Michigan Sportsman Forum banner
1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,254 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's the youngest age you started your kids shooting a rifle? I'm thinking .22 rimfire. My son is 6 and would like to start him shooting soon, so he has plenty of practice for when he can get his small game license, and eventually deer license.

The idea is that one day he will outshoot dad, the sooner the better ;-) .

p.s. Not sure if any laws apply here, regarding minimum age to lawfully discharge firearms.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Maybe try with a small bb gun. I think that would be the safer route to teach gun safety and weapons handling. I know it is not an accurate weapon but to teach the basics and get him set with the practices before a "deadly" weapon is put in his hands is a good idea. I am not saying a bb gun cannot be deadly (I know someone will point that out :) ) Just saying I would worry less with a bb gun. With Direct Adult supervision I dunno of any rules saying how old is old enough.. after all Ralphy had a red rider bb gun :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,640 Posts
I have to agree with Paul on this.
Get him a BB Gun and if possible let him shoot it often but with you and only you.
He needs to understand now that there are strict rules regarding gun safety.
See if you can pick up a couple of old packing quilts from somewhere like U-Haul. Hang them in the garage and let him start plunking away while you are standing next to him and teaching him the safe way to shoot.
After he starts understanding some safety requirements, and on occasion, let him shoot the 22.
My Uncle who I lived with for a few years always had a rule that you don't even go near the gun cabinet with out his permission and only his permission. I raised my kids with the same philosophy and never had any problem. They understood that ma couldn't step in on this rule. My permission only, or there gun would be broke in half.
By the way, if you can afford it get your self a BB gun also and shoot with him. Its never to early for that special bonding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,825 Posts
Forget the when to start shooting age, work on safety, ethics, and behavior first. Expose him to unloaded guns and teach him the rights and wrongs. Teach him about life and why we should value it. Anyone can shoot a gun but not everyone can respect the firearm and what exactly can happen with it, both good and bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,635 Posts
I don't believe there is an "age" factor. Each kid is different. Some won't be ripe for shooting when they are 50, and some will when they are 5. I'd consider some external factors as well.

1. No one should be trying to shoot a weapon that is so heavy for them that they have to strain to hold a sight pattern. With kids that means more than with adults but it is true of anyone.

2. No one should be shooting unless they have a true personal desire to shoot. Doing it because Dad does is ok, but only because dad wants it, isn't. It's not wrong to try to mold your kids but their heart and head won't really be in it if they are only doing it for you.

3. No one should be shooting if they are under oppression from a negative influence. I mean if mom is dead set against it, there will be an emotional rift between youth and mom or between dad and mom, (effecting the youth) until that issue is dealt with and resolved.

4. No one should be shooting if they have fear of the weapon or of the noise. Fear can and should be overcome by knowlege and gradual familiarity, but when it comes to deadly weapons, one should not be pushed into action before the fear is under control.

5. All the suggestions from previous writers.

I don't mean to make this into a social studies issue. I only meant to point out that no youth (or any person) should be ALLOWED, or MADE, to shoot a deadly weapon until that person is physically and mentally ready, and emotionally eager to do so.

Sorry, as I re-read it sounds stuffy, not intentional.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,371 Posts
All my brothers and sisters (7 of us) were shooting skeet well before we were old enough to hunt.
My dad had several shotguns for us to learn on.

I think I got my first gun that was my own (double barrel 410 - I wish I had kept it) when I was 10 or 11.

We had BB guns much younger, and we were taught to be safe with them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TriggerDiscipline

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
When I was young I had a daisy BB gun that I got at age 4. Mom made a case for it and it and ammo (BB's) where kept with the 'real guns'. Everytime I got the gun out, it went in the case until we were at the hunting or shooting spot. To me it was as real as a 12 gauge or a .308.

I must have been 5 or 6 when dad got checked by the DNR to be sure his gun was plugged while duck hunting. He must have talked to the CO while I wasn't paying attention, because the CO checked my daisy just like he checked dad's gun, and told me that everything was legal. Man did I feel COOL!!!!

The sooner the kids are around guns, and handling guns the better (even if they are BB guns which you can actually watch the BB leave the barrel!!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
686 Posts
dad helped me shoot a .22 at 4yrs of age but taught me tons of saftey and got me a b.b.gun at 7 and it wasnt till i was 12 that i could handle a gun with out him standing right there with me drilling me with questions and i thank him for it.i guess the age is up 2 you when u feel they can be safe and enjoy is a good time to start
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,275 Posts
I started both of my boys out with BB guns when they were 4 or 5 years old. Up here we have 4-H clubs that are strictly for shooting sports. They start the kids at 7 years old with BB guns and move up from there.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
11,839 Posts
Lots of good posts here and I don't think I can really add anything to them. It does show the responsibilities of hunters we have on this site, good hunters and good people.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mole Hill

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,099 Posts
BB guns are only fun until somebody's eye gets poked out. :D

My 5 year-old son has (3) guns: A shotgun, rifle, and muzzleloader. Of course, all three are plastic toys BUT they are locked in the gun safe with mine until we go hunting or shooting. And when his guns are in the truck, they are enclosed in a little camo case my mother sewed for him. He knows to keep his guns in the case until we are out of the truck, because otherwise "it's against the law."

I've also been working on gun safety things, particularly like not pointing a gun at another person.

