" away by making guns simply tools that can be used for food, fun, and defense.
 

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I agree with lupey and that is what i did with my 2 sons - bb gun at 5 to 6, 22 at 8 - let them kill something, squirrel or what ever around 9 or 10 - .243 and deer hunting at 12.

the only reason i have my 4 safes is for theft and my sons friends. if it weren't for that, i would have no qualms leaving firearms around the house. it is no big deal for them because they can go hunting or shooting just about any time they want to. also, i started them reloading their 243 rounds at 12.
 

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AZ, I love the idea of getting a head start, building/buying a gun for your child to use in the future. If I could only convince my wife that my boy needs a model 70 in .25-06...After all, I need time to make sure the scope is mounted properly, and it is zeroed!:)
 

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No BS, answer all their questions straight out,I never talked baby talk to them.Daughter is 20 now never cared to shoot but knows how for self defence,always helped reload though ,good times.Son 17 now, first gun 20ga. Mossberg with youth stock at age7( has to fit)with soft reloads. At 14 won HOA trap(all ages)
and HOA in his age group at skeet at county level 4-H. 4th in state.Proud PAPA. Number 1 rule, besides all the safety related,when all the kids at school are talking up what their Dad has at home, you keep what we have to yourself! Play it by ear and don't push them if not interested and if they are run with it, watching them kick butt at anything is worth more than all the trophies in my case.
 

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I have twin girls 14 yrs old. I thought them gun safety around
5 yrs. One of them loves to shoot with me and the other could
care less but I always tell her that if she ever changes her mind
that she is welcome too. I have never had a problem with them
and keep all of my guns locked in a proper manner.
 

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I see people at the range with children 4-6 pretty regularly out here.

Not surprisingly, there aren't exactly an epidemic of problems with guns and kids accidentally blasting each other.
 

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When my kids were both very young- 3 and 5, I received the Eddie Eagle video from NRA. Both of the kids watched it over and over and for quite a few years-- they knew that song about gun safety by heart :)

They are 9 and 12 now, both kids understand the danger of playing with guns. My oldest - a girl - is not as interested in shooting as my son, the 9 yr old. I take him shooting once a month and he shoots my Marlin model 60 from sandbags. Too big a rifle.

He shot a Henry single shot bolt action .22 a few months ago. Great little rifle. Accurate enough for plinking. And the youth size, fit him perfectly. I may get him something similar soon.

He also shot a friends Ruger .22 pistol. Can't remember the model, but he did well with it. It's a semi-auto, so I had to watch him carefully so that he didn't turn inadvertently with his finger on the trigger.

Little kids get excited easily and often forget about keeping the gun pointed downrange after making a "greast shot."

As for age, I think it's up to you. I would think 8 or 9 is perfect, but younger than that could be OK too. Main thing is being there to supervise and being right next to them in case something is done improperly. I never leave them alone while shooting- Especially at the age my son is. As long as they can follow directions, I think you'll be OK.

Starting them on air rifles is good too. Plenty of low cost models to choose from. It's an easy way to teach safety. Plus low noise- you can shoot in a garage or back yard (within reason).

Moving up to a rimfire is much easier from there.
 

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mr_dove said:
My son is very young still, only 2 years old, and therefore way to young to understand anything about gun safety or gun use but I'm curious at about what age are most kids able to learn some gun safety and gun basics. I've seen kids at young at 8 shooting competitively.

What's the best first gun for a young child? Do you start them with a real gun like a .22 or start with something like a BB gun, pellet gun, or airsoft gun (being sure to teach them that it's not a toy even though an airsoft can't hurt you).
When I speak with parents, I generally suggest the following course of action with regard to children.

As soon as the child displays ANY interest at all in firearms, either those viewed on television, your personal collection, etc. perform the following.

1. Ensure that the gun is unloaded.

2. Allow the child to handle / fondle the gun.

3. Explain that it is NOT a toy, and to never touch any gun without you present. And if the child requests to see the gun aain make every effort to comply with the request.

These three actions alone, while admittedly not 100% failsafe, will generally remove a significant amount of interest to the level where the child will be less likely to go searching on their own.

The logic behind this is that as we all know from when we were children, the thing which attracted us the most was the unknown object which we were not permitted to speak about, touch, or see.

Nothing above will remove the need to secure the firearms in a safe manner, however it will assist to some degree in removing the mystique.

As for the age issue and type of gun. This is subjective and based upon the individual child. I have and continue to teach children from age 5 and up, and generally I will start them with a 22 cal rifle. This again depends a great deal on the child.

Good luck and Be Safe.

Bryan S. Williams
Williams Associates Protective Services, LLC
www.wa-protective.com
 

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Great Topic!

And great advice given.
Remember, If we don't teach our kids safe weapons handling skills, to include guns, archery and knives, they'll learn unsafe handling skills from friends and TV. Any 3 year old child in America can emulate TV gangster behavior with a toy gun, so no toy guns in my house or on my land. Just real guns- Locked up unless being used.
I started my 6 yr old daughter with archery at age 3, she's a fair shot now. She's interested in hunting with me, so I'll use it as a platform for weapons safety and pleasant one on one time, since she's still pretty noisy in the woods (Actually no worse than me while moving, but try to get a 5-6yr old to sit still for 30 minutes:rolleyes: ). Toddlers can even help you hide small gun parts while you clean...
My goal is for my daughters- 6, 2 and one on the way, to be able to shoot well in an IDPA or Three gun type match before they go off to college.
 

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My father started me out with a cap pistol. I was taught to treat that thing as a gun, which it was. Never point it at anyone was the rule I was taught. You know what, it lhas proved invaluable as I never learned improper gun handling techniques from cap pistols to BB to 22 to big bore rifles and pistols. I still remember my first shotgun and the panic my mom had about that. My father assured her that I would not inadvertantly shoot self or another. I used a similar approach to teach my son and daughter how to drive.
 

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I taught both my boys to swim at 12 months old. Waited another four years before taking them to the range, observing and learning safe gun handling and respect for a gun. Its amazing how kids watch cartoons and the gun goes bang, the guy gets shot and then gets up and is perfectly ok again. This is where things go wrong... At an early age, bring them to a range and put a 9mm in their hands with you behind them and holding on as well and let them realize what happens when a REAL gun goes off. That usually cures the cartoon image of guns without scaring the piss out of them.

Once you have their attention and respect, BB gun, 22, etc as they grow into each. Before you know it, the kids are in their 20's and want your "old" 1911, the keys to your car and you just sit back and get a few more gray hairs (if you have any left).... :hrm:

H
 

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my son was about 2 when I started teaching him about guns. I think you would be surprised what they can pick up. I basically just started teaching him to not touch them at that age.
My philosophy is to try to take the mystery out of the gun. Now he is 5 and knows that any time he wants to see one of my guns that all he has to do is ask. Then each time we go over safety. He knows that if he ever see's a gun that the FIRST thing that he is to do is tell an adult. I try to teach him how to SAFELY pick it up if he HAS to. How to treat a gun as it is always loaded and so on. I know that when I was a kid I was not allowed to ever really mess with any of my Dad's guns. If I would ask to see one he would always say no. So then when they would leave the house the first thing I would do was go get one out.
 

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Bought my granddaughter a Ruger Bearcat for Christmas last year. She was 8. She loves it and handles it safely. She has been around firearms since she was born. Firearms safety was taught right along with everything else a child learns from 1-8. The education continues.
 
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