He did shoot my Ruger 10/22 this past summer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
Eastern Youp,
I like how your going about this with your son. Just imagine what he'll do with a real gun. Way to start off early with the plastic toy guns. Heck of an idea. I'll try it out when I have kids too. Thanks for the idea!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,965 Posts
This may sound morbid, And I am sorry if I offend anyone, But until your child is old enough and mature enough to understand what dead is then all of the safety teaching in the world may not help. I am 47 years old and I have been in emergency medicine since age 17, First as a medic in the army, then as a Paramedic working in Detroit, I left the field 10 years ago but in those 20 years I cannot tell you how many times I have responded to calls where a child has been involved in a shooting. And many,many of those children lived in homes that had hunters. Granted most were from homes where the child found the gun in an unlocked drawer, or under the bed. Or something just as stupid. But more than a few parents told us that they have taught their children gun safety. It was just that the child did not understand that once you shoot something and kill it, It will never live again. Sounds silly I know, But I have heard a child tell the person they have just shot to 'wake up" enough times that I am convinced that they had no grasp of the meaning of death. Yes I taught all of my children how to respect firearms, How to safely handle them, And they are all pretty proficient at them, My son is so good it is awe inspiering, But they never touched a weapon until the had a full understanding of what death was, My way to teach that was to take them small game hunting with me. Let them see the rabbit or squirrel alive, and after death, let them watch as you clean the animal. It may turn some kids off to hunting oir the shooting sports, But that is o.k. too it is their decision, But They have to know before they take up the sport what the reality of what a firearm can do and will do if not handled properly. Trust me on this you do not want to see the alternative.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,594 Posts
Exposing kids to firearms can start at a very early age. Initially, they don't have to shoot the gun, just watch. They can learn from you when they watch how you handle unloaded guns to clean them etc. I kept my guns and ammo locked in a safe and when my two sons where big enough to hold one I let them. These first times were great to teach them the rules of where not to point the gun and to never put fingers near the trigger. I think some of the problems people have could be avoided if they just let kids see and handle their guns. When very small, most of them are satisfied to do nothing more. I think some parents raise a kid's curiosity by not letting them be around until they're older. When I would shoot at the range and they'd see the recoil, they understood they needed to get a little bigger before they shot.

Growing up in the country has advantages to living in town. I grew up in the country and my father and grandfather could start hunting right in the back yard heading for the fields. I'd walk with them sometimes and just by doing that, I learned to keep behind the shooters and always be on the lookout where the muzzles were pointing. When I was 4 or 5 years old, my father would let me shoot an old BB gun. We had a three foot wide tree on the edge of the yard that could be hit every time. It didn't matter where, you knew you hit it by the sound and for a few years that was good enough.

Firearms should be treated like any other dangerous thing around the home; a little common sense is all it takes to make it safe for your family. Do you leave poisons in accessable places? If a child shows interest in a vehicle would you leave it unlocked and the keys where they could get to them? The respect for firearms is a learned process and it's never too early to start.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,594 Posts
treehunter2,

Many folks will call a firearm a weapon because the armed forces drilled it into their heads. In respect to our veterans I don't find it offensive at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,912 Posts
Well IMO, unless you are going to be there 100% of the time you shouldn't be giving a six year old any kind of gun. The only kind of gun a six year old should have is the plastic one that shoots a rubber suction-cup. Get them a bb or pellet gun but don't be letting them go off by theirself with it! The legal hunting age is what twelve or thirteen for small game? It doesn't take six years to learn to shoot and be good with a gun. Take them out with you first and teach them the importance of gun safety. Show them the consequences of the actions.

It makes me wonder how you can instill the dangers of firearms in a six year old when you don't comprehend what a .50cal slug would do to a rabbit or squirell? Sorry, but that just threw me for a loop!:eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,227 Posts
My son was 5 yrs. old when he got his first BB gun. At age 7 he got a pellit gun. At age 8 I taught him to shoot my 22. At age 10 he got his own 22 for Christmas. The following summer I got him a shotgun and taught him how to shoot that. Start kids out with small calabers and work there way up to larger ones. But the most importent thing is to spend time with them and teach them how to shoot, respect the gun, and wildlife. I hate to say it, well not really, but he's a better shot with the rimfire than I am.:)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,225 Posts
Sarge - That was very well said.

Eastern Yooper - My hat's off to you for your approach in teaching!

I bought my six year old grandson a BB gun a while back but he hasn't seen it or used yet. I have up at my camp. I let him shoot a BB gun a while ago when we were up there, but it was way to big and he couldn't shoulder it and reach the trigger. So I bought the smallest I could find at Bass Pro. Granted they are not accurate but at short range the will hit what you aim at and for me I feel this is the responsible thing to start with.

Now that I have it his mother (not my daughter) has given me a little grief. She's not opposed to guns necessarily, but worries that there may be a problem at his school if he talks about shooting, which he is going to do as would any other child who is excited about something. I understand her concern given the current state of hysteria at most schools, even though I'm in total disagreement. Personally I would prefer he and all young kids be taught gun safety at an early age under the supervision of a responsible adult. I feel he is at the right age to begin learning, so on our next trip north I will teach him how to use it, if I have his mother's blessing. If he likes to shoot fine if not, that's ok too. Of my two sons his father is the one that has no interest in guns or hunting.

I'm in agreement w/ what Randy said as well, I don't think any young child has a real grasp of what dead is. With that being said I think the issue of how old is old enough can be very confusing and it's up to us not to push them into something if they're not ready, but on the other hand it is our responsibilitty to make sure they learn from us not on their own or at someone else's house where we are not in control.

This is a very intriguing topic, but from the responses that I have read I feel very comfortable there will be a generation of kids who will be responsible and safe gun owners. Now if we could only get the rest of the general public to follow in our footseps.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top